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Columbia University Executive Director, Center for the Future of Work in New York, New York

  • Job Type: Officer of Administration

  • Bargaining Unit:

  • Regular/Temporary: Regular

  • End Date if Temporary:

  • Hours Per Week: 35

  • Salary Range:

Position Summary

Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies (SPS) is launching a new research center investigating trends and best practices related to the future of work. Key to the research and programming agenda will be understanding what organizations need in order to be successful in the face of constant transformation and innovation, and what and how they can be accessible to a changing and evolving workforce.

The Executive Director will be responsible for directing efforts to support the Dean’s research agenda. This will include developing relationships with key experts and stakeholders across the school and University as well as targeted external partners. Fundraising that will finalize the formal establishment of the Center for the Future of Work is currently well underway; in the interim period, SPS is organizing its activities around the future of work under the auspices of a “collaborative.”

Research will be undertaken to explore the social and technological dynamics driving the future of work, understand how diversity helps to advance an organization and how lack thereof can stymie it. Findings will be presented in journals, conferences, books and articles authored by the Dean and will be disseminated across the school to help inform programs and curricula. They will also be disseminated and shared with experts in the field, practitioners in the workforce, employers, and learners. Complementing the research activities will be a wide range of programmatic offerings including executive education, fellowships, and conferences—the first of which will be a national conference on the Future of Work held on the Columbia campus this June. In so doing the Executive Director should inform stakeholders where there is opportunity to evaluate and refine existing programs, as well as establish new programs and curricula, to respond to emerging trends—offering real-time insights to drive business results.

The center will be led by the SPS Dean, who will serve as Faculty Director and be responsible for its overall strategic direction, as well as fundraising. Reporting to, and working closely with, the Faculty Director, the Executive Director will be responsible for managing and overseeing all Future of Work activities. This includes serving as a thought leader in the area; leading programs aimed at advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives, collaborating with the School’s Director of Research Initiatives in support of a unified research agenda, and with the Senior Associate Dean for External Affairs on fundraising activities for the proposed Center. The Executive Director will also partner with the chair of an advisory board appointed by the Dean to advise on, and guide, the Collaborative’s work.

The Executive Director will be responsible for shaping the mission and vision of the research center, direct communications efforts aimed at creating awareness of, and engagement with, the various efforts underway including fundraising, executive education, research and conferences.


Initiative Leadership

  • Serve as the steward of the Collaborative’s academic mission and focus. Provide guidance and oversight for all future of work activities (programs, research, and advocacy)

  • Supervise the Director of Programs, Director of Research, and Operations Manager as well as research fellows, consultants, and interns,as needed. Develop and oversee the Collaborative’s budget

  • Partner with the University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs regarding lobbying and advocacy strategies and plans

  • Serve as a key spokesperson, including being the “point person” at SPS for all future of work -related matters and inquiries

  • Work to ensure that SPS is quickly seen as a respected, national thought-leader on the future of work


  • Develop and implement a short-term and long-term research and advocacy agenda around the future of work as it relates to SPS and its fields of study; identify research topics of interest on the evolving needs of the changing workforce for both the public and private sectors; engage and develop research collaborations among faculty (inside SPS and university-wide), students, and other partners

  • Ensure that all research activities adhere to all applicable University and government policies and standards

  • Facilitate the writing of (and in some cases, author or co-author as appropriate) academic journal articles, op-eds, white papers, and related materials

Fundraising and Partnership Development

  • Partner with the Senior Associate Dean for External Affairs on fundraising activities

  • Develop and coordinate academic conferences at SPS on relevant topics related to the future of work; stay abreast of the latest news and research

  • Make connections and build relationships with key University stakeholders, as well as with corporate partners, think tanks, and other external organizations

  • Present at and represent SPS at conferences, symposia, and other events

  • Direct communications and public affairs initiatives to create awareness and support

  • Perform other duties as assigned

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree required. Advanced degree is usually required or strongly desirable

  • 7 years related experience

Preferred Qualifications

  • Earned doctorate in a discipline related to the academic offerings at SPS

  • 10 years of experience in teaching working professionals in degree and/or non-degree settings

Other Requirements

  • Experience/interest in issues related to the future of work, workforce and labor market trends, and/or related areas

  • Industry, consulting, and/or advocacy experience, consistent with SPS’ scholar-practitioner model

  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills

  • Outstanding leadership, organizational, and project management skills

  • Experience with building partnerships and/or conducting outreach initiatives

  • Strong research and writing skills

  • Entrepreneurial nature and comfort with ambiguity

  • Zeal for continuous learning and appetite for creative thinking

  • Ability to work independently with limited supervision and in teams, as well as to meet tight deadlines

  • Track record of handling sensitive information with the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality

  • Strong interpersonal and presentation skills; proven capacity to communicate and present information in front of varied audiences at a sophisticated level

  • Proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite of programs (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, Visio)

  • Capacity to adapt quickly to changing circumstances

  • Occasional travel within New York City and across the country may be required, including to SPS’ center in San Francisco as well as to cities where access initiatives (including Girls in STEM) and partners are based

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.