Posted: Jul 13, 2022
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Director of Tools for Thought Initiative

Full-time
Salary: Annually
Application Deadline: N/A
Academic

About the Department
Working hard is no longer the pathway to economic opportunity and upward mobility that it once was. We believe that is because the nature of jobs has changed. For most of the 20th century, the key to the middle class was a strong back; today it is a flexible mind. Jobs have shifted from the physical to the social and mental. Businesses increasingly can’t find workers with the “soft” skills needed to thrive in these jobs. These challenges will only get worse over time as the economy changes: three quarters of jobs are already in the service sector – where these skills are crucial – and that sector is still growing. AI is set to eliminate the routine, non-social parts of jobs, leaving only the parts that require soft skills. Our goal of the Tools for Thought Initiative is to develop a new training program for the workforce that would combine what the very best behavioral science research tells us about what soft skills matter most with our field experiences about how to design engaging, culturally competent programs that work in the real world. We would incorporate digital technologies, which can be delivered with perfect fidelity over and over again at zero marginal cost, to have scale built in. The Role: The Director of the Tools for Thought Initiative will partner with the Faculty Director of the Education Lab in collaboration with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and play a key leadership role in the planning, design and execution of the Initiative, including both building out the staff for the initiative and carrying out the research activities. The Director will also identify and implement opportunities to enhance the impact of the work, and will be responsible for communications, external relations, and engagement of public, private, nonprofit, and other partners of the Initiative. This person will report to the Faculty Director Jens Ludwig and have primary responsibility to manage a team, including research staff and students. The above is intended to describe the general content of and requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities, or requirements.

ROLE:  

The Director of the Tools for Thought Initiative will partner with the Faculty Director and play a key leadership role in the planning, design and execution of the Initiative, including both building out the staff for the initiative and carrying out the research activities. The Director will also identify and implement opportunities to enhance the impact of the work, and will be responsible for communications, external relations, and engagement of public, private, nonprofit, and other partners of the Initiative. This person will report to the Faculty Director Jens Ludwig and have primary responsibility to manage a team, including research staff and students.  

Responsibilities:

  • Leads the design and implementation of the strategy to achieve the objectives of the Initiative, including the staff and operations plan, design and execution of research activities, and communications plan.
  • While the Faculty Director will be responsible for generating seed funding for the project, the Director will contribute to meeting longer-term fundraising goals.
  • Manages operations, including responsibility for the budget and for the workflow and effectiveness of the Initiative.
  • Cultivates and stewards relationships with various stakeholders, including within the University of Chicago researchers, other academics, donors, and public and private sector and nonprofit partners.
  • Identifies significant opportunities to financially support the Initiative’s work and creates and implements plans to leverage them.
  • Leads developments of publication of internal- and external-facing documents and program descriptions.
  • Manages program operations and administrative functions which may include planning and scheduling, program evaluation, policy implementation, personnel administration, budget, marketing, fundraising and proposal development.
  • Contributes to design of program content, policies and strategic planning efforts.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Preferred Qualifications

Education:

  • Master’s Degree in Business, Economics, Behavioral Science or related field.

Experience:

  • Experience working with academics or on public-private partnerships.
  • Experience with program design and implementation work, through some combination of direct operational responsibility and/or consulting.

Preferred Competencies

  • Demonstrated leadership skills with the ability to set and achieve strategic objectives and manage a budget.
  • Extensive knowledge and understanding of the use of behavioral science.
  • Strong fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.
  • Strong people management skills to coach, manage, and develop teams.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive, passionate, and effective communicator with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit with demonstrated ability to work effectively and collaboratively with multiple constituencies in a sometimes ambiguous and fast-paced environment.

Application Documents

  • Resume (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)
  • References (3) (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Posting Statement

Employees must comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements. More information about the requirements can be found on the University of Chicago Vaccination GoForward.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

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 We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

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