Executive Director for Economic Development and Regional Partnerships #132739

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Executive Director for Economic Development and Regional Partnerships #132739


Chief of Staff

Position Summary:

Western Carolina University is looking for a passionate and motivated self-starter to serve as the Executive Director for Economic Development and Regional Partnerships. The Executive Director will support the University in advancing institutional priorities in the areas of economic development, industry collaboration, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. The position will work to build reciprocal relationships with our larger community based on exchange of knowledge and resources. The position reports to the Chief of Staff in the Chancellor’s Division, but will have extensive interactions with faculty and academic leaders as well as administrators from across the University.

The Executive Director will provide leadership and expertise in improving the prospects for economic development throughout the region. The Executive Director will create partnerships that link university, nonprofit, government, and industry resources to address economic development needs primarily in the 16 westernmost counties served by both the Cullowhee campus, Cherokee location, and the Asheville/Biltmore Park instructional site.
Primary Areas of Responsibility
•Advise the Chief of Staff and Chancellor on the progress of regional and economic engagement and make necessary periodic adjustments to meet community and University needs.
•Assist with the promotion and coordination of the University’s role as a resource for economic engagement, including communications and marketing activities regarding economic development.
•Organize and manage the connections needed to align institutional resources with regional opportunities (connecting the un- or under-connected).
•Utilize research/data-informed decisions for engagement.
•Work with the academic deans to engage and develop faculty in the pursuit of economic development and regional outreach.
•Establish, modify, and implement campus and constituent-wide (students, faculty, staff, and community partners) tracking, measuring, monitoring, and reporting mechanisms for determining economic engagement for WCU and the region.
•Create strategic external partnerships, in consultation with the academic deans, to assist in the implementation of programs providing faculty with research opportunities, academic and research offerings, and technical support.
•Manage and organize internal messaging for the campus on all matters associated with regional and economic engagement in collaboration with other identified offices associated with engagement.
•Work closely with WCU’s Corporation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Rapid Center, Small Business & Technology Development Center, Center for Service Learning and other programs involved in economic development and regional engagement.
•Serve as WCU’s liaison to the UNC System Economic Transformation Council.
•Collaborate with University Advancement and the Office of External Relations to pursue funding from private, foundation, and government sources to advance development of the University’s economic and regional engagement activities.
•Assist the academic deans to identify gaps in University programs based on industry demands and work with the deans and University administrators to develop, fund and implement initiatives in response to demand.
•Facilitate the LEAD:WNC conferences for regional government, nonprofit, education, and business leaders to focus attention and action on regional strategies for economic development. Coordinate related conferences in areas such as tourism, innovation, creative arts, public service, healthcare, education, and the environment.
•Develop and maintain content for WCU’s Economic Engagement website in concert with other appropriate campus units (e.g., External Relations, Educational Outreach, Service Learning, etc.).
•Oversees budget development and monitors the allocation of resources.

Minimum Qualifications:

• A Master’s degree with five plus years of relevant experience or a Bachelor’s degree with 10 plus years of relevant experience.

• Experience in regional economic development;

• Experience working on or with a university campus;

• Ability to authentically project and reflect the mission of WCU;

• Ability to work with faculty and students from a variety of academic disciplines and to understand their work to help make connections with appropriate external organizations;

• Ability to interact effectively with government, industry, and nonprofit leaders and understand their needs well enough to link them to appropriate academic programs within the university;

• Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills;

• Demonstrated leadership ability; and

• Strong demonstrated organizational skills.

Preferred Qualifications:

• Experience working with grant or funding agencies;

• Experience in a non-profit setting;

• Experience in grant writing;

• Experience working with contracts; and

• Experience working in Western North Carolina

Position Type:

Permanent Full-Time

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Open Until Filled:


Special Instructions to Applicants:

To be considered, you must apply online.

A cover letter detailing experience and expertise related to the position, current resume, and a list of professional references (including complete contact information) are required to complete the application process. For questions or additional information, please contact Jamie Raynor at [email protected] or 828-227-3052.


Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks.

Western Carolina University uses E-Verify to confirm employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit www.dhs.gov/E-Verify. Proper documentation of identity and employability are required at the time of employment.

Credential Verification:

All new employees are required to have listed credentials/degrees verified within 30 days of employment. All new employees who will be teaching are required to provide official transcripts within 30 days of employment. Transcripts should be provided for the highest earned degree and/or the degree which is being used to satisfy credential/qualification requirements.


Western Carolina University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race; color; religion; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; national origin; age; disability; genetic information; political affiliation; National Guard or veteran status, consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, and policies, and the policies of The University of North Carolina. Additionally, the University promotes the realization of equal employment opportunity for minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans through its affirmative action program.
Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application and interview process please call (828) 227-7218 or email at [email protected]

University Safety:

The Western Carolina University Annual Safety Report is available online at University Annual Safety Report or in hard-copy by request at the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, 114 Scott, Cullowhee, NC 28723 (828-227-7234) or the Office of University Police, 111 Camp Annex, Cullowhee, NC 28723 (828-227-7301). The report, required of all universities participating in Title IV student financial aid programs, discusses crime statistics, procedures for reporting suspicious or criminal activity, security, police authority, crime prevention strategies, university policies on substance abuse and sexual offenses, workplace violence and fire safety.




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Job No:
Posted: 10/21/2020
Application Due: 12/23/2020
Work Type: Full Time