Executive Director

The San José State University Research Foundation seeks an accomplished and collaborative executive with significant management, operational, and financial expertise to serve as its next executive director.

The San José State University (SJSU) Research Foundation, a private, non-profit corporation, and an auxiliary of SJSU, receives in excess of $50 million dollars annually in public and private funding in support of research and specialized programs supporting the mission of SJSU. The Research Foundation is SJSU’s largest provider of research and public services to local, national, and international sponsors. With a staff of approximately 50 employees, the foundation is comprised of sponsored programs, finance and accounting, human resources, and information technology, which together provide for the needs of approximately 2,000 academic, technical, professional, and administrative staff who are employed and work at both on- and off-campus locations including downtown San José, NASA-Ames, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and out-of-state sites.

Founded in 1857, San José State University is the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast, serving over 36,000 students as the only public four-year university in California’s Silicon Valley. As a top 200 public research university in the nation with record-breaking enrollment and an unwavering commitment to excellence in teaching, San José State University is poised to grow and innovate, strengthening its connection to the surrounding San José and Silicon Valley community. A new strategic plan—Transformation 2030—was released in the spring of 2019, laying the groundwork for the next 10 years of unparalleled growth.

The SJSU Research Foundation will play a vital role in the university's aspirations to grow annual research expenditures to $100 million. This will require the next executive director to successfully complete the ongoing optimization of the operation, prepare for growth and build capacity, bring stability to the staff, and address key issues needed to ensure an optimally functioning organization. The new executive director must wholeheartedly embrace the university's strategic priorities and growth plan and ensure strong alignment between the foundation and the university.

Working with and reporting to the associate vice president (AVP) of research, and informed by the vice president for research and innovation and other university leaders, the executive director manages the affairs of the SJSU Research Foundation within the programmatic and fiscal policies of the foundation, the university, and the California State University system as well as extramural grant regulations. The executive director will have a demonstrated background of successful, ethical leadership and progressively greater business management responsibilities including financial, human resources, and risk management operations, as well as sponsored program management. The executive director must be naturally collaborative with the exceptional interpersonal and communications skills needed to partner effectively with university leaders, faculty and staff, a board of directors, and numerous external funding partners and stakeholders including local, state, and federal agencies and not-for-profit organizations and industry. A bachelor's degree and 10 years of supervisory experience is required; a master's degree and 10 years of experience preferred as is research administration experience in higher education.

All applications, nominations, and inquiries are invited. Applicants must submit, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest, via WittKieffer’s candidate portal or by e-mail. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by August 3, 2020. A comprehensive leadership profile can be found here: www.wittkieffer.com. Direct confidential nominations and inquiries to the WittKieffer consultants supporting this search, Suzanne Teer and Julia Venetos, at ExecDirSJSUResearchFoundation@wittkieffer.com.

San José State University Research Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, religion, marital status, registered domestic partner status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, sex, genetic information, sexual orientation, military and veteran status, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. It also prohibits unlawful discrimination based on the perception that anyone has any of those characteristics, or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics.

Contact Information

San José State University Research Foundation

Suzanne Teer

and Julia Venetos


Please use email

Background Information



  • College/University
  • Other
  • President, CEO, Executive Director
  • Research Administrator/Manager

Authorized to work in the US


Target Job Information

  • Full Time