CSPL Executive Director position description

Primary function

The primary functions of the executive director are to lead, develop, seek funding for, and oversee Center activities in public affairs research, service, public education and training. Public affairs at UIS involves active engagement with governments and communities to strengthen democratic institutions and economic, political, and social development. The Center is located administratively in the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Division of Academic Affairs. The executive director reports directly to the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Center is an integral part of the University and serves the entire campus, including interacting or partnering with other university units and working with faculty from all colleges who have interests that align with those of the Center.

Units in the Center: Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies (including, but not limited to, the Legislative Staff Internship Program and Child Protection Training Academy), Survey Research Office, Institute for Illinois Public Finance, Office of Graduate Intern Programs, NPR Illinois, Innovate Springfield, Illinois Innocence Project, and Office of Electronic Media. The Office of the Executive Director provides administrative coordination of these units.

The executive director directly supervises all personnel located in the Office of the Executive Director as well as directors (or the equivalent) of all Center units. The executive director coordinates Center planning and activities with the deans of colleges, other units within the University, and external constituencies. He/she leads the Center’s strategic and annual planning, serves as the principal spokesperson for the Center, leads in developing external funding for the Center’s research, service and education agenda. The Executive Director’s faculty appointment will be contingent on his/her academic credentials.

Characteristic duties and responsibilities

  • To direct short and long term planning activities of the Center and its units to the end of producing significant public value for the university and the citizens of Illinois and the local region. This effort focuses on the development of substantive goals, operational policies and objectives, organizational plans, and funding strategies for Center projects, support structures, and staffing. 15%
  • To assure effective efforts in seeking grants, contracts, and gifts on behalf of the Center and its units, programs, and projects, including cultivating contacts at government agencies and private foundations, and writing and submitting grant proposals. As appropriate, these efforts are coordinated with the University of Illinois Foundation. 10%
  • To oversee budget activities reflecting campus, Center, and unit priorities, with chief responsibility for the financial management of the Center and its units. He/she makes final decisions, in consultation with the Provost, the college deans, Center cabinet (unit directors), and center executive committee (faculty) concerning allocation and reallocation of staff, non-personnel monies, facilities, and equipment within the Center. The executive director has responsibility for monitoring externally-funded projects and fiscal oversight of all Center accounts, and may delegate fiscal responsibilities to unit directors. The executive director is responsible for collecting and maintaining information on federal, state, and private funding sources; opening and maintaining lines of communication with likely public and private external funding sources; coordinating and assisting in the preparation of grant and contract applications of the Center and its units; and monitoring externally funded projects. 10%
  • To provide operational coordination of all Center-level and unit activities. The executive director is responsible, in coordination with the Provost, the college deans, the Center cabinet, and the Center executive committee for identifying and pursuing developmental initiatives, making necessary staffing and resource allocations, and responding to operational problems. Personnel and non-personnel resources are reallocated from units to Center-wide functions as needed on a permanent and temporary basis, and on a full-time and part-time basis. The Center executive director holds regular meetings with the Center cabinet and executive committee to discuss and seek advice on these matters. The executive director also serves on the Provost’s academic cabinet and deans’ council, in order to enhance campus- and university-wide coordination of public affairs activity. 10%
  • To provide direct supervision of unit directors, program and project leaders as appropriate, and Center-level support staff. The Center executive director has responsibility for filling vacancies in these positions, making workload assignments, developing and evaluating staff holding these positions, and recommending termination when appropriate. The executive director has the responsibility to support diversity in the workplace. 10%
  • To provide general supervision of faculty on joint appointments or non-instructional assignments within the Center and unit support staff. The executive director has sign-off authority on faculty assignments and reports. The Center executive director serves as the second-level supervisor for all other administrative and staff personnel of the Center. 5%
  • To initiate, develop and oversee Center sponsored activities. The executive director is responsible for identifying, in consultation with the Provost, the Center cabinet, and Center executive committee, activities of sufficient scope and/or significance that they should be sponsored by the Center’s Office of the Executive Director rather than one of its units. He/she has authority to decide which activities will be pursued and to mobilize staff and resources within the Center and its units to implement these activities.  10%
  • To initiate, develop, and oversee research and service activities outside the missions of the individual Center units and/or that require multi-unit collaboration and delivery. The executive director has the responsibility for formulating an agenda in these areas and the authority to mobilize staff and resources within the Center and its units to carry out the agenda. 10%
  • To enhance the external visibility and reputation of the Center with public officials, private sector leaders, and the academic community at the state, regional, national and international levels. The Center executive director is responsible for publicizing the accomplishments and capabilities of the Center and for representing it in public forums. 10%
  • To represent the Center at University meetings and before external bodies. 5%
  • To assemble, convene, staff, and take appropriate advice from a distinguished advisory committee. 5%

Environmental demands

Light lifting, sustained periods of computer use.

Required qualifications (education and work experience)

  • Master’s degree or higher
  • A minimum of five years of successful administrative experience, extensive supervisory and fiscal management responsibilities, and substantial experience in public affairs or higher education
  • A successful track record of fundraising, including securing, and managing grants, contracts, and/or gifts from external public and private sources and individuals
  • A successful track record of strategic and annual planning and implementation
  • A collaborative, team-building leadership style
  • Proven ability to lead, work with, and gain the respect and confidence of diverse constituencies, such as university, government, local communities, and professional associations
  • 7Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Significant experience in working with public affairs and public policy issues

Preferred qualifications

  • Eligibility for appointment as an associate or full professor in a University of Illinois at Springfield academic program, including a terminal degree and scholarly credentials appropriate to an academic discipline, or a widely-recognized record of public service and leadership in government and more limited academic experience
  • An appreciation for the wide range of public affairs units and activities that make up the Center
  • Proven ability to attract a diverse faculty and staff and to support faculty and staff professional development

Employees supervised

  • 5 jointly-appointed Faculty
  • 1 Civil Service staff member
  • 12 Academic Professional staff
  • 1 Student

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