Executive Director

  • Oak Ridge Institute
  • Oak Ridge, TN
  • Aug 19, 2020

Job Description

Date: Aug 19, 2020

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 3957 

Overview: We are seeking an outstanding scholar, leader and administrator who is both collaborative and visionary to direct the Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee (ORI at UT), functioning as the Executive Director and Vice Provost of this unique organization.


The ORI at UT is a partnership of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Tennessee (UT) created to prepare future interdisciplinary leaders in energy science and technology and develop a world-class workforce for industry, government and academia that will drive innovation and realize industries of the future. ORNL is the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) largest science and energy laboratory in the United States. UT, Tennessee’s statewide public university system, includes the flagship, Doctoral R1, land-grant campus located in Knoxville, and the Health Science Center located in Memphis. These organizations have enjoyed a long and successful partnership that has been in place for more than 75 years and has grown even stronger today.


ORNL and UT share 17 Governor’s Chair (GC) faculty, exceptionally accomplished researchers who serve as the leaders of cross-disciplinary efforts between the two organizations. The partnership also includes almost 200 additional joint faculty representing a broad range of disciplines and multidisciplinary domains.

Currently, ORNL and UT support three joint graduate degree programs with 143 students enrolled. Since 1998, the Genome Science and Technology program has offered an interdisciplinary Ph.D. focused on genome sciences, analytical technologies, and bioinformatics and computational biology. The Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Education has offered two tracks in Energy Science and Engineering and Data Science and Engineering since 2011 and 2017, respectively. Students in these programs pursue world-class interdisciplinary research and establish personalized curricula that include companion coursework in entrepreneurship, leadership, policy, and scientific outreach. This unique approach helps to ensure graduates are prepared for leadership roles in emerging fields within DOE’s mission-related disciplines and technologies. Of the 103 graduates over the past five years, 47 are now working in industry, 35 in academia, and 21 in government agencies or national labs. ORI at UT provides the foundational framework for integrating these joint degree programs with an aim to increase enrollment to 500 graduate students during the next five years.



The Executive Director and Vice Provost is accountable to the ORNL Laboratory Director and serves as the senior leader responsible for the oversight of all ORI operations and activities at UT, as well as, developing, planning, and implementing strategies for enduring success and impact. In this capacity, the Director serves as the strategic thought leader with responsibilities in three integrating roles to (1) establish a compelling future vision complemented with a strategic execution plan for enduring sustainability, (2) strengthen stakeholder engagement and relationship management with new and existing major sponsors, and (3) drive staff growth and development while creating organizational momentum that enhances our facilities and capabilities. Emphasis is placed on strengthening collaborative research opportunities and graduate education prominence jointly with UT’s colleges and ORNL’s directorates. As Vice Provost, the position is responsible and accountable to UTK Provost on sole academic matters at UT.


Major Responsibilities

  • Develop vision, strategies, and roadmaps to establish leading-edge interdisciplinary graduate research in emerging fields of interest to both UT and ORNL.
  • Build world-leading programs between UT and ORNL that leverage science and technology strengths across the two institutions.
  • Lead recruitment of ORI at UT faculty and staff required to accomplish the joint educational and research and development programs. Allocate resources and guide priorities for developing and retaining a diverse faculty and staff. Manage human resources (e.g., performance, salary, development, succession planning, discipline).
  • Establish a strategic process for attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining the highest quality students for ORI at UT educational programs who will become leaders of the future science and engineering enterprise.
  • Facilitate reviews of ORI joint faculty and Governor’s Chairs with the appropriate UT department and ORNL directorate.
  • Develop strategies to encourage the creation and commercialization of technology, especially through the development of industry partnerships and entrepreneurship.
  • Provide leadership and oversight to ensure the strategic alignment of operations (including financial, communications, and infrastructure), strategic planning, program development, and educational mission.
  • Develop and maintain procedures and regulations to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, DOE Directives, the managing and operating contract, and UT and ORNL policies, as appropriate.

Basic Requirements

  • PhD in a technical field with an outstanding record of scholarly achievement and excellence.
  • Exceptional and proven leadership abilities, a vision and commitment to excellence in graduate education, a distinguished record of research program development, a record of teaching achievement, an enthusiasm for engagement, and a dedication to championing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Demonstrated experience in the creation, support, and/or deployment of innovative new curricula, degree programs, and/or student programs that inspire a dynamic, dedicated, and talented team of colleagues.
  • Exceptional communicator who is skilled at building relationships with internal and external partners and possesses the ability to represent the organization in a compelling fashion.
  • Demonstrated experience in successfully developing, implementing, and executing scientific strategy with engagement from critical stakeholders.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Qualifications appropriate to hold the rank of Professor for the joint appointment in a UT department.
  • A professional track record in areas relevant to all ORI missions.
  • Substantial experience working for or collaborating with DOE national laboratories (or similar organizations).


Special Requirements  

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.
For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at jobs.ornl.gov


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov.

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.