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Executive Director of the Marine Science Research Institute

Jacksonville University
Jacksonville, Florida
Commensurate with Experience
Date posted
Jan 3, 2024

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Position Type
Executive, Executive Directors
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The Marine Science Research Institute (MSRI) serves as an on-campus community which provides interdisciplinary learning, research, and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and scientists who are engaged in research on the local, state, and national levels. The 32,000-square-foot LEED GOLD certified facility houses wet and dry labs, classrooms, offices, and an aquaculture compound. The nearby dock and fleet of research vessels provide accessibility to the river and coastal waters. In addition to the faculty from the Departments of Biology & Marine Science, Chemistry & Physics, and Sustainability, Geography, and Environmental Planning, the St. Johns Riverkeeper and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are members and located at the MSRI.  OCEARCH at Jacksonville University, the global non-profit organization committed to the research of white sharks, interacts closely with the MSRI and with funding from the city of Jacksonville and state of Florida, OCEARCH will have a marine laboratory facility and dock in Mayport, FL, a community located at the mouth of the St. Johns River.

Jacksonville University seeks a visionary leader to serve as the Senior Administrative Officer for the MSRI effective August 5, 2024. The successful candidate will work to collaborate and support faculty and students. The following is a list of opportunities for the new Executive Director:

  • Collaborate with college and university leadership to champion the work of the students and faculty.
  • Coordinate the efforts between the University and OCEARCH to expand our partnership through collaboration at the new JU Mayport site and in enhanced internship opportunities across the University.
  • Enhance the funding of the institute to support our student and faculty research through philanthropic opportunities and grant acquisition.
  • Create articulation agreements with other organizations to foster further collaboration within the city, state, and national levels.
  • Continue to build and engage the MSRI advisory board to be champions of the work of the institute by assisting in fund raising and networking.
  • In collaboration with the college and university, lead the Strategic Planning process for the institute.
  • Build upon the already strong community connections of the institute. It is through this visibility that we can secure city and state funding.
  • Continue to collaborate closely with the Public Policy Institute and build a relationship with the newly formed STEAM Institute at JU.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

The Executive Director supervises and/or coordinates the following positions:

  • MSRI Assistant Director
  • Executive Assistant
  • Minimal supervision of staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Building new and maintaining existing relationships of the MSRI in various capacities.
  • Promoting and representing JU and the MSRI at on- and off-campus events.
  • Working in close collaboration with MSRI faculty, university leadership and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to identify grant opportunities and lead the efforts toward proposal submission and administrative processing to the successful awarding and implementation of grant funding.
  • Working closely with the Assistant Director to support the operations of the Institute and marine science program.
  • Working closely with the Assistant Director, the Chair of the Department of Biology and Marine Science, and Admissions to develop a vision and marketing direction for the marine science program.
  • Working with the Dean and University Advancement to develop funding opportunities and build philanthropic relationships.
  • Overseeing the MSRI Advisory Board including planning and executing meetings, keeping them apprised of happenings in MSRI, and working with University Advancement to coordinate board philanthropic donations and the recruitment of new board members.
  • Engaging the MSRI Advisory Board to interact with students and faculty and developing them as storytellers for the institute.
  • Encouraging and supporting the MSRI Advisory Board to recruit collaborators, philanthropic donors, and potential internship opportunities for students.
  • Working closely with MSRI-associated faculty, the Advisory Board, and other stakeholders in developing an updated Strategic Plan for the Institute.
  • Collaborate with the Assistant Director to oversee the physical space(s) of the MSRI to oversee maintenance needs and ensure optimal use of the spaces keeping student-faculty research and education at the forefront of decision-making.
  • Establishing and maintaining a warm and friendly work environment for faculty, staff, and students. Other duties as assigned. 

Required Skills/Abilities:

  • Visionary Leader who can collaborate and support MSRI stakeholders.
  • Proven track record in fundraising (grant, philanthropic, and city/state government).
  • Ability to collaborate with entities within the university as well as within the city and state.
  • The successful candidate will have the ability to see viewpoints from many angles.
  • Oversight, collaboration, and management of an advisory board.
  • Experience working with and within capital projects/campaigns.
  • Experience managing medium-sized gift and operating budgets.
  • Evidence of supporting DEI-B activities.

Education, Certificates, Licenses, and Experience:

  • Graduate degree (masters or doctorate). While faculty status is not required for this position, faculty appointment and rank will be considered for appropriate applicants.
  • Demonstrated experience in fundraising, board management, and event planning.
  • Experience in leadership roles involving different stakeholders.
  • Ability to build collaborative relationships within the university and external partners.

Physical Requirements:

  • Standard office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Work primarily indoors, but requires regular travel within the city, on research vessels, and occasional air travel.
  • Typical office-related noise such as telephones and copy machines can be expected.
  • Must be willing to work evenings and weekends as needed.
  • Must be able to bend, stoop, and reach.
  • Manual dexterity to efficiently operate a computer keyboard and other business machines.
  • Near vision sufficient to read written communications and computer display screens.
  • Adequate hearing to communicate effectively in person and by phone  

Application Components

  • A current curriculum vitae
  • Letter of Interest outlining relevant experience matching the requested skills/attributes of the candidate
  • A one-page single-spaced Vision statement of Marine Science Research Institute and its interactions with other areas of Jacksonville University as well as the greater city of Jacksonville, FL. 
  • Three Letters of Recommendation  

To apply, please submit all files electronically to the following email address:  Letters of Recommendation should be submitted separately. Review of applications will begin February 1st 2024.

Important Note

This is not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and/or skills required for this position. The University reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs. 

Jacksonville University supports the principle of diversity. We encourage applications from individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Jacksonville University is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be evaluated for employment without regard to sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, protected veteran status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or any other protected characteristics under applicable Florida and Federal laws. 

Jacksonville University is a comprehensive, liberal arts university located in Jacksonville, FL a diverse metropolitan community with a thriving economic and cultural scene. Jacksonville International Airport provides easy access to US and international destinations. The College emphasizes innovative and quality teaching in small classes, and ranks in the annual rankings of “America’s Best Colleges,” released by U.S. News & World Report.  Please visit our website at 

Jacksonville University’s College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) is a cornerstone of liberal arts education and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. COAS is a proud partner and leader of campus initiatives, organizations, and activities aimed to enrich and support student success and belonging.


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