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Academic Director, Florence

Florence, Italy
ROLE OVERVIEW

Position: Academic Director 

Details: 100% FTE | Onsite/In-Person (Must be authorized to work in country)

Location:  Florence, Italy 

 

Verto is on a mission to provide the best possible start to college. We start by making travel and experiential education an affordable and accessible pathway to a 4-year college degree.  Our participants begin college abroad in one of our Verto locations, before transferring to one of 70+ partner universities. While completing one or more 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 founded a new model. In partnership with our non-profit arm, The Verto Fund, we’re driving costs down and providing generous discounts, grants, and scholarships, especially to participants of low-income backgrounds. We’re creating a space for participants to thrive in the most diverse coming-of-age semester abroad out there while permitting a chance for discovery into who they are before deciding on a college major.  We’re out to build a transformational company that makes higher education more equitable, accessible, and impactful. We are backed by First Round Capital and other top VCs

 

POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Onsite Academic Director is the senior academic leader onsite.  The Academic Director manages the coordination, planning, and delivery of all components of educational programming onsite. This position ensures that programming and faculty are in compliance with Verto’s Academic Provider(s) and provides oversight of relevant academic protocols, policies and practices. The Onsite Academic Director ensures that standards of academic excellence for teaching and learning are met. This position provides day-to-day academic leadership, and ensures that the learning environment is a rigorous, engaging, and supportive one that fosters student academic success. 

 

The Onsite Academic Director is responsible for creating and maintaining a positive and transformative learning environment in partnership with key stakeholders across the organization.  This is an active role in managing the day-to-day teaching and learning experiences for all stakeholders. Faculty and Academic Staff report to the Academic Director onsite. The position may also include teaching during low-enrollment semesters as deemed appropriate. 

 

The Onsite Academic Director has a dual-reporting line, with primary reporting to the local Program Director for day-to-day academic program management, budgeting, and implementation of academic affairs onsite. The secondary reporting line is to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs in Verto Headquarters, reporting to the VPAA or Director of Academic Affairs, and collaborates closely with the entire Academic Affairs Headquarters team on all matters related to strategic planning and academic development, course planning, academic operations, faculty affairs, and participant academic success and advising. 

 

 

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Academic Leadership:  This position is responsible for day-to-day management of the faculty, academic staff, academic programming and curriculum, local academic partnerships, and supporting global leadership to implement a strong academic program onsite.

  • Curriculum: Ensure excellence in the delivery of the curriculum and day-to-day operations of the academic program, in compliance with the policies and practices of Verto’s Academic Provider and in accordance with best practices established for postsecondary education and the study abroad industry.
  • Programming & Partnerships: Strategize on the design and delivery of key components of academic programming, including courses, experiential learning, academic excursions, co-curricular activities, and academic success initiatives, etc. Develop and manage local partnerships with academic institutions, associations, and professionals as appropriate for curricular and programmatic development.
  • Faculty: Manage the process of faculty recruiting, credentialing, hiring, and training, in compliance with relevant policies and procedures established by the Academic Provider and Verto.
  • Evaluation: Monitor onsite teaching and learning, faculty and student academic performance, and evaluate faculty regularly, following established protocols from AAHQ and the Academic Provider.
  • Training: Support ongoing faculty training and professional development to maximize effectiveness and innovate pedagogical good practices for experiential learning.   Lead initiatives around faculty engagement and retention in partnership with AAHQ. 
  • Grievances: Provide leadership and participate in the processes to address, make recommendations, and communicate with AAHQ regarding faculty or participant academic complaints, grievances, and appeals in coordination with AAHQ and in compliance with policies and practices established by Verto and the Academic Provider.
  • Global Leadership: Participate in global academic leadership and planning meetings, contribute to achieving global academic objectives and key results (OKRs), sharing good practices and working to implement Verto’s central coordinated, locally managed model for continuity in student experiences across program locations.

 

Academic Success and Advising:  The Academic Director champions Academic Success in and out of the classroom, connecting faculty and students with resources to support academic achievement and implement Verto’s Academic Success and College Counseling Programs onsite.

