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A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Job Summary

Executive Director, Center/Consortium for Social Media Responsibility (CSMR) - University of Michigan School of Information

Technologists (product managers, designers, and engineers) are the day to day policy makers of today’s socially mediated media landscape. These technologists now shoulder a great social responsibility, to amplify the societal benefits and reduce the costs that have come with broad access to the means of public communication.  The CSMR mission will be to articulate principles and create metrics and tools that empower technologists to fulfill that responsibility.

The current vision, which the Executive Director will help to shape, is that CMSR will function primarily through working groups that include industry representatives and scholars from the University of Michigan and elsewhere. Working groups will convene around specific challenges such as: dissemination of misinformation; online harassment; comment quality; competition for attention (e.g., clickbait); and hate groups. Each working group will articulate principles of social responsibility, define measures and assessment processes, and develop tools that assist in conducting such measurements and assessments. CSMR will produce independent, credible public scorecards and reports that celebrate progress and highlight areas for improvement. CSMR may also produce demos and prototypes that illustrate how to reduce dissemination of misinformation and harassment, improve the quality of online public comments, or otherwise respond to the specific challenges.

We seek to hire a founding Executive Director (ED). This is a ground-floor opportunity to shape an organization (even the name is up for grabs) and, through it, the future of public communication and information dissemination. The ED will be expected to forge strategic partnerships with industry. The ED will also be expected to effectively engage scholars from the University of Michigan and elsewhere; many faculty and doctoral students have already developed prototype tools that are ripe for practical application and broader dissemination.  

Additional responsibilities will be the recruitment and selection of at least two additional staff members, and ongoing managerial responsibilities to include setting and measuring performance against goals and evaluating results.  The ED will help to recruit additional financial resources to assure sustainability after the initial three-year startup period.

The ED will report to the Associate Dean for Research, and will be accountable to a faculty governing council. As CSMR evolves, the ED may also assemble an industry council to which the center and the ED will also be accountable.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.  For more information about the School of Information, please visit our website.


  • Manage the growth and development of the Center.
  • Manage the Center's employees and its organizational infrastructure to support and advance its goals.
  • Build a network of industry partners, non-profit groups and others.
  • Develop, oversee and implement an integrated program of outreach to establish the Center as a leading voice promoting socially responsible media distribution

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor degree in Business, Engineering, Computer Science, or related field, or equivalent combination of education, certification, and experience.
  • Minimum 5 years of demonstrated senior level experience in the computing/new media/social media industry, ideally bridging research and product groups.
  • Demonstrated management or supervisory experience that includes recruiting, mentoring, career development and performance management, leadership, and team building.
  • Understanding of the academic environment and resources that it has to offer.
  • Excellent communications and consensus building skills.
  • Hands-on knowledge of today’s social media industry.
  • Experience and ability in analyzing, identifying, and implementing strategies for products and services fulfilling the needs of the industry.
  • Ability to demonstrate tact and diplomacy when working with a broad spectrum of students, faculty, administrative staff, policy makers and industry employees.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Advanced degree in related field.
  • High profile within the industry, including a strong network of engineers, designers, product managers, and company executives.
  • Demonstrated experience in managing an external communications presence (e.g., website, blog, social media accounts).
  • Demonstrated fundraising experience.
  • Experience in policy formation, team building, project management, budget management, program development and assessment.

Work Locations

The position is based in Ann Arbor, MI, though some flexibility may be possible. Ann Arbor is a vibrant small city of 120,000 with many cultural amenities. It is an hour from Detroit, and 30 minutes from the Detroit airport, with non-stop service to cities around the globe.  For more about living and working in Ann Arbor, please see our website.

Domestic and international travel may be required.

Additional Information

This position is funded for three years, with the goal of self-sustaining funding as the CSMR grows.

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. This job may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.