Executive Director

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN

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C-Level & Executive Directors

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Executive Director - Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership (NCEL)

LOCATION:  Knoxville OR Nashville, TN

Regular Full-time, MR19

The Executive Director position for the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership (NCEL) provides executive oversight and senior leadership for the agency. The incumbent serves to develop, market and provide leadership development and training programs, hire and retain a diverse staff of subject matter experts and employees both for development and execution of programs, maintains a working relationship/partnership with state legislators, local and state government officials and their senior staff members. 

As part of the Institute for Public Service, NCEL was officially established in 2009. The agency exists to provide studies and research in leadership and executive development and educational conferences and training and to furnish technical, consultative, and field services in these areas. NCEL has a location in East Tennessee and Middle Tennessee. Currently, there are less than ten (10) agency professionals.


Duties and Responsibilities:

This position provides leadership and broad management oversight to all activities within NCEL including (1) leading its strategic planning and visioning activities, including its private development activities, to assure the accomplishment of internal and University goals, (2) ensuring that NCEL fulfills its mission and responsibilities to its customers in an efficient and productive manner while staying within the policy constraints of the University, and (3) providing guidance and executive leadership to NCEL personnel in order to meet a myriad of University, sponsor, and customer requirements. This position also serves as a resource for the University system on leadership development and training, and manages the fiscal resources of the agency. 

The most important function and responsibility of this position is leadership. This includes: (1) co-leadership engagement on the IPS Leadership Team; (2) establishing and maintaining NCEL culture (e.g. professionalism, public service, accountability, etc.), (3) developing, communicating and building employee support for NCEL and IPS vision, mission, values and goals; (4) building and sustaining relationships with influential NCEL customers, stakeholders, partners, and sponsors; and (5) cultivating opportunities for multiple funding sources, including federal and state grants, contracts and corporate, foundation and individual gifts.

The position is responsible and accountable for managing NCEL personnel, budgets and other resources within University, IPS and NCEL missions and policy.  The director manages full-time employees, part-time employees, contractual workers and subject matter experts across the state and beyond on a daily basis.  The executive director uses a variety of management approaches, systems and tools to facilitate agency, program, and personnel accountability and professionalism. Fiscal management of state funds, grants, contracts, and ensuring terms of contracts are performed.

The position is responsible for various administrative actions, including annual performance reviews, review and approvals for agreements, time and leave, program reports and financial ledgers.  The director also works closely with the IPS Vice-President, the UT Baker Center, and the UT Governmental Affairs and Advocacy to better represent the University's legislative goals.

Required Qualifications:

Master’s degree required in Public Administration, Political Science, Professional Studies, Social Sciences, Humanities, Leadership Studies, Human Resource Development, or related field.



Required: Ten years or more of relevant experience in a leadership position preferably in a government, non-profit or a higher education environment. Work experience with an appropriate combination of planning and delivering leadership development and training programs having worked with both local and state government officials and their employees.

Preferred: May include experience in higher education with an emphasis on leadership development; overseeing executive level leadership training programs and outreach; ability to develop and sustain high quality working relationships with senior public sector and government leaders as well as the IPS Leadership Team; ability to develop and deploy effective strategies for fundraising; ability to develop plans, budgets and execution of strategies for major programs for local and state government; advanced knowledge of leadership principles and practices; knowledge of state and local government in Tennessee; knowledge of fiscal and administrative procedures within a large organization and advanced knowledge and competence in program needs assessments and evaluations with the capability to envision and build programs to meet emerging needs.




    Ability to develop strategic goals manage performance measures, and operate in an environment of uncertaintyAbility to motivate and inspire others to achieve top performanceAbility to manage a large technical staffAbility to lead and work with highly motivated, self-directed teamsAbility to travel frequently both within and outside the stateExcellent written, oral, and other communication skillsAbility to prioritize competing/conflicting work assignmentsAdvanced networking skills as applied to customers, partners, and other influential stakeholder groups   Advanced levels in leveraging leadership competencies, leadership development methodologies, assessments and administering executive level leadership training programsAbility to speak in front of influential and very diverse groups in local and state governmentExperience in successful teaching and facilitation of adult learners


    Knowledge on current assessments, practices and theories in the area of leadership developmentHaving national or international certifications in adult learning and leadership developmentAbility to successfully write grants and proposalsHaving past experience in growing revenue and training programs for an agency within the public sector

The Executive Director must be able to maintain respect and trust within the Institute. This position requires integrity, honesty and good ethics to successfully work with all levels of the University of Tennessee system.


The position may be based in Knoxville, TN or Nashville, TN and will require frequent statewide travel.

Salary is based on a combination of professional experience and qualifications. 

Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, and at least four (4) references with contact information. For best consideration, applications should be submitted by October 15, 2021. Applicants must apply electronically at http://humanresources.tennessee.edu/recruitment. Position will remain open until filled.



Job: Executive/Administrative
Primary Location: US-Tennessee-knoxville
Organization: Ips Leadership And Staff Development
Schedule: Full-time
Job Posting: Nov 3, 2021, 4:13:36 PM


Working at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Founded in 1794, the University of Tennessee is one of the nation’s oldest and most storied public universities. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee’s flagship land-grant institution includes the statewide Institute of Agriculture and the Space Institute in Tullahoma. The university embodies excellence in teaching, discovery, scholarship, research, creative activity, outreach, and engagement. Known as the Volunteers, we lead with a spirit of selflessness, empathy, and courage, and strive to be champions for diversity, equity, and inclusion

UT Knoxville is a Research 1 university with 11 academic colleges and more than 900 programs of study. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, our academic programs are repeatedly ranked top in their class. The university co-manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the country’s most prominent national lab, driving innovation in advanced manufacturing and materials, national security, and more. We are closely connected with our communities through outreach and extension efforts across Tennessee and through partnerships with non-profits, corporations, and industries—regionally, nationally, and around the globe.

The city of Knoxville is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The modern, thriving community is surrounded by gorgeous lakes and hundreds of miles of walking, hiking, and biking trails. Situated along the banks of the Tennessee River, our beautiful features an eclectic music scene, internationally recognized festivals, unique restaurants, and a robust offering of diverse cultural activities. Knoxville is located within a day’s drive of Atlanta, Nashville, Asheville, Charlotte, Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

Knoxville and the surrounding counties have a population of more than 850,000 people. The region houses many leading corporations and organizations, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pilot/Flying J, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Regal Cinemas, along with HGTV, Food Network, and other networks owned by Discovery Inc.

As a member of the UT family, you will be surrounded by top-notch faculty, staff, and students from around the world. You will be part of a diverse campus community that is passionate about changing the world and cheering for the Vols on game day.

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