AUCD Executive Director Job Profile

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013


Job Announcement

Job Profile

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), a national not-for-profit organization, seeks an executive director to lead and guide activities that fulfill its mission to advance policies and practices that improve the health, education, social and economic well-being of people with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and their communities by supporting its members in research, education, health and service activities.

The Organization

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities promotes and supports national networks of interdisciplinary programs to advance policy and practice through research, education, leadership, and services that, in concert, support independence, productivity, and satisfying quality of life outcomes for people with disabilities, their families, and communities.

AUCD member organizations  are located in every U.S. state and territory and include 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), 43  Interdisciplinary Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Programs and 15 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRC). Each AUCD member organization is affiliated with a major research and training university.

AUCD supports its network through leadership on major social issues affecting people with developmental or other disabilities, public policy advocacy, partnering with other national organizations, promoting communication within the network and with other groups, and providing technical assistance on a broad range of topics. AUCD is governed by a 19-member Board of Directors that includes professionals, individuals with disabilities and family members. It has an annual budget of approximately $5 million and employs a staff of 21. For additional detailed information, visit

The Position

Reporting directly to the board of directors, the Executive Director serves as the chief executive officer of AUCD. The incoming executive will succeed the current director, George Jesien, who is retiring in late 2013 after 14 years in the position. The next Executive Director will inherit an organization that is respected by peers, is financially sound, has a highly motivated and engaged staff, and has a solid governing board.


The Executive Director's primary responsibilities are to: provide visionary leadership for the Association; manage strategic planning and policy development; and supervise day-to-day operations that include finance, program development, staff supervision and development. The Executive Director provides information and counsel to the board to facilitate the board's decision making processes that support member needs and continued growth, ensures accountability to federal and congressional mandates, and responds to consumer and family needs.

Specific key responsibilities include:

  1. Work closely with the board to provide vision and direction for the Association; translate that vision into mission-oriented results; and foster a culture that is network member-focused and promotes the values of transparency, accountability, work excellence, diversity, inclusion, self-determination and family advocacy.
  2. Champion the mission of the Association and serve as its chief spokesperson, communicating the AUCD mission and vision to a wide variety of audiences.
  3. Maintain a visible leadership position for the Association through proactive external relations on mission-related topics; cultivate and manage relationships with:
    1. Congress and all federal agencies that support the work of the network and its members.
    2. National consumer, advocacy and professional organizations.
  4. Support the growth and development of AUCD members through:
    1. Communications, meetings/conferences and in other innovative means of sharing relevant information, especially on developments in disabilities related policy, research, evidence-based practices, health care and related fields.
    2. Programs and initiatives that foster new opportunities for network members that enhance their role and ability to meet consumer/family needs and accountability for congressional mandates and federal initiatives.
  5. Secure the financial future and fiscal integrity of the Association:
    1. Maintain a continuous understanding of the Association's financial position and outlook; ensure fiscal responsibility and security, and operate within the budget approved by the board.
    2. Provide proactive, strategic leadership for the Association's resource and program development activities.
  6. Oversee the day-to-day operations and programs to ensure that AUCD maintains its status as a well-managed, effective and highly-respected organization:
    1. Ensure human resource capacity to meet current and future needs by hiring, supervising, and supporting the development of the AUCD staff teams; establish the conditions that motivate the best work from the staff.
    2. Guide the development of the organizational structure, methods, systems and controls that support today's needs and provide the capacity for future growth.
  7. Support the board of directors in its governance role and foster its ongoing development; keep it fully informed on internal conditions and important external developments.

Reporting Relationships

Reports to: The Executive Director reports to the board of directors.

Direct reports: Direct reports to the Executive Director are the members of the Management Committee, which includes the directors of major programs including federal grants and contracts, legislative affairs, finance, operations, IT and special projects directors.

Leadership Outlook and Near-Term Priorities

The AUCD Executive Director plays a variety of leadership roles both inside and outside of the AUCD networks - roles that advance public policy positions, spur new program development within federal agencies, connect members to new programmatic and funding opportunities, and foster critical partnerships within the network and between AUCD and other national organizations and their leaders. In short, the Executive Director plays a critical role in advancing the vitality of the networks AUCD represents, and more importantly, improving the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities who are the ultimate beneficiaries.

The priority responsibilities of the new Executive Director for the first 12-18 months are to:

  • Develop an understanding of the membership and the dynamic relationship between AUCD and member universities.
  • Develop trust and working relationships with diverse stakeholders, including staff, board, members, government agencies and other diverse constituencies.
  • Develop an in-depth understanding of the complexities of AUCD, including its funding sources and the networks it represents, and monitor the health care environment and its potential impact on members' ability to focus on their missions.
  • Maintain regular contact with the board, funders and members to establish a regular communication pattern and a seamless transition.

Experience and Leadership Attributes

Ideal candidates for this position will genuinely value a future in which everyone, including those living with developmental and other disabilities, are fully integrated as participating members of their communities. In addition to experience in leadership, management, supervision, financial and resource management, and board relations, a strong candidate will also bring a variety of experiences and attributes to AUCD, including:

  • A terminal degree with a major emphasis in disability/health, education, psychology, law or other social science field.
  • Content knowledge about the field of developmental disabilities and the network of associations and disability focused organizations.
  • Demonstrated internal organizational leadership and administrative skills, including leading and directing professionals, staff development, working collaboratively, budget planning and financial control, information dissemination, board development and public relations.
  • Successful experience in directing and managing projects.
  • An understanding of university systems and how to navigate relationships within that context.
  • Demonstrated external leadership, including experience in external, public and government relations.
  • A passion for and value of people with developmental and other disabilities and their families and communities. Track record of collaborating with external partners and other disability organizations.
  • Experience with federal grant procurement, contracting, budgeting and resource management.
  • An interest and capacity to use technology to further the work of the Association and its communication and dissemination activities.
  • A quick study with a curious nature and the ability to seek and develop relationships.

Application Process

AUCD provides a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits. To apply, email cover letter, resume, and salary expectations to For more information, contact Catrese Brown or Don Tebbe. Communications will be confidential. Resume review begins immediately and resumes will be accepted until the position is filled, however, the active application period is now through June 30. The Search Committee tentatively plans to interview candidates mid-summer and hopes to fill the position by September, 2013.

Association of University Centers on Disabilities is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes and encourages diverse applicants.