Skip to main content

Georgia Tech College of Design

Formerly known as the College of Architecture


The Georgia Tech Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation Looks for Executive Director

Two years ago, the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) and the AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center (AMAC) co-located at Georgia Tech.

What seemed like a good idea at the time – housing two nationally known research centers focused on accessibility, technology solutions, and inclusion in the same building – quickly turned into Georgia Tech’s leading force for accessibility innovation.

The natural course of the two centers’ collaborative work led to organizational consolidation. The Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI) now combines the strengths of AMAC’s advocacy and service solutions and CATEA’s research in the areas of disability, aging, and universal design.

As a Georgia Tech College of Design research center, CIDI uses research and design thinking to drive innovation in education and practical approaches to life. As part of the Georgia Tech research ecosystem, collaborations with other centers, academic units, and students create unique opportunities for synergies with big data, robotics, wearable technologies, and the digital twin.

“By merging the two centers into this supercenter, CIDI will be able to address the full range of needs for accessibility,” said Nancey Green Leigh, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Design. “The hardware and software solutions for accessibility are rapidly changing, and CIDI’s home at Georgia Tech gives it a major advantage in developing and disseminating those solutions.”

The resulting focus is clear: CIDI works to secure full inclusion of all individuals through innovative research, education, and service.

The research center creates a unique and perpetual workflow of education, which feeds research, which in turn affects service, which then informs education. The center’s clients (individuals, K-12 and higher education, corporations, nonprofits, and government entities) reap the benefit of equal access to education, work, and life.

"Thanks to our innovative CIDI Service, we thrive in knowledge transfer and proactively are addressing the gaps that exist in research so we move the accessibility, assistive technology, and universal design fields forward," said Carolyn Phillips, the former director of AMAC.

"Leveraging AMAC's expertise will bridge the gap at the intersection of design, research, and service and enable us to promote universal design solutions that meet the needs of people of all abilities in order to ensure the full inclusion of those with less ability," said Jon Sanford, the former director of CATEA.

As Phillips and Sanford take on new roles within CIDI, the center is now looking for an executive director with a strong research background in disability solutions.

The position will be responsible for CIDI’s research, service, and educational activities, resources, and hiring/management for administrators, investigators, and staff. With the center’s incredible range of initiatives, the executive director will need to provide a coherent vision for research, education, and service.

Job description:

The Executive Director is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI) - a research and service center of the Georgia Tech College of Design. The newly established center (from a merger of CATEA and AMAC) conducts innovative accessibility research and provides accessibility solutions for colleges, K-12 educators, corporations, non-profits, and government institutions to provide equal access to education, work, and life. The Executive Director reports to the Associate Dean for Research at the College of Design.

The Executive Director is ultimately responsible for CIDI’s research, service/educational activities, resources, and hiring/management of CIDI’s administrators, investigators and staff. The Executive Director is responsible for approving employee and unit goals, creating an organizational structure to meet those goals, assessing unit and employee performance, providing feedback and making compensation recommendations.

The Executive Director should:

  • Possess an ability to think strategically, delegate responsibility effectively, build consensus, listen carefully and communicate effectively in a complex matrix organization.
  • Demonstrate a record of initiative, problem-solving, and adaptability.
  • Have high-level interpersonal communication skills (verbal and written).
  • Be comfortable working independently and have experience designing effective management policies.
  • Attract, develop, lead and retain staff members capable of achieving excellence and collaboratively contributing to the successful development of CIDI, the College of Design and Georgia Tech.
  • Be able and willing to share credit for successes and encourage the integration of others’ ideas and proposals.
  • Have the knowledge and ability to implement principles of leadership, management, conflict resolution, negotiation, and motivation.
  • Possess a solid working knowledge of standards related to employment, recruiting, employee relations, compensation, and protection/storage of sensitive information.
  • Have the ability to maintain confidentiality and work effectively with a diverse group of people.
  • Possess experience with activities and decisions that may be complex and varied in nature requiring independent action and judgment.
  • Have a clear understanding of the fiduciary responsibility of a leader within an academic institution.
  • Have a clear understanding of Profit and Loss Management within a service center.

Responsibilities of the Executive Director:

The Executive Director provides leadership and oversight of CIDI’s wide range of research, education, and accessibility solution initiatives. The Executive Director will appoint an Administrative Team, and in concert with that Team, will:

  • Provide leadership to CIDI, embracing the organization’s range of ongoing activities, and providing a coherent vision for research, education, and service.
  • Promote excellence across all of the center’s activities in support of the missions of the College of Design and Georgia Tech.
  • Ensure that the development of CIDI’s goals, objectives, strategies, performance indicators and targets is aligned with, and will contribute to, the success of the College of Design and Georgia Tech.
  • Have fiduciary oversight for CIDI’s compliance with all University, state, and national policies, laws, regulations, and guidelines.
  • Augment the profile of CIDI through representation, engagement and the development of strong linkages with professional communities and other groups relevant to CIDI's activities.
  • Enhance the reputation of CIDI, the College of Design and Georgia Tech by completing quality research and communicating the outcomes of that research to the appropriate professional communities and society.
  • Act as an ambassador for CIDI in developing its international profile of activities through the expansion of strategic partnerships.
  • Encourage, advocate and actively participate in fundraising and governmental affairs to support and strengthen CIDI’s mission-critical activities.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Education: A graduate degree compatible with providing leadership in a Center having a complex mission of research, education, and service.
  • Experience: At least eight to ten years in leadership/management of highly successful medium to large organizations
  • A successful track record of academic leadership and team building
  • Demonstrated ability to identify, create and articulate a coherent vision for organizations with complex missions
  • A well-developed understanding of the priorities, operation, and strategy of successful programs
  • Experience in cross-disciplinary initiatives and collaboration
  • Experience in financial planning and resource allocation

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • A Ph.D. in a relevant area
  • Experience in leading and successfully initiating and implementing change
  • Demonstrated ability to combine and integrate the skills and expertise of highly motivated staff into multi-disciplinary teams, developing and building upon existing collaborations as well as creating/facilitating new opportunities
  • Demonstrated ability to manage resources and ensure that an organization is self-sustaining from income generated from investigations and other sources
  • Demonstrated monitoring and decision-making skills to implement corrective action if a program is in difficulty
  • Solid working knowledge of accommodation laws/regulations/guidelines
  • A Ph.D. in a relevant area
  • Experience in cross-disciplinary research initiatives and collaboration
  • A well-developed understanding of the priorities, operation, and strategy of a successful research program
  • A track record of funded projects and published manuscripts
  • History of successful development of early career researchers

Candidates must submit a letter of interest including research statement that describes past work, future goals and how it fits within the context of Georgia Tech (2 pp. max); contact information for three references; full Curriculum Vitae.

Application Process:

Application materials are accepted via

For more information, please contact College of Design HR at  

Review of applications will begin on April 15, 2019, and continue until the position is filled. The anticipated date for a shortlist is May 7, 2019, with interviews during the month of May. 

Georgia Tech is an equal education/employment opportunity institution dedicated to building a diverse community. We strongly encourage applications from women, underrepresented minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.