Executive Director of Sponsored Programs Administration

Vanderbilt University, a top-15 private research university, is accepting inquiries, nominations and applications for a new Executive Director of Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA).

Reporting to the Assistant Provost for Research Strategy, The Executive Director of Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) works with the Vice Provost for Research and Innovation (VP-RI) at Vanderbilt University and is a key leader and manager responsible for implementing the vision and advancing the quality of the research enterprise across campus. The Executive Director also leads the SPA team and oversees SPA operations, including the Vanderbilt electronic research administration system. Candidates should have at least eight years of relevant experience in sponsored research in a higher education environment. A bachelor's degree is required; an advanced degree is strongly preferred.

Sponsored Programs Administration supports and advocates for the University’s mission through leadership and expertise ensuring compliance with relevant regulations. In the 2022 fiscal year, Vanderbilt submitted 1,724 proposals to external sponsors and received 1,070 sponsored research awards totaling $293.7M. SPA serves as a central resource providing guidance and stewardship by supporting the entire research community for the full cycle of these awards. SPA processes proposals and negotiates grants, contracts, and other agreements, and values and promotes integrity, innovation, knowledge, collaboration, and effectiveness across campus.

Vanderbilt, home to approximately 7,000 undergraduates and more than 6,200 graduate and professional students, lives its mission to "bring out the best in humanity – pushing new ideas into the frontiers of discovery, challenging the limits of what's possible and working diligently in the service of others." Comprised of 10 distinct schools and colleges on one centralized campus in downtown Nashville, Vanderbilt spurs—and is optimized for—innovative and collaborative initiatives that foster discoveries and impact society for the better. This is an institution that has an unshakable belief in human potential and a commitment to doing whatever it takes to create an environment in which all members of the community can thrive.

Inquiries and nominations may be directed to WittKieffer consultants Lisa Meyer and Kati Sweaney at VanderbiltDirectorSPA@wittkieffer.com. Candidates should provide, as two separate documents: a resume and a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the Leadership Profile, available at wittkieffer.com. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer's candidate portal.

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply. Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.

Contact Information

Vanderbilt University via WittKeifer





Background Information

4-Year Degree

8 years

  • College/University
  • Administrator or Administrative


Target Job Information

  • Full Time