Director of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, McCormick School of Engineering

December 22, 2019

Director of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

McCormick School of Engineering

Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering seeks a leader with vision, a track record in entrepreneurship, and a dynamic, inclusive, and enterprising style to serve as Director of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The Farley Center, an endowed center within the McCormick School, supports entrepreneurship education for students in and beyond McCormick; fosters innovation and entrepreneurship programming, activities, and experiences for students across Northwestern; and serves as a hub of the University’s expanding innovation ecosystem. Given the Center’s resources and standing and McCormick’s curricular and research strengths, the Farley Center’s new Director will have a remarkable opportunity to shape the future of innovation and entrepreneurship at one of the world’s premier private research universities and to position Northwestern as a primary catalyst in the ongoing development of the Chicago area’s technology startup sector.

The Director reports to the Dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and will hold a non-tenured faculty position in the School consistent with their experience and credentials.  The Director provides overarching vision for the Center, the focus and measures of success for its programmatic and reputational objectives, and the strategy and tactics to achieve those objectives. Working with the Center’s administrative staff but also drawing on expertise present within the School and in the central administration of the University, the Director is responsible for the curriculum offered by the Center as well as stewarding the Center’s financial and human resources and for contributing to the development of additional financial resources to maximize the quality and scope of its activities. Collaborating widely across the University, the Director ensures that the Center continues to be a distinctive element of the McCormick “whole brain” experience and continues to play a leading role in Northwestern’s innovation ecosystem. As the chief executive of the Farley Center, the Director is fully responsible for the Center’s curriculum and teaching as well as its efficient administration and operation and for growing and shepherding its resources wisely.

The new Director should be a dynamic and visionary leader with the domain expertise to create sophisticated entrepreneurship programming for diverse stakeholders in a complex and intellectually rigorous environment. This leader will have a track record of fostering an entrepreneurial culture and developing sustainable programs and events to advance understanding of, participation in, and commitment to entrepreneurship. Experience as an entrepreneur is an important additional attribute that may differentiate some candidates.

While there are various paths that could lead a successful Director to the Farley Center and many qualities, competencies, and credentials that will be conducive to their success, the Director should at a minimum possess a tangible passion for entrepreneurship and innovation along with the domain expertise necessary to gain the respect of Northwestern faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends; a clear orientation to action, leadership presence, and effective communication skills; the ability to build and sustain relationships with many constituencies, including deans, faculty, staff, students, alumni, administrators, and philanthropists; exceptional teaching capabilities; the ability to create alignment in a decentralized environment; to influence by means of credibility, expertise, and demonstrated success; and to work effectively across and beyond a complex institution as a visionary, catalyst, guide, and partner; a demonstrated track record of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of leading and managing, of shaping organizational culture, and of curricular and co-curricular programming; a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; the ability to align vision, strategy, business processes, incentives, and resources to achieve specific programmatic objectives; impeccable integrity and personal honesty; drive and stamina; a sense of humor.

For the full position description of the role:

Opus Partners ( is assisting Northwestern University in this search. Please contact Craig Smith, Partner, or Katie Dean, Associate Partner, to apply or to seek additional information: /

Northwestern University is an Affirmative Action / EEOC employer. Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply.