Centre Director

Yungaburra, QLD, Australia
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
3-4 Years
Degree Required: 


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The SFS Centre for Rainforest Studies (CRS) in Yungaburra, QSLD, Australia
Institutional Mission:
SFS creates transformative study abroad experiences through field-based learning and research. Our educational programs explore the human and ecological dimensions of the complex environmental problems faced by our local partners, contributing to sustainable solutions in the places where we live and work. The SFS community is part of a growing network of individuals and institutions committed to environmental stewardship.
Program Objective:
The primary focus of the Center’s program is tropical rainforest management and restoration, and its effects on the landscape and community. SFS-CRS is located on a 153-acre former grazing farm adjacent to a World Heritage site, near the town of Yungaburra on the Atherton Tablelands. The Center property supports stands of primary and secondary rainforest, including an endangered rainforest type, offering students a field laboratory and experimental site as part of their academic program. The research goals of SFS-CRS are to understand the dynamics of rainforest ecosystems, including the potential impacts of global climate change, and develop rainforest restoration strategies that benefit the local ecosystems and communities.
Position Summary:
The Centre Director is responsible for administering all aspects of the SFS – Centre for Rainforest Studies including academic program design, implementation and evaluation; the Centre’s Strategic Research Plan, including design, implementation, evaluation and grant support; representation of the Centre in local, regional and international arenas; staff management and team building; and oversight of Centre operations, finance and administration.
Reports to: President of SFS

Start Date: August 1, 2019 (somewhat flexible, but no later than August 15th)

Duties and Responsibilities:

Research & Academic Program Management

  • Work with the SFS Office of Academic Affairs, the Centre team, clients and stakeholders to ensure ongoing implementation and development of the Centre's Strategic Research Plan, including adherence to timelines, appropriate involvement of students, publication of results, data management and record keeping, retention of partners and achievement of research goals
  • Promote the participation of local and international experts and partners in the teaching and research components of the program
  • Review with the Office of Academic Affairs the academic curriculum and research projects and work with the faculty to update and improve pedagogy and research.  Submit fully vetted course syllabi to the Office of Academic Affairs each term
  • Facilitate and participate in regularly scheduled faculty meetings   
  • Review faculty performance and program evaluations and implement actions to maintain high academic standards
  • Advise students as appropriate to assist in the success of their academic program
  • Adhere to and enforce all SFS academic policies for students and faculty


  • Work with HQ staff to identify funding sources in support of Centre research projects and assist in grant-writing
  • Work with HQ staff to create and publish Centre-specific marketing materials and submit marketing materials to HQ at regular intervals
  • Actively seek out and participate in outreach activities at the local, regional and national levels to entities such as universities, research organizations, businesses, agencies and community institutions
  • Serve as primary spokesperson for the Centre
  • Attend relevant local and international conferences, seminars and workshops
  • Take part in Centre social and field activities
  • Work to ensure consistently good relations between the Centre and its stakeholders and neighbors

 Personnel Management

  • Supervise the Faculty, Student Affairs Manager, Site Manager, part time bookkeeper, and all other program associates or assistants
  • Maintain and support a strong Centre team through regular meetings, open communication, and the creation of an inclusive environment
  • Collaborate with the SFS Human Resources department to recruit and retain qualified faculty and staff, and to terminate positions as needed, consistent with SFS policies
  • Monitor performance of Centre staff throughout the year and conduct formal staff performance reviews to set and meet performance objectives

 Safety and Student Life Management

  • Take primary responsibility for overall safety of all program participants, staff and visitors, working closely with the Student Affairs Manager, including the enforcement of Centre vehicle policies and the required driving skills/licenses
  • In conjunction with the Student Affairs Manager, deliver timely Risk Management Plans and Incident Reports to HQ.
  • Resolve student discipline or academic honesty problems in cooperation with the Student Affairs Manager or Office of Academic Affairs
  • Support Student Affairs staff in monitoring and managing student physical health, mental health and overall well being

 Fiscal & Facility Management

  • Ensure sound fiscal management through careful review of the budget and expenditures, working closely with the Director of Finance, Director of International Operations, and the CRS bookkeeper to develop and manage operating and capital budgets
  • Supervise Site Manager, establishing and carrying out facility and asset maintenance, repair, and replacement as appropriate
  • Ensure that Centre operates in a manner which is consistent with local, regional, and national laws, regulations and codes
  • In coordination with the Site Manager and Student Affairs Manager, serve as caretaker for the Centre during non-program and intersession periods

Program Administration

  • Lead program planning activities prior to semester and summer programs, and debrief following student departures
  • Ensure that all Centre planning and reporting requirements are completed
  • On a rotating basis, take responsibility for Centre-specific "staff of the day" duties

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Australian work authorization required
  • Ph.D. or equivalent degree in ecology, biology, resource management, socioeconomics, or related field, with demonstrated and relevant research and field experience
  • Minimum three years’ experience in university teaching in an academic subject
  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate and be part of an interdisciplinary teaching and research team
  • Demonstrated upper level organizational management experience in such areas as project management, conducting academic and/or research programs, heading environmental issue-driven projects, programs or organizations, promoting involvement of local and international experts, negotiating with program partners, and grant-writing
  • Residential student group management and risk management experience
  • Good working knowledge of the U.S. higher education system
  • Knowledge of Australia, including its culture, history, and governmental operations
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental issues

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with rural government agencies and NGOs
  • Experience working with students that may require support for stress/anxiety related issues or other mental health support and experience supporting students with documented learning differences
  • Experience living and working in Queensland
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary teaching and research team
  • Experience using GIS (e.g. ArcGIS) to address conservation issues is desirable


  • WAFA certification or equivalent required (SFS reimburses up to a cap).
  • Willingness to work flexible hours and while not required to live on site at the Centre, willing to play an active part in daily meals and activities
  • Commitment to academic success of SFS students and faculty
  • Commitment to creating a Centre environment that is inclusive of all students and staff, including those who identify as a racial or ethnic minority, members of the LGBTQ+ community, first-generation college students, and students from all underrepresented groups or underserved communities. 
  • Ability to travel locally and internationally to support the Centre’s academic work and administration
  • Enthusiastic approach to problem solving, collegial attitude and entrepreneurial spirit


  • Salary commensurate with qualifications, on-site housing and meals, relocation assistance, and excellent benefits package included.

To Apply: Submit a cover letter outlining relevant experiences and addressing the qualifications and expectations stated above and curriculum vitae online.  Recommendation letters will be required upon request.