Director of Washington Sea Grant

The College of the Environment at the University of Washington (UW) seeks a vibrant, accomplished, and collaborative leader to serve as the Director of Washington Sea Grant (WSG). This executive-level position will be filled at the level of professional staff or faculty (Professor of Practice), depending on the qualifications and interest of the successful applicant, as a 12-month, full time (100%) position. The Director assumes overall responsibility for leadership and programmatic oversight of WSG and has university-wide and state-wide responsibilities. Together with a 27-member staff distributed across Washington state, the Director builds successful partnerships across numerous and diverse regions and constituencies and facilitates high-impact research, outreach, education and communications activities to increase the understanding of, responsible interaction with, and use of Washington’s ocean and coastal resources.

About Washington Sea Grant

WSG is part of a national network of 33 Sea Grant colleges and institutions operating in all coastal and Great Lakes states. The National Sea Grant College Program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and funded primarily through federal-university partnerships. WSG was one of the first Sea Grant College Programs, established in 1971, and is dedicated to improving the translation of research and scientific information into knowledge for use in the marine environment.

WSG serves communities, businesses, managers, and the people of Washington state, the Pacific Northwest, and the nation by identifying and addressing important marine issues; providing better tools for management of the marine environment and use of its resources; and initiating and supporting strategic partnerships within the marine community. Through research, outreach, education, and communication efforts, WSG helps sustain economic development while encouraging ecosystem-based approaches to management of Washington’s ocean and coastal resources.

Position Description

The Director is responsible for strategic visioning and implementation of research, outreach, education, and communications to advance marine science and its political and economic salience in Washington state, and will facilitate progressive solutions that are mission-driven and have significant impact. The Director oversees and serves as principal investigator for an annual budget of about $6 million that is divided almost evenly between competitively awarded research grants and fellowships and support for 27 university staff dispersed across Washington state. The Director reports directly to the Dean of the College of the Environment and serves on the Executive Leadership Committee of the College and on national and regional associations and advisory panels. The position requires frequent and extensive travel within Washington, regionally, and nationally.

This position provides benefit to critical areas of Washington state’s economy and health and welfare, including fisheries, tourism, education, and marine and coastal livability and sustainability. WSG advances the mission of the College of the Environment and the University of Washington by conducting research and outreach activities about the critical ocean and coastal resources of Washington state and the responsible and productive use of those resources. The Director is expected to play a key role in serving the needs of Washington’s marine sectors and in connecting Washington residents with appropriate resources at the University of Washington and elsewhere.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Director leads an innovative program that has exceptional scientific and educational quality and societal impact. Specifically, the Director will be responsible for:

Leadership and Oversight (40%)

  • Direct oversight and leadership of the program’s extensive research, outreach, education and communication activities.
  • Oversight of WSG competitive research and fellowship programs including proposal solicitation, review, selection, administration and reporting, as well as fellowship program applications, selection and evaluation.
  • Managing and using human and fiscal resources efficiently and effectively, in accordance with NOAA and UW requirements and best practices.
  • Incorporating and valuing diversity in the work place and amongst stakeholder groups served by WSG and actively championing the furtherance of equity and inclusion across all of WSG’s activities and outputs.

Planning, partnerships & fundraising (60%)

  • Strategic and inclusive planning and visioning for programmatic activities with demonstrable results.
  • Building relationships with elected officials to promote and enhance awareness of WSG’s programs and their impact and value to the state. Working with UW legislative relations and the National Sea Grant Office to monitor and inform Congressional actions affecting Sea Grant at the national and state Sea Grant levels.
  • Participating in national Sea Grant activities and leadership.
  • Identifying and pursuing additional external funding sources to expand and improve WSG’s research, outreach, education and communication activities.
  • Strengthening collaboration and partnerships across diverse stakeholders and communities, including academia, industry, governmental, tribal, NGO and citizen groups.
  • Serving on the Executive Committee of the College of the Environment, and actively participating in the overall management of the College and its relationship with other UW units.

Other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities

The Director directly supervises four staff and has ultimate supervisory authority for the entirety of Washington Sea Grant (~27 staff).

Working Conditions

The Director works in a standard office setting on the University of Washington campus but travels frequently locally, regionally and nationally for meetings. Work hours in excess of 40 hours/week is standard.

Required Qualifications

  • Ph.D. or terminal professional degree or foreign equivalent in a Sea Grant-relevant discipline or the equivalent in knowledge and experience.
  • A minimum of nine years of experience leading large or complicated projects or programs focused on issues of relevance to the mission of Washington Sea Grant. To qualify as Professor of Practice, an individual must be a distinguished practitioner or academician, and have had a major impact on a field relevant to the UW’s teaching, research, or service mission.
  • Innovative leadership and management skills to effectively lead a complex organization towards enhanced research, services and programs.
  • Demonstrated success as a supervisor and program manager.
  • Proven ability to successfully work with and respect diverse people and perspectives and champion inclusion and equity in the delivery of services and programs.
  • Extensive knowledge of budgeting and financial planning and reporting, particularly in academia and government.
  • Commitment to conducting and administering impactful scientific research, outreach, and communication activities in support of marine/natural resource management and use.
  • Ability to build partnerships and work effectively and collaboratively with a wide range of internal and external constituencies including industry, academia, tribes, NGOs and all levels of governmental agencies and institutions.
  • Experience with grant proposals and the federal funding process and proven track record of securing external funds.
  • Ability to manage a demanding workflow with competing deadlines, solve problems, resolve stress and conflict, initiate timely responses to changes in the program environment, and exercise sound judgment and decision-making authority using tact and diplomacy.
  • Excellent oral, written and interpersonal communication skills.

