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Vice President for Research & Business Engagement

University of Akron
Ohio, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Posted Date
Dec 9, 2021

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Position Type
Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Other Business & Administrative Affairs, Executive, Chancellors & Presidents
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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University of Akron

Vice President for Research & Business Engagement/Dean of the Graduate School


Academic Career & Executive Search is pleased to assist the University of Akron in their search for Vice President for Research & Business Engagement/Dean of the Graduate School.


For best consideration, please apply by February 21, 2022.


The University of Akron seeks a collaborative and decisive leader who is committed to promote all aspects of the research enterprise, industry engagement, and graduate education to serve as Vice President for Research & Business Engagement and Dean of the Graduate School. This position provides leadership and oversight for the Office of Research Administration (ORA), the University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF), and the Graduate School. The ideal candidate will be an innovative, student-centric leader with a proven history of managing successful growth initiatives, demonstrating strong partnership and collaboration skills, and prioritizing results-focused leadership. The Akron area is rich in development and growth potential, and provides an exceptional opportunity for a creative leader and builder skilled in community engagement and economic development. This senior leadership position reports to the Executive Vice President and Provost and has significant interaction with the President as well as the Vice President of Advancement.  


The Vice President for Research & Business Engagement provides leadership, direction, and guidance to the Office of Research Administration (ORA) and the University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF). They are responsible for oversight of research grants and contracts management, as well as the intellectual property portfolio and technology commercialization activities of the University. A successful leader in this position will find ways to enhance the ability of faculty to compete for funding opportunities, and provide leadership for mentoring junior faculty. The individual in this position also promotes the University with federal and state agencies as well as the broader business community. As Dean of the Graduate School this individual will provide leadership and direction to the Graduate School, including coordinating the development of graduate education programs with academic units and assisting with organization of recruitment and retention of graduate students.


Candidates with non-traditional or non-academic research and innovation experience, who are able to bring new ideas to the academic research endeavor, are especially encouraged to apply. Depending on the successful candidates’ credentials the responsibilities for research and graduate school leadership could be split, so that the successful candidate would serve only as Vice President for Research & Business Engagement. An appointment or faculty rank and/or other appropriate titles will be offered to candidates depending on experience and qualifications.


Essential Functions: 

  • Develops and supports policies to assist faculty in building research programs and increasing external research funding; encourages multidisciplinary research; and provides strategic direction to the research enterprise of the university. 
  • Manages university’s research grants, contracts and sponsored programs through ORA and UARF.  Serves as the chief research officer and is a member of the Ohio Board of Regents research officers’ council. 
  • Responsible for management of the university’s intellectual property portfolio and technology commercialization.   
  • Provides strategic and visionary leadership to faculty and staff in matters relating to community engagement, research, scholarship, grant-seeking, and fundraising. 
  • Oversees the Institutional Review Board.  Helps to streamline processes associated with research and graduate education by coordinating efforts of Human Resources, ORA, the Graduate School, Office of General Counsel, Career Services, and other support offices. 
  • Promotes and represents the University with the broader business community and assists with the alignment of research and educational needs with those of industry.


In the event that the successful candidate’s qualifications are appropriate for appointment as the Dean of the Graduate School, additional functions include, but are not limited to:

  • Provides supervision of graduate education at the university and chairs the graduate council.  Helps coordinate development of new graduate education programs with academic units. Responsible for working with academic units in the organization of recruitment and retention activities for graduate students.
  • Provides strategic and visionary leadership to faculty and staff in matters relating to graduate curriculum and program development; accreditation, assessment and evaluation; and recruitment and retention of faculty staff and students.
  • Identifies priorities and secures resources needed to support scholarship, creative activities and instruction.  Ensures adequate support for instruction and administers the graduate assistantship allocations. Oversees industrial assistantships and assists in securing graduate fellowships.


Required Qualifications:

  • Doctorate or terminal degree in relevant field from an accredited institution.
  • Five years of experience in higher education leadership or leadership position within government or industry.
  • Evidence of a background in research with a concomitant scholarly record or progressive management leadership position.
  • Ability to mentor others and experience in working with federal and state level funding agencies.
  • Comfortable with building interdisciplinary teams and able to think strategically.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Knowledge of university structure, graduate programs, university policies, procedures and trends in higher education a plus.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Rank of full professor, experience as department chair or dean, graduate program coordinator or role within research and sponsored programs.
  • Alternatively, progressive leadership responsibility in an enterprise with a research focus.


About the Institution

The University of Akron (UA) is among Ohio’s most influential public urban research universities, conducting high quality research in focused areas of excellence, contributing to the vitality of the local economy and providing a workforce in highly trained diverse disciplines.  UA offers nearly 17,000 students a wide variety of in-demand associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degree programs.  UA is a STEM-intensive institution which has strong connections with industries including polymers, advanced materials and engineering.  UA brings together a group of diverse learners, including full-time, part-time, on-line, veterans and adult students.  Students are enrolled across five colleges: 1) Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, 2) College of Business, 3) College of Engineering and Polymer Science, 4) College of Health and Human Services, and 5) School of Law.  In addition, students are served by several branch campuses.


Living in the Area

With a population of nearly 200,000, Akron is perfect for those looking for a city with a small-town feel. With more than 20 distinct neighborhoods, the city offers residents a wide array of benefits including a vibrant downtown, delicious dining, a diverse and thriving arts and cultural scene, and outdoor activities including the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with over 41 miles of hiking trails and the Towpath Trail that spans 87 miles of Ohio’s most scenic countryside. The city is further supported by public transportation including buses, Amtrak and the Akron-Canton Airport. Akron enjoys a cost of living 30.5% below the national average.


Akron is only 40 minutes from Cleveland, 30 minutes from Canton and about two hours from both Columbus and Pittsburgh. The city has a strong pro-business climate and is strategically located to promote opportunities. Akron is the corporate home to numerous companies and its largest employer, Summa Health Systems, provides jobs to nearly 11,000 people.


To Apply

For best consideration, please apply by February 21, 2022.


You may apply directly at:


Please do not email your application materials. Only applications submitted through the link will be accepted. Materials should include a cover letter and CV.


Inquiries can be sent to:

Nominations and referrals are treated confidentially and can be sent to:


The University of Akron is committed to providing a safe environment for all students and employees.  The University endeavors to protect the health, welfare and safety of all students, employees and visitors on our campus.  As such, the University will require a pre-employment background check and proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all applicants selected for employment.


Effective December 13, 2021, new hires must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, if vaccines are available and the employee is eligible, at time of hire. If a new employee is not fully vaccinated at the time of hire, the offer of employment will be contingent upon the employee becoming fully vaccinated within 60 days of hire, unless a qualifying medical or religious exemption is granted.

As a result of the federal government’s Executive order 14042, the University is no longer able to accept/approve an exemption from the University’s vaccine requirement for reasons of conscience.


Equal Employment Opportunity 

The University of Akron, as an equal education and employment institution, is committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workforce. All qualified individuals in its education programs or activities, including applicants for admissions or employment, will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, genetic information, military status or status as a veteran. To further this commitment, the University complies with state and federal laws which prohibit discrimination. Questions or concerns about the administration of this commitment can be directed to the University’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office (


The University also strives to provide an environment free from the negative impacts of gender-based discrimination and harassment as prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Questions about Title IX can be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, the Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education or both. For more information on Title IX at the University of Akron, including how to contact the Title IX Coordinator, how to file a complaint under Title IX with the University or the Title IX process at the University of Akron, please visit the University’s Title IX page at

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