Director for Special Projects (Application Window Closed)

DEPARTMENT:  Office of the President

REPORTS TO:  Chief of Staff / Associate VP for Strategic Initiatives


The Director of Special Projects works to advance the mission, the University, and strategic vision of the president and leadership team through the design, planning, and implementation of special projects and initiatives as assigned by the President and Chief of Staff. A creative futurist at heart with a deep understanding and conviction of the value of the arts within our world today, the director’s primary responsibility is to turn vision into programs and services. The position will work across academic departments, specialty centers, administrative offices, and with a wide range of external constituents.  The director will utilize the resources of the University to create programs and policies around special topic issues to advance its mission, further the notions of student success, and expand opportunities for community engagement.  

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Work closely with the President and Chief of Staff to identify priorities, determine scope of projects, and establish measures for success of programs and initiatives.
  • Working closely with the President and Chief of Staff, enact and support the work of the University’s centers, which currently include the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Lightbox Film Center and the Center for Immersive Media.
  • Assist the President and Chief of Staff in advancing and operationalizing a broad range of programs related to diverse topics, which may include:
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Art & Culture
  • Professional Practice
  • Experiential Learning, Internships & Career Services
  • Industry/Corporate Relations
  • Community Access (Subscription Programs) and Distance Learning
  • Work across all departments – academic and administrative – to build partnerships, eliminate barriers, and improve efficiencies around issues of student success, professional practice, community engagement, and corporate relations.
  • Maintain effective communication and collaboration with a broad range area leaders, including School Deans and program directors, to implement strategies, programs, and services of special projects.
  • Assess current initiatives and resources across campus.  Provide recommendations and proposals for reallocating resources and streamlining processes. 
  • Manage timelines, progress, and deliverables of projects. Provide President and Chief of Staff with reports and updates.
  • Work independent of current structure to provide fluidity and deliver timely results.
  • Maintain knowledge of current and changing trends in higher education, especially around issues of the value proposition of an arts-based education, enrollment strategies, curriculum delivery, job preparation & placement, and return on investment indicators.
  • Maintain knowledge and curiosity of the field of visual and performing arts, remaining current on relevant movements and emerging urgencies.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by the incumbent; they do not purport to describe all functions.  Incumbent may be assigned other duties, and the essential functions may change from time to time as necessary.


  • Significant experience in a leadership capacity in the arts and culture sector, or within an academic setting.
  • Ability to work independently and adapt to changes while maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Ability to conduct research, develop proposals, and assess viability and success of projects.
  • A keen understanding of the role of the visual & performing arts in contemporary culture and higher education.
  • An appreciation of the core values of the University and interest in working to support of its mission.
  • Demonstrated success in public speaking or presentation skills.


  • Bachelor’s degree in an arts related field required ; Master’s degree preferred.

Competencies, Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Mission driven, and possessing the ability to operationalize big picture concepts and thinking into tactical steps that can be executed.
  • Collaborative and works effectively as a team player
  • Practices close listening, and understands the interests and concerns of others, anticipating reactions.
  • Provides assistance to others when they need it.
  • Recognizes the efforts and contributions of others, and endeavors to integrate within a cohesive plan relative to a given effort / project.
  • Is an effective communicator, and prioritizes transparent, frequent and timely communication.
  • Demonstrates an ability to present information succinctly and with impact relative to a target audience.

Supervisory Responsibility:

  • None; possibility of temporary and/or project-based personnel.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by a staff member to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the staff member is continuously required to sit and use hands to finger; often required to walk; occasionally required to reach with hands and arms; and required to talk and hear. Must be able to lift up to 20 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and peripheral vision.

Work Environment:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those a staff member encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing this job, the individual will be exposed to moderate noise levels within an office environment, and variable noise levels at special events (example: concert, opening reception or other creative project).

About The University:

University of the Arts’ mission is simple: to advance human creativity. Established in 1876, UArts believes creativity is the most essential skill for success in today’s society and has educated generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers and creative leaders for more than 141 years.  After being granted university status in 1987, University of the Arts became the largest institution of its kind in the nation, offering programs in design, fine arts, media arts, crafts, music, dance, theater and writing. It now features 30 undergraduate arts majors, 15 graduate programs and the nation’s first PhD program in Creativity. UArts is also home to innovative centers across disciplines, including the Center for Immersive Media, Lightbox Film Center, Philadelphia Art Alliance and Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery. Learn more about UArts.

Interested, qualified applicants should submit letters of application and resumes to the Human Resources Department via email to Please ensure job title is in the Subject line.

In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, The University of the Arts publishes its Annual Safety Report at the following link for your reference:


Title IX Statement: The University of the Arts prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in its programs and activities, including admission and employment, in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The Director for Title IX, Equity, & Compliance is responsible for overseeing compliance with Title IX and other civil rights laws and regulations. To contact the Director for Title IX, Equity, & Compliance, e-mail,, or visit The University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19102, Room 260, or call 215-717-6366. To learn more about the University's Title IX policy and response to sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, please visit Inquiries may also be directed to the Federal agency responsible for enforcing Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.