Desired Qualifications

  • Leadership experience in an institution of higher education.
  • Knowledge of the Sea Grant mission.
  • Working knowledge of state and federal legislative processes.
  • Extensive knowledge of Washington state’s ocean and coastal resources and issues.
  • General knowledge of Washington treaty tribes, treaties and co-management.

Desired Start-Date: Fall 2018

Position Type and Benefits Summaries

This position is being advertised concurrently as a professional staff (“Director”) and a faculty (“Director and Professor of Practice”) position and can therefore be filled either way. Regardless of how the position is filled, the incumbent will have the title of Director of Washington Sea Grant. To-date, the WSG Director has been a professional staff position. Professor of Practice is a relatively new non-tenure track academic position within the UW that provides some of the benefits of a faculty position (including ability to advise graduate students) and requires ongoing concurrence of the host academic department. Appointment to the title of Professor of Practice is made to a person who is a distinguished practitioner or distinguished academician, and who has had a major impact on a field important to the University’s teaching, research, and/or service mission.

Applicants can apply to either or both advertisements and should apply to both if they desire to be considered under both employment programs. Only one person will be hired, and only in the position through which they applied. Professional staff and faculty are governed by different rules and have different benefits. Below is a brief summary of each:

Professor of Practice:

The WSG Director, as a Professor of Practice, will have a term appointment, renewable indefinitely, in an academic department within the College of the Environment. While all University of Washington faculty engage in teaching, research and service, this Professor of Practice position will be focused on the administration of WSG as its Director. Teaching, research, and service opportunities exist and will be explored with the person selected for this position. For more information about the Professor of Practice job title, please see the Job Profile web page and about faculty policies and procedures, please see the UW Faculty Code. For benefits information for UW faculty members, please see the faculty benefits summary.

Professional Staff:

The WSG Director, as a professional staff member, will have an ongoing position within WSG (i.e., no term), but professional staff do not attain permanent employment status and are appointed at the will and pleasure of the employing official and are subject to the overall requirements of the University. Please see the UW professional staff program website for more information about this employment program, and the professional staff benefits summary for information about benefits afforded to professional staff.

The UW and the College of the Environment are committed to building a culturally diverse workforce. The UW promotes diversity and inclusivity among our students, faculty and staff and the public; we seek applicants who are committed to these principles. Thus, we are strongly seeking candidates whose experience has prepared them to fulfill our commitment to inclusion. More details can be found here.

The UW is proud to be one of the nation’s premier educational and research institutions. Our people are the most important asset in our pursuit of achieving excellence in education, research and community service. Our faculty and staff not only enjoy outstanding benefits, but also an environment noted for diversity, community involvement, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits and natural beauty.

Conditions of Employment: Appointment to this position is contingent upon obtaining satisfactory results from a criminal background check.

Application Instructions

This position is being advertised concurrently as a professional staff (“Director”) and a faculty (“Director and Professor of Practice”) position. Only one person will be hired, and only in the position to which they applied. Applicants can apply for either or both advertisements and should apply to both if they desire to be considered under both employment programs. Applicants must specify which position(s) they are applying for at the time of application.

Professor of Practice:

Applicants should send the following to seagrant@uw.edu with “WSG Director: [your name]” in the subject line of the email: (1) a cover letter that specifies the targeted position(s) (Professor of Practice and/or professional staff) and describes your expertise, experience and leadership relevant to the position, as well as your preparation for fulfilling the UW/College of the Environment commitment to inclusion, (2) your curriculum vitae and (3) names and contact information for three professional references. All materials should be collated into a single PDF document.

Professional Staff:

Applicants must submit their curriculum vitae/resume through UW Hires (Requisition # 154634) to be considered for the professional staff position. In addition, applicants must send the following to seagrant@uw.edu with “WSG Director: [your name]” in the subject line of the email: (1) a cover letter that specifies the targeted position(s) (Professor of Practice and/or professional staff) and describes your expertise, experience and leadership relevant to the position, as well as your preparation for fulfilling the UW/College of the Environment commitment to inclusion, (2) your curriculum vitae/resume and (3) names and contact information for three professional references. All materials should be collated into a single PDF document.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Questions pertaining to this search can be addressed to Dr. Amy Snover, Search Committee Chair, at AKSNOVER at UW dot EDU. Individuals with disabilities seeking accommodation in the application process are encouraged to contact Eileen Herman at seagrant@uw.edu.