Executive Director of The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health

  • University of Oregon
  • Portland, OR, USA
  • Sep 20, 2022
Full time Executive

Job Description

An Invitation to Apply for:

Executive Director of The Ballmer Institute for

Children’s Behavioral Health

Portland, Oregon


“This undertaking will begin providing solutions and relief in months, not decades, and will create lasting impact, helping generations of young people and families.” -- Michael H. Schill, University of Oregon’s President, speaking about the creation of The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health


The Search


The University of Oregon (UO), a Carnegie R1 research university and a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), invites applications and nominations for the position of Executive Director of The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health (Ballmer Institute or Institute). The Ballmer Institute, based in Portland, Oregon, will establish a new national model for behavioral and mental health care by uniting UO’s nationally recognized research programs in education, psychology, and prevention science, Oregon public schools and families, and community support groups in the creation and delivery of promotion, prevention, and intervention programs that can be part of the daily lives of children and adolescents. This groundbreaking initiative was announced on March 1, 2022 and made possible by the extraordinary gift of more than $425 million from Connie and Steve Ballmer, co-founders of Ballmer Group Philanthropy. The Institute will serve youth K-12, while prioritizing the needs of children, adolescents, and families who have been persistently and/or historically underserved.


The Ballmer Institute is being established in Portland, Oregon to address the profound need for, and disparities within, children’s behavioral health. Oregon consistently ranks among the worst for mental health treatment access nationally. Mental Health America this year ranked the state 45th for the prevalence of mental illness among youth and access to treatment. In order to address this tremendous need, The Ballmer Institute is creating a new profession—a child behavioral health specialist—whose expertise will encompass the mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being of youth. Child behavioral health specialists will expand access to evidence-based behavioral health promotion and prevention programs and services for communities across Oregon and beyond.


The Institute plans to accomplish its goals through two main strategies: academic programming and clinical and research acceleration. An undergraduate degree program aligned to the new profession is currently under development and a graduate level course sequence aimed at promoting child behavioral health will be offered this fall to existing professionals such as teachers, counselors, and other instructional staff. While these programs represent the launch of the Institute’s educational mission, programs will expand in the coming years. Additionally, the Ballmer Institute faculty and Executive Director will manage clinical and research programs aimed at accelerating the cycle from discovery to improving the lives of children and adolescents.


With this charge, the Executive Director must possess comprehensive knowledge of the university setting, mental health settings, community health settings, and K-12 school systems, and the complex issues that accompany advancing the Institute’s education and research missions. The Executive Director will be an extraordinary communicator and relationship builder who will regularly interact with an array of stakeholders including UO leadership and faculty, the Board of Trustees, policymakers, K-12 school administrators, and public health organizations. The Executive Director will have an extensive understanding of the provision of behavioral health services for children in schools, the community, as well as public health settings. The ideal candidate will be an exceptional leader with a strong record of research excellence and the ability to create and implement academic programs. The Executive Director will bring deep knowledge of issues of inequity and access in behavioral health, and a demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Moreover, the Executive Director must deeply appreciate the rigor of this groundbreaking effort to launch a new profession and be passionate about the Institute’s mission and disseminating its work across the nation and world.


A detailed list of the desired qualifications and characteristics of the Executive Director can be found at the conclusion of this document. All confidential applications, inquiries, and nominations should be directed to Isaacson, Miller, a national search firm, at the conclusion of this document.


The University of Oregon


Founded in 1876, the University of Oregon is the state’s flagship institution and a member of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. The main campus of the UO is in Eugene, in the southern Willamette Valley, a picturesque region known for its mild four-season climate, excellent wines, abundant recreational opportunities, and progressive, collaborative culture. The University of Oregon is set on Kalapuya Ilihi, the traditional indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people. Following treaties between 1851 and 1855, Kalapuya people were dispossessed of their indigenous homeland by the United States government and forcibly removed to the Coast Reservation in Western Oregon. Today, descendants are citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon and continue to make important contributions in their communities, at UO, across the land we now refer to as Oregon, and around the world.


The UO enrolls more than 19,000 undergraduate and 3,600 graduate students from all 50 states and 99 countries and offers 331 degree and certificate programs through its nine academic units:


The College of Arts and Sciences

The School of Journalism and Communication

The Charles H. Lundquist College of Business

The School of Law

The College of Design

The School of Music and Dance

The College of Education

The Graduate School

The Robert D. Clark Honors College


The University is ranked in the top 100 for national universities according to U.S. News and World Report 2021 rankings. The UO ranks in the top 20 (or top 20 percent) nationally in such varied fields as creative writing, education, environmental law, landscape architecture, psychology, sports marketing, sustainable business practices, and many more. UO offers twenty-two PhD and professional programs that are ranked in the top 20 or the top 20 percent of programs nationally.


