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Position Guide


About the Chicago Center


The Chicago Center equips college students and other participants to learn from diverse urban communities through innovative programs, seminars, and internships.

Founded in 1970, Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture has extended the college classroom walls by providing professional practicum opportunities and seminars for students of all academic majors in Chicago.

Recognized nationwide as a leader in experiential education, our name Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture reflects our commitment and relationship to one of North America's most dynamic cities.

Chicago Center's location in Hyde Park provides a diverse and culturally rich environment for students outside the classroom. Hyde Park is home to President Barack Obama and has a long history of successful racial, religious, and cultural diversity, which has made it the ideal setting for our students as they engage in cross-cultural living and learning.

The Center expands the traditional classroom with a community-based, first voice pedagogy that prepares its students for greater self-awareness and global citizenship through three dynamic, urban-oriented student tracks: student teaching, social work, and internship programs.


Under the direction of the board of directors, the executive director is responsible for the operation and the general management of the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture (the Chicago Center). The next executive director of the Chicago Center will find a welcoming board, committed and talented team, and an organization poised for its next chapter, filled with opportunities.

The executive director is a culturally competent leader who must have the ability to engage audiences from college students to college faculty and university leaders. A confident, energetic, and forward-thinking leader, the new executive director must adapt quickly and easily develop trust with faculty members and university partners to sure the Chicago Center continues to deliver on its mission. This leader will need to cultivate trust both internally and externally in order to steward and advance strategic relationships.

The successful candidate should bring a participatory management style, with the ability to solicit and encourage input from staff while also having the ability to make sound decisions.

The ideal candidate should be looking to join an organization that is placed for robust growth and high impact.

Working in collaboration with the board of directors, the incoming executive director will lead the strategic planning process, including the creation of a long-range plan for revenue growth, organizational sustainability, and expanded capacity.


Within the first 12 to 18 months, the executive director will achieve the following key objectives:

  • Evaluate the programs of the Chicago Center to adapt to a post-pandemic reality and shepherd the Chicago Center through the process of change.

  • Lead, build, inspire, and support the Chicago Center’s high-performing team.

  • Work strategically with the board of directors and staff to achieve the Chicago Center’s annual enrollment and financial goals and on the development and implementation of policies and procedures, including new initiatives that promote growth and deepen impact.


  • Provide vision, strategic leadership, and momentum in advancing the Chicago Center’s programs both during and outside of pandemic timeframes.

  • Working closely with the board, start a process to develop and implement a new strategic plan to advance the organization.

  • Hire, lead, manage, inspire, and grow the Chicago Center’s dedicated staff while promoting a culture of high performance, innovation, and continuous improvement.

  • Support the team’s professional development, and maintain a work environment that inspires, attracts, retains, and motivates a diverse team.

  • Serve as the key spokesperson for the organization; raise awareness and enhance understanding of the Chicago Center with students, university partners, and funders.

  • Oversee and/or conduct all administrative and financial matters for the Chicago Center, including preparing and administering the annual budget.

  • Provide strong financial management and oversight of all financial transactions, and provide accurate and timely updates and reports to the Chicago Center’s board and committees.

  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit new potential sources of revenue, including program, charitable, and grant revenue.


The Executive Director will bring many of the following qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree (required), with a master’s or advanced degree strongly preferred.

  • Five to seven years experience with nonprofit or education organizations, including previous supervisory experience.

  • Solid financial management skills, including budget preparation and decision-making.

  • Experience working with college students.

  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills with a persuasive ability, including strong written, verbal, and presentation skills

  • Ability to work with a flexible schedule and travel as needed, including evenings and weekends.

  • Willingness to reside in the Chicago area

Applicants should send their letter of interest and resume to Tyler Hough, interim executive director, at

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Thank you for your interest in joining the Chicago Center team!

We are currently hiring for the following position/s:

Executive Director