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Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development

The University of Mississippi

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Four-Year Institution

Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development

The University of Mississippi (UM) ( seeks a strategic and collaborative leader with a distinguished research portfolio, demonstrated leadership ability, and enterprising spirit to serve as its Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development.


When it chartered the University of Mississippi on February 24, 1844, the Mississippi Legislature laid the foundation for public higher education in the state. UM welcomed its first students in 1848 and for 175 years has served as Mississippi's flagship university, producing leaders in public service, business, academics and the professions. For 23 years, UM was Mississippi's only public institution of higher learning, and for 110 years, we were the state's only comprehensive university.

From our first class of 80 students, UM has grown to a doctoral degree-granting university with 15 academic divisions and more than 23,000 students, including more than 2,200 graduate students.Our main campus is acclaimed as one of the nation's most beautiful, and our location, the City of Oxford, is recognized as one of the nation's best college towns.

As an institution holding the Carnegie R1 designation for a university with very high research activity, UM is at the forefront of groundbreaking research. With more than 20 major research centers, we provide our undergraduate and graduate students with numerous research opportunities. Our success in research and innovation also makes us a driver of economic development in the state and region. Products developed right here on campus are making their way into the market.

The University of Mississippi offers more than 100 programs of study and life-changing academic experiences that provide our graduates with the background necessary for a lifetime of scholastic, social and professional growth. Our Oxford campus includes the College of Liberal Arts; the schools of Accountancy, Applied Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Journalism and New Media, Pharmacy, and Law; and the Graduate School.Our Medical Center, in Jackson, is the state's only academic health science center and trains professionals in seven health science schools: medicine, nursing, dentistry, health related professions, graduate studies, population health and pharmacy. UM continues to expand academic courses and degree offerings on our regional campuses in Southaven, Tupelo, Grenada, Booneville, and Pearl.

Academic excellence is the cornerstone of our educational mission, and we are home to exceptionally strong programs, including nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy. Our Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action, is a vibrant and expansive program with enrollment topping 1,600 students. In 2021-2022 alone, Honors College students received six Fulbrights, three Goldwaters and two Truman awards.

At UM, we are making significant investments in research facilities and infrastructure to support faculty research. These investments pay dividends in supporting enhanced offerings for students who will have a competitive edge in the marketplace. Our major recent initiatives to support academic excellence include the Institute for the Arts, the Declaration of Independence Center for the Study of American Freedom, the Center for Practical Ethics, Chinese and Arabic Flagship Programs, and a new home our Patterson School of Accountancy. The Jim and Thomas Duff Center for Science and Technology Innovation is more than halfway through construction and on pace to open in the fall of '24. The 202,000 square foot, $175 million state of the art facility is the largest construction project in the history of the university. When it opens, it will be one of the nation's premier environments for STEM education, and it will enable our university to produce graduates who are more effective problem-solvers, team players, and innovators with technical skills that are essential for our future. It will also help address significant unmet needs in Mississippi and across the country for STEM professionals. External research funding for FY22 was over $106 million, with over $64 million of that number at the Oxford campus.

To promote a campus community that is welcoming to all, the university announced the five-year Pathways to Equity diversity plan in 2021. The overarching goals are to advance institutional capacity for equity, cultivate a diverse and equitable community, and foster an inclusive campus climate. Efforts include identifying and decreasing gaps in outcomes across groups by examining key institutional metrics such as graduation, retention, tenure, employment, and advancement.
In fall 2022, the University of Mississippi launched its new strategic plan, Empower Now: Accelerating Discovery, Growth & Success. Empower Now represents our key institutional priorities and provides a unifying framework that emphasizes graduate education, innovative research, and economic development with a foundational commitment to equity. We are a preeminent public international research university. We aspire to be drivers of innovation and opportunity in Mississippi, the United States and the world.


The Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development (VCRED) serves as the University's chief research officer. The VCRED is charged with providing administrative leadership in planning and developing research programs, sponsored programs, and creative achievement; improving and maintaining the degree and intensity of research; and providing oversight regarding all aspects of research development, research administration, contract and grant accounting, research compliance and ethics, technology commercialization, and economic development. This role is responsible for creating, catalyzing, and achieving institutional priorities, including state and federal legislative priorities, and leads strategic initiatives that establish and enhance excellence within the university's research mission. The VCRED plays a critical role in attracting top research faculty to the University, and in supporting their research objectives. As a key member of the Chancellor's Senior Leadership Team, the VCRED guides large-scale investments in laboratories, centers, institutes, and research groups.

