Organization: The University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business

Location: Birmingham, AL

Express Interest

The Collat School of Business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham seeks a strategic, innovative leader with a notable record of research, teaching and service to serve as its inaugural Goodrich Endowed Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The appointee will grow existing academic programs, take a leadership role in the creation of curricular opportunities across disciplines, and pursue the development of a new major in Entrepreneurship. The Chair will be an enthusiastic, motivational, charismatic leader who will work closely with the UAB Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Birmingham entrepreneurial community to marshal colleagues, students, alumni, and entrepreneurs from on and off-campus to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the context of a major academic medical center.  The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated ability and ongoing desire to actively engage across academic and community boundaries and explore new partnerships and programs in entrepreneurship and innovation.

About The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB):

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) traces its roots to the 1859 founding of the Medical College of Alabama and the 1936 opening of the Birmingham Extension Center of The University of Alabama.  In 1966, these entities were merged, and in 1969 UAB became an independent institution, one of the autonomous universities within the newly created three-campus University of Alabama System. As the University prepares to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary next year, UAB has transformed from its modest beginnings into a doctoral research university and academic medical center with nearly 21,000 students, $538 million in research expenditures, and treatment of more than 1,000,000 patients every year in one of the largest academic medical centers in the U.S. Throughout that time, the vision has remained constant: to educate, advance discovery, care for the sick, respond to the needs of the community and establish Alabama as a progressive economic center that can change the world. Currently UAB is embarking on the development of a new strategic plan, UAB21, designed to prepare students and community for the challenges of a new world economy: global literacy, biotechnology and biomedical science, energy, transportation, materials engineering, information technology, computing security and entrepreneurship.

UAB offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in nine schools including the Collat School of Business, Education, Engineering, Health Professions, Nursing, Public Health, Dentistry, Medicine and Optometry and the College of Arts & Sciences. The UAB Honors College enrolls over 1750 students, with opportunities for students to develop personalized curricula and engage in unique learning opportunities in service learning, undergraduate research, honors seminars and study abroad.  With over 120 areas of study, including 51 baccalaureate degree programs, 55 Master’s programs and 40 doctoral programs, UAB gives students the benefit of globally recognized faculty, exciting academic challenges, and experiences that will fully prepare them for graduate and professional school and the job market.  UAB is one of only 51 universities classified by The Carnegie Foundation for both “very high research activity” and “community engagement.”

Consistently ranked among the most diverse universities nationally by The Princeton Review, UAB is experiencing record enrollment and 2017 enrolled its largest freshman class in its history. The UAB community consists of people from around the United States and around the world—in the fall of 2017, UAB students, faculty and staff represented over 100 countries of origin.  With 23,000 employees, UAB is the largest single employer in Alabama, with an annual economic impact of over $7 billion.  Central to its mission is its intensively collaborative culture within the University and with local community partners designed to improve quality of life locally, regionally and globally.

UAB embodies a spirit of discovery that advances knowledge, solves real-world problems and drives economic development. UAB’s research faculty ranks among the nation’s best funded and is noted for exceptional mentoring and training — from undergraduate researchers to post-doctoral fellows. In 2017, total research expenditures exceeded $538M, and UAB ranked 31st in federal research funding, which is 15th among public universities. UAB’s research team includes 1,193 principal investigators, and 2,500 + key personnel, and is conducted in the departments of 10 schools, 24 university-wide research centers, UAB hospitals and clinics and field sites by faculty, fellows and students collaborating among themselves and with others around the globe.

For more information about UAB visit the website at

The University of Alabama System:

With more than 68,500 students, the University of Alabama System is Alabama’s largest higher education enterprise, consisting of three doctoral research universities: The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham and The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Each of the component institutions has a unique mission that is consistent with the broader mission of the System. With more than 36,000 employees at its three campuses and health system, the University of Alabama system is the equivalent of Alabama’s fifth largest city.

About the City of Birmingham, Alabama:

Birmingham, located at the southernmost edge of the Appalachian Mountains, is the largest city in Alabama. The metropolitan area is home to 1.2 million people and is a significant commercial center in the Southeast. The city’s business base has evolved from its manufacturing to a service economy with strong professional, business, legal, and medical sectors, but still deserves its nickname it earned in the 19th century—”Magic City”—as a result of its rapid growth.  A thriving innovation and technology center, Birmingham is a regional hub for healthcare, is one of the largest banking markets in the United States, and boasts more than 700 technology-based companies.

