Program Director-Oceans at Duke

Work Arrangement: 
Requisition Number:  244538
Regular or Temporary:  Regular

Durham, NC, US, 27710

Personnel Area:  UNIVERSITY
Date:  Jun 16, 2024

Duke University:


Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.


About the Climate Commitment:

This position is supported by the Office of Climate and Sustainability. The Duke Climate Commitment [] unites the university’s education, research, operations and external engagement missions to address the climate crisis. The commitment builds on Duke’s longstanding leadership in climate, energy and sustainability to educate and deploy a generation of climate- and sustainability-fluent innovators and create just, equitable solutions for all.


The Duke Climate Commitment seeks to imagine, design, and implement a sustainable future while demonstrating the unique role that higher education can play in addressing one of the pre-eminent global challenges of our time.


Occupational Summary:

Duke is seeking a creative leader to help develop the Oceans@Duke Initiative []. Oceans@Duke is a university-wide, interdisciplinary initiative that seeks to amplify Duke’s world-class ocean scholarship, build a community of ocean-related faculty and students, and make a positive impact on ocean health.


The Program Director will provide strategic direction to Oceans@Duke and develop and coordinate ocean-focused programming with faculty and students across Duke’s Schools and programs.  Other key responsibilities include coordinating regular faculty and student program meetings, financial development and administration, coordination and support of ocean-related student clubs, and program support for speakers, publications, special conferences or other related events.

This position will report to the Oceans Policy Program Director and will be an on-site position based at the Duke Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability in Durham, N.C.

This is a three- year term- limited position, with possibility for renewal based on satisfactory performance and ongroing financial support.



Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values of Duke University. We believe that the educational environment is enhanced when diverse groups of people with diverse ideas come together to learn. Applicants with a demonstrated commitment to issues of diversity in higher education are particularly encouraged to apply.

Work Performed:

The Oceans@Duke Program Director will help us expand the reach of Duke’s research and education through the following priorities:

  • Support a core faculty steering committee in its mission to create a compelling high-level Oceans@Duke strategy and develop a plan for growth and impact.
  • Support the Oceans@Duke student club in recruiting members, and designing offerings to enhance ocean-related education, experience, and programming across all graduate schools.
  • Expand educational opportunities for students by integrating ocean-related projects, partners, and topics with existing Duke programs (e.g. Masters projects, Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum, Bass Connections, Data+, Climate+, Design Climate, and others). Help to triage incoming ocean-related opportunities to the appropriate faculty and programs.
  • Work with faculty to design and administer new inter-disciplinary initiatives to strengthen educational and research opportunities for faculty and students. 
  • Bring a strong focus to building relationships with community-focused researchers, and identifying tangible ways to engage with ocean-related community priorities and stakeholders.
  • Enhance Duke’s ocean leadership and reputation with priority stakeholders, drawing upon existing engagement models within the university, as well as existing project-based learning programs, such as capstones, masters’ projects, Bass Connections programs, etc. 
  • Help strengthen target networks and form partnerships with external organizations and thought leaders focused on connecting existing Duke priorities and capabilities (faculty, curricular, co-curricular) to global ocean conservation challenges.
  • Work with the Oceans@Duke faculty steering committee to identify and pursue grant opportunities to support the above activities, in consultation with other relevant offices, like Foundation Relations.


Program Management Support:

  • Provide energetic support to the graduate student club, including election of officers, strategy development and planning of events.
  • Support the faculty advisory group to set priorities and directions for the Oceans@Duke initiative.
  • Support the faculty advisory group, and with input from internal and external stakeholders, to develop and deliver a strategic 3-year plan for the Oceans@Duke Initiative.
  • Assist with efforts to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, internally and externally, including senior administrators, faculty/staff, students, and potential sponsors and donors, drawing upon existing engagement models within the university.
  • Support Oceans@Duke activities/events, such as but not limited to the Blue Economy Summit;
  • If funding becomes available, administer a new Global Ocean Fellows Program, under the direction of the faculty advisory group, including establishing the selection criteria for fellows, preparing communication materials for faculty and staff throughout the university, managing the budget for the program, widely communicating research results, and providing ongoing support to fellows.
  • Facilitate the preparation of applications for grants and contracts to include development of budgets; administer departmental grants and contracts in accordance with University policies and sponsors' requirements regarding records, reports, controls and conditions governing expenditures of funds.
  • Coordinate the compilation of and prepare operational and financial reports and analyses setting forth progress, adverse trends and appropriate recommendations or conclusions.

Perform other duties related to managing and advancing the Oceans@Duke initiative.

 Required Qualifications at this Level


Work requires communications, analytical and organizational skills generally acquired through completion of a bachelor's degree program. A graduate degree in a discipline related to ocean conservation field preferred.


Experience & Skills:

Work requires the ability to plan and administer programs and direct program activities within a specific functional area, generally acquired through four years of related experience.




Preferred Skills:

We are looking for candidates with most or all of the following:

  • Experience developing and managing new programs and strategies, especially related to education or fellowship initiatives. This person should have experience-based ideas about what works well/what doesn’t.
  • Demonstrated passion for sustainable ocean use and conservation, and enthusiasm for the mission of Oceans@Duke.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills as demonstrated through past publications (reports, white papers, blogs, marketing communications).
  • A high level of competence in speaking with faculty, students, senior university administrators, and external contacts in a range of contexts, and demonstrated ability to collaborate with faculty.
  • Diplomacy in engaging with a complex set of stakeholders and an appreciation for the drivers and constraints of the university system.
  • Strong project management skills, a clear ability to plan and prioritize task, and attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and planning experience, including familiarity with benchmarking, developing strategic goals, timelines, and budgets, and achieving buy-in from stakeholders.
  • Ability to develop appropriate outcome metrics, and measure, evaluate, and report against them.
  • Demonstrated skill with social media.
  • Resourcefulness, creative thinking, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Ability to work under minimal supervision on complex assignments, with a high degree of initiative and independent judgment.


Minimum Qualifications




Work requires communications, analytical and organizational skills generally acquired through completion of a bachelor's degree program.




Work requires the ability to plan and administer programs and direct OR ANY OTHER EQUIVALENT COMBINATION OF RELEVANT EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE. program activities within a specific functional area, generally acquired through four years of related experience.


Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.


Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.


Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.


Nearest Major Market: Durham
Nearest Secondary Market: Raleigh