The University recently completed a $3.25 billion comprehensive campaign, which focused on supporting faculty excellence in teaching and research, creating access for outstanding students, and enriching the student experience. Under the leadership of President Michael Schill, the University made tremendous progress towards these goals, hallmarked by a $500 million gift from Penny and Phil Knight in 2016, the largest gift ever received by a flagship public university. The donation paved the way for the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact – a $1 billion, ten-year initiative in the applied sciences. The Knight Campus builds on the longstanding interdisciplinary traditions of the UO, bringing together life scientists, physical scientists, engineers, human health researchers and more to solve problems of import in today’s society, collaborate with universities in Oregon and beyond, and engage with industry and funders to commercialize technology. Through the efforts of the campaign, the endowment has grown significantly (valued at $1.2 billion as of June 30, 2021). The UO is an integral economic driver for the state, with an estimated $2.2 billion annual economic return to Oregon.


Recently, the University has set forth an ambitious set of institutional grand initiatives. These initiatives are designed to focus and strengthen UO’s research and teaching excellence in core themes to address major societal challenges. They support interdisciplinary faculty research, curriculum innovation, student recruitment, and experiential learning. In so doing, they help define a public university of the future. The five current initiatives include:


  • The Environment Initiative focuses the intellectual energy and work of faculty, students, and community partners on working towards a just and livable future through transdisciplinary research, teaching, and experiential learning.
  • The Innovation Initiative bolsters research commercialization, enhances entrepreneurship, and propels the work of UO students, faculty, and staff into the world while fostering a community of partners and serving as a hub of resources and activities.
  • The Diversity Initiative affirms the UO’s intent to apply research, teaching, funding, and creativity to accelerate a reckoning with the dissonance and challenges of racial inequity.
  • The Data Science Initiative employs analysis of data to empower researchers to improve the world, students to achieve successful careers, and communities to make positive transformations with a uniquely Oregon mindset, asking what they can do with data and what they should do.
  • The Sport and Wellness Initiative delivers a new model of education and scholarship. Programs, courses, research, and partnerships are structured to address complex sports and wellness problems with innovative and applied solutions that benefit all people across ages, abilities, and health.


University of Oregon Portland


The University of Oregon has a long history in the city of Portland that goes back to the 1880s when the university opened our law school as well as the first medical school in the Pacific Northwest. We have been part of Portland without pause since then in various locations around the city. From establishing a robust architecture program in the 1970s to current plans to move to a new campus in northeast Portland in 2023, the university has long been committed to Portland through its academic programming and community engagement.


The University of Oregon Portland provides a range of academic and student support programs. Students at UO Portland are enrolled in professional master's degree programs offered by the College of Design, School of Journalism and Communication and the Lundquist College of Business. Law students can complete their third year of law school on the Portland campus, and a fifth-year undergraduate program is offered in Product Design. Starting fall 2022, College of Education students can enroll in the Master’s in School Psychology in Portland. The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health is developing a proposed undergraduate degree and a certificate program and will also serve as the home for a robust research portfolio, comprised of designing and implementing cutting edge programs (promotion/prevention/intervention) that support children’s behavioral health in scalable and culturally affirming ways. There are also programs offering professional education and several research centers. UO Portland provides a range of support services for students including advising, counseling, and internship opportunities, while housing, dining, and recreational opportunities will be available beginning fall of 2023 on the new campus.


Just two hours north of Eugene, Portland is the business and population hub for the state of Oregon and broader region. Known for its sustainability, livability and access to cultural amenities, the food scene and outdoor recreation, the region is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and other media. Established global companies, as well as innovative startups, are based in the region spanning areas such as software, food and beverage, apparel and outdoor products, bioscience, climate technology, design, and media. A highly regarded international airport supports global connection. The academic programs and research centers at UO Portland have a strong connection with the industries, professional leaders, and community partners in the region.


The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health


On March 1, 2022, the University of Oregon announced the establishment of The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, a bold new approach to addressing the behavioral and mental health care needs of Oregon’s children. The Portland-based institute is made possible by a lead gift of more than $425 million from Connie and Steve Ballmer, co-founders of Ballmer Group Philanthropy. Dr. Randy Kamphaus, most recently dean of the UO College of Education, has been serving as acting executive director for the Ballmer Institute. Dr. Kamphaus is joined by a group of select faculty and staff who are building out the Institute’s foundation including its initial undergraduate degree and certificate programs. A bachelor’s degree program is currently under development. Pending state approval, the first students will be admitted in the fall 2023 academic quarter. The program will require two years of residence at UO Portland, preceded by two years completed elsewhere (e.g., UO Eugene or a community college). Graduates of the program will be poised to enter and play a critical role in the behavioral health workforce.


