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Executive Director of Sustainable Solutions Lab

Job Details

Job no: 520255
Position Type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Boston
Department: Sustainable Solutions Lab
Pay Grade: 35
Date opened: 18 Aug 2023 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: 09 Oct 2023 Eastern Daylight Time

General Summary:

The Sustainable Solutions Lab works to advance climate justice through research, convenings and field building. As a cross-university initiative, the Sustainable Solutions Lab (SSL) will, through explicit and strong relationships among business, non-profit, and government agency partners, promote and advance transdisciplinary research and practice to develop and implement sustainable and equitable solutions to issues of climate change.

The Executive Director, Sustainable Solutions Lab provides leadership on all major areas of the Lab’s policy, research, communications and policy-impact agendas, including strategic planning, as well as its financial and programmatic development. The incumbent will be responsible for leading, supervising, coordinating, and conducting new and ground-breaking thinking on conceptualizing frameworks and developing metrics to assess impact of SSL activities; and will engage with high level stakeholders from multiple sectors, understanding current issues associated with climate change adaptation and resilience from a breadth of perspectives ranging from the natural sciences to policy to business to climate justice advocates. The Executive Director will supervise and orchestrate SSL activities through its advisory boards and will directly work with SSL Research Director and faculty affiliates to advance their research and associated activities; will lead fundraising and developing revenue streams to support SSL growth and longevity, which includes writing, analysis, participation and leadership in the dissemination, communication, and presentation of SSL products and activities.

The Executive Director will supervise and direct the work of permanent and other staff within the Lab; coordinate work across campus; oversee the Lab’s budget and endowment accounts; provide leadership on issues of concern that intersect with the Center's mission, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and beyond; work closely with the center’s external advisors in shaping partnerships; coordinate and engage in fundraising and grant-seeking activities; organize and hold public and educational events; provide media commentary, particularly as related to climate change and social equity; provide written annual reports; and other related duties.

Examples of Duties:

  • Responsible for supervising, developing and implementing a broad and impactful vision for the Sustainable Solutions Lab (SSL) and leading in the development of outcome metrics and assessment of SSL activities on implementation of sustainable and equitable solutions; responsible for creating and implementation of SSL’s strategic plan;
  • Lead in developing partnerships and collaborations internally and externally that advance SSL; responsible for development of fundraising, communications and outreach;
  • Direct and oversee the following boards:
  • SSL External Advisory board, which consists of stakeholders who support the work through financial contributions and through opening doors and connecting SSL to opportunities across the region; and
  • SSL Faculty Advisory Board, which consists of SSL faculty affiliates who provide support, lead research and help guide the direction of the center);
  • Lead in providing support to SSL faculty through connections on campus and to community members/community organizations, support on research proposals, professional development opportunities and promotion of their scholarship and increased opportunities for thought leadership; work with SSL faculty affiliates to develop research proposals that are relevant to SSL’s focus areas;
  • Recruit, hire, train and supervise staff, research assistants, post docs and work study students; solicit proposals, develop contracts and supervise a variety of consultants and sub-contractors for work on research and programmatic grants;
  • Responsible for financial management of center including working closely with Central Business Unit and ORSP on RFPs, sub-contracts, reimbursements, accounts payable and accounts receivable; responsible for financial reporting to UMB advisory board and funders;
  • Organize and supervise SSL efforts internally and externally;
  • Advance new models for research translation and the development of projects and deliverables that further SSL’s mission and focus on applied research;
  • Facilitate and develop convenings and public engagement activities that enhance the visibility and impact of SSL;
  • Collect and analyze information from a wide variety of sources; monitor relevant material from conferences and seminars, government and intergovernmental documents, academic journals, institutional databases, relevant civil society organizations and NGOs;
  • Develop, supervise and manage new programs and projects for SSL;
  • Write a diversity of SSL reports, briefing memos, op-eds, media materials, blogs and news articles;
  • Present SSL products through a various of media outlets, cultivate SSL reputation as key resource for journalists;
  • Attend international and domestic conferences and seminars as required;
  • Perform other duties as assigned.
  • Qualifications:

    This position requires a proactive, strategic thinker who is excellent at collaborating and moving forward a complex agenda.


    • Master’s degrees in Business Administration, Urban Planning, Sustainability, Public Health or a closely related field;
    • Several years of professional and/or managerial experience in climate adaptation, politics or academia;
    • A record of innovative and successful leadership and experience in climate change, policy, community and/or participatory research;
    • Experience in leadership of an academic/higher education collaboration and demonstrated capacity to manage diverse projects in a university setting;
    • Experience working with governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on issues of environmental import (e.g., clean energy, sustainability, climate adaptation);
    • Demonstrated success in securing grant funding;
    • Demonstrated success in working with individual donors;
    • Experience with financial management, and financial reporting;
    • Exceptional collaboration and group facilitation skills;
    • Experience managing staff;
    • Experience managing boards;
    • Deep interest in climate change and associated impacts on marginalized populations.

    Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

    • Track record of impactful consortium and team building
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills as evidenced through publications, news media interactions, speaking engagements.
    • Competence to undertake assignments and manage teams with minimal supervision.

    Application Instructions:

    Please apply online with your resume, cover letter and list of three professional references.

    Review of candidates will begin following the application closing date.

    Only Internal candidates in the Professional Staff Bargaining Unit will be considered during the first 10 business days of the posting. All other candidates will be considered after that period.

    Salary Ranges for the appropriate Pay Grade can be found at the following link:

    Grade: 35

    Salary Ranges

    This is an exempt union position. This is a grant funded position with a current end date of June 30, 2024, subject to renewal contingent on funding and university needs.

    All official salary offers must be approved by Human Resources.

    UMass Boston is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, we will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations for the hiring process. If reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact or 617-287-5150

    Applications close: 09 Oct 2023 Eastern Daylight Time


    Working at University of Massachusetts Boston

    The University of Massachusetts Boston is nationally recognized as a model of excellence for urban public universities. The scenic waterfront campus is located next to the John F. Kennedy Library, with easy access to downtown Boston. 

    The second-largest campus in the UMass system, UMass Boston combines a small-college experience with the vast resources of a major research university. With a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students easily interact with professors because most teaching occurs in small class sizes. Ninety-three percent of full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their fields.

    UMass Boston’s academic excellence is reflected by a growing student body of nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university’s eight colleges offer more than 100 undergraduate programs and 50 graduate programs. The University Honors Program serves 300 students who thrive on intellectual challenge. Enriched courses probe more deeply into theory or venture further into application.

    UMass Boston’s diverse student body provides a global context for student learning, and its location in a major U.S. city provides connections to employers in industries such as finance, health care, technology, service, and education, offering students opportunities to gain valuable in-school experience via internships, clinicals, and other career-related placements.

    More than 100 student organizations — including clubs, literary magazines, newspaperradio stationart gallery, and 16 NCAA Division III sports teams — offer a rich campus life. Students live throughout Greater Boston and in apartment communities just steps from the campus, and enjoy the rich amenities, cultural attractions, and educational opportunities that make the city the biggest and best college town in the nation.

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