Birmingham is also a leading regional cultural center and its many attractions include the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the Birmingham Zoo and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. In September 1996, the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center was founded on the campus of the UAB, home to the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as well as UAB’s Department of Music and Department of Theater and to special events throughout the year.  The city boasts James Beard Foundation Award winners and nominees and has been hailed as a culinary destination by Zagat, GQ Magazine, and others.  The housing market and cost of living are among the most affordable in the Southeast. Attractive housing choices exist in the city’s historic neighborhoods as well as in the surrounding hilly and scenic communities. Both public and private secondary schools in the area are recognized as among the nation’s best.

As the center of civil rights conflict and reconciliation, Birmingham acknowledges the impact of its past and the diversity that continues to characterize the city is recognized as its strength.  The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is a cultural and educational research center whose purpose is to promote a comprehensive understanding of the significance of civil rights development in Birmingham, encourage cultural awareness, and champion human rights education worldwide.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find much to like in Birmingham. Birmingham is ranked as one of the top “green” cities in the nation, home to more green space per capita than any city of its size in the country.  Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain, ten minutes from downtown Birmingham, is the largest urban nature preserve in the country. Oak Mountain State Park, just outside of Birmingham, is the largest state park in Alabama. Hiking and biking trails abound, and Birmingham’s climate generally allows outdoor activity year-round.  Gulf Coast beaches to the south and the Appalachian mountain chain to the north provide diverse opportunities to enjoy recreation, exercise and beautiful scenery all within the state.

The Collat School of Business:

Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and separately accredited in Accounting, the mission of the Collat School of Business is to create and disseminate business knowledge that transforms the lives of students and stakeholders by leveraging locational advantages for local, national and global benefit. Named one of the nation’s best business schools by The Princeton Review and “Best Undergraduate Business Programs” by US News & World Report, the School enrolls over 2,600 undergraduates in programs in accounting (endorsed by the Institute of Management Accountants), finance, management, human resources, information systems, marketing, economics and the highly unique UAB Charles and Patsy Collat Industrial Distribution Program.  The School’s mission is accomplished through three academic departments: Accounting and Finance (ACFN); Management, Information Systems and Quantitative Methods (MISQ); and Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics (MIDE).  720 graduate students study in three masters programs: MBA (recognized by U.S. News & World Report in its 2018 Best Graduate Schools ranking in the top 15% of part-time MBA programs), Management Information Systems and Accounting.

The Collat School of Business strives to be a business school known for leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. The unique location in the metropolitan, bustling heart of Alabama’s economic center allows the faculty to integrate the practical experiences of the State’s leading companies – from Fortune 500 corporations to entrepreneurial startups – into every program they offer. The School was the first in Alabama to require an experiential requirement of undergraduate students, affording another opportunity for the School’s faculty and students to engage with the local business community and ensuring that students will graduate with the marketable, hands-on experience necessary to successfully embark on a career post-graduation. The three-time international award-winning UAB Green and Gold Fund, featured on CNBC Squawk Box and in Bloomberg Businessweek, is a student investment fund that generates significant scholarship funding and has over $550K in assets.

The Collat School of Business’ seventy full-time faculty members are accomplished researchers, publishing papers and textbooks that contribute to the ever-growing body of knowledge within the business disciplines. The faculty are more than just skilled teacher-scholars – they are also deeply experienced professionals, having worked for some of the world’s leading companies: Ford, Deloitte, United Airlines, Motorola, Procter & Gamble and U.S. Steel to name a few. It is this combination of faculty scholarship and professional experience that makes the Collat experience both practical and relevant.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UAB and Beyond:

UAB fosters an active and thriving internal innovation ecosystem.  UAB has a unique mix of talent, expertise, resources and programs already in place that can be leveraged for continued growth.  As one of four pillars in the University’s Strategic Plan, Research, Innovation and Economic Development will be a major driving force in the University’s future.

The Collat School of Business currently offers a minor in entrepreneurship for all majors, a graduate certificate in technology commercialization and entrepreneurship, and the School co-teaches the senior capstone design course in biomedical engineering, bringing together students in business and engineering to scout, develop and commercialize new biomedical devices. UAB is an NSF I-Corps Site, a funded partner of the I-Corps South Node and the university is the lead institution for the I-Corps@NCATS program, adapting and delivering the NSF I-Corps curriculum to teams commercializing life science innovations funded by NIH.  UAB is a member of Venturewell and Stanford University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program, engaging students in creating a campus culture of interdisciplinary innovations.  The student UIFs create, manage and grow the UAB Makerspace, an interdisciplinary student-run hub that empowers an entrepreneurial experience through design thinking and fast prototyping.

The UAB Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a centerpiece of the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus, devoted to facilitating the successful commercialization of research at UAB, and the practice of entrepreneurship to benefit the region and beyond. The institute works to expand UAB’s ability to identify innovations, select the most promising ones and develop commercial potential.  The Institute helps innovators evaluate the commercial and licensing potential of their innovations and assists with the full life cycle of entrepreneurial endeavors, including market research, modeling, business plan development, financing, and launch.  The UAB Commercialization Accelerator provides the facilities, training opportunities, guidance, and funding strategy necessary for students, faculty, and staff to launch and nurture startup companies.

