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Academic Director- Florence

Florence, Italy
ROLE OVERVIEW

Academic Director

 

Verto is on a mission to provide the best possible start to college. We start by making travel and experiential education a core part of every participant’s Freshman year. Our participants begin college overseas in one of 5 Verto locations, before seamlessly transferring to one of over 70 partner universities in the United States. While completing 1 or 2 experiences with Verto, participants become more mature, empathetic global citizens who have a greater sense of purpose and direction for their lives. 

 

At Verto, we’re creating a different model. We’re driving the costs down and acceptance rates up. We connect participants to the world and give them a chance to discover who they are before making them choose a major. We’re out to build a transformational company that makes higher education more accessible and impactful. We are backed by First Round Capital and other top VCs

 

At Verto Education we value voices of all backgrounds and experiences. We know that creating a diverse environment takes dedication and intentional hiring practices. We are cognizant of the gap between our current state and our commitments. In order to bridge that gap, we have to humbly evaluate where we are today. 

 

POSITION DESCRIPTION

 

The Academic Director oversees the coordination, quality, planning, and delivery of all components of educational programming onsite. This position provides day-to-day academic leadership, and oversees the learning environment to ensure it is a rigorous, engaging, and supportive experience that fosters participant academic success. The Academic Director ensures that academic programming and staff are in compliance with Verto’s School(s) of Record academic protocols, all of Verto’s policies and practices, and overall standards of academic excellence for teaching and learning. 

 

The Academic Director directly reports to the Program Director for day-to-day academic program management and the implementation of academic affairs onsite. The Academic Director has a secondary reporting line to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and collaborates closely with the Academic Affairs Headquarters team on all matters related to strategic planning and academic development, academic operations, staff affairs, and participant academic success and advising. The Academic Director is responsible for creating and maintaining a positive and transformative learning environment in partnership with key stakeholders across the organization. 

 

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Academic Leadership

  • Implement the Verto curriculum, academic standards and policies in compliance with Verto and SoR requirements and employ education and study abroad industry good practices and innovation. 
  • Oversee the design and delivery of key components of academic programming, including courses, experiential learning, academic excursions, co-curricular activities, etc.
  • Engage in longer-term strategic academic planning, identifying local resources and strengths that are in alignment with Verto’s mission, vision and goals. 
  • Manage the day to day academic program, addressing staff and participant  academic needs in cooperation with the Center Director and the Academic Affairs (AA) team at Verto Headquarters (HQ).
  • Develop and manage partnerships with local academic institutions, associations, and professionals as appropriate for academic development and organizational needs, including responding to Verto university partner requests. 
  • Supervise local staff and lead staff affairs onsite including staff recruitment, hiring, credentialing, and training in coordination with Verto HQ. Support staff professional development and longer term initiatives around staff engagement and retention in partnership with AA HQ. 
  • Evaluate staff regularly, following established protocols from AA HQ and School(s) of Record, which include course observations, staff and course evaluations, create staff files and review approaches to teaching and learning.  
  • Provide leadership to facilitate transformational experiential learning and support the implementation of organizational initiatives, such as Verto Discovery, to maximize effectiveness and innovate pedagogical best practices for experiential teaching and learning. 
  • Monitor teaching and learning, address academic needs proactively, and support staff, academic success staff, and participants to create and sustain positive and engaging learning environments. 
  • Provide leadership to address academic complaints, grievances and appeals in coordination with the Academic Success staff and AA HQ. Make recommendations as appropriate for participant  withdrawals and dismissals as necessary. 
  • Communicate concerns, needs, requests for support, escalated staff or participant  issues as appropriate to the Center/Program Director and AA Vice President for timely resolution. 

