Associate Executive Director, Division on Earth and Life Studies – National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Job Description Summary:

Are you a strategic leader with strong program and people management experience? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is seeking an Associate Executive Director to be a strategic advisor and partner to the Executive Director of the Division on Earth and Life Studies. You should have experience leading and mentoring a diverse staff on effective practices, policies, and procedures, and overseeing and evaluating a portfolio of programs and projects. You should also have proven change management and innovation skills to assist in the implementation of a strategic plan to enhance divisional performance and growth and foster the use of new procedures and technologies. The successful candidate will be able to work inter- and cross- divisionally to ensure success of the organization.

The Division on Earth & Life Studies is one of seven subject area divisions that enlist the nation’s top experts to respond to requests for advice from the Federal Government, states, and some foundations. The division has 11 program units (boards) that undertake a wide-range of activities, including developing and managing consensus studies that represent a key authoritative source of scientific and technical information for the nation and convening experts to exchange ideas and information in meetings and workshops. The division produces about 20consensus reports and organizes about 50 meetings and workshops annually.

A sampling of recent reports and activities:
• A Vision for NSF Earth Sciences 2020-2030: Earth in Time
• Environmental Health Matters Initiative
• Management of Legionella in Water Systems
• Coral Reefs: Research Interventions
• Forest Health and Biotechnology
• Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Want to know more about the Division on Earth and Life Studies? Download our divisional brochure as a PDF here. ( or visit our webpage,

Job Description:

Directs and coordinates assigned activities and/or subunits within a division. Develops, implements and monitors related goals, policies, programs/projects, and practices. Supports their Executive Office in management, policymaking, and planning activities. Maintains productive internal and external relations. Negotiates funding with sponsors. May serve as Acting Executive Director in the absence of the Executive Director.

Incumbent manages unique facets of the division’s operations or assigned special programs, ensuring function successfully integrates work output and services with other departments. Consistently exercises substantial discretion and independent judgment and has authority to formulate, affect, interpret, or implement management policies or practices. Has responsibility for establishing budgets, staffing plans, and resource allocation. As subject matter expert, interfaces with executives on high-level functional issues, providing recommendations and solutions with full understanding of cross-organizational impact and needs. Reports to Executive Director.


  1. Directs assigned programs/projects or activities. Develops framework, agenda and strategies for major special projects to achieve division’s objectives and to expand the division’s programs/projects and services. Has fiscal responsibility for related budgets.
  2. Collaborates with other divisions on programs/projects in an effort to improve the efficiency, quality, and effectiveness of the work.
  3. Supports division Executive Office in management, policy-making, and planning activities. Participates in the development of a divisional strategic plan and special initiatives consistent with that plan. Advises on tactical and strategic direction.
  4. Provides leadership and guidance. Mentors employees. Trains and develops employees to successfully perform current responsibilities and encourages development of staff for future roles. Forms and maintains effective teams. Interprets and ensures consistent application of organizational policies.
  5. Serves as a resource for a range of program/project, research, administrative, and/or financial issues. Provides training opportunities for division staff as needed.
  6. Maintains internal and external communications with sponsors and other stakeholders. Develops and maintains productive relationships with related professional organizations and their staff.
  7. Assists in securing program funding. Develops prospectuses for projects and negotiates the terms of the prospectuses with possible sponsors.
  8. May write or review drafts of project/activity proposals for submission and presentation to the National Academies governing board (Governing Board Executive Committee (GBEC)).
  9. May serve in an acting capacity in the absence of the Division Executive Director.


Minimum Education/Training Requirements: Ph.D. in related field or equivalent knowledge.

Minimum Experience: Ten years of related professional experience, five of which were in a supervisory capacity.

Preferred Education and Experience: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine activities experience.—Division-on-Earth-and-Life-Studies_R0000753

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