Executive Director, Center for Educational Access

Job Type

Full Time


Details: Commensurate with experience




2970 Broadway
New York
New York
United States


The Center for Educational Access is a newly-launched unit of Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies (SPS). Focusing on the three pillars of Educational Programs, Research, and Advocacy, the Center’s work will target populations (including women, underrepresented minorities, and those who have been involved with the justice system, among others) who have traditionally been underserved by, and had limited access to, higher education. Specifically, in its early stages the Center will be a home for—and seek to advance—several existing SPS initiatives in this area, as well as incubate new ones. For example, now in its third year, the Columbia University Girls in STEM Initiative is a Center program in four cities across the country that engages high school students from underrepresented backgrounds through hands-on instruction in science, technology, engineering, and math—while developing their leadership and communication skills. The HBCU Fellowship, another core CEA initiative that was launched last fall, offers scholarships for graduates of the top Historically Black Colleges and Universities to study at SPS in select disciplines, while pairing fellows with mentoring and internship opportunities. Additional Center initiatives to provide educational opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated citizens, as well as to advance women in technology-related careers, are also planned.

Reporting to the Dean of SPS, who also serves as the Faculty Director of CEA, the Executive Director will  be responsible for management and oversight of work in the Center’s three focus areas—research, programs, and advocacy—as outlined in the Center’s strategic plan. To this end, the Executive Director will supervise and mentor all Center staff (including the Operations Manager, who will oversee operational and administrative matters for the Center on a day-to-day basis). The Executive Director will also advance a research agenda—as well as all fundraising, partnership, and advocacy activities—for the Center.. The Executive Director will work in close collaboration with the Dean/Faculty Director,SPS’ Board of Overseers, and the CEA Advisory Board, as well as staff in Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Administrative Affairs, and External Affairs.


·        Provide guidance and oversight for all Center activities in the areas of research, advocacy, and educational programs. Supervise staff, including direct oversight of the Operations Manager.

·        Serve as the steward of CEA’s academic mission and focus. Develop and implement a short term and long term research and advocacy agenda for CEA. Identify research topics of interest based on programmatic initiatives of the Center. Engage and develop collaborations with SPS and other University faculty as appropriate. 

·        Build relationships and identify potential areas of collaboration with faculty and other academic centers in other schools and units across the University.

·        Ensure that all CEA 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.

·        Develop and coordinate academic conferences at SPS, sponsored by the Center, on relevant topics related to educational access. Stay abreast of the latest news and research related to educational access broadly and to SPS initiatives (girls in STEM, HBCU graduates, women in technology, individuals involved with the justice system) more specifically.

·        Serve as a key spokesperson for CEA, including being the “point person” on campus for CEA-related matters and inquiries.

·        Make connections and build partnerships with key University stakeholders, as well as with external organizations (including donors) in New York City and nationally, to help advance CEA’s work and profile. Implement, and regularly review a fundraising strategy for the Center in conjunction with key internal and external stakeholders.

·        Represent SPS and CEA at conferences, symposia, and other events.

·        Make presentations to internal and external audiences.

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

·        In all activities, work to ensure that the Center is quickly seen as a respected, national thought-leader on matters of educational access.

·        Perform other duties as assigned.

This position is contingent upon funding availability. An appointment will be made for an initial term ending on December 31, 2019 and may be renewed thereafter if funding allows.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement