Job Information

CUNY Executive Director of the John Jay Institute for Justice and Opportunity in New York, New York

Executive Director of the John Jay Institute for Justice and Opportunity

Job ID



John Jay College

Full/Part Time




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John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY) and an internationally recognized leader in educating for justice. Led by President Karol V. Mason, John Jay is a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution, it is ranked third in the nation in Black student success, and it is a top ten institution for promoting student social mobility. John Jay is proud to serve a diverse and dynamic student body of 15,000 students that includes nearly fifty percent students who are first in their family to attend college as well as students who are immigrants, from low-income families, or from other historically underrepresented groups in higher education.

The College participates in the doctoral programs of the Graduate Center of CUNY, and offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees both in traditional criminal justice-related fields of study as well as in a robust portfolio of liberal arts and sciences programs that highlight themes of justice across the arts, sciences, humanities, and social sciences. The College seeks staff and faculty members who thrive in multicultural academic environments and are committed to access and excellence in higher education.


The John Jay Institute for Justice and Opportunity (“The Institute”) is a research and action center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice that serves as a champion of institutional, structural, and personal transformation for people who have been involved with the criminal legal system. The Institute opens doors and eliminates barriers to success, including by creating access to higher education and pathways to meaningful careers as well as advocating for the rights to higher education and employment, and other human rights that are too often denied people with criminal conviction records. The Institute also serves as a hub for activities and efforts across the 25 City University of New York (CUNY) campuses to support people with criminal convictions in obtaining a CUNY education.


The Executive Director will lead, inspire, and manage the Institutes’ diverse team of researchers, experts, and staff to maintain high quality programs and ensure the Institute continues its record of excellent support of individuals with criminal conviction records and/or contact with the criminal legal system. Working with College leaders and the Executive Team and staff of the Institute, the Executive Director will lead the Institute’s efforts forward to ensure that offerings and programs effectively respond to the challenges people with criminal legal system involvement have in realizing their fullest potential in higher education and employment.

The Executive Director is a hands-on leader, who promotes the national reputation of the Institute as a center of excellence, provides long-term vision and leadership for its operations, and serves as a strategic partner to the Dean and the College's Office for the Advancement of Research. Reporting to the Associate Provost and Dean of Research; this position is responsible for planning and managing all operations of the Institute, including program operations and development, staff hiring and retention, and budgeting and fundraising. The Executive Director will provide strategic vision for the Center's core programs and operations, including the College Initiative program, Intake and Outreach department, the Prison-to-College Pipeline program, the Justice Learning Collaborative, Navigator Certificate program, HSE Connect program and fellowship programs that advance the field.

Duties will include, but are not limited to:

• Oversee and manage the Center's approximately two dozen staff persons, including supervision of both onsite and offsite operations. Administer the recruitment, appointment, termination and classification for all staff associated with the Institute.

• Lead communication between program staff and relevant offices within the college and across CUNY to assure successful enrollment and matriculation for program participants in credit-bearing programs as appropriate.

• Build relationships with key partners, including by building strong working relationships with relevant non-profits and community organizations that can serve as partners in transforming the lives of individuals and communities impacted by the criminal legal system as well a strong working relationship with federal, state and local officials to support the Institutes’ operations and strengthen the Institute as a thought leader.

• Effectively raise and steward the resources needed to fulfill the Institute’s mission by developing major funding proposals (in partnership with John Jay’s Office of Sponsored Programs, where appropriate), engaging potential funders, and managing the Institutes’ multi-million-dollar budget (which is supported exclusively through external funds).

• Develop and execute communication strategies that promote the Institute’s work and goals, including through the Institute’s website, social media and traditional media (e.g., press appearances, op-eds, etc.), in partnership with John Jay’s communications team.

• Provide regular updates on programs, operations and fundraising to the Associate Provost and Dean of Research and other John Jay leadership, as appropriate. Collaborate with the Associate Provost and Dean of Research to evaluate priorities for the Center, including in relation to the College’s overall mission, and lead periodic evaluations of the Center’s impact and effectiveness

• Facilitate relationships with internal experts and partners across John Jay, including the College’s research and program centers, professors, staff and students in order to educate them about the Institute’s work and engage them as appropriate to fulfill its mission.

• Perform other responsibilities and duties as assigned.

Until further notice, this is a hybrid position, eligible to work remotely and work on-site in the office.


This position is in CUNY's Executive Compensation Plan. All executive positions require a minimum of a Bachelor's degree and eight years' related experience.


• A master’s degree in an area relevant to the Institute’s mission (e.g., social and behavioral science, education, human services, public health, public policy) or a law degree with experience relevant to the Institute’s mission (e.g., expertise in the legal barriers faced by those with criminal convictions).

• Deep subject matter expertise in the criminal legal system, including collateral consequences of criminal convictions, as well as related issues of public safety, racial and economic justice, public health and civil rights.

• A demonstrated record of success building effective programs, and leading initiatives in a complex organizational setting (strong people and project management skills).

• Passion for and demonstrated experience working with people with lived experience and programs that support them in achieving their higher education and/or career goals.

• Demonstrated ability to develop resources from the private and public sectors, including federal, state, and local governments.

• Strong leadership skills with the ability to organize and direct the work of a team of program staff, researchers, administrative staff, and support staff in achieving the goals of Institute programs and projects within deadlines and within budget constraints.

• Experience navigating researcher-practitioner partnerships adeptly and communicating about research relevant to the work of the organization to build awareness and achieve policy impact

• Experience working with external stakeholders and partners, such as advisory boards, agency/data partners, funders, policymakers, the press, and advocates.

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and project management skills.

• A commitment to service in a university setting, including by engaging with College initiatives, committees and programs and an ability to exercise sound judgment and maintain the highest standards of ethics and integrity.


• Demonstrated experience leading and operating student-facing programs within a university system.

• Demonstrated experience coordinating educational services and workforce readiness/career services in order to increase students’ educational attainment and promote students’ economic mobility.

• Demonstrated experience with the press and/or public speaking (e.g., through op-eds, press appearances, conference presentations, etc.)

Qualified individuals with personal experience with the criminal legal system are encouraged to apply.


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CUNY's benefits contribute significantly to total compensation, supporting health and wellness, financial well-being, and professional development. We offer a range of health plans, competitive retirement/pension benefits and savings plans, tuition waivers for CUNY graduate study and generous paid time off. Our staff also benefits from the extensive academic, arts, and athletic programs on our campuses and the opportunity to participate in a lively, diverse academic community in one of the greatest cities in the world.


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CUNY Job Posting: Executive


CUNY encourages people with disabilities, minorities, veterans and women to apply. At CUNY, Italian Americans are also included among our protected groups. Applicants and employees will not be discriminated against on the basis of any legally protected category, including sexual orientation or gender identity. EEO/AA/Vet/Disability Employer.