Program Director, Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism

Posted by University of Delaware on September 10, 2018

The Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism (DNEA) at the Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS) improves the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families across the lifespan through training, technical assistance, and information dissemination. Its activities are undertaken in a collaborative manner with state and community stakeholders. Through its work, the DNEA leverages the interdisciplinary expertise in ASD and across multiple fields within the Center for Disabilities Studies, as well as partner organizations, in order to maximize impact. The DNEA has significant opportunities for growth through the expansion of state-based training contracts, the development of research protocols, and the solicitation of federal and foundation funding.

Under the direction of the CDS Director and Associate Director, the Program Director of the Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism (DNEA) provides conceptual and administrative leadership for all DNEA activities. The Program Director has primary responsibility for developing, implementing, and managing the DNEA; maintaining effective communication and collaboration with the Interagency Committee for Autism (ICA); facilitating the support of the DNEA through grants and contracts; establishing innovative practices that can be disseminated on state, national and international levels; providing the translational pivot between research and application; cultivating relationships with University, federal, state, and community partners; conducting training and technical assistance; and influencing policy and practice to enhance the positive impact on individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities, as well as their families. The DNEA Program Director develops and promotes collaborative ventures with and among stakeholders across the state and nation.

The Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS) promotes increased access, opportunity and accomplishment among people with disabilities—across ages and life domains—through its multifaceted research, training and service portfolio. CDS is one of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) nationwide, and is the largest research and public service center in the College of Education and Human Development. The Center’s current programmatic units focus on transition to adult life, health and wellness, PreK-12 education, assistive technology, and interdisciplinary training via the Disability Studies minor and the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program. The Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism (DNEA) is a program that both contributes to and draws upon the existing programmatic units in its work with the community. CDS works in close collaboration with federal agencies and organizations, state agencies, other units at the University of Delaware, community organizations, service providers, individuals with disabilities, and their families.

Major Responsibilities

  • Provides vision, develops long-term objectives, devises and implements processes and practices, and makes operating decisions that affect the DNEA;
  • Assists internal and external stakeholders in the application of knowledge to practice, the implementation of evidence-based practice, and the translation of practical challenges into questions for empirical investigation;
  • Develops and maintains effective working relationships and collaborations with state and federal agencies, as well as national and community organizations, to expand influence and impact;
  • Assesses the quality of training and technical assistance implementation and integrity of data collection.
  • Provides solutions, suggestions, or alternatives in order to ensure high quality service delivery and data collection.
  • Hires, trains, supervises, and evaluates DNEA staff, including professional staff, graduate assistants and undergraduate students;
  • Manages and has fiscal responsibility for activities supervised;
  • Identifies and pursues external funding in order to establish and maintain a strong program of service and research. Develops funding applications and prepares reports required by granting agencies.
  • Provides training and technical assistance through the DNEA to state and community providers, schools, and agencies;
  • Exercises a high degree of creativity, foresight, and judgment in planning, organizing, and guiding activities of importance;
  • Fosters research and programmatic collaboration among units at the University of Delaware;
  • Chairs the Interagency Committee for Autism, an advisement body for the DNEA;
  • Influences the design and implementation of ASD-specific initiatives across the center;
  • Reviews reports and maintains records as necessary to meet all requirements of funding sources;
  • Authors/co-authors scholarly articles, reports and other professional publications, as well as state, national, and international conference presentations;
  • Contributes to the strategic planning for the Center;
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Master’s degree, Ph.D. preferred, and five years of experience in a discipline closely aligned with the scope of the project, such as a health-related discipline, psychology, or education.
  • Background in training, services, and/or research methods in support of people with autism spectrum disorders and their families.
  • Knowledge of evidence-based practices and their application.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to develop, organize, and manage impactful projects as well as conduct systematic analysis and develop solutions to complex problems.
  • Excellent interpersonal, leadership, presentation and collaboration skills.
  • Advanced knowledge of competitive contracts and grants development and management.
  • Demonstrated track record in securing extramural funding.
  • Ability to develop reports and manuscripts based on original research/evaluation.
  • Skill in organizing resources and establishing priorities.
  • Advanced skills in budget preparation and management, and the ability to develop financial plans and manage resources.

Special Requirements:

Ability to drive to off-campus locations.

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