UAB is at the nexus of the region’s booming innovation ecosystem.  UAB is a founding partner of Innovation Depot, the largest tech startup program in the Southeast. Innovation Depot provides 140,000 square feet of office, lab, and co-working space for approximately 100 startups; offers Velocity, a cohort-based, seed accelerator program for tech startups; and runs immersive educational programs designed for workforce skills development. As of January 2018, more than 18 student-led companies have been incubated at the UAB Innovation Lab, a collaboration between the UAB Collat School of Business and Innovation Depot.  Regional resources include the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), which hosts a variety of programs to attract new business to the state and grow Alabama startup companies, including Alabama Launchpad—the largest business plan competition in the state. UAB’s partnership with EDPA helps support access to the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Alabama, including access to potential participants in academic research with a focus on entrepreneurship. RevBirmingham, a public-private partnership devoted to economic development, business recruitment and retention and neighborhood revitalization, creates vibrant commercial districts by filling vacant spaces and growing sustainable businesses. Its Big Pitch offers additional competitive funding opportunities innovative and entrepreneurial endeavors.

This summer, construction will be completed on a new, state-of-the-art, 109,000-square-foot facility to house the Charles and Patsy Collat School of Business, Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Regions Institute for Financial Education, UAB Healthcare Leadership Academy, and UAB Center for Sales Leadership. The cornerstone of UAB’s new campus plan, the Collat School of Business will welcome visitors to UAB as the western gateway to campus. Prominently facing University Boulevard, the location is uniquely accessible to campus and downtown Birmingham, creating limitless opportunities for interactions and engagement with local businesses. With a student accelerator at Innovation Depot, one of the leading business incubators in the world within blocks of the new building, the Collat School of Business is positioned as the major catalyst for entrepreneurship and innovation in central Alabama.

University Leadership:

Ray L. Watts, M.D., President

Ray L. Watts, M.D., UAB’s seventh president, is a Birmingham native and graduate of UAB with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. The collaborations he had with biomedical engineering students as an undergraduate sparked an interest in medicine and, four years later, he graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as valedictorian of his class.

Dr. Watts completed a neurology residency, medical internship, and clinical fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by a two-year medical staff fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Thereafter he joined the faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, where he was part of a team that created an internationally renowned research and clinical center for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.

Dr. Watts returned to UAB in 2003 as the John N. Whitaker Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology. He also was named president of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation. In 2010, Dr. Watts accepted the position of Senior Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine at UAB, and later was named to the James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair. Dr. Watts was named president of UAB in February 2013 by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System. He initiated and is leading UAB’s most comprehensive-ever strategic planning process with campus- and community-wide partnership. During his tenure, UAB has made tremendous strides in all areas of its mission, including record enrollment and development of novel academic programs, substantial growth in research funding and the university’s international competitiveness, impactful service to the local and global community, and construction of new state-of-the-art facilities and campus beautification as part of the UAB Campus Master Plan.

Pam Benoit, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs; Provost

Pam Benoit, Ph.D., was named senior vice president of Academic Affairs and provost at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in May 2017. Benoit joins UAB from Ohio University, where she served as executive vice president and provost for eight years. As chief academic officer of Ohio University, Dr. Benoit led many significant initiatives, including: the conversion from quarters to semesters in 2012; development and implementation of the OHIO Guarantee, an innovative tuition and fee model through which Ohio University is helping students budget for the cost of a college education, in 2014; and creation of the nationally recognized Innovation Strategy Investment Program in 2016.

She received her master’s degree in communication from Central Michigan University and her Ph.D. in communication from Wayne State University. Early in her career, she served on the faculty of Bowling Green State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she also held a position in the Department of Communications.

Eric P. Jack, Ph.D., Dean, Collat School of Business 

Dr. Eric P. Jack is the Wells Fargo Endowed Chair in Business Administration, Professor of Management, and Dean of UAB’s Collat School of Business. He received his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, an M.B.A. from Wright State University with an emphasis on research and development management and a Doctorate in operations management from the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Jack was appointed dean of UAB’s Collat School of Business in April 2013 where he also served as the interim dean from September, 2012 until April, 2013. Prior to this, Jack also served as associate dean and interim chair of the department of management, information systems and quantitative methods. A passionate teacher, Jack was awarded the 2006 UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. As Professor of Management, Jack’s research interests include operations strategy, flexibility, health care management, service operations, quality management, and supply chain management.

