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Director, Innovation Programs

| Chicago

The Director of Innovation Programs position oversees entrepreneurship programs available to multiple UChicago audiences. The position supervises three to four direct reports and is closely involved with the Center’s mission to broaden its reach and resources available to the entire UChicago community.


Oversight and management of the Polsky Center’s cross-campus entrepreneurship initiatives, which serve multiple UChicago audiences (MBA students, other graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, or faculty). These programs and events include the: Accelerator Program, Big Problems Big Ideas, Collaboratorium, College New Venture Challenge, EIR Program, entrepreneurship classes for scientific audiences, I-Corps Program, and Quick Pitch program. Activities include:

  • Management of existing programming from each program’s inception through completion
  • Strategic planning and development of new programming based on careful evaluation and understanding of constituent needs, done in close coordination with Polsky Center Faculty Director and Executive Director
  • Management of the National Science Foundation I-Corps Grant, including reporting  and reapplication for funds, done in close coordination with the Polsky Center Executive Director
  • Management of program budgets in coordination with the Associate Director of Operations
  • Close collaboration with Executive Director and Advancement Office on fundraising initiatives related to cross-campus programming, including identifying and communicating with new donors/sponsors, stewarding existing donors, and identifying corporate partnerships
  • Awareness-building of the Polsky Center’s cross-campus program offerings, as well as program-specific marketing, in close coordination with the Polsky Center marketing team
  • Relationship management with cross-campus stakeholders, in coordination with the Director of the Innovation Fund and members of the Technology Commercialization and Licensing Team
  • Recruitment of entrepreneurial teams and individuals for participation in I-Corps, the Collaboratorium, and entrepreneurship courses for scientific audiences, in coordination with the marketing team, Director of the Innovation Fund, and members of the Polsky Center’s Technology Commercialization and Licensing Team
  • Event planning, including space reservation, catering needs, coordination with audio visual and facilities teams, and management of attendee needs
  • Student advising and mentorship
  • Coordination and prioritization of intern assignments
  • Program evaluation

Strategic identification of opportunities to align the Polsky Center’s portfolio of programs and courses available to scientific audiences.

  • Understand the user experience of faculty, researchers, and students participating in these opportunities
  • Align schedules and application deadlines across Polsky’s portfolio to enhance resource availability and user experience
  • Clarify messaging and marketing that promotes these opportunities
  • Develop cross-campus communication strategies, in coordination with the Executive Director and Director of Marketing, to report on program outcomes, increase cross-campus support, and drive demand for resources

Supervision of three to four direct reports. This includes:

  • Assigning, delegating, and monitoring work
  • Ongoing performance management
  • Supporting professional/personal growth opportunities

Communication with senior constituents of the Polsky Center, including council members, donors, faculty, and alumni, as well as departments within Booth and across the campus

Actively attend and represent the Polsky Center at programs and networking events throughout the City of Chicago and occasionally outside the city.



  1. Bachelor’s degree required; MBA or equivalent experience very strongly preferred.
  2. At least six years of relevant experience required.
  3. Demonstrated passion and interest in the mission of the Polsky Center strongly preferred.
  4. Experience working in a University or academic setting required.
  5. Experience in developing and planning special projects, strategy, growth initiatives, etc. required; experience working with diverse audiences, moving groups to consensus, and driving forward projects preferred.
  6. Excellent and professional verbal, written, and presentation skills, as well as organizational skills and attention to detail required.
  7. Proven ability to handle multiple projects concurrently required.
  8. Ability to work with minimal supervision required.
  9. Proven ability to work effectively and diplomatically with colleagues, as well as with students, faculty and corporate contacts required.
  10. Proven ability to seek out, coordinate and appropriately disseminate information required.
  11. Ability to work successfully with frequent interruptions required.
  12. Ability to travel frequently between Hyde Park campus and Polsky Exchange, and other local destinations (technology incubators, etc.) required.
  13. Flexibility to occasionally work late or start early for events required.
  14. Familiarity and knowledge of the University of Chicago, its systems, and its constituents preferred.
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