About Motivate Lab:
The mission of the Motivate Lab is to improve people’s lives through rigorous motivation research. Led by two professors at the University of Virginia, Motivate Lab’s annual operating budget of over $2.1M is completely supported through external grants and contracts. Our current five-year strategic plan has ambitious goals of growing the size, scope, and impact of our work in education and beyond, including sports and workforce settings. The majority of work in our organization focuses on research and development activities that develop tools to infuse learning-mindset supportive practices into educational and policy contexts, with a particular focus on supporting students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in higher education. We utilize our rigorous methods to design translational activities, including professional development, training, and dissemination, for both researchers and practitioners. We aim to change both the fields of practice and research through our innovative and agile methods of developing evidence-based practices.
Motivate Lab is looking for a dynamic leader to serve as our inaugural Postsecondary Pathways Director. This person will be primarily responsible for overseeing The Navigate Project, a 3-year grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation designed to:
- highlight practices that improve students’ learning mindsets and outcomes during the transition to postsecondary experiences, particularly for students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in higher education;
- collaborate with practitioners to determine how they can self-assess, optimize, adapt, and scale learning-mindset supportive practices; and
- develop systems for sharing learnings widely among postsecondary access and success programs.
The Director will report to the lab director, Dr. Chris Hulleman. Aside from overseeing all aspects of The Navigate Project, the Director will also oversee current and future engagements directly related to postsecondary access and success. This role is an exciting opportunity for a results-oriented, innovative professional to have a tremendous impact by ensuring Motivate Lab’s tools and resources are ultimately integrated into practice, and ensure that the organization develops both the strategy and infrastructure – finances, people, and systems – to achieve dramatic results and growth, especially in impacting young people’s pathways and outcomes.
Lead The Navigate Project, manage project staff, and actively engage with external partners in K-12 and higher education:
- Develop and strengthen relationships with practitioners within the postsecondary access and success space to cultivate a coalition of dedicated partners who engage in ongoing and regular collaboration.
- Support Motivate Lab staff working on the Navigate Project to ensure the highest quality work and most efficient processes.
- Accelerate the Navigate Project work, both by enabling broader/deeper partnerships to infuse the work and by executing on sustainability efforts, including philanthropic, public, and fee-for-service funding models.
- Develop a five-year plan for the successful execution, scale, and dissemination of this specific project work.
Broader work of Motivate Lab initiatives:
- Develop a coalition of programs/practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and funders interested in improving student development and outcomes in the transition from K-12 to postsecondary by infusing learning mindset-supportive practices into their work with students. This work may involve developing networked improvement communities or communities of practice around common goals or student populations.
- Provide leadership and oversee current projects in the K-12 and postsecondary access and success space. These projects include partnerships with educational partners at multiple levels, ranging from testing learning mindset interventions in individual classrooms (e.g., Build Connections) to designing a program of ongoing professional development for entire school districts or Departments of Education. Work will range from developing and customizing classroom-based activities to evaluating intervention effectiveness at a large scale.
- Seek out and cultivate new opportunities to develop rich researcher-practitioner partnerships around developing, testing, and refining activities and interventions.
- Track trends and new developments in the postsecondary access and success space, and identify opportunities for Motivate Lab to innovate on promising insights and resources.
- Develop a 5-year vision and sustainability plan for the Postsecondary transition work across all Motivate Lab projects (both current and incorporating identified future work).
Strategic planning, project management, and special projects:
- Conduct and facilitate long-term organizational strategic planning and goal setting across contexts and functions; author strategic plan with ongoing updates and upkeep.
- Develop & track identified goals/metrics in conjunction with other project leaders/directors; develop and manage plans to measure organizational impact.
- Manage progress against strategic plans by developing timelines and supporting the Lab Director/CEO as necessary.
- Lead problem-solving and execution on high-priority strategic initiatives and special projects that span departments or positions.
Adoption and dissemination strategy:
- Develop and manage product adoption, dissemination, and scaling strategy, ensuring Motivate Lab’s materials are integrated into and have an impact on teaching, classroom, advising, school, and district practice.
- Drive communications about Motivate Lab offerings and build relationships with potential adopters (e.g., curriculum coaches, teacher leaders, district and charter leaders).
- Determine and oversee offerings in adjacent spaces (e.g., professional development, technical assistance, online/asynchronous offerings).
- Build thought leadership strategy in conjunction with CEO and other lab directors (e.g., higher education space, professional development).
- Hire or partner to develop holistic external communications engagement and implementation.
- Develop overarching partnership strategy to establish and maintain effective, sustainable, and mutually beneficial relationships with educators, policymakers, and community members.
- Facilitate strategic partnerships to support dissemination strategy and to extend Motivate Lab reach into adjacent spaces to further adoption into practice (e.g., PD, measurement, dissemination, licensing, and certification).
Qualifications and Skills/Experiences:
- Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree or PhD preferred
- At least 10 years of experience in a relevant, fast-paced K-12 and/or higher education professional setting; past leadership and management experience required
- Strategic thinker with advanced problem-solving and large-scale project management skills to manage multiple simultaneous cross-organizational projects
- Excellent organizational and management skills, managing multiple tasks and prioritizing appropriately, with an understanding of systems and procedures
- Proficiency in interpreting, managing, reporting, and translating both quantitative and qualitative data
- Solution-focused, with ability to synthesize information from multiple inputs for a broad range of audiences (e.g., researchers, educators, funders, policymakers)
- Highly effective interpersonal communication and writing skills with both internal stakeholders and external partners and constituents
- Highly proficient in Microsoft platform (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Google platform, Slack, and Box
- Basic knowledge in learning mindsets/motivation, and socio-emotional learning required; experience and prior participation in socio-emotional research preferred
- Demonstrated evidence of excellent curriculum and content resource development
- Fierce work ethic and sense of purpose, with the ability to work well as part of a dynamic start-up
Physical Demands/Environmental Factors
- Occasional prolonged and irregular hours of duty based on project timelines and commitments
- Travel for work-related responsibilities and needs (20%) (NOTE: once traveling safely can occur)
- Some light to medium level of manual labor
Competitive salary is commensurate with individual’s experience and skills. All full-time employees receive a comprehensive benefits package.
Motivate Lab is an equal opportunity employer and encourages a diverse pool of candidates to apply. Motivate Lab is committed to:
- Recruiting a talented and diverse staff;
- Recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce, and providing an inclusive and supportive environment in which staff is recognized as integral to the success of our work; and
- Promoting a culture of integrity, mutual respect, excellence, collaboration, and innovation.
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.
We accept applications on a rolling basis. To begin the application process, please submit your resume/CV with a compelling personalized cover letter.