Senior Director of Operations & Outreach in Evanston, IL

$200K - $250K(Ladders Estimates)

Northwestern University   •  

Evanston, IL 60201

Industry: Education, Government & Non-Profit


8 - 10 years

Posted 39 days ago

Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science is redefining engineering education and research through its pioneering "Whole-Brain Engineering" philosophy, integrating the elements of left-brain thinking — analysis, logic, synthesis, and math — with the kind of high-level right-brain thinking that fosters intuition, metaphorical thought, and creative problem solving. Augmenting the analytical core of engineering with substantial initiatives in design, entrepreneurship, leadership and personal development, and unusual collaborations that span disciplines, Northwestern Engineering students and faculty are prepared to take the world in a whole new direction.

Northwestern Engineering comprises more than 1,800 undergraduate students, 2,000 graduate students, 190 faculty members across nine academic departments and varied programs, centers, and institutes. Northwestern Engineering staff members support innovative academic programs, an intellectual footprint that deepens the frontiers of knowledge, partnerships that catalyze education and research, and a diverse culture that embraces different viewpoints and ideas.

Job Summary:

The Sr. Director of Operations and Outreach leads the strategic business management and tactical operation of Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering (CPGE). The Sr. Director innovates, implements and continually enhances the Center's programs and plans to ensure excellence at all levels. Proactively interfacing with Center's senior management, executive committee and advisory boards, the Sr. Director manages current initiatives and long-term planning in support of the Center's education, research and outreach missions. The Sr. Director fosters the collaborative spirit of the Center's with alliances both internal and external to the University.

Specific Responsibilities:

Strategic Vision Implementation and Research Development:

  • Independently researches and provides recommendations for new Center scientific initiatives and alliances. Serves as spokesperson for the center in engaging strategic partners, including potential donors and industry collaborators.
  • Develops and implements outreach plans to raise CPGE's domestic and international visibility. Serves as the director's representative to build and maintain local, national, and international professional relationships.
  • In consultation with the director, plays a leading role in the development and execution of the Center's vision, mission, and strategy for research and programming activities.
  • Builds positive relationships and coordinates with faculty and administrators from relevant schools, disciplines, and administrative offices across the University to advance interdisciplinary research and programming at the Center.
  • Initiates and nurtures regular, productive communication with Center faculty, directors, executive committee and Advisory Boards.
  • Supports the activities of the internal and external Advisory Boards, including strategic planning for meeting agendas.
  • Supports the Director in balancing conflicting obligations in order to achieve critical professional goals and rapid progress in fundraising, scientific, and outreach strategies at CPGE.


  • In consultation with the Director, determines the staff organization structure.
  • Supervises recruitment, hiring, training and performance management of staff.
  • Continually stays abreast of external regulations. Manage capital and operating budget planning, purchasing and payroll expenditures, appointments, pre and post award management and compliance.
  • Supervises regular reconciliation for all sponsored and non-sponsored activities, and all required reporting to ensure sound financial/fiscal management.
  • Prepares information reports, analyses, financial statements and programmatic presentations.
  • Coordinates with other budgeting units within the University.
  • Manages collaborative research and office space, and determines allocation and usage of space.

Development and Fundraising:

  • In consultation with the director, senior university leaders, the Deans Office, the Office of Alumni Relations and Development (OARD) and the Office for Research, formulates and executes development strategies that will ensure consistency throughout the organization and enhance revenue from major donors, foundations, government agencies, and corporations.
  • Meets with donors to cultivate relationships for financial support for CPGE.
  • Collaborates with OARD and the CPGE Director to manage stewardship activities and relationships with principle individual and corporate donors.
  • Proactively interfaces with national partners. Collaborates in development efforts both internal and external to the University, to further the Center agenda at Northwestern. Continually scans the discipline horizon to position Center at the forefront and sustain Northwestern's competitive advantage.
  • Coordinates the international presence, both with University partners and with other organizations worldwide.
  • Proactively interacts with other centers and institutes, including student organizations on the Northwestern campus, to develop joint projects.

Communications and Outreach:

  • Manages communication between the Director and various constituents. Oversees production of written materials and reports, as well as various types of electronic communications including website content. Based on analysis, research, and in reference to documents used in similar contexts, assists in drafting high-level letters of recommendation, proposals, reports, and presentations. Prepares letters of recommendation, especially in support of major awards, fellowships, and membership in honorary societies.
  • In collaboration with CPGE Director, works as a senior member of the team on special projects such as outreach and academic events.
  • Manage existing, and formulate new, academic programs for undergraduates and graduate students, possibly including a professional Master's program.
  • Develops and designs marketing materials and strategies for new and current programs working with key stakeholders, partner institutions, and publicity teams to ensure marketing and communications effectively target appropriate audiences.
  • Ensures that all advertising and marketing materials accurately and positively represent Center programs.
  • Provides support in responding to confidential, unanticipated, and complex issues.


  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's Degree plus additional formal training in business and the sciences.
  • 7+ years' work experience with progressively larger responsibilities, or equivalent of education and experience, e.g. MBA and 5 years of experience. Work experience should include 3+ years of management experience.
  • Experience or strong interest in the business of higher education and research

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Proven communication, interpersonal and analytic skills.
  • Adept at project management. Ability to work under pressure, prioritize and meet deadlines.
  • Demonstrated competency in organization management and financial stewardship.
  • Proactive, energetic, innovative.
  • Ability to work independently and yet is an accomplished team player.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master's degree with a background in science, engineering, or medicine or other relevant discipline.
  • Working knowledge of scientific, technical, and medical concepts and research.
  • Ability to manage complex activities.
  • Ability to travel domestically, estimated at 5-6 times per year.
  • Available for occasional evening and/or weekend events.
  • Ability to work on either campus in Chicago or Evanston as needed
  • Prior knowledge/experience in the private and/or public chemical/biopharmaceutical sectors.
  • Previous management experience in a university environment.
  • Previous experience in collaborative partnerships or joint ventures.

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Action oriented - Willing or likely to take practical action to deal with a problem or situation.
  • Coachability - Receptive to feedback, willing to learn, embracing continuous improvement.
  • Communicates effectively one-to-one, in small groups and in public speaking contexts; writes precise, well-organized emails, letters and proposals while using appropriate vocabulary and grammar. Identifies opportunities to innovate, create, and explore alternative strategies to improve procedures and practices; shows imagination.
  • Collegiality - Helpful, respectful, approachable; builds strong working relationships and a positive work environment.
  • Initiative - Exhibits energy and desire to achieve; sets ambitious goals and acts decisively; takes action that no one has requested to improve or enhance job results and avoid problems.
  • Meets deadlines - Displays consistency and success in adhering to deadlines.
  • Multi-tasking - Demonstrates ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Organization - Plans, organizes and schedules in an efficient, productive manner; anticipates contingencies and pays attention to detail.
  • Identifies opportunities to innovate, create, and explore alternative strategies to improve procedures and practices.
  • Experienced in donor cultivation and fundraising.
  • Working knowledge of People Soft, basic intellectual property principles.

Valid Through: 2019-10-30