University of Tennessee at Martin — Executive Director of Research, Outreach, and Economic Development

About UT Martin

The University of Tennessee at Martin provides high-quality undergraduate and graduate educational programs to West Tennessee and beyond. From the founding in 1900 of Hall-Moody Institute, through the establishment in 1927 of UT Junior College, to today’s status as a comprehensive public university, UT Martin is committed to preparing students for success in the global economy.

The main campus is located in Northwest Tennessee about 125 miles northeast of Memphis, 150 miles northwest of Nashville and 60 miles north of Jackson. Educational Outreach teaching centers in Jackson, Parsons, Ripley, Selmer, and Somerville, and dual-enrollment course offerings in Tennessee high schools, bring UT Martin academic programs to people across West Tennessee. UT Martin is home to UTM Online, online programs for both undergraduate and graduate education.

UT Martin’s investment in its faculty and instructional technology is helping to ensure that the university’s graduates are prepared to meet the challenges in an international economy. The state-of-the-art Instructional Technology Center, located in the Paul Meek Library, brings instructional technology capacity to all university faculty members.

Outside the classroom, UT Martin students have multiple opportunities for involvement in the university community. More than 100 organizations are available for students to join including academic clubs, honor societies, service groups, student government, fraternities and sororities, and special student associations. The Office of Campus Recreation offers many on- and off-campus recreational opportunities, while the university’s Department of Visual and Theatre Arts offers ongoing cultural events to the region.

About the UT System

The University of Tennessee is comprised of campuses at Knoxville, Chattanooga, Pulaski, and Martin; the Health Science Center at Memphis; the Space Institute at Tullahoma; the statewide Institute of Agriculture and Institute for Public Service.

The UT System has a presence in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Through the combined force of education, research and outreach, the University serves students, business and industry, schools, governments, organizations, and citizens statewide.

The University of Tennessee System, through its multiple campuses and institutes, serves the people of Tennessee and beyond through the discovery, communication, and application of knowledge. The System is committed to providing undergraduate, graduate, and professional education programs in a diverse learning environment that prepares students to be leaders in a global society. The UT System’s delivery of education, discovery, outreach, and public service contributes to the economic, social, and environmental well-being of all Tennesseans.

Research, Outreach, and Economic Development at UT Martin

In late Fall 2018, the university embarked on a new initiative to streamline communications and processes pertaining to Research, Outreach, and Economic Development. The establishment of the Office of Research, Outreach and Economic Development provided an opportunity to focus the efforts of different offices within the university to promote regional development and increase internal funding and income generation opportunities.

The mission of the Office of Research, Outreach, and Economic Development is to forge new frontiers of discovery through research and innovation by promoting a culture of creativity and enhancing economic development partnerships throughout the region and state.

The Opportunity

The Executive Director provides visionary leadership in promotion of the university’s role in the areas of research, outreach, and economic development.  As a direct report to the Chancellor, the position is responsible for oversight and compliance of sponsored programs; promotion and coordination of outreach activities and partnerships, including regional economic development initiatives, non-degree and children’s programs, and support of state and regional advocacy relations in conjunction with the UT System’s Office of Government Relations and Advocacy.

The Executive Director will champion a culture of engagement and belonging by providing leadership in an environment that actively promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will possesses a deep commitment to these values and demonstrates action and accountability in advancing strategies to support them at all levels of the University. The Executive Director is also expected to contribute in measurable ways to the systemwide mission and fully embrace the systemwide Be One UT Values. 

Primary Responsibilities

The Executive Director provides innovative and adaptable leadership for the university’s research, outreach, and economic development enterprise; is responsible for oversight of the unit including, promoting services to external and internal constituents; working collaboratively with regional and university partners; and coordinating implementation of the university’s outreach plan in support of advocacy initiatives and program development.  

Other duties and responsibilities:

