Director, Center for Ocean Leadership (COL)

UCAR Community Programs (UCP) is excited to announce the job opening for the Director of the Center for Ocean Leadership (COL). As one of UCP’s eight programs, the Center for Ocean Leadership currently manages, coordinates, and facilitates programs in ocean observing, ocean research and informal education. COL has a proven track record of shaping the future of ocean science and technology through discovery, understanding, and action. COL enhances discovery through community-wide research programs they manage and support. These programs allow scientists to discover, in a systematic way, what the watery abyss that covers our blue planet does, needs, and supplies – and allows us to help it thrive.

The Director of the Center for Ocean Leadership (COL) is responsible for developing and managing the strategic vision, mission, operational posture, organizational structure, and culture of COL. The Director provides leadership and management of the implementation of long- and short-term planning that supports the COL and UCAR Community Programs (UCP) missions. The role is responsible for the effective management and administration of COL within UCP.  The COL Director is a champion of creating a diverse workforce and a welcoming and inclusive environment.

The COL Director fosters interaction and collaboration between UCP Programs/Centers, NCAR, and UCAR Operations. The Director is responsible for program advocacy in various forums, including with sponsors, philanthropic organizations, government agencies, and COL-affiliated institutions. The COL Director participates in UCAR management meetings and committees; assumes leadership in UCP-wide management functions; and takes responsibilities that are flowed down from the Board of Trustees to the UCAR President and the UCP Director.

The COL Director works closely with COL staff and affiliate institutions to support programmatic activities among and between federal agencies and the ocean science community. The Director supports advocacy efforts on behalf of and coordinated with affiliated institutions with regard to ocean science funding and other key federal policy issues. The Director makes public presentations, participates in relevant forums as a spokesperson for ocean science and engages in business development activities.

Where You Will Work

Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, UCAR Community Programs offers a suite of innovative resources, tools, and services for the atmospheric and Earth science community. Our mission is to advance Earth systems science by facilitating collaboration, building community tools, fostering scientific leadership, and educating the STEM professionals of today and tomorrow.

  • Location: Boulder, CO 
  • Job Type: This position is open to candidates seeking fully remote, in-person and/or hybrid (combination remote and onsite presence) work arrangements.
  • Position Type: Full-Time

Procedure for Candidacy

Issacson, Miller is assisting UCP/UCAR in this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For fullest consideration, applicant materials should be received by February 24, 2023.

Candidates should provide the following materials to complete their application:

  • Resume or curriculum vitae that summarizes your background and experiences as it relates to this position.
  • Cover Letter or Letter of Application that addresses how you meet the responsibilities and requirements described in the position description including specific examples.
  • Inclusion Statement which summarizes your approach to building and leading an inclusive and psychologically safe environment. In your statement, please share specific examples of actions you have taken to build diverse, equitable and inclusive environments in previous roles.

Nominations, inquiries and applications can be directed in confidence to John Muckle and Alexandra Lolavar at

This position offers a hiring salary range of $158,356 to $197,944. The final salary will be based on education, experience, skills relevant to the role, and internal equity. Information about UCAR's benefits can be found here:  

Work Authorization: UCP will sponsor a work visa (e.g., J-1, H1-B, etc.) for this position. U.S. Citizenship, Permanent Residency, or other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3) is required for this position.  

Relocation Assistance: Relocation assistance is offered for this position.

Pre-employment screenings are conducted for selected candidates; background checks are also conducted for risk-based positions. Learn more.

How You Will Make an Impact at UCAR

Below is a brief outline of what one can expect to be responsible for in this role. 

COL Program Development & Strategic Leadership

Leads the COL program, including setting priorities and strategies in consultation with COL affiliates,  the ocean science community, sponsors, and  UCAR/UCP leaders. With input of senior leadership, provides leadership and vision in program development, identification of program needs, long-range and short-term strategic goals, as well as proposal and budget development. Ensures the program is responsive to needs and requests of sponsors. Responsible for the overall success of the COL program.

External Engagement

Promotes, leads, and fully engages in the COL vision and direction to strategic partners. Identifies and establishes new programmatic and business development opportunities, consistent with the mission and purpose of COL, that help diversify the organization’s revenues and increase its impact. Increases visibility and public awareness of the COL mission to advance research, education, and ocean policy; coordinates, as needed, with the UCAR Office of Government Relations and External Engagement.