The Ballmer Institute’s degree offerings


Students at the Ballmer Institute will receive instruction from pre-eminent researchers and clinical professors in the areas of psychology, education, and prevention science and develop their clinical skills while working alongside experienced professionals. There are opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate level study at the Institute.


An undergraduate degree program aligned to the new profession is currently under development. The proposed bachelor’s degree program will graduate 200 child behavioral health specialists each year. These specialists will be trained to provide promotion, prevention, psychoeducation, science-based early detection, and interventions.


Graduate level programming will begin in fall of 2022 with a three-course sequence in children’s behavioral health. The course sequence will provide school counselors, teachers, and other instructional staff with the latest research and innovations in childhood behavioral health to apply in their setting. For career changers, a graduate-level pathway to the new profession is expected in the near future.


Acceleration of the Research Impact Cycle


The Ballmer Institute faculty and Executive Director will manage clinical and research programs aimed at accelerating the cycle from discovery to improving the lives of children and adolescents. To accomplish this, the Institute will initially employ 10 tenure line faculty who will lead continued innovative research in the area of children’s behavior health and 15 clinical faculty who will be, in part, embedded in schools delivering promotion and prevention programs and interventions. In partnership with the clinical faculty, research will be developed and tested, and evidence-based knowledge and interventions will be deployed in real time, fulfilling the cycle of impact for students.


The Role of Executive Director


Reporting to Dr. Patrick Phillips, the Provost and Senior Vice President, the Executive Director is the chief academic and administrative leader of the Institute. The Executive Director is responsible for a broad set of academic, administrative, and research functions that require the ability to exercise independent judgment. The Executive Director will guide the development of the Institute as a living-learning laboratory where research-based discoveries are rapidly translated into interventions and programs in schools and other public health settings to address the behavioral health and mental health crisis and opportunity facing children in K-12 settings. The Executive Director will recruit and manage faculty (including an initial group of 10 tenure-related faculty, 15 clinical faculty, and administrative staff in Portland). These individuals will work in concert with a diverse community of stakeholders, to create forward-looking curricula, research, and clinical services that promote and support the behavioral health of children and youth, with a specific emphasis on high-need populations.


The Executive Director will establish the Institute’s national and international reputation within the field of children’s behavioral health. They will oversee the development and implementation of a vision to attract funding, talent, and institutional support to The Ballmer Institute. The Executive Director will leverage resources to create a distinctive profile for The Ballmer Institute within the national scientific and educational communities.


The Executive Director will have a primary appointment in The Ballmer Institute, with secondary appointments in other University units as appropriate to the Executive Director’s scientific or professional background.


Transformative work awaits the new Executive Director. Specific opportunities and challenges include the following:


Formulate an innovative vision and foundation for The Ballmer Institute


The Ballmer Institute is a novel approach for serving the behavioral health needs of children, families, and communities and demands an entrepreneurial leader who can continuously advance the Institute’s local and national reputation. The Executive Director will build upon the foundational work underway to establish the Institute, setting a distinctive and innovative vision for its growth. The Executive Director will effectively engage stakeholders and leverage UO’s many related areas of strengths in efforts to create a new profession, child behavioral health specialists, who will be viewed as essential in schools and other settings to combat disparities and mental health challenges. This is an opportunity to build a dynamic institute that will rapidly move from research to practice, graduating professionals who are ready to meet the current and future needs of children and their families, particularly those who have been historically and/or persistently underserved. The Executive Director will foster an intellectual atmosphere at the Ballmer Institute that promotes collaboration, excellence, and a keen focus on research and evidence- based practice to address behavioral and mental health needs.


Promote the Institute and establish collaborative working relationships at the UO, in Oregon K-12 schools, and local communities


The Executive Director will work with UO faculty, Portland regional school systems and legislature, public health systems political and policy leaders, families of the children and adolescents being served, and others to shape the Institute. They will bring together these stakeholders to realize a collective ambition to find solutions to behavioral health challenges and educate a new generation of trained leaders for the state of Oregon and beyond. At a national and international level, the Executive Director will be a chief spokesperson for the Ballmer Institute, galvanizing excitement around the Institute’s mission, and communicating out its work to shape efforts happening in other parts around the country and world.


It is of utmost importance that the Executive Director engages and brings in communities that have historically been left out of these important conversations. The Executive Director can play a role in addressing historical inequities and stigma related to mental and behavioral health. An important part of these efforts will center around accurately communicating the mission and partnering on the vision for the Ballmer Institute, emphasizing the importance of addressing the needs of historically marginalized populations throughout all of the Institute’s work, demonstrating its impact, and ensuring trust and continued support.