  • Supports the institutional mission through the creation and advancement of the university’s research, outreach, and economic development goals and objectives.
  • Oversees staff in the Offices of Research and Sponsored Programs; Outreach; and Regional Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (REED) Center.
  • Manages federal, state, system, and university compliance and reporting requirements and provides institutional leadership to ensure that all programs comply with the standards of the sponsoring agencies.
  • Champions the provision of high-quality teaching, research, and scholarly activities within the campus and its regional Centers.  The post holder will work in partnership with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation on system-wide opportunities, as well as  facilitates the identification and procurement of new sources of revenue to support new and existing programs for the campus and region. 
  • Maintains/accountable for the effective governance and leadership of the research program including, adherence to academic, research, and relevant policy related principles. 
  • Demonstrates a strong commitment to undergraduate and graduate education and advocates for students by coordinating programs to address their academic and experiential learning needs, including high impact practices such as undergraduate research, internships, service learning, and international study.
  • Oversees the day-to-day management production of proposal submissions, assuring on-time delivery of all documents and the compliance/administration of awards.
  • Provides regular reporting to stakeholders on grant proposal status and results as well as analysis and feedback on management opportunities.
  • Contributes to the economic vitality of the region by collaborating with regional economic development boards to enhance prosperity and stimulate long-range plans.
  • Initiates responses to stakeholder requests, proposals and partnership opportunities.
  • Cultivates and maintains key relationships with community partners by reporting and presenting to community groups and serving on various committees and boards.
  • Serves as an ambassador for the university and exhibits the professionalism and advanced communication skills necessary to successfully represent the university at all levels.
  • Advances the economic development and advocacy efforts of the university through community relations and outreach activities across the region.
  • Coordinates compliance oversight of shared campus research & innovation facilities.
  • Communicates with Business and Industry leadership to identify training needs (degree and non-degree).
  • Coordinates with the deans, directors and department chairs on decisions/procedures with various camps, meetings, and workshops managed by the Office of Outreach. 
  • Informs and reports to the chancellor on matters relating to the outreach and economic development functions pertaining to the university.
  • Serves as a liaison working to advance state and federal relations consistent with UT System goals and objectives.
  • Embraces a data-driven decision-making organization and ensures that the data necessary for strategic planning and decision-making are available as needed.

Required Qualifications:

The position requires a Master’s degree from an accredited institution. The successful candidate must be a proven leader with at least five years of progressive, administrative leadership with experience in a senior position, to include:

  • A record of distinguished research/scholarship within a research organization, agency, or university.
  • An understanding of the complexities of biological, physical and social science research, and trends in those areas, with an appreciation of scholarship in the humanities and fine arts, and cultural outreach of the University.
  • Demonstrated achievements in working in a collaborative environment.
  • Success in managing a complex, high-demand environment, overseeing multiple priorities simultaneously, and setting and achieving goals.
  • Demonstrated success as a creative leader and in securing external support of sponsored programs.
  • Substantial and successful administrative and fiscal management experience to include budget development and implementation.
  • Ability to effectively utilize data and scientific-based research methodologies as required for reports for strategic planning, required reporting, and media requests.
  • Proven ability to interpret and communicate federal, state, and local laws and regulations and system policies and procedures related to research operating, compliance and reporting.
  • Record of demonstrating the promotion of public service to advance the regional and global community.
  • Preferred experience working with rural governments and businesses. 

Knowledge and Skills:

The Executive Director of Research, Outreach, and Economic Development will have significant knowledge and understanding of research enhancement, research compliance, and technology transfer.  Candidates should: 

  • Demonstrate exceptional listening and communication skills in working in a collaborative environment with an understanding of the higher education enterprise and the ability to articulate complex information to a wide range of audiences.
  • Possess a work ethic consisting of commitment, honesty, integrity, and respect for others’ innovation and resourcefulness.
  • Possess efficient organizational and managerial skills allowing for the performance of numerous tasks simultaneously.
  • Foster a strong spirit of collaboration with internal and external stakeholders
  • Possess the ability to build a culture that fosters the development and application of innovative thought
  • Lead and motivate employees, clients, community leaders, and stakeholders within a collaborative organization. Think strategically and to develop and contribute to the campus strategic plan as it relates to areas of oversight.
  • Delegate effectively and hold direct reports accountable.
  • Demonstrate skills as a decision-maker, with transparency in decision-making and management.
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion.
  • Possess strong working knowledge of federal and state funding programs applicable to higher education and regional economic development
  • Possess the ability to recognize challenges and address them efficiently and effectively 


The Executive Director of Research, Outreach, and Economic Development will exhibit qualities of emotional maturity, genuineness, self-confidence, common sense, judgment, fairness, creativity, discretion, decisiveness, political savvy, diplomacy, tact, resiliency, adaptability, courage of convictions and tolerance for ambiguity.  Demonstrated behavioral expectations include:

  • Commitment to the University’s mission and strategic plan.
  • Unquestioned integrity and trustworthiness.
  • Ability to work with cross-functional teams and to foster teamwork.
  • Outcomes-driven.
  • Commitment to return on investment/value-added activities.
  • Fiscally minded.
  • Ability to make good, consistent, and fair decisions (based on fact and data).

Application Process

For full consideration, candidates should apply electronically using the link below with a cover letter addressing their interest in and qualifications for the role, CV, and list of references.  Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

Compensation for the position will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The University offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits and much more. Additionally, Tennessee residents do not pay a state income tax. For more information on the University of Tennessee’s benefits, visit  

All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law. In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the university. Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, and national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), the ADA (disability), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity, 544 University Street, #303, Martin, TN 38238, telephone 731-881-3505. Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Office of Equity and Diversity.