Chief Program & Academic Officer

Chief Program & Academic Officer

Sea Education Association

Woods Hole, MA   |   August 3, 2021

About Sea Education Association

Sea Education Association (SEA) is a global teaching, learning, and research community and nonprofit organization dedicated to the exploration, understanding, and stewardship of marine and maritime environments. Through our work, we educate and inspire ocean scholars, stewards, and leaders, and we foster and enhance knowledge about the state of oceans and coastal communities. Our long-term environmental research, global partnerships, and the continued impact of our students, faculty, and alumni worldwide all help to shape public dialogue and policy.

Our Programs

As an internationally recognized leader in ocean education, SEA empowers students with life-changing sea voyages of scientific and cultural discover that are infused with academic rigor and foster personal growth. Since 1971, we have equipped over 10,000 high school and undergraduate students with the tools to become environmentally literate leaders who are prepared to address the defining issue of the twenty-first century: the human impact on the environment.

SEA Semester®, our Boston University accredited study abroad program, is the leading off-campus Environmental Studies program focused on the ocean. While the academic focus varies, each program offers an interconnected suite of courses designed to explore a specific ocean-related theme using a cross-disciplinary approach. We look for motivated undergraduates in all majors who are passionate about learning, inspired to tackle and address real-world problems, and eager to become part of an unparalleled living and learning community.

SEA Gap Year programs offer any student interested in the oceans the opportunity to study the marine environment through the disciplines of science, maritime history and culture, policy, and leadership. We offer experiential academic credit-bearing programs as well as non-credit-bearing learning opportunities.

SEA Summer High School programs offer unique learning opportunities for current high school students, including shore-based field programs on our Cape Cod campus and at-sea voyages focused on carrying out oceanographic research under sail.

SEA Collaborative programs include a variety of custom programs and partnerships, including collaborations with Stanford University, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program, University of Chicago, the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, and others.

SEA’s campus is located on Cape Cod in the marine and environmental science and oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts and our expeditions take place aboard our two tall ship research vessels. For more information on SEA please visit

The Opportunity

In joining the SEA team as we celebrate our 50th year, the Chief Program & Academic Officer will be a key leader in shaping strategies for our continued success and sustainability. Working as a thought partner with the President and collaborating with staff and Board leaders, the Chief Program & Academic Officer will ensure that there is a cohesive and effectively implemented strategy that allows us to create and deliver a diverse range of exceptional programs. They will serve as a leader for program, academic, marine operations, and enrollment staff, fostering cross-functional collaboration.  A successful Chief Program & Academic Officer will engage with the complexity of our organization, which bridges study abroad, experiential, and leadership education; marine research; and maritime operations; and they will identify opportunities to position SEA as a leader in each of these areas. The Chief Program & Academic Officer will have the opportunity to serve as a bridge across different internal teams at SEA while also building meaningful relationships with external partners who support and enrich our educational and research programs and marine operations.

This newly-created position at SEA presents an opportunity for a strategic, innovative thinker and skilled leader to help set the course for our future. The Chief Program & Academic Officer will manage key staff in program, academic, marine operations, and enrollment roles. They will report directly to the President, serve on the Senior Management team, and empower and support leaders throughout the organization.

Key Responsibilities

  • Lead the creation and ongoing iteration of SEA’s programmatic strategy, identifying the balance of different program offerings and activities that will best utilize SEA’s resources, maximize the number of participants, and optimize partnership opportunities
  • Drive program development and innovation, in alignment with SEA’s mission and strategic plan as well as trends and changes in market demand for SEA programs, partnering with the President and others to evaluate opportunities that would increase and/or diversify SEA’s revenue base and participant mix
  • Cultivate strong relationships with key SEA partners, including Boston University (our accreditation partner), sending institutions, research collaborators, and the U.S. Coast Guard; identify areas to deepen partnerships that support SEA’s long-term sustainability
  • Manage the Academic Dean to ensure the delivery of a strong academic program and the effective recruitment, supervision, and development of all faculty and instructors
  • Provide leadership for teams across SEA’s programs, which include faculty and staff who lead or support instruction and research and manage science labs on our shore campus and aboard our ships
  • Lead SEA’s work to further diversity and inclusion within all aspects of our programs and operations and support shared goals as part of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative
  • Manage leadership in Facilities and Marine Operations to ensure that our physical plant supports high-quality and safe program delivery
  • Ensure organization-wide risk management strategies in collaboration with the President and other leaders
  • Manage leadership in Enrollment to align programs and enrollment strategies and understand market demand for SEA’s programs
Candidate Profile

As the incoming Chief Program & Academic Officer, you will possess many, though perhaps not all, of the following skills and experiences:

  • You come to this opportunity with substantial experience in senior leadership positions in academic, educational, and/or nonprofit organizations with a focus on scientific and/or environmental education, research, or policy.
  • You are a leader in an area related to the SEA mission and hold an advanced degree in a relevant field: e.g., marine science, oceanography, maritime studies, marine affairs, environmental policy, education, environmental education or management, or similar.
  • You are an entrepreneurial and strategic leader with demonstrated success in roles that have engaged a wide variety of internal and external constituents in order to build, grow, or redesign a program or organization.
  • You demonstrate excellent leadership and management skills, including the ability to empower and foster collaboration among cross-functional teams, including senior leaders.
  • You possess outstanding interpersonal and communications skills and are able to engage, motivate, and collaborate with a diverse range of audiences, stakeholders, and partners, both internally and externally.
  • You share our commitment to enhancing equity and diversity among our students, faculty, and staff and ensuring an inclusive environment.
  • You share our commitment to the value of study abroad and experiential education experiences.
  • Willingness and ability to travel is required.
Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for this position starts at $100,000 and will be determined commensurate with experience. SEA offers a full benefits package that includes health, dental, and vision coverage; life insurance; retirement plans; and generous vacation/sick/personal time and holidays.


SEA has engaged Koya Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume, addressed to Peg Brandon, here.


SEA is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit