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Assistant Director of First Ascent

  • Hybrid
  • Morgantown (Hybrid)
  • $60,000-65,0000 / Year
  • Applications have closed

Website West Virginia University

The Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative at West Virginia University is currently accepting applications for an Assistant Director for First Ascent.

About the Opportunity

Reporting to the Ascend WV Director within the Smith OEDC, the First Ascent Assistant Director will be responsible for the development, implementation, operations, oversight and evolution of the First Ascent program. The Assistant Director will be a self-starter who shows a high aptitude for innovation, adaptability, team leadership, project development and applied learning toward overall program improvement. Responsibilities include but are not limited to program development and implementation, recruitment and retention, benchmarking, data analysis, activity operations and budgetary reporting. The Assistant Director will be responsible for the build-out and implementation of the First Ascent program in multiple locations throughout West Virginia. Program activities include professional development, socials, outdoor experiences, volunteer opportunities and orientation events. The position also supports the operationalization of the necessary systems for managing recruitment, selection, quality control and program operations.

At WVU Research Corporation, we strongly believe in work-life balance and keeping time for things we love outside our work. WVU Research Corporation offers a comprehensive benefits package with a variety of options to suit your needs.:

  • 13 paid holidays (staff holiday calendar)
  • PTO
  • 403(b) retirement savings with a fully vested 3% employee contribution match, (Employees have the option of contributing an additional 1-3% of their earnings to the plan, which is also matched by the WVURC)
  • A range of health insurance and various other benefits
  • Dependent Education Scholarship
  • WVU Perks

What You’ll Do

Program Development, Evaluation, and Promotion

  • Support the implementation of the strategic vision, mission and direction for the First Ascent program.
  • Support and continue to develop a network with key partners – universities, state, local governments, community development organizations, locals and others in support of the First Ascent program.
  • Collaborating with WVU and Marshall University (and other institutions of higher education) faculty, staff and partners to create strategies, detailed reports and/or publications around the metrics gathered from program activities.
  • In collaboration with the Ascend WV Director and program partners, develop and implement organizational systems for collecting, reviewing and storing information related to applications, participant data, risk management, compliance, retention, program outcomes, return on investment and other metrics.
  • Represent First Ascent in public forums and conferences as needed.
  • Support the development of and ensure the implementation of marketing and communication strategies for the program including recruitment strategies.
  • Create innovative programming for remote-first and hybrid workers that fosters community, purpose, professional collaboration and a connection to the community and the state. This includes professional development opportunities, socials, outings and mentor programs.
  • Work with various Career Development Centers at both the college and university level to generate program awareness and interest among students, faculty and staff.
  • Through a data-driven approach, offer suggestions for program improvement.

Program Management and Implementation

  • Manage the selection, onboarding and retention efforts of the program participants.
  • Work with employer partners to understand their needs and create professional development opportunities.
  • Promote the Remote Worker Certificate.
  • Assist with the planning, organization, oversight, and leadership of community building efforts which include short outdoor experiences for participants (e.g. rock climbing, hiking, paddling, biking trips, etc.), socials, speakers, mentorship, events, continuing education, volunteer opportunities, etc.
  • Develop systems for compliance, operations, program planning, implementation, reporting, data collection, etc, that operationalize and advance the First Ascent program.
  • Travel to the various locations as needed for program development and implementation.


  • In alignment with WVU policies and procedures, implement the departmental policies and procedures that are in place to support staff in successfully implementing the First Ascent program.
  • Along with the Director, provide training and guidance to the staff who will assist with coordinating the program in multiple locations and oversight of activities.
  • Keep abreast of new developments in relevant industries and fields
  • Bachelor’s required in Business, Management, Communications, Community Development, Public Administration, Leadership, Recreation, or related field.
  • Masters in related field preferred.
  • Minimum of two (2) years of experience involving:
    • Progressive program development and management.
    • Experience in participant recruitment and retention.
    • Experience in collaborations with diverse stakeholders.
    • Experience building, implementing and maintaining organizational systems.
    • Technical experience with computer software, project tracking, and reporting.
    • Experience with WV outdoor activities and the Ascend locations is preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to foster positive relationships with multiple diverse professional constituencies.
  • Ability to be innovative, strategic, adaptable and thoughtful with multiple constituents and projects.
  • Ability to evaluate and consistently improve programs in recreation, continuing education, development, etc.
  • Demonstrated skills in team leadership, training and networking.
  • Demonstrated technical aptitude to create systems and software as needed to improve and advance program operations.
  • Analytical skills to identify problems, assess alternatives and render consistent logical decisions.
  • Experience developing assessment & evaluation plans, professional reports, presentations and articles.
  • Detail-oriented, with aptitude to manage day-to-day operations while advancing projects toward future goals.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, including large group presentations.
  • Understanding of West Virginia, including outdoor recreation, community partners and culture.
  • Understanding of university students and those who are entering their first remote or hybrid career.
  • Self-starter with the ability to manage and follow-through multiple responsibilities simultaneously in a timely manner and fast-paced environment.
  • Willingness to work evenings, weekends and long days when appropriate to see a program from start to finish.
  • Needs to be a self-motivated innovator that looks for unique opportunities to advance the program and state.


  • Wilderness First Aid or ability to obtain in 6 months of hiring.
  • Valid Driver’s License 

About Research Corporation

The WVURC was created as a not-for-profit corporation in 1985 to support research (R1) at West Virginia University. We provide evaluation, development, patenting, management, and marketing services for inventions of the faculty, staff and students of the University.

The WVURC receives and administers funds awarded by external agencies for research and other activities and is responsible for helping protect intellectual property through patents, copyrights and licensing agreements for start-up companies based on University research.

Creating an inclusive, engaged, and dynamic environment is core to WVURC’s mission. We welcome candidates who can contribute a range of ideas, approaches and experiences.

West Virginia University Research Corporation is proud to be an Equal Opportunity employer. We value diversity among its employees and invites applications from all qualified applicants regardless of race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, nationality, genetics, disability, or Veteran status.