  • Student Academic Success: Support student academic success in and out of the classroom, utilizing developmentally appropriate approaches to engage and motivate learners from diverse backgrounds and educational experiences. Support ongoing academic advising and college counseling for all participants, and utilize resources from the College Counseling & Academic Success teams to support participants academic progress. 
  • Manage Academic Success Staff: Collaborate with the Director of Academic Success Program to recruit, hire, train, supervise, and evaluate members of the onsite Academic Success Team, providing feedback and professional development and guidance on their day-to-day operations. 
  • OKRs: Partner with the Director of Academic Success Program and the onsite Academic Success Team to achieve academic objectives and key results (OKRs) and to support participant retention and overall academic success.  
  • Academic Interventions: Partner closely with the onsite Academic Success Team to monitor and proactively support participants facing academic difficulties, discipline, performance, accommodations, or faculty interaction issues, utilizing appreciative and intrusive/proactive advising approaches. 
  • Collaboration: Promote collaboration between faculty and the onsite Academic Success Team, and faculty and students, and faculty and College Counselors. Participate in global and site specific meetings for academic success and college counseling meetings as relevant.
  • College Counseling: Collaborate with the Director of Academic Success Program to supervise and guide College Counseling members during site visits, and support onsite programming. 
  • Policies: Oversee academic staff and faculty adherence to academic policies, including FERPA, Academic Provider, and general participant privacy policies.

 

Academic Operations and Management:  Manage the local and global academic operations to implement a centrally coordinated, locally managed model for academic affairs onsite. The AD will be involved in course registration, budgeting, managing course resources, and additional duties as needed for day to day operations. 

  • General Operations: Provide oversight of academic operations, including management of the academic calendar, schedules/timetables, and timelines for critical academic requirements (such as add/drop, withdrawal, midterm and final exam schedule, etc.), in collaboration with the AAHQ team and in compliance with Academic Provider guidelines and requirements. Participate in global academic operations meetings as required, and provide reporting to AAHQ and Academic Provider(s) as needed.
  • Budgets: Collaborate with the Program/Center Director for academic budgeting to include faculty hiring, experiential learning, excursions, etc. as directed.  
  • Academic Forecasting: Establish faculty hiring, course and section forecasts with AAHQ, monitor changes in enrollment, adjust course timetables, academic programming, etc.
  • Technology: Oversee implementation and utilization of key academic technology, including the learning management systems (e.g., Canvas), and online textbooks (Cengage) and library; and facilitate ongoing support to faculty, academic success staff, and participants for academic technology needs. 
  • Course Supplies: Work with the Program Director and faculty to manage the sourcing and procurement of studio or laboratory materials and equipment and manage inventories of academic supplies as relevant for planned studio or lab courses. 
  • Orientation & Training: Design, oversee, and delivers the Academic Orientation for faculty and participants in collaboration with AAHQ team.
  • Course Evaluations and Assessment: Manage student facing course evaluation and periodic learning assessment processes, and engage academic staff, faculty and participants to foster high response rates. 
  • Academic Reporting & Visits: Support necessary academic reporting, self-studies, and site visits from AAHQ staff, Academic Provider(s), and University Partners as needed.

 

Teaching / Course instruction:  The Academic Director may be asked to teach a course as needed as capacity allows based on student enrollment and curricular needs.

  • Credentialed by an Academic Provider to teach in a course relevant to the local curriculum. 
  • Serve in the role of faculty for course(s) in the area of disciplinary expertise, as needed and as appropriate (e.g., during low-enrollment semesters).
  • Fulfill duties as described in the general faculty job description.
  • Comply with relevant academic policies and protocols as established for faculty by the Academic Provider and Verto.

 

REQUIREMENTS & QUALIFICATIONS

Sr. Academic Leaders onsite: 

  • Must be authorized to work in the country at time of hire.  Preference will be given to local candidates currently living in the area.  
  • Hold an earned Doctoral Degree (or equivalent) from an accredited institution in a field relevant to education administration, international education, curriculum & instruction, or a relevant disciplinary field represented in Verto programs. 
  • Have a minimum of three years of instruction at post-secondary level and two years of experience (may be coterminous with teaching experience) in relevant areas of academic administration, including curriculum development and management, assessment, student achievement, faculty supervision and development, or other elements of teaching & learning.
  • Have demonstrated ability to lead and coordinate faculty, establish faculty training and development plans, engage with internal and external stakeholders, and possess experience and broad familiarity with both U.S. and local higher educational systems. 
  • Have familiarity with local culture, history, and language.  Demonstrated strong communication skills, both written and verbal, in English and local language (as relevant).
  • Enjoy working with faculty 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. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and comfort addressing relevant issues directly with faculty and participants. 
  • Ability to handle multiple ongoing tasks and prioritize within a complex administrative environment, and be flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Comfortable and skilled in working with 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. 

 

 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. 

 

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.