Executive Director, Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin

Executive Director, Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) invites applications for the position of Executive Director, Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. As Wisconsin’s only public urban research university, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has established an international reputation for excellence in research, community engagement, teaching, and entrepreneurism. Designated an R1 research institution, UWM educates more than 27,000 students and is an engine for innovation in southeastern Wisconsin.

UWM recently received two significant recognitions. In 2015, the Carnegie Foundation granted the campus the Community Engagement Classification for its significant work in Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s southeast region. In February 2016 and again in April 2019, UWM was designated a Research 1 (R1) doctoral research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. One of 131 universities in the country with this designation, UWM’s achievement in research is due in part to the contributions from the new graduate degree-granting schools in public health and freshwater sciences. This recognition attests to UWM’s efforts to become a “top-tier research university.”


The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin (FCW) is the nation’s first integrated, higher education, multi-institutional program centered on serving the freshwater economy. It is designed to unleash the collective assets of the UW System and place them into an elite, one-of-a-kind program of training and research, while launching a talent development program in which students fully engage a diverse, multidisciplinary course of study across UW campuses. 

Built upon the broad expertise, world-class facilities, research acumen, and commitment to undergraduate and graduate student training across all 13 campuses, the FCW will solidify Wisconsin’s competitive advantages represented by our expanding water economy, our unparalleled water wealth and geography, and the diversity of intellectual strengths within our system of public universities. FCW will lay the foundation for a new era of inter-campus, state agency, and private sector cooperation and partnership, trigger Wisconsin’s lead in water sector innovation, and advance a unique platform for linking economic and workforce development with higher education.

Housed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the FCW Executive Director reports to the Chancellor and Provost, with a dotted line to the Dean of the School of Freshwater Science and the Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.  The Executive Director will provide leadership, vision, policy direction, and management oversight for the FCW.  The Executive Director will be deeply involved in starting the collaboration and executing the FCW and its on-going operations, including facilitating participation by faculty and staff with expertise in related disciplines and leading coordination of efforts of 13 UW System campuses. The Executive Director must be a skilled collaborator who can work with executive leaders in industry, government, non-profit associations and academia. She or he will work closely with the Office of Sponsored Research and the Office of Development to secure external funding to advance the FCW’s mission.  The Executive Director will lead the FCW Leadership Team, which includes a Research Advisory Council and an Industry/Stakeholder Advisory Board, as well as a Faculty Steering Committee made up of representatives from all 13 UW System campuses.

Position Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership, policy direction and management oversight for the FCW.
  • Support the overall strategic goals of the FCW through strategic decision making in conjunction with the Research Advisory Council, Industry/Stakeholder Advisory Board and Faculty Steering Committee.
  • Work with faculty and administrators at all 13 UW System campuses to build and maintain coordinated academic programming for FCW, including working with programs to guide curriculum design, overcoming administrative obstacles to successful collaboration, and ensuring a wide diversity of programming and opportunities to meet the needs of FCW students and stakeholders.
  • Successfully collaborate with leadership of FWC partners in industry, academia and government.
  • Successfully communicate with the UW System to facilitate and advance FWC research and academic programming.
  • Manage the FCW budget, strategically allocating resources in a fashion aligned with the vision, mission and goals of the FCW and in the case of grant or philanthropic support, complies with grantor or donor intent.
  • Collaborate with the Offices of Development at each campus to raise philanthropic support to advance the FCW’s mission.
  • Collaborate with Offices of Sponsored Programs/Research at each campus, as well as faculty researchers across the UW System, to help secure multi-campus research support to advance the FCW’s mission.
  • Oversee the development of processes, policies and procedures for the distribution of research awards, scholarships, and internship opportunities.
  • Facilitate faculty participation and cooperation among related academic organizations, centers and institutes.
  • Become knowledgeable about and be able to explain and represent UWM and the UW System’s mission, guiding values and strategic directions, as well as affiliated programs at all 13 UW System campuses.
  • Provide leadership, supervision and oversight to between 2 and 8 staff and students employed by the FCW, contingent upon available funding for such positions. Provide reports and assessments of all FCW related activities to the Chancellor, Provost, and Deans of the School of Freshwater Sciences and the College of Engineering and Applied Science; prepare summaries of key FCW related activities suitable for campus/public viewing; provide required reports to governmental funders.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Chancellor or Provost.


