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Academic Director at World Learning

  • Full Time
  • Lilongwe
  • Applications have closed
  • Salary: 00

World Learning

Academic Director

(appointment at relevant rank)

Malawi: Sustainable Development Practice

Reports to: Provost & Dean of Faculty

Annual Gross Salary range: USD $50,00.000 – $59,000.00

Anticipated start date: 15th November, 2024

Term of employment: Full-time, 1 year renewable

Apply by: Applications reviewed on a rolling basis

Base of designation/Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Conditional on: Applicant’s legal right to work and reside in Malawi.

To Apply: Please visit the World Learning employment website at and submit your letter of interest and CV with the contact information of three academic references.

School for International Training (SIT) invites applications for the position of Academic Director (appointment at relevant rank) of its semester-long program located in Lilongwe, Malawi, in the theme of Sustainable Development Practice. SIT is an accredited institution of higher education with a campus located in Vermont, USA. The program follows the SIT semester program model, with two semesters per year that coincide with the fall and spring semester calendar at US universities. Candidates are strongly encouraged to visit this program’s webpage before they send their application materials:

We invite you to learn about SIT mission and values here:

About SIT Programs

SIT undergraduate and graduate programs in all disciplines utilize a decolonial approach to curriculum, decentering Western modes of knowledge production, creation, and dissemination while elevating the ideas and work of local and regional scholars, activists, NGO practitioners, artists, and community members. SIT places an equal commitment on the creation of inclusive teaching and learning environments which welcome students from all identities and neurodiverse ways of learning. SIT learning centers across the world are committed to building and implementing sustainability practices to leverage carbon footprints and contribute to the well-being of the communities where they are immersed.


The program themes vary from development and social change to arts, environmental studies, post-conflict transformation, health, and human rights. All SIT programs emphasize field study while examining critical global issues in keeping with the broader organizational missions of peace and social justice. SIT’s educational model focuses on cultural immersion as its primary heuristic component and uses theories of decolonial experiential education to inform its curricula and augment student learning.


About SIT Full-Time Faculty

SIT full-time faculty are employees who have been appointed to faculty rank position through a rigorous international, national, or regional search process. The appointee must meet or exceed academic standards. These standards include possession of appropriate degrees from recognized academic institutions or the equivalent in professional experience; demonstrated excellence in teaching/training; research and publications in industry recognized media; experience managing and supervising staff; and potential for significant contributions to the field and to World Learning/SIT. When relevant and in consultation with their supervising dean, a faculty in the undergraduate division may lead a summer program, chair or co – chair a graduate program or oversee a custom or short-term program. Decisions about additional assignments are made jointly in consultation with SIT Provost & Dean of Faculty and while taking into consideration the overall workload of the faculty during the academic year.


SIT strives to be respectful of, and compliant with, local labor and employment laws. When circumstance warrant, the academic director will have a local employment contract through an affiliated local entity or as determined by SIT. The position is full-time for the entire contract period.


The academic director is responsible for the design, planning, delivery, and supervision of the academic program offered by SIT at its assigned program location in consultation and support of SIT departments including the Office of the Provost & Dean of Faculty, Global Operations, Human Resources, and Office Student Health, Safety, and Well-being. Overall responsibilities include:

  • ensuring inclusive academic excellence of the program in line with SIT’s academic policies
  • creating an inclusive & safe learning environment for students, staff, and local faculty
  • managing the program site and supervision of local staff, budget planning and oversight, and financial reporting
  • representing SIT at the program location and developing and maintaining positive relationships with SIT and local partners

The academic director must remain current in their areas of expertise and familiar with in-country issues and practices in higher education. Academic directors are expected to be active members of the SIT community, giving service to the institution, and acting as a thought leader in institutional initiatives.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Academic Management

o General management and oversight of program delivery of the undergraduate program in collaboration with SIT Office of the Provost & Dean of Faculty, Office of Global Operations, and Office of Student health, Safety, and Well-being.

o Teaching one three-credit course or equivalent, serving as faculty of record for the other courses, hiring guest lecturers to teach on the program, advising the students on their independent study projects, and, when applicable, working with the internship coordinator to ensure the highest quality experience for the students.

o Curriculum development and academic oversight in consultation and support from the Office of the Provost & Dean of Faculty and in accordance with SIT policies.

o Advising in matters regarding academic program delivery and scheduling.

o Designing and delivering the students’ on-site cross-cultural orientation and teaching components of the thematic and project-based courses, in their areas of expertise, as appropriate.

o Designing and coordinating an experiential educational experience including in and out of the classroom activities. Facilitating the linkages between and among each of these various components and program excursions.

o Generally guiding and advising students in both their cross-cultural learning processes and academic experiences including the Independent Study Project and, when applicable, internship, thus serving as an educator/teacher in the broadest sense by assisting students to draw substantive connections from among different aspects of the experience.

o Conducting the program review and academic evaluation at the end of the program and incorporating feedback to enhance program academic quality.

o Serving as thought leader by maintaining an active agenda of research and knowledge production and publication in peer-reviewed journals.


  • Program & Operations Management

o Managing program administration and operations in compliance with local laws and regulations and in consultation with and support from SIT’s Office of Global Operations.

o Serve as in-country entity representative for compliance purposes as required.

o Negotiating cost-effective program services and managing the program budget.

o Collaborating with the World Learning Human Resources, Legal Counsel, and Office of the Provost & Dean of Faculty in recruitment and termination decisions regarding program support staff.

o Supervising local program staff, including mentoring, training, and regular performance evaluations.

o Maintaining regular communication including submitting detailed and timely reports to various departments, including Human Resources, Office of Global Operations, and Office of the Provost & Dean of Faculty.

o Serving as a liaison between SIT students and local national and program partners.

o Supporting the Office of Global Operations in negotiating and maintaining updated agreements with local partner organizations as needed.

o Participating, when requested, in the writing and editing of program materials, advertising materials, catalog copy, country information.

o Participating in SIT training and faculty workshops as required.

Student Health and Safety and Well-Being

o Playing a critical role in providing and connecting students to relevant support services locally and in collaboration with SIT Office of Student Health, Safety, and Well-Being.

o Providing an inclusive learning and teaching environment for all students.

o Serving as point person for students on medical, personal, and security concerns in collaboration with SIT’s Office of Student Health, Safety, and Well-Being and local staff.

o Providing care to the students and, in consultation with SIT Office of Student health, Safety, and Well-Being, directing them to appropriate resources for emotional and mental health support.

o Maintaining up-to-date program contingency plans, based on current and reliable information concerning health and safety risks of the local environment.

o Communicating emergency procedures and protocols to student participants, program staff, and homestay families.

o Providing culturally appropriate strategies and advice to maximize safety and well-being.


  • Serving on periodic SIT task forces or learning communities in collaboration with other faculty
  • Other duties as assigned.


The nature of the academic director position is such that they may be called upon during irregular hours to deal with emergencies. Responding to urgent program or student needs off-hours is a regular part of the duties of an academic director. For the duration of the program the academic director is to remain in-country and physically at the program site or with the student group and will be reachable by mobile phone on an emergency basis.

SIT programs are situated in urban as well as remote locations where accommodations may be rudimentary, and accessibility limited. Some aspects of the program may require physical exertion such as, but not limited to, occasionally driving, walking, as well as remaining stationary for long periods. Depending on the theme of the program there may be excursions in rugged terrain which may require, but are not limited to, activities such as hiking, climbing and/or water- based sports.



Required Experience/Education:

  • Terminal degree (PhD) in development studies, sustainability studies, social sciences, cultural studies, political science, or a related discipline.
  • Academic and practical knowledge of Malawi.
  • Advanced proficiency in English and French writing and speaking.
  • Legal right to work and reside in Malawi.

Required Skills:

  • Effective communication skills.
  • Computer literacy.
  • Excellent intercultural skills to communicate effectively with students, host communities, and program partners.
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, including the ability to interact with a culturally and ethnically diverse population of students, faculty, and staff from around the world, and to understand and support different lived experiences including but not limited to first generation and non-traditional students, international students, veterans, students with disabilities, and low-income families.


Required Competencies:

  • SIT faculty must be attuned to the educational philosophy and expectations of SIT and possess both commitment to academic excellence and the personal leadership qualities required by the program. Among the latter are cultural sensitivity and adaptability; empathy; intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for challenge; tact and diplomacy in working with students from the United States and local nationals and students; organizational ability; budget management skills.
  • Experience working successfully in a remote team environment and comfortable using a variety of technologies and virtual platforms.
  • Proven ability to be flexible, collaborative, and patient plus a sense of humor.
  • Proven ability to create an inclusive learning space for students and staff.
  • Demonstrated ability to use empathy and authenticity to support and connect students experiencing emotional, mental, or socially challenging situations in a new environment with appropriate resources.
  • Must be able to meet the physical demands of this position.



For more than 90 years, World Learning Inc. is a thriving global organization made up of The Experiment in International Living, the nation’s most experienced provider of international education through exchanges for high school students; School for International Training, offering accredited undergraduate programs through SIT Study Abroad and internationally focused master’s degrees through SIT Graduate Institute; and World Learning, a global development and exchange nonprofit organization.