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The University of the Arts

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - United States
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Founding Director


POSITION: Founding Director
DEPARTMENT: Center for Immersive Media
REPORTS TO: President of the University of the Arts

SUMMARY: The University of the Arts seeks a visionary and innovative leader to join its team as the Founding Director - Immersive Media Center at the University of the Arts. This new staff position has been created as part of a university-wide initiative to create a Center for Immersive Media in the heart of Philadelphia, dedicated to exploration in the nascent fields of virtual and mixed realities, motion and performance capture, and human-computer interaction (HCI).


The ideal candidate will be an artist who is a creative strategist looking to build a center for relevant, critical, and provocative dialogue across the arts, using the unique advantages of immersive media to link our College of Performing Arts with our College of Art, Media & Design in university-wide projects that encourage collaboration and cross-disciplinary work. The Founding Director will be afforded the unique opportunity to shape the center’s goals of harnessing immersive and experiential media to promote prosocial, empathetic and altruistic human reasoning and behavior among our university community and beyond.

The successful candidate will demonstrate a history of adaptation, exhibiting an ability to overcome technological and budget constraints to realize goals that were previously thought unattainable. A strong commitment to collaboration across disciplines as well as evidence of leading successful partnerships with a variety of stakeholders is expected. The position will require someone who understands that problems are opportunities and that calculated risks are necessary to any new venture. The new director will be a thought leader at the University and, as such, must be a great communicator, teacher, partner, and mentor.

An administrative, staff position, the Director will report to the Office of the President, and will have the opportunity to:

  • Oversees the creation and implementation of a groundbreaking center for research and design in immersive media
  • Works with senior leadership and key faculty to develop long-term strategies that position the center as the place of choice for immersive media projects in Philadelphia
  • Develops and teaches undergraduate and/or graduate courses
  • Partners with our development team to identify and cultivate a community of support for the center both within and without the university
  • Identifies projects that have the opportunity for external support and funding
  • Builds and inspires a team of creative professionals to support the center’s goals; oversee the hiring of shop technicians and supervise their development
  • Develops or finds the best tools and methods possible for realizing the goals of our students and fellows, facilitating the work of the center’s user base
  • Organizes and leads training sessions to ensure accessibility of the center’s resources
  • Directs all programmatic and budgetary operations for the center
  • Produces documentation on tools, methods, training, and projects for future reference

The successful candidate will present a track record of experiments that have led to breakthroughs in computer-aided aesthetics and possess:

  • A background in visual effects, computer simulation, or related field

  • A demonstrable comprehension of the current possibilities of performance capture, user input, and virtual reality systems
  • A terminal degree or at least 10 years of professional experience with a portfolio of work demonstrating professional accomplishment in a related field
  • Evidence of collaboration and consensus building across disciplines
  • Evidence of an ability to develop partnerships with industry and other enterprises outside of the academy
  • A record of developing external support and managing externally funded research

In addition, the successful candidate should also possess:

  • Highly creative, ambitious, passionate and possess an insatiable curiosity
  • Demonstrated leadership of impactful programming within a contemporary dialogue (we welcome the provocative, the courageous, the unconventional)
  • Proven success as an educator, demonstrated either through direct teaching experience, scholarly output, or related engagements
  • Strong collaboration and rapport-building skills
  • Ability to cultivate and steward both internal and external strategic relationships
  • Ability to direct, monitor, evaluate, and – most importantly - inspire staff
  • Ability to manage organizational budget
  • Strong and compelling oral and written communication skills
  • Superior project management skills and attention to detail
  • High-level technical aptitude, including hardware systems administration and software development skills
  • Proven ability to work and lead effectively in a highly diverse community
  • Preference will be given to candidates with prior administrative experience in interactive or immersive media, human-computer interaction or a related field.  

    The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by the incumbent; they do not purport to describe all functions.  Incumbent may be assigned other duties, and the essential functions may change from time to time as necessary.

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