 

Academic Success and Participant Support 

  • Work with staff to implement and monitor ongoing participant  academic accommodations and ensure adherence to FERPA and participant privacy. 
  • Develop initiatives that support academic success in real time to address participant and staff needs in partnership with the Academic Success staff and AA HQ.  
  • Partner closely with the Associate Director of Academic Success and the Academic Success team to monitor and proactively support participants facing academic difficulties, academic discipline issues, attendance, and general academic performance issues.
  • Provide ongoing supervision to designated Academic Success staff and partner with Academic Success Coordinators to achieve academic objectives and key results to support participant  persistence and overall academic success.  
  • Train, monitor, and evaluate academic success staff onsite, providing feedback and professional development.  Participate in the hiring process for all academic success staff.
  • Support ongoing academic advising and college counseling for all participants, and utilize resources from the Academic Success team to support teaching and learning. 
  • Monitor and report on academic progress and performance of participants, providing 1:1 and group interventions in collaboration with the Academic Success team. 
  • Facilitate staff’s communication with the participants and the ASC team.
  • Respond in a timely manner to all questions, issues, problems or needs of any stakeholders regarding the academic delivery of the Verto program.
  • Participate in overnight and daylong excursions with participants, in conjunction with other Verto staff members and staff.

 

Academic Operations and Management 

  • Provide day-to-day management of academic operations, including the management of the academic calendar, course schedules and timelines for critical academic requirements such as add/drop, withdrawal, midterm and final exam schedule, etc. in collaboration with AA HQ team.   
  • Serve as the onsite resource for managing key academic technology needs relevant to learning management systems, online textbooks and library resources, and course registration needs in collaboration with relevant stakeholders from HQ. 
  • Oversee implementation and utilization of learning management systems (e.g., Canvas), for all teaching and learning activities, providing ongoing support to staff, academic success staff, and participants. 
  • Coordinate course registration activities with the Center/Program Director and the AA HQ team, monitoring changes in enrollment, forecasting appropriate academic schedules and hiring, and reporting on any participant  enrollment changes.
  • Design and oversee the delivery of the Academic Orientation for participants in collaboration with AA HQ team.
  • Manage course evaluation processes, engage staff and  participants to ensure high response rates. 
  • Provide ongoing reporting for AA HQ and School of Record as needed.  
  • Support site visits from AA HQ staff, School(s) of Record, and University Partners.
  • Facilitate access to local resources for academic programming and activities.
  • Under the supervision of the Center/Program Director, develop and manage the academic budget.

 

WHO WE’RE LOOKING FOR

  • Strategic Thinker: You can plot the chess moves a year ahead of time and develop a credible plan to deliver amazing value to our participants.
  • Influential communicator: You are a thoughtful communicator who can sell ideas, gather resources, and rally stakeholders.
  • Strong Executor: You value getting things done and hitting deadlines. You have a track record of delivering under pressure. 
  • Humble Collaborator: You bring kindness and empathy to your working relationships and put the team’s success before your own.  
  • Mission-Driven: You deeply believe that education has the power to transform lives and you want to give more young people a chance to thrive. 

 

REQUIREMENTS & QUALIFICATIONS

  • Terminal degree (PhD) and 3 – 5 years experience in educational administration preferred.
  • Demonstrated teaching experience in undergraduate education, preferably with U.S. college participants, with a minimum of 2 years teaching in a university or study abroad environment with a participant -centered, experiential learning approach.
  • Prior role at a university or study abroad organization or education management in an international setting, and/or direct experience with US higher education and study abroad.
  • Enjoyment of working with staff and participants to create transformational educational experiences, serving as a bridge to the local culture to inspire participant  learning.  
  • Experience working with first-year college participants is a plus. 
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and comfort addressing relevant issues directly with staff and participants. 
  • Ability to handle multiple ongoing tasks and prioritize within a complex administrative environment, flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, in English and local language.
  • Ability to complete detail-oriented tasks on time without sacrificing accuracy or quality.
  • Experience supervising staff, comfortable working in global teams across time zones with demonstrated cultural competency. 
  • Prepared to work in a fast-paced, start-up organization that is striving for rapid growth, innovation, and long-term success. 
  • Eligibility to work in Italy/ work authorization at the time of hire.