Director (Salish Sea Studies Institute)

Western Washington University

Bellingham, WA, United States 🇺🇸

About the Position: Western Washington University seeks a dynamic individual to become the founding director of the Salish Sea Studies Institute. The Institute was established at Western Washington University in response to an unmet need for ongoing dialog and action regarding the health of the Salish Sea. This critical gap was identified by a diverse group of concerned citizens and individuals representing numerous institutions and organizations in Washington State and British Columbia, including representatives of Tribes and First Nations. 

About the College/Department:
The Salish Sea Studies Institute addresses the identified need by creating, and maintaining a respectful forum for ongoing, critical dialog.  The Institute will also provide a structure for scholarly collaboration across boundaries of culture and political geography.  It will develop undergraduate and graduate education programs in collaboration with academic institutions throughout the region.  The Institute will provide a mechanism for Coast Salish communities to identify knowledge gaps and to contribute to an agreed upon research agenda.  And, it will provide public communication about the Salish Sea.

The work of the Salish Sea Studies Institute is intended to strengthen the sense of place; increase knowledge and understanding; foster respect for history and culture; and lead to actions which serve to restore and protect the health of the Salish Sea.

About the University:  Western Washington University is a comprehensive state university, highly ranked nationally, wit over 15,000 students in seven colleges and the graduate school.  The campus, overlooking the San Juan Islands, is located in Bellingham, a coastal community of 83,000, 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, B.C.  With easy access to both the Cascade mountain range and the Pacific coast, the region is rich in cultural events and attractions as well as many recreational activities.  Western is known nationally for its successes, including being named the top public master’s granting university in the Pacific Northwest by U.S. News and World Report and one of the best colleges in the nation to work for by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Position Responsibilities:
The Director functions as a manager, leader and spokesperson for the Salish Sea Studies Institute and is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the Institute’s programs and activities.  Included in these responsibilities is an important role as an ex officio member of the Executive Committee of the bi-annual Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.  The Director is responsible for developing collaborative working relationships with the Center for Canadian-American Studies and the Border Policy Research Institute within Western Washington University, as well as with many organizations external to Western that have an interest in advancing sustainability of the Salish Sea (i.e. Puget Sound, Juan de Fuca Straight and Georgia Straight, as well as the land within the watershed).  The Director seeks to strengthen the institute by promoting shared investment, collegiality, and collaboration amongst these organizations.
The Director is responsible for the leadership, management and operation of the SSSI.  This includes (without being limited to) the following programs in fulfillment of the SSSI’s mission:
  • The Salish Sea Scholars program, a multi-institution program for faculty and students who are studying and conducting research on the Salish Sea;
  • Other programs that support research into aspects of the Salish Sea;
  • The State of the Salish Sea website, a comprehensive dashboard and repository of data and studies of the Salish Sea, including the State of the Salish Sea Report from the biannual Salish Sea Ecosystem Conferences;
  • Convening Conversations, a periodic series of workshops, town halls, and other gatherings focused on brining representatives of multiple perspectives together to discuss important issues related to the Salish Sea, share their perspectives, and work on collaborative solutions
Required Qualifications:
  • Administrative or managerial experience commensurate with the position
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and work with advisory groups and collaborative processes that are inclusive of diverse stakeholders
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively facilitate conversations involving people with diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and viewpoints
  • Demonstrated ability to work across departmental and other structures within a complex organization
  • Successful experience in consensus based decision making processes
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Experience in marketing and communications
  • Master’s degree in relevant field
  • Ability to travel to and return from Canada
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Record of academic, professional, or policy accomplishments related to Salish Sea challenges and opportunities
  • PhD in relevant field or senior-level business or government experience
  • Demonstrated success in private fundraising and grant funding
  • Experience working with Tribal or First Nations communities
  • Experience working in higher education
  • Experience in reporting complex information to the public
Academic Emphasis: N/A
Job Location: Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
Salary: The hiring range for this position is $70,481 – $78,312; full market range for position is $70,481 – $90,059
Bargaining Union: Not applicable
Application Instructions and Requested Documents: Applicants must apply online via Western’s Electronic Application System for Employment (EASE) at

A cover letter addressing the required and preferred qualifications, a curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information for three professional references are required.
Other Information: Follow Western Employment on Facebook and WWUEmployment on Twitter
Job Posted: 11/18/2016
Closing Date Notes: Application review begins December 12, 2016; position is open until filled
Recruitment #: 160537
Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Office, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay); [email protected]

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.