To lead an ambitious vision for research growth, the University seeks a VCRED with a demonstrated record of excellence in receiving and managing competitive large-scale funded research projects; a visionary approach to interdisciplinary research; expertise and insight regarding the future direction of sponsored research, nationally and globally; and superior leadership and management skills. Reporting to the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development's major responsibilities include:
  • Providing leadership to five administrative units (Economic Development; Research Development; Research Integrity, Security, and Compliance; Sponsored Programs Administration; and Technology Commercialization), six institutes or centers (the Center for Research Evaluation; the Center for Water and Wetland Resources; the Community First Research Center for Wellbeing and Creative Achievement; the Institute for Data Science; the Jamie Whitten National Center for Physical Acoustics; the National Center for Narrative Intelligence) and the 740-acre University of Mississippi Field Station;
  • Articulating and championing the university's mission, including interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and scholarship (social sciences, physical sciences, arts, and humanities), through promotion and marketing of the university's research and scholarship activities with current and potential sponsors;
  • Encouraging student engagement in research, scholarship, and creative achievement throughout their academic career by ensuring opportunities are visible within the community and accessible to all students;
  • Identifying, developing, and implementing innovative, collaborative and strategic initiatives with other academic institutions, non-profits, and strategic partners in the private sector;
  • Leading campus activities related to acceleration of technology transfer and commercialization;
  • Advocating for and steering investment in infrastructure and new areas of knowledge support to fuel broad-scale digital and interdisciplinary research and creative projects/initiatives that advance the university's strategic plan;
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance as it relates to research, including acting as the Institutional Official for assured and accredited compliance programs;
  • Maintaining and strengthening relationships at the local, state, and federal level to promote community and economic development;
  • Engaging key stakeholders in identifying future research and creative scholarship initiatives, and supporting the pursuit of federal and state funding for these initiatives;
  • Engaging key stakeholders in discussions regarding strategic and facilities planning;
  • Leading meaningful efforts to cultivate a diverse and equitable research and creative scholarship community (recruiting, retaining, advancing, and succeeding)
  • Developing interactions with academic units to position research and creative scholarship programs favorably in university-wide planning; and,
  • Interacting with other chief research officers and leaders in the state on strategic research opportunities.

The successful candidate should possess a distinguished research portfolio, strong evidence of scholarly, professional, or creative achievement in their field commensurate for a faculty appointment within the university, an earned terminal degree, and a security clearance eligibility of secret or higher. In addition, the ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:
  • Visionary leadership and management skills necessary to articulate a strong vision for the university's research mission and drive growth of scholarship, research, and creative activity to maintain R1 research status;
  • Commitment to the role of research and creative scholarship in graduate and undergraduate education;
  • A demonstrated record of recognition and advocacy of research, creative efforts, and scholarship across disciplines and through various support mechanisms;
  • Strong fiscal management skills and experience allocating and reallocating limited resources to fulfill the priorities of the strategic plan;
  • Ability to create synergies across campuses, including with the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi;
  • Established record of creating and/or growing a nationally-known research program;
  • Evidence of a network of contacts within key funding agencies and other organizations that support research and creative achievement in higher education;
  • Broad knowledge and experience in directing federally sponsored programs, technology transfer, and commercialization of research;
  • Familiarity with the regulatory environment for research;
  • Demonstrated success as an entrepreneurial collaborator and relationship builder among a broad range of diverse individuals and groups to achieve results;
  • Strong communication skills to represent the university to internal and external audiences, including federal, state, non-profit foundations, and corporate entities for the purpose of enhancing the research enterprise.

The above essential duties are representative of major duties of positions in this job classification. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary based upon need. Other duties may be assigned to the above consistent with the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the job. Not all of the duties may be assigned to a position.


The Search Committee invites letters of nomination or applications (letter of interest, full resume/CV, and contact information of at least five references, and a request for confidentiality, if desired) to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University listed below. Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to January 31, 2024. Applications received after this date may be considered at the discretion of the Committee and/or hiring authority. Please send materials, in confidence, to:

Mr. Martin M. Baker
Managing Partner
Buffkin / Baker

The University of Mississippi is an EOE/AA/Minorities/Females/Vet/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity/Title VI/Title VII/Title IX/504/ADA/ADEA employer.

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