The University of Alabama (UA) seeks a visionary Director for the Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS).
The CAPS Director reports to the Executive Director of the Alabama Transportation Institute and serves in a full-time, 12-month, administrative position. Due to the wide scope of responsibilities, UA invites strong candidates with various backgrounds and experiences from academia, government, non-profit, and/or industry to apply. Depending on background and experience, the Director may be a Senior Research Professional (staff position) and/or an adjunct or tenured faculty member in an appropriate
academic department at UA, subject to UA’s standard review practices.
UA, having doubled in size since 2002, is one the nation’s fastest-growing flagship universities. In December 2018, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education designated UA as a Very High Research Activity Doctoral University, formerly called “R1,” a designation assigned to the nation’s highest level of research activity for institutions that grant doctoral degrees, placing UA among the most elite research universities in the U.S. The Carnegie designation followed unprecedented investment in the campus and in new faculty. Since July 2015, UA President, Dr. Stuart R. Bell, has overseen a $1.16 billion investment in the physical campus, adding more than 2.55 million gross sq. ft. of space, and the recruitment of over 250 new research-intensive faculty and research professional staff.
Continuing ten consecutive years of research growth, 2022 was another record year at the Capstone with externally sponsored awards reaching more than $211 million. Over the last five years, the 105% growth rate of UA’s research enterprise, as measured by research expenditures, places UA at No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference and No. 2 for all 146 Carnegie-designated research universities. In the last three fiscal years, total partnerships with industry have increased by 500% to more than $15 million in 2022.
CAPS has been instrumental in developing mission critical applications used in the State of Alabama and across the Southeastern United States. CAPS was established in 2009 and is an interdisciplinary research center at UA dedicated to the implementation and utilization of innovative technologies to enhance the public safety and well-being of the citizens of our state, nation, and world. CAPS has deployed over 70 different software applications and our substantial technology portfolio includes work in analytics, web and windows software development, data sharing and integration, GIS applications, mobile app development, data hosting, and website design and development. CAPS-developed software is utilized in several states and has changed the way law enforcement, traffic engineers, and other disciplines conduct business, resulting in more crimes being solved, more lives being saved on the highways, and greater efficiencies in areas across the government IT enterprise.
Strategic Plan for CAPS:
CAPS has an extensive public safety portfolio already in place. This portfolio must be maintained and further developed. Additionally, we must grow new areas within the portfolio to support research objectives of collaborating organizations. This growth will include innovative technology areas not part of CAPS’ public safety portfolio.
The new Director will be responsible for engaging with CAPS stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for CAPS that includes areas and expectations for growth in both the existing portfolio and a new portfolio. The CAPS Director will have the following major responsibilities: Provide a vision for software technology innovation through effective leadership that embraces the full range of disciplines represented by CAPS. Provide technical leadership for the CAPS software production operation using sound software management and engineering principles. Develop and elevate CAPS’ national and international profile. Coordinate closely with state and federal agencies in transportation, justice and public safety, and managing existing long-term projects, while also identifying new R&D opportunities and mobilizing CAPS resources to respond to such opportunities. Partner with UA staff to identify, promote, and contribute resources to strengthen CAPS and manage its portfolio. This includes identifying and supporting opportunities for research within existing funding streams and through multi-disciplinary collaboration and partnerships across UA and beyond. Foster and support high quality research and scholarly activities
within CAPS by ensuring a stimulating, collegial, and well-managed environment. Collaborate with academic units to attract, retain, and develop faculty and staff who will promote academic and research excellence and will contribute to the successful development of CAPS. Manage resources effectively to ensure CAPS is self-sustainable. Engage a range of internal and external stakeholders to identify research opportunities and partnerships.
An ideal candidate for the CAPS Director will have a Bachelor’s degree with ten (10) years of software development and/or management experience; or a Master’s degree or higher with at least seven (7) years of software development and/or management experience.
They will also be expected to have a background that includes: extensive research and operational experience executing and managing software projects in an academic, industrial, and/or government setting; at least three years of experience leading successful cross-disciplinary research teams, as evidenced nationally; evidence of a firm understanding of the full range of disciplines represented by CAPS; demonstrated experience in developing proposals and/or securing state and/or federal appropriations; demonstrated experience working with one or more key federal partners focused on public safety technology; demonstrated business acumen, with experience managing public/private partnerships and fostering government to industry relationships; compelling evidence of being a trusted and effective colleague; history of successful and effective staff management and professional development, and the proven capacity to recruit and successfully train and develop researchers; acute understanding of the priorities, operation, and strategies of securing externally funded grants and contracts to support research and applied research. Additional required qualifications for faculty consideration: Strong academic record and eligibility for the rank of Full Professor in an appropriate academic department at UA; and a PhD in a relevant discipline.
In addition to meeting the required qualifications, the preferred candidate will have one or more of the following: Evidence of national and/or international reputation in one or more of the scientific disciplines represented by CAPS. At least three years of experience leading successful cross-disciplinary research teams, as evidenced nationally and internationally. Successful and sustained record of achieving prominent levels of research-based funding as a Principal Investigator. Existing externally funded
research in areas of science represented by CAPS and the desire to maintain funding while serving in the Director position. Experience developing and leading successful partnerships with multiple academic institutions, industry, state and federal governmental agencies, and foundations. A record of pursuing and supporting technology transfer and licensing, and economic development activities.
The planned start date is June 1, 2023, but is negotiable. Only applicants currently legally eligible to work in the United States will be considered. This is an open, national, and rolling search. Review of applications will begin immediately as they are received. Candidates meeting all the required qualifications may be contacted immediately for inquiry and interview. It is possible that a preferred candidate may be selected as other applications are still being received. Therefore, the most serious and qualified candidates are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible. To receive the fullest and timely consideration, applications should be submitted prior to March 31, 2023; however, the position will remain open until filled. Applications submitted after March 31, 2023, will be reviewed and considered if the position remains unfilled. Application materials should include: 1) a full and updated resume, 2) cover letter summarizing interest in the position and how the inimum qualifications and any preferred qualifications are met, and 3) a list of four references with full contact information. However, references will only be contacted after written consent of the candidate.