Associate Vice President for Economic and Business Engagement

Job description

Associate Vice President for Economic and Business Engagement - 509203

Job no: 509203
Work type: Regular Full-time (Benefits eligible)
Location: Tuscaloosa
Categories: Director/Executive, Administrative / Professional

The University of Alabama (UA) seeks an experienced Associate Vice President for Economic and Business Engagement to lead its new Office for Economic and Business Engagement (OEBE). This position, reporting directly to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, is a full-time administrative position at UA.  The primary mission of OEBE is to develop robust, funded partnerships and realize more opportunities to retain alumni in the State.  This position is vital to UA and will be joining at an important time, since both the Office for Research and Economic Development (ORED) and UA have recently launched Five-Year Strategic Plans that jointly articulate UA’s vision for its research mission and how it contributes to economic development.  The Associate Vice President for Economic and Business Engagement will be instrumental in executing both plans.  Due to the broad scope of the position, those highly qualified candidates currently working in a university, industrial or government position are invited to apply.  The selected candidate may be appointed as an administrative staff position or as a faculty member in an academic department, dependent upon appropriate academic qualifications.


UA, having doubled in size since 2002, has been the nation’s fastest-growing flagship university. UA currently enrolls more than 38,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, and now attracts more than half of its students from out-of-state. Additionally, in recent years UA has invested $2.5 billion in campus buildings and infrastructure, including over $400 million in world-class research facilities. As part of the Peter Bryce Campus acquisition, the University also has significant land and facility holdings available for allocation to the research mission. External grants and contracts for research, instruction, service and fellowship reached record levels for UA in fiscal year 2018 and have grown by 85 percent over the last five years.  In December 2018, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education designated UA as a Very High Research Activity doctoral university or “R1.”  This is the nation’s highest level of research activity for institutions that grant doctoral degrees and places UA among the most elite, public or private, research universities in the United States.  With the new Vice President for Research and Economic Development starting in January 2019, the University has placed a much greater focus on business engagement with the goal to become the ‘go to’ University for public-private partnerships.


On June 1, the Office for Research and Economic Development launched its Five-Year Strategic Plan to help facilitate the growth and impact of the research enterprise.


The Strategic Plan focuses on growing and developing faculty as well as significantly increasing the size and impact of research and scholarly activity.  The ORED plan has six strategic themes including research environment, research institutes, transformative initiatives, translating intellectual property, economic and business engagement, and assessing progress and impact.  The major goal of the Economic and Business Engagement theme is to develop strong partnerships with external stakeholders, especially industry, in order to increase the number of sponsored projects and, at the same time, create career opportunities for UA students through these partnerships.  


The Associate Vice President for Economic and Business Engagement will have the following Major Responsibilities:  


  • Direct and lead the Office for Economic and Business Engagement (OEBE) and its personnel
  • Be a leader and serve as a scientific and research liaison to develop strong relationships with both internal and external constituencies, including
  • University campus and system-wide leadership
  • State and federal government officials  
  • Key economic development stakeholders
  • Foundation and industry representatives
  • Engage industry and other external partners around core research and service disciplines at UA with the primary goal to increase the number of sponsored research and service awards and contracts, leading to demonstrable impact and outcomes
  • Provide oversight for ORED’s GulfQuest operation in Mobile, Alabama
  • Serve as a member of UA’s Economic Development Council and contribute to its oversight and execution of UA’s Five-Year Economic Development Priorities and Strategic Goals
  • Develop strategies and external proposals to build regional and State capacity to translate innovations into career opportunities for UA students through industry partnerships and commercialization assistance to UA innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Contribute to a Workforce and Talent Retention plan that aligns with Accelerate Alabama 2.0/3.0 and partner with key stakeholders (e.g., Alabama Workforce Council, Chambers of Commerce, Development Authorities, Alabama Department of Commerce, and businesses) to increase the number and percentage of UA students remaining in the State after graduation
  • Provide oversight for the Bama Technology Incubator (BTI), the University’s ‘wet laboratory’ incubator facility, and ensure it is meeting the needs of faculty and the University  
  • Serve as a member of ORED’s senior leadership team


Required Qualifications of the Associate Vice President for Economic and Business Engagement


  • Bachelor’s degree and fifteen (15) years of relevant experience; or Master’s degree and ten (10) years of relevant experience; or PhD degree and five (5) years of relevant experience  
  • Demonstrated organization, leadership, interpersonal and communication skills through successful outcomes in academic, industrial or governmental positions 
  • Evidence of being goal-oriented, able to multitask, prioritize, and manage time effectively
  • Clear ability and capacity to identify needs of both UA and private industry to develop lasting and mutually beneficial public-private partnerships
  • A clear understanding of technology transfer and licensing from a research-intensive university to the private sector  
  • History of successful and effective staff management and professional development
  • Acute understanding of the priorities, operation, and strategies of successfully securing externally-funded grants and contracts to support research
  • Must have valid U.S. driver's license. Must be at least 21 years of age at time of hire and have an acceptable Motor Vehicle Report as determined by the insurance carrier


Preferred Qualifications of the Associate Vice President for Economic and Business Engagement


In addition to meeting the required qualifications, the preferred candidate will ideally have one or more of the following:

  • A terminal degree
  • Strong academic record and eligibility for faculty appointment in the appropriate academic department at The University of Alabama
  • Prior experience as a researcher with demonstrated experience collaborating with or working within industry
  • Experience developing and leading successful partnerships at other academic institutions, industry, state and federal governmental agencies, and foundations  
  • A record of pursuing and supporting technology transfer, licensing, and economic development activities
  • Experience working with local and regional economic development organizations
  • Experience in pursuing and securing philanthropic funds to support research initiatives


The earliest planned start date is October 1, 2019 and the latest January 1, 2020. Only applicants currently legally eligible to work in the United States will be considered.  This is an open, national and rolling search.  Review of applications will begin immediately as they are received.  Candidates meeting all the required qualifications may be contacted immediately for inquiry and an interview.  It is possible that a preferred candidate may be selected as other applications are still being received.  Therefore, the most serious and qualified candidates are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible.  To receive the fullest and timely consideration, applications should be submitted prior to August 31, 2019; however, the position will remain open until filled.  Applications submitted after August 31, 2019 will be reviewed and considered while the position remains unfilled. 


Application materials should include:  1) a full and updated resume, 2) cover letter summarizing the interest in the position and how the minimum qualifications and any preferred qualifications are met, and 3) a list of four references with full contact information.  However, references will only be contacted after written consent of the candidate. 




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Job No:
Posted: 6/25/2019
Application Due: 8/24/2019
Work Type: