Executive Director

Stanford University
See job description.
Closing date
Aug 21, 2022

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Other, Science Policy
Position Type
Full Time
Job Type
Organization Type


Executive Director
Dean of Research, Stanford, California, United States

Schedule: Full-time
Job Code: 4988
Employee Status: Regular
Grade: N
Requisition ID: 94840


About the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute: The goal of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is to understand how the brain gives rise to mental life and behavior, both in health and in disease. The research community of the institute draws from and informs multiple disciplines, including neuroscience, medicine, engineering, psychology, education and law. New discoveries will transform our understanding of the human brain, provide novel treatments for brain disorders, and promote brain health throughout our lifespans. The institute aims to create positive benefits for individual people, families and society. The Institute is establishing the new Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience, which will be anchored within Wu Tsai Neuro and expand and augment current programs.

Our VPDoR Diversity Journey:

  • We create a hub of innovation through the power of diversity of disciplines and people.
  • We provide equitable access and opportunity to all members of the community in order to do their best work, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
  • We listen to and value all colleagues who bring diverse perspectives to the advancement and development of a respectful community.
  • We promote a culture of belonging, equity, and safety.
  • We embed these values in excellence of education, research, and operation.


The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Stanford University is seeking an executive director: with duties including program planning; human resources; faculty affairs; financial planning, reporting, and administration; space management; and hiring and development of administrative staff. Wu Tsai Neuro serves as the interdisciplinary focal point for the faculty who are working to unlock the secrets of the brain, including faculty members in neuroscience, applied physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, psychology, and statistics.

The executive director reports to the Director of the Institute and will serve as the senior administrator for the Institute and be a key participant in strategic planning, providing administrative leadership, guidance and oversight of all administrative and operational functions, including grant programs, training and fellowship programs, neuroscience community laboratories, finance, human resources, communications, faculty affairs, facilities, property administration, information technology and health and safety. The executive director reports to the Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration in the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research (VPDoR) for all compliance issues, including, but not limited to, finance and human resources.

The research programs at Wu Tsai Neuro are large and complex. The executive director must develop methods of operation that will meet the needs of a diverse array of clients. They will have oversight and fiduciary responsibility for managing the operation of the Institute and managing administrative staff. The executive director serves as the Institute's principal administrative liaison and represents Wu Tsai Neuro's interests with other Stanford units (including the Office of the Dean of Research and schools and departments of participating faculty) and with external individuals and organizations.

Responsibilities: Planning and Implementation of Scientific Programs
As the senior administrator of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford, work with the Director in developing and implementing strategic goals and objectives, including:

  • Translating vision and concepts into effective communication and actions.
  • Facilitating stakeholder groups to create scientific vision and fund-raising opportunities.
  • Developing and delivering communications vision and concepts to a wide range of stakeholders (may include visual representations, slide decks, written documents and oral presentations in both large and small groups).
  • Helping to successfully implement strategic plans.
  • Interacting regularly with faculty and other stakeholders.
  • Designing and administering a portfolio of grant programs.
  • Designing and administering graduate and postdoctoral fellowship programs.
  • Designing and implementing other educational and training programs as appropriate.
  • Continuing to build the Institute services and staff to meet the needs of this growing organization.

Financial Management
Direct all fiscal operations for Wu Tsai Neuro, including:

  • Designing effective financial strategies to meet the Institutes' goals.
  • Providing regular status reports on the Institute's financial status.
  • Management of budget requests, consolidated budgets, variance analyses, annual reports, for the university's budget process.
  • Analyzing complex financial data, including variance and trend analyses and developing financial analyses and forecasts for reporting and presentations to the Director, Advisory Councils, donors and to VPDoR.
  • Assisting the Director in both short-term and long-term financial planning to ensure that the Institute has adequate staff, resources and facilities to meet their goals and objectives.
  • Ensuring that all relevant financial regulations and policies are adhered to, appropriate cost controls are in place and necessary records are maintained.
  • Actively manage the Institute's resources, ensuring that funds are stewarded appropriately and deployed for maximum benefit.

General Administration
Responsible for the integrity of Wu Tsai Neuro's business processes and practices, and their consistency with university policies and guidelines, including:

  • Assessing administrative and technological structures and processes to ensure they meet the Institute's needs; design, recommend and implement new structures and processes as needed.
  • Providing guidance and advice concerning administrative matters to faculty and staff.
  • Developing effective communication strategies within the Institute to solicit advice as appropriate and to distribute information effectively.
  • Serving as the primary representative on all administrative matters for the institute and its research centers.

