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Tennessee Language Center

Executive Director

Tennessee Language Center


Job Summary

The Executive Director serves as a key member of the Institute for Public Service (IPS) leadership team responsible for providing support, direction, and guidance to achieve the goals of the Tennessee Language Center (TLC). Working with the IPS Vice President and other stakeholders, the Executive Director plays a critical role in advancing the goals of TLC throughout the university and the state of Tennessee.  The Executive Director provides visionary leadership, sets strategic goals, and develops plans to achieve the organization’s mission and objectives, which include market expansion, service offerings, and revenue growth. This is critical to the creation, maintenance, and revision of the business management model of the agency. The Executive Director strategically directs and oversees day-to-day operations, including fiscal and human resources dedicated to the acquisition, training, and pedagogy of languages, knowledge of existing and emerging language technologies, as well as the provision of translation and interpretation services in a fee-for-service environment, while publicly representing and promoting the organization’s activities in the business, education, and legislative communities, as mandated by State law. 

Job Responsibilities

Leadership and Operational Management

  • Ensure efficient delivery of language services and oversee day-to-day operations of the programs and departments of TLC:
  • Plans, implements, and directs all administrative, educational, and technical activities of high-revenue generation agency within the Institute for Public Service of the university, including budget, personnel, strategic planning, and staffing
  • Strategically directs a staff of 20+ FTE, 40+ adjunct/PT employees, and hundreds of independent contractors in the delivery of language-related services, providing subject matter expertise and guidance in the same services while fostering the professional development of staff
  • Collaborates with advisory boards and legislative bodies and researches, develops, crafts, and delivers regular oral and written reports to these parties
  • Client Acquisition and Stakeholder Engagement – Identifies and secures new clients, ensuring satisfaction and retention; builds and maintains relationships with clients, partners, government agencies, educational institutions, and the community

Financial Management

  • Manage the organization’s budget, monitor financial performance, and ensure fiscal responsibility, profitability, and sustainability:
  • Strategically plans and supervises the expenditure of funds for a budget of over $3 million dollars
  • Ensures compliance with all applicable provisions of state and federal law, meeting with state and federal government officials for periodic fiscal review
  • Innovates and modifies procedures as necessary to ensure effective fiscal processes as necessary, in accordance with best practices in the field of public finance and administration
  • Monitors state, federal, and private contract compliance
  • Reports fiscal status to required and interested constituencies and stakeholders
  • Liaises with independent 501c3 organizations and government entities in grant-seeking and grant awards
  • Develops fundraising and revenue-generation programs and projects
  • Ensures accountability for budget and spending plans through monitoring

HR/Personnel Management/Supervision

  • Recruit, manage, and develop a diverse and skilled workforce; Foster a positive organizational culture:
  • Ensures that necessary staff members are in place to support mission and activities
  • Oversees administrative staff including fiscal director, operations director, technology coordinator, and program directors and their subordinates
  • Participates in and directs recruitment, interview, selection, and evaluation process for directly supervised staff and their subordinates
  • Conduct evaluations and performance reviews and ensure those reports of subordinates are completed
  • Guides personnel actions related to compensation, individual development plans, training, leave, disciplinary actions, terminations, work schedules, and assignments
  • Provide coaching, counseling, conflict management, mentoring, and other guided conversations for employee development
  • Documents procedures and policies
  • Strategically plans and re-engineers job processes to maximize efficiencies
  • Fosters strategic engagement of staff interdepartmentally and inter-agency to maximize resources of TLC and IPS
  • Directs and facilitates team meetings of direct reports and the entire agency

Program Development

  • Identify opportunities for new language programs and services, and collaborate with stakeholders to develop relevant offerings:
  • Collaborates internally and externally to develop programs to further and fulfill legislative mandate and mission
  • Provides oversight and a cohesive environment for staff to innovate and produce meaningful programs for the organization
  • Consults and provides expertise in the areas of language pedagogy, public administration and cultural awareness, diversity, and inclusion
  • Develop programs to fulfill the university’s mission
  • Convenes meetings and events to set agenda and priorities
  • Designs and facilitates working group sessions as necessary
  • Sets strategy, timelines, and desired outcomes for various programs and ensures that goals are met
  • Coordinates work and activities to develop points of view, solutions, and strategies for improving
  • Technology and Innovation – Fosters a culture of innovation and continuous improvement to stay relevant in a changing language services landscape; Remains up-to-date with industry trends and emerging technologies and implements technology solutions to enhance service delivery and efficiency

Marketing and Branding

  • Experience in marketing, public relations, networking, and fundraising, as well as excellent communication and presentation skills, are required.
  • Articulates the vision, programs, and services of the organization through presentations and public speaking at industry and community events.
  • Liaises with various community boards, state legislature, public and private sector organizations, and constituency groups to advocate for the importance of language learning and language access while promoting the services of TLC.
  • Collaborates with appropriate department directors on sales presentations and proposals for prospective clients.
  • Serves as spokesperson for media inquiries.



Required: Master’s degree required in Public Administration, languages, or related field.

Preferred: Doctoral degree required in Public Administration, languages, or related field.


Required: Five years of leadership experience in language service provision, language education, language administration, services, or related arenas which demonstrate the ability to perform functions as described.

Preferred: Connected to state and/or national professional organizations in the language services field; History of working with network groups, internal and external stakeholders, and other government bodies; Experience in preferably a local or state government organization with similar work goals



  • Interpersonal Skills: Ability to build relationships, collaborate, and engage with diverse stakeholders locally and globally.
  • Leadership Skills: Excellent leadership and management skills to guide and inspire the team.
  • Communication Skills: Strong verbal and written communication skills to interact with clients, employees, and stakeholders in a diverse environment.
  • Technology: Knowledge of existing and emerging language technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality settings, and other platforms.
  • Working knowledge of one or more world languages, in addition to English, issues of language acquisition and access, linguistic and multicultural issues.
  • Language and Culture: Strong understanding of a) The industry of language service provision, including translation, interpretation, localization, and language technology, and/or b) Language learning, teaching methodologies, and cultural nuances, especially in a multilingual context.  
  • Knowledge of public or non-profit administration, including budgeting, human resources, constituent relations, and public policy.
  • Demonstrated skills in the application of public administration theory and governance of the public sector.
  • Strategic Thinking and Planning: Ability to create and execute long-term IPS and agency strategic plans aligned with the organization’s goals, which include driving the organization to financial growth and profitability.
  • Financial Acumen: Proficiency in budgeting, financial management, and resource allocation.
  • Innovation and Adaptability: Capacity to drive innovation and adapt to changing industry trends, market trends, and technology.
  • Problem Solving: Effective problem-solving and decision-making abilities.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Awareness of cultural diversity and sensitivity to different languages and traditions.


  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite or other databases.
  • Knowledge of fundraising, development, and/or customer relations software.
  • Knowledge of current teaching and training methodologies and pedagogies.
  • Ability to work effectively across multiple constituencies.
  • Experience working with board committees to achieve strategic objectives.
  • Bilingual; Spanish-speaking preferred.


The Executive Director must be able to maintain respect and trust within the Institute. This position requires integrity, honesty, and good ethics to successfully work with all levels of the University of Tennessee system. 


The position is located in Nashville, TN, and will require occasional statewide travel, including overnight travel.

Salary is based on a combination of professional experience and qualifications. 

Additional Information


Benefits are University of Tennessee benefits.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, and at least three (3) references with contact information. For best consideration, applications should be submitted by July 10, 2024. Applicants must apply electronically The position will remain open until filled. 


  • Date Posted: June 14, 2024
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Executive Leadership
  • Service Area: Education