World Learning seeks an Academic Director (AD) to manage SIT Study Abroad’s Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development program in Valparaiso, Chile.
SIT Study Abroad Academic Directors (ADs) manage SIT’s undergraduate study abroad programs located in 42 countries worldwide. The program themes vary from development and social change to arts, environmental studies, post-conflict transformation, health, and human rights. All SIT Study Abroad programs emphasize field study while examining critical global issues in keeping with the broader organizational missions of peace and social justice. SIT’s educational model focuses on cultural immersion as its primary heuristic component and uses theories of experiential education to inform its curricula and augment student learning. The academic centerpiece of most SIT Study Abroad semester programs is the independent study project. This component weaves together theory and practice and synthesizes the other program coursework.
The Academic Director is responsible for:
- planning, delivery, and supervision of the academic program offered by SIT Study Abroad at its assigned program location;
- ensuring program academic excellence and facilitating student learning experience in a safe environment;
- Managing the program site and supervision of local staff, budget planning and oversight, and financial reporting;
- representing SIT Study Abroad in the program location and developing and maintaining positive relationships with local partners;
- The Academic Director must remain current in their areas of expertise and familiar with in-country issues and practices in higher education. When required by local law, the Academic Director will have a local employment contract. The position is full time for the entire contract period.
- General management, implementation, and delivery of the study abroad program;
- Curriculum development and academic oversight;
- Advising in matters regarding academic program delivery and scheduling;
- Organizing and delivering the students' initial cross-cultural orientation and components of the thematic and research methods courses, in their areas of expertise, as appropriate;
- Where appropriate and in consultation with the Academic Dean, teach one or more of the academic components;
- Designing and coordinating a fully integrated educational experience to facilitate student learning through classroom sessions, language instruction, field-based activities, and homestays. Facilitating the linkages between and among each of these various components;
- Where applicable, working with the language coordinator and language instructors to ensure highest quality, field-based language instruction;
- Generally guiding and advising students in both their cross-cultural learning processes and academic experiences - thus serving as an educator/teacher in the broadest sense by assisting students to draw substantive connections from among different aspects of the experience;
- Conducting the program review and academic evaluation at the end of the program and, in programs with an independent study project or internship experience, submitting a narrative evaluation of the student’s work/experience.
- Managing program administration and operations in compliance with local laws and regulations;
- Negotiating cost-effective program services and managing the program budget;
- Making recruitment and termination decisions for local program staff in collaboration with the Academic Dean and World Learning Vermont Human Resources office;
- Supervising local program staff, including mentoring, training, and regular performance evaluations;
- Maintaining regular communication with the headquarters of SIT Study Abroad in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA and submitting detailed, timely reports, as required;
- Facilitating a constructive relationship between SIT students and host country nationals and program partners;
- Negotiating and maintaining updated agreements with local partner organizations;
- Participating, when requested, in the writing and editing of program materials, advertising materials, catalog copy, country information.
Student Health and Safety
- Providing student support for medical, personal and security issues in collaboration with Student Affairs division, the supervising Dean, and local staff;
- Maintaining up-to-date program contingency plans, based on current and reliable information concerning health and safety risks of the local environment;
- Communicating emergency procedures and protocols to student participants, program staff, home stay families;
- Providing culturally appropriate strategies and advice to maximize safety and wellbeing.
Other duties as assigned.
The nature of the AD job is such that ADs may be called upon during irregular hours to deal with emergencies.
- Terminal degree (PhD) in Latin American Studies, the Humanities, or the Social Sciences with a focus on Chile;
- Academic and practical knowledge of the region with advanced proficiency in Spanish required;
- Working knowledge of English is strongly desired;
- Eligibility to work in Chile is required;
- College teaching and experience with U.S. undergraduates is strongly desirable;
- ADs must be attuned to the educational philosophy and expectations of SIT and possess both commitment to academic excellence and the personal leadership qualities required by the program. Among the latter are cultural sensitivity and adaptability; intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for challenge; tact and diplomacy in working with host nationals and American students; organizational ability; budget management skills; and computer literacy;
- Effective communication skills;
- Proven ability to be flexible, collaborative and patient plus a sense of humor.
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