Human Resources and Faculty Affairs
Responsible for all human resources and faculty affairs functions in Wu Tsai Neuro, including:

  • Fostering a work environment that supports collaboration and teamwork and is conducive to fulfillment of individual and Institute's goals.
  • Directing the hiring process for staff positions.
  • Managing administrative staff, providing guidance, support, and training opportunities, and serving as mentor/advocate to staff.
  • Serving as a resource on performance management and employee relations issues; bring in or refer issues to other resources as appropriate.
  • Initiating job classification reviews when appropriate; regularly assess changes in scope of staff positions.
  • Directing faculty recruitment, appointment, and promotion procedures.
  • Directing visiting scholar awards and appointments.
  • Serving as a resource to the faculty and working with staff of the Dean of Research Office on faculty appointments, sabbatical procedures and other faculty matters.

Facilities and Property Administration
Oversee facilities and property administration for Wu Tsai Neuro including:

  • Working with the Director, manages the Wu Tsai Neuro space within the Stanford Neurosciences Building, and ensures that Wu Tsai Neuro faculty lab and neuroscience community lab research programs are well supported by the facility.
  • Working with the Director to analyze requests for space and recommending solutions.
  • Planning for future facility needs, proactively seeking solutions.
  • Oversees the Associate Director for Finance and Administration and co-directs the Stanford Neurosciences Building Facilities Manager (the other co-director is the Executive Director for Sarafan ChEM-H)..

Health & Safety
Work with the Health & Safety Officer in the Dean of Research Office to ensure that all health and safety policies, procedures and programs are in place to provide a safe and healthy work environment at Wu Tsai Neuro.


  • Provide strategic direction for a major function or center; create strategic plans of considerable complexity and scope; set long-range direction and make high-level decisions; propose and manage the implementation of significant programmatic changes; establish policies as needed.
  • Direct and oversee the overall scientific, engineering or technical research function for a major function or center. Collaborate with senior management, faculty and/or others in order to develop, communicate and manage a central strategic plan aligned with goals of the larger organization and consistent with the university's overall mission.
  • Identify, clarify, and resolve issues with strategic impact and substantial significance, which span multiple areas, using advanced technical and professional knowledge requiring broad discretion and judgment.
  • Responsible for ensuring that state-of-the-art scientific, engineering or technical research is adequately funded, staffed, equipped, and housed.
  • Accountable for ensuring finance, budget, personnel, and facilities resources are used appropriately.
  • Manage the adoption and adaptation of emerging technologies to meet changing requirements, capabilities, and opportunities.
  • Advise university/school-wide senior management on technical futures.
  • Collaborate with university leaders on scientific, engineering or technical research project decisions.


Education & Experience:

Bachelor's degree and ten years of relevant experience or combination of education and relevant experience. Advanced degree may be required in some areas.


  • Masters or Ph.D. in scientific field preferred.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Extensive experience leading and managing a large organization of technical staff through subordinate managers.
  • Demonstrated experience leading large, complex scientific, engineering, or technical research projects or programs.
  • In-depth understanding of relevant business and technical disciplines.
  • In-depth knowledge of emerging technologies, trends, methodologies, and resource management principles.
  • Ability to synthesize and articulate technical and scientific methodologies, specifications, and information.
  • Demonstrated ability to work and communicate effectively with others.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and deliver results.
  • Exceptional customer relationship and consensus building skills.
  • Ability to influence and establish effective working relationships in a diverse environment. Motivate and mentor staff.
  • Resolve complex issues quickly and make decisions that meet university objectives in a collaborative culture.

Certifications and Licenses:



  • Frequently perform desk-based computer tasks, seated work, use a telephone and use light/ fine grasping.
  • Occasionally write by hand, lift, carry, push pull objects that weigh up to 10 pounds.
  • Rarely stand, walk, sort, and file paperwork or parts.

* - Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.


  • May require extended hours, evenings and weekends.


  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.
  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University's Administrative Guide, http://adminguide.stanford.edu.

Why Stanford is for You

Imagine a world without search engines or social platforms. Consider lives saved through first-ever organ transplants and research to cure illnesses. Stanford University has revolutionized the way we live and enrich the world. Supporting this mission is our diverse and dedicated 17,000 staff. We seek talent driven to impact the future of our legacy. Our culture and unique perks empower you with:

  • Freedom to grow. We offer career development programs, tuition reimbursement, or audit a course. Join a TedTalk, film screening, or listen to a renowned author or global leader speak.
  • A caring culture. We provide superb retirement plans, generous time-off, and family care resources.
  • A healthier you. Climb our rock wall or choose from hundreds of health or fitness classes at our world-class exercise facilities. We also provide excellent health care benefits.
  • Discovery and fun. Stroll through historic sculptures, trails, and museums.
  • Enviable resources. Enjoy free commuter programs, ridesharing incentives, discounts and more!

*The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classification and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.

*Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

To be considered for this position please visit our web site and apply on line at the following link: https://apptrkr.com/3164943

Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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