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Director of Washington Sea Grant (WSG)

Society for Conservation Biology
Seattle, Washington, US
Closing date
Oct 8, 2023

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Academic / Research, Nonprofit
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
World Aquaculture Society Employment Service - Job - World Aquaculture Society Employment Service Director of Washington Sea Grant (WSG) Seattle, Washington Full Time Job DetailsThe Director assumes overall responsibility for leadership and programmatic oversight of Washington Sea Grant and has university-wide and state-wide responsibilities. Together with a 36-member staff distributed across Washington state, the Director builds successful partnerships across numerous and diverse regions and constituencies, and facilitates high-impact research, outreach, education and communications activities to increase the understanding of, responsible interaction with, and use of Washington's ocean and coastal resources. The Director is responsible for strategic visioning and implementation of research, outreach, education, and communications using DEIJA concepts and framework to advance marine science and its political and economic salience in Washington state, and will facilitate progressive solutions that are mission-driven and have significant impact. The Director oversees and serves as principal investigator for an annual budget of about $6 million that is divided almost evenly between competitively awarded research grants and fellowships and support for 36 university staff dispersed across Washington state. The Director reports directly to the Dean of the College of the Environment and serves on the Executive Leadership Committee of the College and on national and regional associations and advisory panels. The position requires frequent and extensive travel within Washington, regionally, and nationally.

This position contributes to critical areas of Washington state's economy and health and welfare, including fisheries, tourism, education, and marine and coastal livability and sustainability. WSG advances the mission of the College of the Environment and the University of Washington by conducting research and outreach activities about the critical ocean and coastal resources of Washington state and the responsible, productive and equitable use of and access to those resources. The Director is expected to play a key role in serving the needs of Washington's marine sectors and in connecting Washington residents with appropriate resources at the University of Washington and beyond.

The Director leads an innovative program that has exceptional scientific and educational quality and societal impact. Specifically, the Director will be responsible for:

Leadership and Oversight (40%)

• Direct oversight and leadership of the program's extensive research, outreach, education, and communication activities.
• Oversight of WSG competitive research and fellowship programs including proposal solicitation, review, selection, administration and reporting, as well as fellowship program applications, selection and evaluation.
• Cultivating a welcoming and inclusive environment where staff are motivated toward exceptional performance and fiscal resources are managed for an effective and responsive organization, in accordance with NOAA and UW requirements and best practices.
• Incorporating, valuing and modeling DEIJA practices in the workplace and amongst stakeholder groups served by WSG, and actively championing the furtherance of equity and inclusion across all of WSG's activities and outputs.
• Managing assistant directors who provide leadership to operations and programming.

Planning, Partnerships & Fundraising (60%)

• Strategic and inclusive planning and visioning for programmatic activities with demonstrable results.
• Building relationships with elected officials to promote and enhance awareness of WSG's programs and their impact and value to the state. Working with UW legislative relations and the National Sea Grant Office to monitor and inform Congressional actions affecting Sea Grant at the national and state Sea Grant levels.
• Participating in national Sea Grant activities and leadership, including representation of WSG in the Sea Grant Association.
• Identifying and pursuing additional external funding sources to expand and improve WSG's research, outreach, education, and communication activities in WSG Strategic Plan areas including Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development, Resilient Communities and Economies, Healthy Coastal Ecosystems, and Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture.
• Strengthening collaboration and partnerships across diverse stakeholders and communities, including academia, industry, governmental, tribal, NGO, and citizen groups.
• Serving on the Executive Committee of the College of the Environment, and actively participating in the overall management of the College and its relationship with other UW units.
• Other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities:
The Director directly supervises five staff and has ultimate supervisory authority for the entirety of Washington Sea Grant (~36 staff).


• Ph.D. or equivalent in knowledge and experience (including terminal professional degree or foreign equivalent) in any Sea Grant-relevant discipline.
• A minimum of nine years of experience leading large or complicated projects or programs focused on issues of relevance to the mission of Washington Sea Grant.

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration.


• Innovative leadership and management skills to effectively lead a complex organization towards enhanced research, services, and programs.
• Demonstrated success as a supervisor and program manager.
• Proven ability to successfully work with and respect diverse people and perspectives, and champion inclusion and equity in the delivery of services and programs.
• Knowledge and experience applying DEIJA best practices in organizational leadership and management.
• Extensive knowledge of budgeting and financial planning and reporting, particularly in academia and government.
• Commitment to impactful scientific research, outreach, education and communication activities in support of marine/natural resource management and use.
• Ability to build partnerships and work effectively and collaboratively with a wide range of internal and external constituencies including industry, academia, tribes, NGOs, and all levels of governmental agencies and institutions.
• Experience with grant proposals and the federal funding process and proven track record of securing external funds.
• Ability to manage a demanding workflow with competing deadlines, solve problems, resolve stress and conflict, initiate timely responses to changes in the program environment, and exercise sound judgment and decision-making authority using tact and diplomacy.
• Excellent oral, written and interpersonal communication skills.


• Leadership experience in an institution of higher education.
• Knowledge of the Sea Grant mission.
• Working knowledge of state and federal legislative processes.
• Extensive knowledge of Washington state's ocean and coastal resources and issues.
• General knowledge of Washington treaty tribes, treaties and co-management.


The Director works in a hybrid office setting. The primary Washington Sea Grant office is on the University of Washington Seattle campus, and staff are based out of offices throughout Western Washington. The position will include frequent travel locally, regionally, and nationally.

Desired Start-Date: Early 2024

Questions pertaining to this search are encouraged to contact . For updated information and opportunities to learn about this position, please visit:

Application Process:

Applicants must submit their application materials through UW Hires> Application materials include: (1) a cover letter that describes your expertise, experience and leadership relevant to the position, as well as your preparation for fulfilling the WSG/UW/College of the Environment commitment to DEIJA, (2) your resume/curriculum vitae, and (3) names and contact information for three professional references. Applicants should ensure they address all the UW Hires prompts to be considered for this position.

Questions pertaining to this search are encouraged to contact
Contact InformationUniversity of Washington (UW)

Post Date: 6/29/2023 11:30:05 AM
Closing Date: 8/25/2023 12:00:00 AM
Share this job About this companyAbout Washington Sea Grant:

WSG is part of a national network of 34 Sea Grant colleges and institutions operating in all coastal and Great Lakes states. The National Sea Grant College Program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and funded primarily through federal-university partnerships. WSG was one of the first Sea Grant College Programs, established in 1971, and is dedicated to improving the translation of research and scientific information into knowledge for use in the marine environment.

WSG serves communities, businesses, managers, and the people of Washington state, the Pacific Northwest, and the nation by identifying and addressing important marine issues; providing better tools for management of the marine environment and use of its resources; and initiating and supporting strategic partnerships within the marine community. WSG is committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and accessibility (DEIJA) goals established in the WSG 10-year DEI Roadmap, aligned with the UW and the Sea Grant Network. Through research, outreach, education, and communication efforts, WSG helps sustain economic development while encouraging ecosystem-based approaches to management of Washington's ocean and coastal resources.
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