The Morris Challenge, to be hosted by the University of Minnesota Morris, is conceived of as a biennial competition that engages interdisciplinary and heterogeneous teams – including students – from across the region and country to tackle grand challenges facing rural areas. Each Challenge will ask teams to imagine, propose, and demonstrate practical solutions to a bounded, but capacious, issue facing American rural communities. The goals of the Morris Challenge are:
To stimulate participants to think creatively about complex real-world issues and to develop creative and forward-thinking solutions to them;
To make available to the community and the world practical and effective solutions to complex issues facing rural areas; and
To nurture robust community-university relationships in keeping with the University’s public outreach mission
The inaugural director will provide strategic direction and operational leadership in order to fully develop and bring the Morris Challenge to fruition. This will entail development of start-up infrastructure, leading the program, and serving as the champion for the Challenge. Through the vehicle of the Morris Challenge, the director will contribute to advancing the University’s national, state, and regional visibility as well as deepening relationships with partners and friends of the University.
The position is funded through private giving for 18 months with the opportunity for extension dependent on success of the program and availability of funds. The launch of the inaugural Challenge is envisioned for 2022. This is a working leader position, reporting to the chancellor.
In the leadership role, the director will:
Create, lead, and implement an integrated, comprehensive plan for the Morris Challenge
Provide overall coordination, development, and leadership of the Morris Challenge.
Initiate outreach activities to build key partnerships with funders and stakeholders. Gather and implement feedback from key partners to enhance the program.
Develop and execute strategic plans and budgets to define and implement the Morris Challenge including logistics before, during, and after the competition
Develop critical partnerships in support of the Challenge with the Morris university community, the region, and elsewhere that may include industrial manufacturing, leading agribusinesses, crop agriculture, foundations, corporations, or other partners.
Establish and convene an advisory group of external and internal constituents.
Develop processes to evaluate the Morris Challenge and institute continuous improvement for future rounds of the competition.
In collaboration with faculty and staff, set priorities and goals for the launch of the inaugural Morris Challenge in 2022.
Collaborate with University of Minnesota systemwide colleagues to raise awareness of the Challenge, and leverage systemwide resources
Provide leadership in marketing and fundraising for the Morris Challenge
Champion the Morris Challenge along with the University of Minnesota Morris brand in all aspects of the work. Partner with Communications and Marketing to create awareness and excitement to bring teams into the competition
Serve as the brand ambassador. In collaboration with the Offices of Communications and Marketing and Advancement work with national, state, and local media to create awareness and excitement around the Challenge.
Work directly with Office of Advancement to secure private giving to support all aspects of the initiative.
Draft and submit grants and private giving proposals in collaboration with Advancement and Grants Development.
Partner with Advancement to engage and steward supporters of the program, formulate programming, and ensure a successful outcome.
The University of Minnesota Morris offers a comprehensive benefit program.
The University of Minnesota Morris seeks a Director, Morris Challenge. This professional and administrative position is 100%, 40 hours/week reporting to the Chancellor. The qualifications are as follows:
Required Qualifications BA/BS with six years of relevant professional experience. Progressive responsibility in leading projects, advocacy, and/or substantial and innovative work in program development. Entrepreneurial spirit. Successful experience with community development and support.
Preferred Qualifications Ability to initiate and monitor several simultaneous aspects of a large project. Commitment to the value of a liberal arts education and understanding of issues that affect historically underrepresented student populations, a record of success working in inclusive, diverse staff teams, experience interpreting and applying institutional policies. Demonstrated commitment to developing relationships in the community and with team members across campus to generate excitement and energy around a focused project. Experience in marketing or fundraising.
Internal Number: 338562
About University of Minnesota, Morris
The University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) provides a rigorous undergraduate liberal arts education, preparing its students to be global citizens who value and pursue intellectual growth, civic engagement, intercultural competence, and environmental stewardship.As a public land-grant institution, UMM is a center for education, culture, and research for the region, nation, and world. UMM is committed to outstanding teaching, dynamic learning, innovative faculty and student scholarship and creative activity, and public outreach. Our residential academic setting fosters collaboration, diversity, and a deep sense of community.