Executive Director - Prairie Research Institute-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois
Champaign, Illinois
Salary is commensurate with experience.
Closing date
Dec 17, 2021

View more

Field of specialization
Information Science
Work Function
Job Type
Full time
You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Executive Director

Prairie Research Institute

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois is a world-class leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. Illinois is widely noted for research excellence and applied science solutions. In 2020, Illinois pioneered a saliva-based COVID-19 testing program for use on campus, the state, and across the nation that continues to be a model for how to manage the pandemic. The Illinois scholarly community has also earned 24 Nobel Prizes and 18 Pulitzer Prizes, and the university regularly leads the nation in NSF research funding.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status. For more information, visit: http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign invites applications and nominations for the position of Executive Director of the Prairie Research Institute. Prairie Research Institute (PRI) applies expertise in archaeology, ecology and biodiversity, geology, sustainable energy, waste reduction, water, and weather and climate to tackle scientific challenges and deliver positive impact to the people, economy, and environment of Illinois…and beyond. PRI’s scientists and scholars produce rigorous, objective, high-impact research and collect, interpret, and steward extensive data to help understand, manage, and protect the state’s natural and cultural resources. PRI is home to Illinois’ five scientific surveys: Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. For more information about PRI

visit https://prairie.illinois.edu/.

PRI manages more than $75 million in research funding annually and employs more than 500 full-time scientific and administrative staff and several hundred more part-time staff, graduate students, and affiliates. The institute occupies 72 buildings, 29 of those beyond the University’s Urbana-Champaign campus, positioning PRI scientists to serve all Illinoisans. For more information on the PRI organizational structure and leadership team visit https://prairie.illinois.edu/about/leadership/.

Illinois is frequently both lauded and cited as a pioneer in interdisciplinary research. The Prairie Research Institute is one of a number of units within the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation that augment the research capabilities of the colleges and support the convergence, discovery, and creativity that are vital to our research mission. Other research Units include the National Center for Supercomputing Applications; the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology; the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology; the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute; the Humanities Research Institute; the Center for Social and Behavioral Science; the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment; and the Cancer Center at Illinois.

The Executive Director should be a collaborative and creative thinker, as well as a strong and engaging leader with an exceptional record of scientific achievements that demonstrate an understanding of multi-investigator, interdisciplinary activities. The successful candidate will demonstrate energy and enthusiasm for expressing the value of diverse cultures, fostering empathy, and improving organizations in the areas of access and representation. The Executive Director must also have significant administrative experience in bringing science to bear on public policy decisions, experience managing a scientific institute or organization of comparable scope and complexity; experience in forming and maintaining relationships with state, federal and relevant non-governmental organizations; and an established record of obtaining sponsored funding from state and federal agencies and the private sector and actively facilitating research endeavors. The Executive Director should hold a PhD or equivalent in a science, engineering, or other field relevant to the mission and goals of the Institute. Familiarity with the academic research environment is essential; experience in academic administration and communicating with legislators is desirable. This is a full-time, academic position. A tenure option may be available for candidates with an academic track record appropriate for a tenured full professor at the University, or commensurately significant other qualifications.

Among the responsibilities of the Executive Director are the following:

Leadership and Operational Management

  • Provide leadership, direction and overall administration for the development, coordination and implementation of scientific research and service programs, activities and professional services undertaken and provided by the state surveys, and centers and initiatives of the Institute.
  • Actively engage in discussions with the directors of interdisciplinary research units regarding challenges, opportunities, concerns and priorities, and activities related to the campus research enterprise; regularly connect and establish relationships with relevant University units and departments.
  • Ensure the Institute’s statutory responsibilities to provide scientific advice to State of Illinois and municipal agencies and businesses are met.
  • Coordinate research, education and teaching; ensure the Institute provides opportunities for students and trainees to participate in research.
  • Encourage, foster and develop collaborative research, and cultivate relationships with external constituents within the global community.
  • Encourage and lead a strong commitment to diversity through establishing retention and recruiting priorities, as well as personally exhibiting a commitment to inclusion.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to personal growth and support and encourage others to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviors so that they can reach their full potential for the greater benefit of the University.
  • Manage the Institute’s human and financial resources and physical infrastructure.
  • Advocate with relevant State of Illinois and University of Illinois officials regarding the separate line-items in the state budget for General Revenue and Special Funds that support the operations and research of the Institute.
  • Increase awareness of and support for the mission and value of the PRI among stakeholders that include legislators, local and state agencies, associations, non- governmental organizations, the campus community including Office of Governmental Relations and the Chancellor’s Communications and Governmental Relations Office, and the residents of Illinois.
  • Promote interaction and connection with existing and potential donors at all levels, as well as actively leading donor engagement and stewardship.
  • Supervise and lead Survey and Center Directors and Institute personnel to maximize success and foster a culture of innovation and high-level performance at both the individual and organizational level.
  • Foster a culture of open communication.
  • Promote awareness of and education about safety and safe working methods.
  • Organize and convene the PRI Advisory Board.
  • Elevate PRI’s profile and promote its image and institute ideals through engaged representation at conferences, meetings, education/diversity events, media outreach and public events.

Research Administration

  • Take a holistic view and work enthusiastically and creatively to analyze problems and develop innovative and workable solutions. Identify opportunities for innovation.
  • Ensure the Institute gathers, disseminates and archives accurate, objective, and relevant scientific information for government officials and agencies, businesses, non- governmental organizations, and the public related to scientific knowledge and data in geology, ecology and biodiversity, archaeology, water, weather and climate, pollution prevention, hazardous waste management, sustainability, and energy.
  • Encourage and promote the research enterprise including proposal writing, research innovation, teaching and education; identify and secure state, federal, and private sources of funding.
  • Encourage, foster, and develop collaborative research, service, outreach efforts and relationships with the University of Illinois administration, community, and its stakeholders and with external constituents.

This is a full-time, academic position. A tenure option may be available for candidates with an academic track record appropriate for a tenured full professor at the University, or commensurately significant other qualifications. This appointment has a start date that is negotiable. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Application Process

Complete applications received by December 6, 2021, will receive full consideration, but applications will be accepted until a candidate is identified. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date. Please create your candidate profile at http://jobs.illinois.edu/ and upload your letter of interest, curriculum vitae, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statement, and names/contact information for three references by December 6, 2021. The DEI statement should address your commitment to past and/or potential contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion, by including your 1) Knowledge of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 2) Experience working to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and 3) Plans for advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

In addition to direct applications, we are also accepting nominations. To submit a nomination, please send name of nominee and a short statement of their qualification to Sue Key, susankey@illinois.edu by November 29, 2021. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (OVCRI) will solicit additional required information from the candidate.

For further information, please contact Sue Key, Human Resources, susankey@illinois.edu.

The university is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana situated in Champaign County in east-central Illinois, and is situated about 140 miles south of Chicago, 125 miles west of Indianapolis, and 180 northeast of St. Louis. The University and its surrounding communities offer a cultural and recreational environment ideally suited to the work of a major research institution. For more information about the community,

visit: https://yourewelcomecu.com/ or https://www.champaigncounty.org/.

University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

The University of Illinois must also comply with applicable federal export control laws and regulations and, as such, reserves the right to employ restricted party screening procedures for applicants.

We have an active and successful dual-career partner placement program and a strong commitment to work-life balance and family-friendly programs for faculty and staff (https://provost.illinois.edu/faculty-affairs/work-life-balance/).

University of Illinois faculty, staff and students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not able to receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, you may seek approval for an exemption in accordance with applicable University processes.

You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalised job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert

Similar Jobs