As it approaches the start of its second century, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)—a unique member institution of the University System of Maryland (USM) and among the nation’s most powerful engines for translational impact in sustainability—seeks a leader who can harness the transformative potential of environmental research for the public good and the future of humanity. The next President of UMCES and Vice Chancellor for Sustainability will lead the System’s fully-fledged research university dedicated to understanding, sustaining, and managing the environment of the remarkably biodiverse state of Maryland.

Since 1925, UMCES has sought multidisciplinary solutions that improve people’s lives, supported Maryland’s considerable marine and estuarine sectors, and advanced pioneering research on every continent. The President and Vice Chancellor will further this critical work by building enduring structures, systems, and bases of support to tie its labs together; seed over-the-horizon research; encourage and enhance public/private partnerships to steward Maryland’s resources for the future; address the interface of Maryland’s diverse populace with their dynamic environment; and knit together the lawmakers, leaders, and institutions that will solve the most pressing climate challenges the world has ever faced. This is a transformational role at a pivotal moment in the history of the institution and the world.

UMCES’ work spans the astonishing diversity of the state of Maryland, from the inland Appalachian Laboratory at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay to the Horn Point Laboratory on Maryland’s fast-changing Eastern Shore, among the nation’s top three most vulnerable coastal ecosystems and the center of significant agricultural activities. In all, UMCES formally comprises the Appalachian, Horn Point, and Chesapeake Biological Laboratories; the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology; the Integration and Application Network; the Maryland Sea Grant College; and two multi-institution master’s programs in environmental sciences and sustainability management. Its 74 faculty, 94 graduate students, and nearly 350 support staff, together account for over $50 million in annual research funding, placing UMCES among the very top performing ranks of environmental sciences institutions nationwide.

Reporting to the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, Dr. Jay Perman, and working in tandem with the Regents of the University System of Maryland as well as the Office of the Governor of Mayland, the President and Vice Chancellor will steward the resources and activities of this remarkable network of programs, laboratories, and people, with a powerful mandate for change encompassing the University System of Maryland as well as the entire state. The President and Vice Chancellor will grow and amplify UMCES’ ability to effectively advise state and national leaders and prepare future scientists to meet the local and global challenges of the 21st century. The state of Maryland has committed to the most ambitious climate goals in the country and has directed significant new resources to build the superstructure to fulfill those goals; the President and Vice Chancellor will marshal these resources to lead collective action and meet the moment.

Qualifications and Characteristics

UMCES seeks an innovative leader who is ardent about the institution’s mission and its potential for immense impact. As a key spokesperson and ambassador for environmental science, the President of UMCES will have a central platform from which to influence public policy and enhance the visibility of the Center’s important work. To be a highly credible representative among broad audiences, the President of UMCES and Vice Chancellor for Sustainability must be fluent in the diverse disciplines of UMCES and conversant in the languages of its external constituencies, public and private. The successful candidate will bring vision and a strong track record of success in scientific leadership, communication, and fundraising.
While no one candidate will embody all these attributes, the successful candidate will bring many of the following:

  • A PhD or relevant terminal degree and scientific accomplishment sufficient to support a tenured
    faculty appointment at UMCES.
  • Intellectual vision and a broad, interdisciplinary view of opportunities in basic and applied
    environmentalsciences. A successful track record in bringing science to the public and to decisionmakers and experience building productive partnerships with industry.
  • A track record of fundraising success. Ideally, significant experience working successfully with donors across a broad spectrum. Strong relationship-building skills and the ability to help take fundraising to new heights.
  • Public presence and exceptional communications skills; the ability to relate well to both scientists
    and non-scientists alike and to generate enthusiasm around ideas and actions.
  • Successful experience leading an intensive and diverse research and/or educational program, initiative, or enterprise, ideally through expansion, innovation, and change. Sufficient management and financial experience to oversee a complex, distributed $52 million institution with multiple stakeholders.
  • Strengths in team building, delegation, collaboration, and conflict resolution. Adept at leading within a structure of shared governance and considerable autonomy vested in the individual laboratories. Communicate openly, listen with intention, and lead through persuasion.
  • An outgoing, charismatic personality. Impeccable integrity. Creativity, tenacity, optimism, and high energy. Discerning and a keen visionary with an aptitude for sensing change and willingness to travel frequently across Maryland as well as nationally and internationally.

The University System of Maryland has engaged Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist with this search. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and applications (including CVs and two- to three-page letters of interest responding to the opportunities, challenges, and qualifications outlined in the position profile) should be submitted via the Isaacson, Miller search website: https://www.imsearch.com/open-searches/university-maryland-center-environmental-science/presidentvice-chancellor