Executive Director of the Thompson Center

Expiring today

University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, Missouri
Not specified
Sep 21, 2020
Oct 21, 2020
Job Function
Faculty Member
Research Area
Position Type
Full Time
Senior Level

Executive Director of the Thompson Center for Autism and

Neurodevelopmental Disorders


Thompson Endowed Chair in Child Health

University of Missouri – Columbia

The University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou or MU), the flagship, land-grant, comprehensive research university of the University of Missouri System (UM System), seeks nominations and applications for the Executive Director of the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.  The successful candidate will also hold the Thompson Endowed Chair in Child Health and will provide visionary leadership to the Center’s interdisciplinary programs and oversee faculty, staff, and programs.  Reporting to the Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs the Executive Director will build on the existing world-class programs and expand upon continued growth and broad impact for families, professionals, and trainees.

Inaugurated in 2005 with a generous gift from William and Nancy Thompson / The Thompson Foundation the Thompson Center is a nationally recognized clinical, training, and research center founded to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder and neurodevelopmental disorders through world class programs that integrate research, clinical service delivery, education and public policy.   The Thompson Center brings together the School of Medicine, School of Health Professions, and College of Education activities and is aligned with the MU Health Care System that consists of five hospitals and more than 65 primary and specialty clinics in and around Columbia, MO. 

The Thompson Center is a cohesive, multi-disciplinary home to over a 100 faculty, staff, and students from diverse backgrounds.  Thompson Center research is supported by a well-established research core and database and supports a variety of federal and industry sponsored trials.  The Center is also part of several multi-site projects and data collection initiatives.  Research program growth is a major, strategic initiative of the Center and the University of Missouri overall.  

The Center provides care for approximately 4,000 patients each year across 15,000 visits.  Families from across the state of Missouri and beyond are served by 14 clinical sub-specialties.  In addition to clinical breadth, the Center provides training for students in applied behavior analysis, medical, psychology, and therapy programs. 

The Thompson Center training core provides thousands of training hours annually for parents, patients, professionals, and students.  Trainings range from in-person to tele-mentoring programs and include a national, annual conference that hosts over 500 attendees.  

The Thompson Center is supported by the infrastructure from MU.  MU is a comprehensive research campus with a mission of research, teaching, service, and economic development.  Being one of the nation's top-tier Research 1 institutions, MU ranks among the 34 public university members of the Association of American Universities with significant investments into interdisciplinary research as well as a new emphasis on precision health.  MU is also home to the MU Extension that heavily focuses on community outreach and engagement and addresses Missouri’s challenges by improving economic opportunity, educational access as well as health and well-being. 

The City of Columbia, home of the University of Missouri, has been consistently rated as one of the most desirable places to live and work in the United States and accommodates all cycles of life.  This college town of 113,000+ residents has the best of both worlds – small-town convenience with urban sophistication and amenities.  Columbia is well known for affordable housing and moderate cost of living, excellent public schools with a low student-teacher-ratio, and a huge variety of leisure time activities.

The Thompson Center welcomes applications from individuals with an exceptional academic record and a strong background in externally funded clinical and translational research paired with the expertise to grow and develop programs, strategize innovative solutions, and a demonstrated passion to support the growing needs of this population locally, nationally, and beyond. 

Specific contributions in this role will include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide exemplary and innovative leadership to Center faculty, staff, and students through transparent communication, strong administrative acumen, nuanced problem solving, and positive interpersonal approach
  • Develop realistic and comprehensive plans that align with the Center mission and provide positive outcomes for families, trainees, and staff
  • Build relationships and coalitions among collaborating academic units, MU Healthcare, Thompson Foundation, and external organizations
  • Maintain and expand national and international contacts and networks through research, training, and clinical initiatives; provide national leadership in evolving center partnerships
  • Provide leadership in Center research initiatives and align with the research mission and vision of the University of Missouri
  • Nourish a collegial and inclusive environment and promote interdisciplinary and collaborative research within the Center and across MU and UM System
  • Drive inclusive recruitment initiatives for additional research faculty and grow research funding, breadth, and space to advance the knowledge in the field
  • Oversee integration of multi-disciplinary practice that includes medical, psychiatry, psychology, applied behavioral analysis, speech and occupational therapy; ensure quality and productivity goals are met
  • Ensure training mission and need is met through clinical, professional, family, and student programs
  • Work closely with MU and Thompson Foundation advancement teams to support sustainability and growth plans
  • Develop and implement cohesive plans with stakeholders to support the needs of the autism and neurodevelopmental community


  • Earned terminal degree and board certification in a field appropriate to the role (MD, DO, EdD, or PhD)
  • Academic accomplishments that merit an appointment at the rank of an Associate Professor or Full Professor with tenure
  • Commensurate administrative and leadership experience in a highly complex and matrixed environment
  • Strong scholarly research accomplishments in a basic, translational, or clinical area and substantial experience in securing extramural grant funding
  • Robust record of excellence in mentoring and teaching
  • Experience in leading trans-disciplinary and/or trans-institutional projects or programs
  • Familiar with national and international research and scholarship trends
  • Passionate about innovation and interested in enhancing the research environment of interdisciplinary teams
  • Strong commitment to inclusion, diversity, and equal opportunity in all activities


  • Visionary, open-minded, respectful, and approachable leadership style
  • Strong communication and excellent interpersonal skills
  • Desire and willingness to support advancement efforts
  • An understanding and commitment to the mission of an AAU Research 1 University, MU’s institutional values, and the land-grant mission

We anticipate this appointment will be made as early as Summer, 2021. Review of applications will begin immediately.  For full consideration, applicant material should be received by November 1st, 2020.

Candidates should submit their materials utilizing our Applicant Tracking System (Academic Job Opening ID 34410) including a cover letter outlining relevant experiences and research interests, a statement on their philosophy for promoting inclusivity and diversity as well as a detailed curriculum vitae.  Later in the search process, statements of current and future research plans along with names and contact information for references may be requested.  Candidates will be notified before references are contacted.

Partnering in the search is Anna Wiedermann, Senior HR Consultant for the University of Missouri System.  Inquiries can be sent to umhrexecutivesearch@umsystem.edu

More information can be found on the University's search webpage (https://www.umsystem.edu/ums/hr/tmr/executive-director-thompson-center).


This position is eligible for University benefits.  The University offers a comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental and vision plans, retirement, paid time off, and educational fee discounts.  For additional information on University benefits, please visit the Faculty & Staff Benefits website at http://www.umsystem.edu/totalrewards/benefits


The University of Missouri is fully committed to achieving the goal of a diverse and inclusive academic community of faculty, staff and students.  We seek individuals who are committed to this goal and our core campus values of respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence.


Equal Opportunity is and shall be provided for all employees and applicants for employment on the basis of their demonstrated ability and competence without unlawful discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law.  This policy shall not be interpreted in such a manner as to violate the legal rights of religious organizations or the recruiting rights of military organizations associated with the Armed Forces or the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America.  For more information, call the Vice Chancellor of Human Resource Services/Affirmative Action officer at 573-882-4256.

To request ADA accommodations, please call the Disability Inclusion and ADA Compliance Manager at 573-884-7278.


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