Hiring: Director, Illinois Fire Service Institute

Interested candidates are encouraged to submit materials prior to March 8, 2021.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is seeking nominations and applications for the Director of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI). Founded in 1867, the University is one of the nation’s original 37 public land-grant institutions.  An internationally acclaimed comprehensive public research university, it is the largest university in the University of Illinois System and a member of the Big Ten, American Association of Universities and other notable peer organizations. Current student enrollment is diverse and dynamic with a total enrollment of nearly 48,000. The student body is composed of more than 33,500 undergraduates and approximately 14,500 graduate and professional students.  The university is a traditional residential campus with nearly 10,500 students living in campus facilities, while others live in private housing in close proximity. The University community also includes a diverse group of 11,000 faculty and staff.  The campus is located in central Illinois within the cities of Champaign and Urbana and works closely with public safety units to provide a safe environment for students, staff and visitors. 

As the statutory fire academy for Illinois, the Illinois Fire Service Institute serves firefighters throughout Illinois and the world. World-class instructors deliver more than 14,000 class hours to students online, on campus and at regional training centers throughout the state. The Champaign campus includes 28 acres of real-life training props and features one of the few locations in the U.S. that still uses live-fire structural burn training. The 21,000 square foot Learning Resource and Research Center houses the Firefighter Life Safety Research Center. IFSI’s research is carried out by experienced scientists who conduct applied research that addresses real-world health and safety challenges facing first responders. The Center’s research is enhanced by its affiliation with one of the premier research universities in the United States at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is operated as a continuing education and public service activity by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.

The Director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute provides executive leadership over all aspects of the IFSI. The Director oversees and ensures that IFSI maintains a proactive, innovative and collaborative effort to meet the training and education needs of all Illinois public and private fire and rescue response organizations. This position is responsible for ensuring IFSI training and education efforts are based on both National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) compliant standards and nationally recognized best practice, as appropriate. The Director oversees the employee hiring process, goal setting and performance review of IFSI key staff, as well as overseeing development fundraising and corporate partnership activities of the institute. The position oversees all marketing and public relation activities of the Institute; leads the strategic planning process and oversees implementation of a strategic vision and plan for the institute; manages all resources dedicated to the institute; sets annual budgets and financial plans for the Institute to keep the Institute fiscally stable; develops new programs and lines of opportunity to allow continued IFSI mission success, growth and fiscal health of the organization; and other duties as might be expected of the Chief Executive of an organization.

The Director also serves on Statewide Committees, to include: as directed by Gubernatorial Executive Order, serve on the Illinois Terrorism Task Force; the Governor’s Fire Advisory Commission, The Illinois State Fire Marshal Fire Advisory Committee, the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, and the Illinois Fire Services Association, as directed by the Governor, Legislature and/or Advisory Committee; serve as Co-Chair of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force Fire Mutual Aid Committee; serve as the Illinois State Director of Fire Service Training representative to the National Fire Academy, national and international public safety organizations and participate in statewide, regional, and national initiatives in firefighting, terrorism, and other areas to further the effectiveness of the IFSI; serve as executive director of the institute’s interdisciplinary firefighter life safety and Homeland Security Research activities; serve as homeland security policy advisor to the Provost and Chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus.

In addition, actively participate in state, national, and international public events and public relations activities to raise the awareness of the institute.  The Director is responsible for seeking out strategic international collaborations that will enhance the ability of the Institute to better fulfill its statutory training, education, information, and research missions. Actively participate in state, national, and international public events and public relations activities to raise the awareness of the institute. This position oversees the development and implementation of homeland security related programs and training facilities that meet national training standards and are approved as national courses by the US Department of Homeland Security; oversees and maintains IFSI-OSFM mutually supportive and positive work relations; and oversees and maintains IFSI national training and education certification.

Requirements include a master’s degree in a related field or equivalent; proven experience and performance in state and/or city department-government executive management and decision-making; proven experience and performance in fire service, military or emergency management with a minimum of 10 years’ experience as a chief officer in a department or a military field grade officer with command experience at the 0-5 or 0-6 level; proven experience and performance in oversight of a hands-on, public safety/security training organization; proven experience and performance in strategic planning; demonstrated record of visionary leadership to include effective verbal and written skills in articulating a vision; proven experience and performance in emergency operations/incident command, preferably involving interagency response; proven ability to work in a highly visible, fast paced environment; demonstrated performance, positive attitude, ability to lead and work well with others; proven ability to lead a complex organization; proven ability as a fiscal manager of an organization that is publicly and/or privately funded; proven experience fostering interagency, interdisciplinary, and inter-cultural cooperation; experience working with national professional organizations, senior state and/or city government officials and staffs; proven experience in hands-on, potentially high-risk training; proven understanding of the use of technology for organizational management and adult education.

Preferred: Chief Training Officer certification or military Command and Staff College graduate-Executive Fire Officer certification or military Command and Staff College graduate-Chief Fire Officer certification or military Top-Level School graduate

This is a full-time, twelve-month academic professional position. Salary is open and is dependent on qualifications and experience. The position is available as soon as possible after closing date. Any offer of employment is contingent on satisfactory completion of a thorough background investigation. Consistent with University of Illinois policies and practices in the law enforcement profession, this process may include, but is not necessarily limited to, criminal record review, psychological assessment, reference interviews and a medical exam, including drug testing.

Nominations should include the name and contact information of the individual being nominated. Applications should include a letter of interest, resume/CV, and five references. Applications and nominations will be accepted until the position is filled, and review of applications will begin immediately. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit materials prior to March 8, 2021:

Director, Illinois Fire Service Institute

Chair:  Dr. Michael Schlosser


The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment

As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

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