Executive Director of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, August 19, 2022
Archive Date: 
Friday, September 30, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
Vanderbilt University and Fisk University
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 


We are searching for a new Executive Director for the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD Bridge Program (FVBP). Since its creation in 2004, the FVBP works to identify and foster underrepresented minority (URM) talent at the PhD level in Materials Science, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, and Biomedical Science. After 18 years, 176 students have enrolled in the program, 126 Master’s degrees have been awarded, 112 students have bridged to PhD programs, and 53 students have earned the PhD, 41 of those from Vanderbilt.  Today, 30 students are in a Vanderbilt PhD program, while 25 are in a Fisk Master’s program. 57% of the students are African-American, 22% Hispanic, 7% other minorities, including Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and 14% white or other non-minority. 60% identify as female. Overwhelmingly, the student population has been underserved in intersecting ways, with many being first-generation college students, of low socioeconomic status, and/or with disabilities.


The Executive Director is responsible for the day to day operations of the FVBP. They will report to the Fisk and Vanderbilt Co-Directors and will work with an Assistant Director and Program Coordinator and will spend time at both Fisk University and Vanderbilt University  located about 2 miles apart in Nashville, TN. The candidate will have mentoring, administrative, recruiting, instruction, evaluation, and dissemination responsibilities, and is expected to participate in writing proposals for external funding. Along with the team of directors, they help develop and implement long term strategies, goals, objectives, and best practices. They are key in a) supervising, coordinating, and evaluating program activities; b) tracking the budget allocation; and c) mentoring and formally tracking student career paths within an innovative holistic and high-touch mentoring model.

Evidence of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, through lived experience and/or prior successful DEI work is paramount. If you’re interested, please send a resume or CV, a list of three references, and a cover letter describing your interest and experience to Kelly Holley-Bockelmann ([email protected]). Please write “FVBP Executive Director” in the email subject line. Below, we list job requirements and desirable experience, but if you’re interested and hesitate to apply because you think you don’t meet all the requirements, please contact Kelly Holley-Bockelmann ([email protected]) and we’ll talk it over.

Essential Job Requirements 

  • Doctoral Degree in a Science, Engineering, or related discipline
  • Experience with grant writing and/or grant administration
  • Experience with mentoring/advising students, preferably in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, or  Engineering
  • Evidence of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Experience in project management or program coordination.

Required Skills

  • Ability to operate independently, prioritize, and accomplish complex initiatives within deadlines.
  • Ability and willingness to adjust to changing priorities on short notice and manage multiple sub-projects with varying deadlines
  • Self-motivated, proactive, adaptable work style with the ability to learn quickly and to work with a variety of topics and people.
  • Ability to proactively troubleshoot problems and manage conflict.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain harmonious relationships in a team environment and with a diverse audience.
  • Ability to communicate successfully with stakeholders at all levels throughout a complex, diverse organization. Must have the ability to maintain confidentiality and use discretion.
  • High proficiency in MS Office (Excel, Word), Adobe Acrobat, Slack, Zoom, and standard web interfaces.

Desirable Experience 

  • Research experience post-PhD 
  • Formal mentor training 
  • Familiarity with Social Science literature


This position may require working a flexible schedule on occasion (with advance notice).

Applications will be accepted immediately and will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Start date is flexible and the minimum base salary will be $75,000, with higher salaries considered commensurate with experience.

Benefits: relocation allowance, health, vision, dental care, retirement.

Pay Compensation
Salary Min: 
$75000.00 (USD)
Compensation Notes: 
Higher salary is negotiable.
Included Benefits: 

Benefits: relocation allowance, health, vision, dental care, retirement.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, September 19, 2022
Selection Deadline: 
Saturday, October 1, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Kelly Holley-Bockelmann
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Kelly Holley-Bockelmann
FVBP Executive Director