National Institute on Aging

Southern Methodist University — Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Director of the Data Science Institute

Southern Methodist University (SMU), the premier private university in North Texas, seeks a visionary and highly collaborative leader to serve as the Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Director of the Data Science Institute (Director). This is an extraordinary opportunity to lead a distinguished institute and help chart the course of its future. SMU is entering the second year of a $1.5 billion capital campaign to attract and support outstanding students and faculty, to explore new fields with cutting-edge research empowered by future- facing technologies, and to positively impact Dallas and the world beyond. With appointment beginning as early as the fall 2023 semester, the Director will have the opportunity to reimagine and implement a strategic vision for future excellence.

With the support of the Provost and the Vice Provost for Research and Chief Innovation Officer, the Director will help position SMU as a respected leader in data science and high-performance computing by creating an ecosystem of data-related research, computational power, education, and engagement. As the commensurate leader of the Data Science Institute (DSI) and Center for Research Computing (CRC), the Director will develop, implement, and effectively communicate a vision that encourages productive collaborations across the university. In doing so, the Director will oversee initiatives and operations dedicated to catalyzing interdisciplinary data science research, scholarship, and innovation while establishing critical partnerships with other academic institutions, government agencies, and major corporations and local industry. As an advocate for the DSI and computing power at SMU, the Director will, firstly, broadcast SMU’s compelling story to further generate wide-ranging philanthropic support for the institute’s growth and expansion; and, secondly, make significant contributions to SMU’s efforts towards Carnegie Research I (R1) classification.

The Director will bring a demonstrated record of multidisciplinary team-building experience and a collaborative, inspirational, and entrepreneurial leadership style. Experience in launching and sustaining multidisciplinary programs or initiatives, building sustainable infrastructure in the research space, exercising sound fiscal management and growth, and fostering positive and trusting organizational culture will contribute to the Director’s success.

SMU has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist with this important search. For more information, to make a nomination, or to apply for this role, please visit: 

SMU will not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, education activity, or admissions on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. SMU’s commitment to equal opportunity includes nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies, including the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title IX. The Executive Director/Title IX Coordinator may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,