The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee seeks candidates with an outstanding record of professional accomplishment, management and leadership skills to serve as the Executive Director.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Demonstrated leadership and administrative experience.
  • Demonstrated success in program management including carrying out the coordinated organization, direction and implementation of multiple projects and activities to achieve defined deliverables and outcomes.
  • Demonstrated budgetary and financial acumen including spreadsheets, annual budgets, income statements and related financial capabilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to work successfully with advisory boards and/or governance bodies.
  • Bachelor’s Degree.

Preferred Qualifications

  • PhD or Master’s Degree in a discipline related to the water sector or 5 years of equivalent government, industry or academic leadership experience.
  • Five or more years of progressively responsible leadership and administrative experience.
  • Demonstrated experience in the water industry or a related industry.
  • Experience that demonstrates successful, visionary leadership of an organization with many partners, internal and external. The individual’s leadership style should be collaborative, ethical, team-oriented, and reflect a priority for diversity.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the operations of a top public research university and experience working in a university setting or closely with university officials.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, communication and leadership skills; demonstrated ability to serve in an outward facing role, as a spokesperson, to lead meetings with an engaging style and presentation.
  • Demonstrated experience in a multi-institutional center or institute.
  • Expertise or working knowledge of freshwater issues, research challenges and funding sources at the national level, e.g. by federal agencies.
  • Experience overseeing a research and development function.
  • Experience managing staff and/or students with demonstrated sensitivity and commitment to diversity and inclusion in working with both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated ability to work well in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.

How to Apply

The Chair of the Search and Screen Committee, J. Val Klump, welcomes all inquiries. Alfred Gomez may be contacted at alf1226@uwm.edu or (414) 229-4896 and he will forward your inquiries to Dr. Klump.

Applications must include a cover letter, a complete curriculum vitae and contact information for three references (none of whom will be contacted until a later stage of the search and not without candidate permission). The letter should summarize your professional qualifications and the accomplishments that reflect the skills, background, and experience to be successful in this key position. Successful applicants will provide specific examples of past work experience as it relates to the position responsibilities and qualifications. These materials must be uploaded through UWM’s Applicant Information Management System (AIMS) at: http://jobs.uwm.edu/postings/29297

The review of applications will begin on Monday September 30, 2019. Please note that applications received after Sunday, September 29, 2019, may not receive consideration.

AA/EO Statement
UWM is an AA/EO employer: All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, or protected veteran status.

Reasonable Accommodations
UWM provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment. Employment opportunities will not be denied because of the need to make reasonable accommodations for a qualified individual with a disability. If you need assistance or accommodation in applying because of a disability, please contact
uwm-jobs@uwm.edu or 414-229-4463. This job announcement and other material on this site will be made available in alternate formats upon request to an individual with a disability.

Confidentiality of Applicant Materials
UWM is a State agency and subject to Wisconsin’s Open Records Law. UWM will not, however, reveal the identities of applicants who request confidentiality in writing except as may be required by Wisconsin’s Open Records law. In certain circumstances, the identities of “final candidates” and/or the identity of the appointed applicant must be revealed upon request.

CBC and Reference Check Policy.
Employment will require a criminal background check. UWM takes the prevention of sexual misconduct seriously.  As such, you and your references will be required to answer questions regarding any past findings of sexual violence and sexual harassment or any pending allegations of sexual violence or sexual harassment.
Annual Security and Fire Safety Report (Clery Act)
For the UWM Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports (i.e., Clery Report), which includes statistics about reported crimes and information about campus security policies, see http://www.cleryact.uwm.edu/, or call UWM’s Dean of Student’s Office, Student Union 345 at (414) 229-4632 for a paper copy.

Employment Authorization.
In compliance with federal law, all persons at the time of their start date will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment verification form upon hire.