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Director, School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering

University of Akron
Ohio, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Posted date
Oct 13, 2021

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Position Type
Executive, Other Executive
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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The University of Akron seeks an expert in the field of polymers to build on the School’s past history of success; establish strategic direction; promote research, education, and service; provide participative and collegial leadership; cultivate internal and external partnerships; support diversity among administration, faculty, staff, and students; and raise funds for the School.

The Position

As the chief academic officer for the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, the Director provides leadership for the School and exercises responsibility for its academic and administrative operations; including budget, personnel, programs, and physical facilities. Through consultation with the faculty, the Director establishes a vision in setting priorities, maintaining academic standards, and strengthening faculty scholarship and research. Areas of responsibility include leadership for graduate and undergraduate programs, outreach, and continuing education; establishment and expansion of research, clinical practice, and educational programs; growth of extramural funding and fundraising; cultivation of alumni relations; and building and sustaining strong relationships with internal and external constituents. Working in partnership across the University, the Director represents the School within the University, the external community and region, the state, as well as external agencies and organizations. The Director reports directly to the Dean and participates in a shared governance system with faculty, contract professionals, staff, and students.

The Qualifications

The University seeks individuals with a strong record of professional accomplishment; commitment to excellence in research and teaching; and strong management, leadership, and fundraising skills. The Director must be a visionary educational leader with integrity, a high standard of excellence, and strong community engagement skills. Required qualifications include a Ph.D. in Polymer Science, Polymer Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, and Engineering or a closely related field; and a record of achievement sufficient to sustain a credible application for tenure and appointment at the rank of Professor in the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. Preferred qualifications include leadership experience at a major research institution, for example as a department chair or dean at an academic institution, director of a major federal research center, or as a program/division technical director or comparable position in government or industry; international reputation for research and scholarship in the science and engineering of polymers or soft matter; strong record of competitive research funding; and experience with academic planning, budgeting, enrollment management, and student success.

The School

The School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering is home to the world’s largest polymer academic program and greatest concentration of polymer expertise, establishing Northeast Ohio as an advanced functional materials hub that competes on the world stage in the development and commercialization of materials for numerous industries. In 1909, University of Akron Professor C. M. Knight set up the world's first academic rubber chemistry laboratory and began teaching a course in rubber chemistry. Today, the polymer science and polymer engineering program, ranked second in the nation, serves Ohio's $50 billion polymer industry and includes a NASA-supported nanotechnology initiative. The School spans four buildings, including the Goodyear Polymer Center, a 146,000 square foot building consisting of 12-story and 9-story towers; the Polymer Engineering Academic Center; the National Polymer Innovation Center; and the Sidney L. Olson Research Center. The School consists of two units, 26 research active faculty members, two associate Directors responsible for assisting the Director with academic and research activities, 20 staff members and contract professionals, and 250 graduate students and research scientists. Polymer programs include doctoral degrees in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, Masters’ degrees in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, and an undergraduate Minor in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.

The University

The University of Akron, positioned to be the premier public research university of northern Ohio, is one of the largest universities in the state with an enrollment of approximately 20,000 students in more than 200 undergraduate and graduate majors. Founded in 1870 as Buchtel College, the institution’s name was changed to University of Akron in 1936, and in 1967 became one of Ohio's state universities. The University conducts high-quality research in focused areas of excellence, contributes to the vitality of the local economy, and provides a workforce highly trained in diverse disciplines. Seven colleges and schools include the College of Health and Human Sciences, the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Engineering and Polymer Science, the School of Law, the Graduate School, and the Williams Honors College. The University has three branch campuses in addition to nursing programs hosted in affiliation with Lorain County Community College. The University is a world leader in creating new materials for the new economy; a national leader in the development, protection, management, and commercialization of intellectual property; a regional leader in information technology initiatives; and the only public institution in Ohio to have a science and engineering program – polymer science and engineering – ranked in the top five nationally.

The Location

The city of Akron offers a vibrant downtown, serene parks, and events and venues that appeal to almost every interest. Residents describe the area as a wonderful place to live with diverse architecture and neighborhoods, exceptional restaurants, and wonderful and unique shopping. Greater Akron is characterized by easy access to a wide variety of entertainment, recreational, and cultural activities that support a superb quality of life. Greater Akron is the stage for many visual, musical, and theatrical cultural pursuits. World-class performance events include Broadway musicals, ballets, comedies, lectures, and entertainers. Outdoors you can hike, bike, ski, or simply unwind. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the 11th-most-visited national park in the country, has more than 33,000 acres of rolling hills, forests, hiking trails, and waterfalls. Akron and Northeast Ohio are nationally recognized for excellence in advanced health care and are contributing to the current transformation in health service delivery. Two major health systems, Summa Health System and the Cleveland Clinic-affiliated Akron General Health System, as well as the Akron Children's Hospital provide primary, specialty, and tertiary medical care services.

The Invitation

The University of Akron is pleased to partner with the search firm Strategic Search Advantage.

To learn more about this opportunity, please view the position profile at

To apply, please submit a complete curriculum vitae, letter of application, and a list of five references (none of whom will be contacted until a later stage of the search and not without candidate permission). The letter should summarize your professional qualifications and the accomplishments that reflect the skills, background, and experience to be successful in this key position. Successful applicants will provide specific examples of past work experience as it relates to the position responsibilities and qualifications. Send your application materials to Gary Rhoads at the email address below. The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, December 10, 2021. First consideration will be given to those who apply by this date. The position will remain open until filled.

Nominations for this opportunity are encouraged. If a colleague comes to mind you feel might have an interest, please forward your nomination to Gary via email or contact him by phone.

Gary Rhoads, Search Consultant
Strategic Search Advantage

The University of Akron is an equal education and employment institution. It is the policy of this institution that there shall be no unlawful discrimination against any individual in employment or in its programs or activities at The University of Akron because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, genetic information, military status or status as a veteran. The University is also committed to the principles of affirmative action and acts in accordance with state and federal laws.

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