Recruit, develop, and retain high-quality faculty members to The Ballmer Institute


The Executive Director will oversee the recruitment of faculty to the Ballmer Institute. The Institute is beginning the search process for hiring 10 tenure-related faculty members and 15 clinical faculty members. The Executive Director, along with the committee designated to support the ED search committee’s recruitment efforts, will recruit faculty with proven distinction in their fields and who bring a diversity of ideas and backgrounds. The Executive Director will work to facilitate bridges between colleagues in Eugene and Portland, ensuring that Ballmer Institute faculty are embedded into the University. Only by presenting a credible, cohesive strategy for achieving academic excellence can the Institute hope to attract top-tier faculty members and high-caliber students, and retain high-quality junior faculty, and a more diverse team of faculty of color.


Recruit high-caliber students from Oregon and beyond


The need for Ballmer Institute graduates is significant, along with existing professionals of graduate certificate programs and others, is great as UO aspires to meet its graduation goals. The Executive Director must work closely with faculty and staff to set and execute on a successful strategy to recruit talented and diverse students from Oregon and nationally. There is a $100 million endowment dedicated to student scholarships that will enable the Institute to offer a broad, diverse group of students access to the Ballmer Institute’s academic programs. To be successful, the Institute must provide a positive experience for students that prepares them for their careers and supports their transition into employment.


Qualifications and Characteristics


The successful candidate will meet most, if not all, the following criteria:


Minimum Qualifications:

  • PhD, doctoral, or terminal degree in a field related to the Ballmer Institute.
  • Demonstrated management experience in an organization, school, institute, clinic, center, or department of significant complexity.
  • Demonstrated experience pursuing research and interventions related to behavioral health.
  • Demonstrated experience with research, clinical, and instructional practices that consider the diverse backgrounds of the populations being served.
  • Proven experience working collaboratively in community settings to develop and implement interventions.
  • Experience working in schools, communities, and/or public health systems.
  • Record of scholarship commensurate with a tenured full professor.


Professional Competencies:

  • A deep knowledge of issues surrounding inequity and access in behavioral health, and demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Proven ability to prioritize multiple competing and changing priorities, requests, tasks, and deadlines.
  • Proven ability to generate and operationalize a strategic action plan.
  • Proven ability to manage demands and stresses of a high-profile organization.
  • Highly effective and professional verbal and written communication skills and ability to communicate effectively and build relationships with individuals from varying backgrounds.
  • Proven experience maintaining a high level of confidentiality and professional conduct.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • National/international reputation as a visionary leader and researcher with a prestigious record of achievement in the field of child behavioral health, as evidenced by an outstanding publication record, successful funding portfolio, and other appropriate external indicators.
  • Possess a deep understanding of the rigor of this groundbreaking effort to launch a new profession and passion for the Institute’s mission, including dissemination of its work across the nation and world.
  • Experience in coordinating and managing large-scale interdisciplinary research and/or clinical efforts.
  • Demonstrated partnership in philanthropic success in support of higher education, research, or non-profit organizations related to behavioral health.
  • Experience with large government agencies and foundations in the field of children’s behavioral health.
  • Significant and successful management experience building or rebuilding a new unit or initiative in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment.


Job Duties:


60% Leadership, Management, Oversight, and Coordination of Institute

  • Leadership, management, oversight, and coordination of the Ballmer Institute, financial and regulatory oversight, administration, and convening related working groups and committees internal to the Ballmer Institute and the broader university.


20% Scientific Leadership and Research

  • Develop and grow the scientific vision for research, educational programs, and scholarship of the institute.
  • Optionally, can include pursuing one’s own program of sponsored research activities directly related to children’s behavioral health and the mission of the institute.


15% External Engagement

  • Build and nurture partnerships with school districts, pre-K programs, community colleges, and other higher education institutions.
  • Build and sustain partnerships with governmental and non-governmental entities that may play a role in the development and growth of the institute.
  • Actively pursue an appropriate development agenda.


5% Other Duties as Assigned


The Ballmer Institute is committed to ensuring an academic and work environment that is free from gender discrimination and sexual misconduct and is dedicated to cultivating a culture based upon shared values of mutual respect, dignity, responsibility, open communication, and clear consent.




The University of Oregon has retained the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to assist in this search. All inquiries, nominations, referrals, and applications should be sent in confidence to:


Amy Segal, Partner 

Ivy Couch, Associate

Olivia Correll, Search Coordinator 

Isaacson, Miller



To ensure consideration, apply by September 26, 2022. Review of applications will be ongoing; position open until filled.


The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.