Team Management

Oversees and ensures the equity of the appointments, promotions, performance evaluations, and salary determination of COL staff.  Ensures the recruitment, support, and retention of a diverse and talented workforce. Provides leadership for mentoring and performance management plans for staff; leadership development, staff recognition, and succession planning. Manages staff conflict resolution and work environment/climate. Manages staff relations and fosters an environment of teamwork and excellence. Promotes and demonstrates the values of UCAR. Champions diversity, equity, and inclusion.

UCP/UCAR Leadership

Serves as an active participant in UCP leadership and management functions. Promotes efficient and effective business operations for UCP through partnership with UCP Business Shared Services (BSS) and UCAR Operations.  Partners with UCP Director and Assistant Director on the development and implementation of UCP-wide initiatives. In coordination with the UCP Director, represents UCP programs to external agencies, the university community, and the national and international community. Interaction and collaboration within peer UCP Center Directors, Program Directors, and NCAR Lab Directors to ensure the continued success of the organization.

Who We'd Love to Join Our Team

Successful candidates will ensure their application materials speak to the following criteria:

Education & Experience

  • Advanced degree in ocean sciences or a related field and 10 years of leadership experience managing complex technical/scientific programs in a federal agency, business enterprise, university/research institute, and/or national nonprofit organization; or equivalent education and experience.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Knowledgeable of key issues, opportunities, and policies in ocean sciences and education and be seen as a highly accomplished scientist/administrator, leader, and representative of the organization’s vision, mission, and objectives among diverse audiences. 
  • Visionary and inspirational leader who inspires others to achieve excellence both individually and as a team.
  • Demonstrated leadership, technical, and business skills associated with the development of service-oriented community programs, through consensus building and compelling expression of concepts and principles.
  • Direct experience in the effective management and leadership of diverse scientific and technical programs.
  • Skill in strategic planning and implementation, budget development and deployment, and human resource planning to achieve broad goals and objectives.
  • Ability to provide leadership in directing, developing, and evaluating a staff of widely varying backgrounds and experience.
  • Understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the STEM workforce and a demonstrated track record of championing inclusive and welcoming workplace environments.
  • Ability to articulate and gain internal and external support for COL and UCP’s goals.
  • Advanced skills in written and oral communication, with the ability to excel in interpersonal communication.
  • Advanced skill in business development, writing successful proposals, fundraising, obtaining and coordinating program resources as well as managing complex budgets.
  • Ability to travel for meetings with sponsors, philanthropic organizations, government agencies, and COL-affiliated institutions.

Some Final Considerations

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our organization is committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment and fostering a culture where everyone feels welcome and supported. To learn more about these efforts, visit the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan and our Diversity & Inclusion: A Welcoming Workplace site

Research shows that women and people of color are less likely to apply for a position if they do not meet almost 100% of the desired skills and experience. Please note that this is not necessary! If you meet the minimum requirements and have a passion for the work, you are encouraged to apply. We can provide on-the-job training for the rest!

Inclusive Benefits

UCAR affirms its commitment to employees through competitive benefits. Beyond rich medical, dental, vision, and life insurance offerings, employee assistance and backup dependent care, UCAR offers: 

  • Company contributes 10% of gross pay into retirement; 100% fully vested on day one
  • Starting minimum of 20 days of personal time off 
  • 10 paid holidays
  • 10 days of sick leave every year
  • 14 weeks of paid parental leave
  • Tuition Assistance and other professional development opportunities
  • EcoPass for local Colorado residents to use the Denver and Boulder-area transit system at no cost

Flexible Work

At UCAR, we are committed to supporting our mission by giving staff the flexibility to find the schedule and location that works best to maintain their own work-life circumstances and reach their full potential as professionals. Many positions within our organization are eligible for fully on-site, hybrid, fully-remote and/or flexible work schedules.

Employee Well-Being & Vaccines

In support of the health of our employees and their families, as well as visitors and the community, all UCAR employees are required to comply with UCAR’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, which requires staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, subject only to legally required accommodations implemented by HR, prior to their start date.

Equal Opportunity Employer

UCAR is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy. Whatever your intersection of identities, you are welcome at UCAR.

Export Control

This position is subject to work location requirements for obtaining access to facilities and research systems. These requirements may include a combination of national security checks, credit checks, fingerprinting, or other security clearance requirements.  This position is open to U.S. Citizens and Green Card holders.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer that strives to develop and maintain a diverse workforce. UCAR is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy. 

Whatever your intersection of identities, you are welcome at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). We are committed to inclusivity and promoting an equitable environment that values and respects the uniqueness of all members of our organization.