The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus (VT IC) is seeking a dynamic, energetic individual to direct project-based learning efforts as part of a bold, new vision for research and graduate education in computer science and computer engineering. Located adjacent to the nation’s capital in Alexandria, Virginia, it will unite industry, government, and academia in dynamic project-based learning (PBL) and purpose-driven research to shape the way emerging technologies influence society. Construction has begun on the 11-story first academic building for the Innovation Campus, set to open in 2024.
One of the unique elements of the VT IC is the approach to graduate education in computer science (CS) and computer engineering (CE). The Masters of Engineering (MEng) degree is a professional degree with a project-based curriculum at its core. The MEng will use a mix of in-person and asynchronous coursework, as well as the accomplishment of learning outcomes and competencies through the completion of projects. The curriculum is designed for students with traditional CS/CE undergraduate backgrounds and those from other academic disciplines that are seeking to change careers or re-skill in this technology degree.
In the project portion of the curriculum, students will work in teams on projects sourced from real-world challenges facing government, corporate, and non-profit organizations. Projects will drive student teams that benefit from collaborations with organization domain experts, faculty, and staff, and are organized and managed by the PBL Director in support of our broad vision for graduate education. While initially the PBL Director will coordinate our PBL efforts and interactions with outside organizations and internal stakeholders, in the coming years we anticipate building a team of PBL coordinators to support and scale our dynamic, growing program. The project-based learning coordinators will serve at the interface between the project teams, partner organizations, faculty, and staff.
Reporting to the Innovation Campus Faculty Lead, the Director will establish project-based learning as a viable curriculum pathway by:
Building and leading a team of project-based learning coordinators that will serve as the liaisons between organizations interested in sponsoring projects and the faculty seeking to incorporate them into the curriculum.
Designing and implementing a system for soliciting and designing projects that will align pre-defined Innovation Campus educational and professional outcomes for students while also exposing students to real-world aspects of the project sponsor, their industry sector, and their corporate approach to project completion.
Stewarding and expanding partnerships with project sponsors by hosting showcase events; collaborating with the communications team on press releases, news stories, website highlights; etc. and ensuring that project sponsors are routinely updated on team progress toward project goals and ultimate outcomes of the project.
Working in collaboration with the LINK: Center for Advancing Industry Partners to develop and jointly execute a corporate outreach strategy to source sufficient new projects each year to support the curriculum.
In the start-up phase of the Innovation Campus, the Director's primary duties will be focused on design of the project sponsor interface with the Innovation Campus curriculum. As enrollment grows, this role could evolve to one of building and leading a team of project-based learning coordinators to work with the many anticipated teams. Start-up activities will include the duties listed below as well as others as assigned:
Assist in Corporate Outreach
• Develop and continuously improve, in coordination with relevant staff and faculty, a web-based portal for organizations to submit preliminary partnership interest and tools for feedback and filtering of proposed projects.
• In collaboration with LINK, develop a project-based learning corporate outreach strategy to identify the scope of corporate-driven problems and student-driven solutions in alignment with the Innovation Campus curriculum requirements.
• Stay up to date on Innovation Campus faculty research areas of interest to inform the sourcing and scoping of relevant projects.
• Liaise with multiple stakeholders (corporations, faculty area experts, and instructors of record) to facilitate and contribute to the dialog and communication on project based learning for the Innovation campus.
Achieve Project Based Learning Sustainability
• Once relationships with project-based learning partners are established, the director will seek to maintain on-going relationships with those partners that meet partner needs and also advance the mission and goals of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.
• Aid the Innovation Campus communications team with storytelling during creation of a marketing and communication plan; e.g., showcase project outcomes and highlight partners and students through various media platforms (i.e. website, social media, letters, events, etc.)
• Conduct regular check-ins with organization project sponsors to ensure expectations are being met and there is an appropriate level of faculty, student, and organization engagement
• Design and hold engagement activities, as appropriate, that allow stakeholders the ability to learn about project work, outcomes, and professional networking
Manage the Program
• Work with stakeholders to identify success metrics and share project based learning outcomes, and best-practices in order to document and report on progress of the program to faculty, Innovation Campus leadership, and other relevant stakeholders
• Develop and maintain a corporate-driven project repository and work with faculty to match learning outcomes and student teams to sets of projects
• Facilitate the scope of corporate-driven problems and student-driven solutions by convening and managing a committee of academic stakeholders
• Design project base learning coordinator position descriptions and begin to staff for growth in the number of student teams and projects.
• Work with students to gain programmatic insights and work with stakeholders to facilitate improvements in program design and execution
• Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering or related STEM field.
• Program management experience in environments with teams of contributors and/or a diverse set of stakeholders
• Strong professional verbal and written communication skills with the ability to interact effectively with a diverse constituency
• Excellent organization and time management skills with strict attention to detail
• Must be energized by working and organizing high level meetings
• Demonstrated ability to manage groups with and without authority over the individuals
• Demonstrated ability to handle multiple tasks, set priorities, and work independently and collaboratively
• Demonstrated proficiency with current MS Office and other software applications including database management systems, electronic mail, and presentation applications
• Master’s degree or PhD in Computer Science or Computer Engineering or related STEM field
• Experience in higher-education relevant to the position description
• Program management experience with teams of contributors in a customer-oriented professional or academic setting interacting with students, faculty, and industry and/or government
• Demonstrated ability to hire, direct, motivate and retain a team
• Experience in innovative curriculum design at the undergraduate or graduate level.
• Experience in innovative curriculum design in STEM fields.
• Working knowledge of university academic and operational policies and procedures
$115,000 - $125,000
February 10, 2023
The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.
About Virginia Tech
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.
Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.
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Each agency within the Commonwealth of Virginia is dedicated to recruiting, supporting, and maintaining a competent and diverse work force. Equal Opportunity Employer
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