Before beginning his academic career, Jack served for 21 years as a US Air Force officer where his responsibilities at various international locations involved facility planning, design, construction, and maintenance. He was a member of Leadership Birmingham Class of 2014, and serves on the boards of Malcovery Security LLC, The Innovation Depot, Rotary Club of Birmingham, and United Way of Central Alabama.  In July 2018, Jack will assume the position of President of the Rotary Club of Birmingham.

The Opportunity:

The Goodrich Endowed Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be an enthusiastic, charismatic leader with an entrepreneurial and creative spirit who will use their strategic, operational, and visionary skills to lead the School, University and Health System towards a transformational interdisciplinary experience for students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and the Birmingham community.

UAB’s vision for this Endowed Chair is to enhance and grow the research portfolio in entrepreneurship, to capitalize on the potential research opportunities in the regional innovation ecosystem and accelerate the growth of UAB’s academic programs to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs that can feed into the burgeoning startup community in Birmingham.  The Endowed Chair will be influential in shaping the direction of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem at UAB and will fill a critical leadership role across the university.

Key opportunities and responsibilities include:

  • Provide strategic growth and development for all aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship education at the School, including the positive representation of the School within the Harbert IIE and across the UAB enterprise;
  • Provide academic leadership for multidisciplinary programmatic and curricular initiatives throughout the institution for innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • Participate in university-wide efforts to expose students to innovative thinking and infuse the entrepreneurial mindset across the academic enterprise;
  • Expand and enhance the strength of the research programs within the School, building on existing strengths and creating new areas of research excellence;
  • Lead and assist in securing extramural and philanthropic resources necessary for the growth and improvement of innovation and entrepreneurship programs;
  • Develop close, cooperative relationships with other units on campus to cultivate a community of mutual respect advanced by meaningful interaction across the university;
  • Build and engage a strong network of community alliances and draw upon this network to shape the future of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking at the School, the University and the Birmingham Community;
  • Provide and promote active membership in both academic and business associations/organizations aimed at advancing the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The appointee will be a member of one of the academic departments at the Collat School of Business, and will become the Collat faculty representative in the Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Candidate Profile:

The successful candidate must have an earned doctorate in entrepreneurship or a business-related discipline with a distinguished academic leadership record appropriate for appointment at the rank of senior associate or full Professor at UAB’s Collat School of Business.  In addition, the Chair should have a demonstrated track record of success in leading and/or developing entrepreneurship-related programs, a record of engagement in the startup community, and a vision for future academic program development.  The successful candidate will have the capacity and enthusiasm to grow the existing academic programs, take a leadership role in the creation of curricular opportunities for all majors, and pursue the development of a new major in Entrepreneurship.

The successful candidate will be a collaborative leader who embraces UAB’s mission and culture and who has a demonstrated ability and ongoing desire to actively engage across academic and community boundaries and explore new partnerships and programs.  An active record of high impact research and teaching in Innovation and Entrepreneurship is essential. The Chair will be an individual who embodies trust, confidence and respect and leads others by influence and example.

In addition, the successful candidate will possess the following abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • A strong record of research and scholarship in the fields of innovation/entrepreneurship, with the stature and ability to cultivate and extend the School’s research agenda;
  • The ability to build a cohesive team within the School to develop a strong sense of community and pride in the entrepreneurship programs;
  • A record of successful administrative leadership in building academic programs, such as an entrepreneurship major and/or graduate programs;
  • A demonstrated track record of success in leading and/or developing entrepreneurship-related programs, a record of engagement in the startup community, and a vision for future academic program development;
  • A record of proven, transformative leadership with the ability to articulate a clear, compelling vision and to engage all constituencies including the health system, business community and the university in support of that vision;
  • A demonstrated ability to be a university citizen with a commitment to advancing entrepreneurship education across disciplines, and the ability to collaborate effectively with a broad and diverse range of leadership styles, personalities and interests;
  • An ability to work effectively with faculty, students, staff, community stakeholders and partners to advance the School’s mission; ability to create and foster an environment of interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • A proven capacity to lead in the development of effective programs of student recruitment, advising and student success activities to result in a competent and effective entrepreneurial workforce;
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse faculty at all levels to promote the commercialization of academic research;
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills, and the ability to organize, analyze, summarize, and effectively tailor and present initiatives to a diverse group of constituents;
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion and an ability to connect with others and cultivate relationships based on mutual trust and respect, collegiality and kindness.


The Collat School of Business at The University of Alabama at Birmingham has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this search. Please submit applications, expressions of interest, and nominations to Liz Neumann, Beth Schaefer and Amy Sugin here.

A pre-employment background check investigation is performed on candidates selected for employment. UAB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of, race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB also encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with higher education, nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit