KDI Program Administrator

Minneapolis, MN

Posted: 1/20/21
Deadline: 1/31/21
Reference Number: Job ID: 338794

About This Organization

Located in the vibrant Twin Cities design community, and as part of one of the largest research universities in the U.S., the College of Design encompasses a full range of design disciplines. With eight undergraduate degrees, 24 graduate degree options, and nine research, creative scholarship, and engagement centers, we value a hands-on, interdisciplinary learning experience.

Through a unique commitment to creativity and advancing technologies, our mission is to lead, innovate, and educate in a full range of design fields. We research ongoing and emerging issues, explore new knowledge, and address and solve real-world problems—all while adhering to socially responsible, sustainable principles and collaborative design thinking. Our dedication to pushing boundaries reflects that of the University of Minnesota as a whole, which ranked 22 in the Reuters’ Top 100 list of The World’s Most Innovative Universities 2019.

Diversity Statement
The University of Minnesota recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting our academic mission. The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds. The University provides equal access to and opportunity within its programs, facilities, and employment, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. To learn more about diversity at the U: To request an accommodation during the application process, please email or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).

Job Duties

The new Christopher Arthur Kusske Design Initiative (KDI) advances dialog across disciplines in the University of Minnesota’s College of Design (CDes) and beyond, to heighten creative problem-solving and forge lasting connections among participants. Students, faculty, and collaborators convene through high-profile events and ongoing communications. Through the three-year pilot program, select undergraduate student Scholars, graduate-level Fellows, and faculty Principals collaborate with renowned designers, contributing to a rich and ever-evolving network of dialogs and designed solutions. Members of the Kusske cohorts, CDes programs, and civic/professional groups work in teams to generate broadly inclusive solutions for pressing societal issues.
The initial three-year KDI pilot is made possible by a generous donor in memory of 1978 landscape architecture graduate Christopher Arthur Kusske, whose work was characterized by deep respect for the natural world and by widely inclusive dialog across disciplines.
The KDI Administrator supports the growing work of the overall initiative and KDI participants, develops high-level planning, oversight and implementation of events and activities throughout the year, and manages all aspects of the new Kusske Design Initiative’s operations. These include arranging an annual lecture and related events, collaborating with College and University colleagues to implement them, contracting with external participants, managing collaborative processes for identifying and selecting faculty and student participants, ensuring integration of KDI participants and events with programs across the College of Design, and coordinating engagements with professional and civic communities. This is a 12-month, 100% appointment, initially for three years with the possibility of continuance, reporting to the Dean.
Administration and Project Management: 40%
• Support and track progress of development, delivery, and reporting for projects and events.
• Manage all aspects of the nationally/globally prominent lecture series, situated both online and at a major University of Minnesota campus venue.
• Act as key liaison between creative and technical collaborators for implementation of online and mobile program components.
• Organize and implement all large and small events in the initiative (ex: logistics, publicity, audio-visual recording, digital archiving of event recordings, portfolios of creative work, etc.).
• Manage processes for identifying Principals, Fellows, and Scholars.
• Arrange travel and act as primary contact for hosting high-profile speakers and donors.
• Collaborate with CDes and University colleagues to coordinate use of spaces and other resources.
• Serve as program liaison to CDes units (ex: advancement, student services, finance, IT, academic programs, Senior Leadership Group, etc.) to coordinate processes, funds for scholarships/fellowships, and KDI program components.
• Support emerging partnerships to advance principles and goals of the Kusske Design Initiative.
• Coordinate participation in events and projects by students, faculty, and staff throughout the college, at all levels.
• Provide administrative support for all members of the emerging multi-generational creative community.
Communications, Marketing, and Stewardship: 30%
• Organize production and display of printed and online materials for annual exhibits.
• Curate content for a mobile app currently in development, including event programs, news items, informational reference articles, etc.
• Liaise with external collaborators such as community-based designers, mobile app developers, event musicians, etc.
• Support faculty and administrators representing CDes and KDI to external collaborators such as funders, corporations, design firms, and nonprofit organizations.
• Collaborate closely with project and advancement teams in overall marketing and communications strategies, graphic presentation, messaging, and reports.
• Publicize to widely diverse audiences in and beyond the university.
• Draft, write, and prepare announcements and reports for the primary donor and collaborators, UMN Foundation, various granting agencies and donor organizations, CDes Communications, etc.
Strategic Planning: 20%
• Serve as project manager for emerging KDI activities.
• Participate in planning for projects and events.
• Develop strategies and tactics, providing consultation and advice for assigned initiatives and events.
• Assemble and manage project teams where appropriate, establishing deadlines and ensuring timely execution of tasks, providing updates to leadership as appropriate.
• Determine appropriate vendors for all aspects of projects and events.
• Determine and oversee all event elements.
• Establish and execute work plans, timelines, reports, and other required information as appropriate.
Budget Management: 10%
• Manage sub-project budgets, reconciling with overall fund goals and limits.
• In consultation with CDes Budget/Finance staff, budget and account for a range of expenditures, including awards and compensations; travel; fees for speakers, spaces, and publicity; etc.
• Support complementary fundraising through assisting in grant-writing and preparation of proposals for prospective donors.

Required Qualifications

Required Qualifications
• Bachelor’s degree plus two years of work experience, or a combination of six years of education and/or relevant work experience
• Highly respectful of diversity and understanding of its necessity for achieving excellence
• Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and work with a wide range of diverse audiences and constituencies
• Ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects, work independently and under pressure, and meet deadlines
• Ability to provide excellent customer service through interpersonal, organizational, and oral and written communication skills
Preferred Qualifications
• Ability to work in a flexible, collaborative environment — with an evolving set of responsibilities — on complex projects that can change and shift over time
• Experience with methods and software for project management, invitations, surveys, communications, scheduling, etc.
• Experience working with arts professionals, graphic designers, and/or other creative collaborators to produce brochures, websites, animations, etc.
• Experience with technical implementation of websites, mobile apps, and/or data visualizations
• Experience with grant proposal preparation and reporting
• Experience with community outreach
• Expert-level project management skills
• Experience with complex budgeting
• Experience with complex scheduling processes

Other Info

Applications may be submitted by following instruction on the following link:

Questions may be directed to Charles P. Burck, Assistant to the Dean, College of Design at: