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POSITION TITLE:  NOLS Southwest Assistant Director

REPORTS TO:  NOLS Southwest Director

JOB OBJECTIVE:  The NOLS Southwest assistant director assists the NOLS Southwest director in overseeing all courses taking place at NOLS Southwest. Coordinates with director to ensure NOLS program quality and promote student, field and in-town staff satisfaction. He/she supervises all course logistics, support services, and safety in a way that furthers the NOLS mission and strategic goals. The NOLS Southwest director will select specific areas of responsibility for the assistant director that leverage his or her incoming experience to build broad-based competence for administrative leadership at NOLS.

QUALIFICATIONS:  Must have knowledge of the NOLS mission and curriculum and be familiar with NOLS Southwest operations. This position requires an energetic and self-motivated person with strong organizational skills, who is creative, patient, and flexible. Must have strong communication skills, tolerance for adversity, and excellent “expedition behavior”. Must be able to work successfully with a variety of people, including students, staff, parents, land management agencies and the general public. Previous experience managing staff is preferred, as this person will be directly supervising four to six in-town staff each season.

NOLS senior instructor and course leader is preferred. Field experience at NOLS Southwest with a background in backpacking, climbing, caving and/or canoeing is preferred. Must have a willingness to work flexible and irregular hours, including weekends and holidays. Mac computer skills are helpful. Must have a clean driving record. Experience driving vans, trucks and trailers is desired. 

LEADERSHIP AND/OR SUPERVISORY DUTIES:  Oversees the daily operations of NOLS Southwest, ensuring excellent coordination between operations staff, program staff and field faculty. Fills role as acting director during the director's absence. Hires and directly supervises Southwest equipment manager, rations manager, transportation coordinator, special projects coordinator, and seasonal interns.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR FUNDS AND/OR PROPERTY:  He/she will have signature authority on the NOLS Southwest checking account. Will oversee the equipment, rations, transportation and facilities budget totaling approximately $135,000 in expenses. When briefing courses, he/she will handle course-related travel advances. Will also be responsible for petty cash and credit cards.


  • 65%    Operations Management & Course Planning:  Writes seasonal operating plans and manages logistics for all Southwest courses and activities. Creates backpacking routes, builds course itineraries, and schedules all related private services. Daily supervision of the NOLS Southwest outfitting, rations, facilities, and transportation departments and the Southwest internship program. Works with NOLS Professional Training, the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute, NOLS alumni, and the NOLS training department to schedule and execute their program offerings out of NOLS Southwest.
  • 10%    Program Supervision: Briefs and debriefs field staff and student groups as necessary. Part of the NOLS Southwest program team that helps develop curriculum, mentor field faculty, and provide programmatic vision for NOLS Southwest. Gives input on staffing decisions. Assists director in monitoring compliance with government recreation permits. Helps director secure or renew permits as necessary. Acts as evacuation coordinator, carrying 24-hr emergency phone at scheduled intervals throughout the operating season. Communicates concerns to parents when necessary.
  • 10 %   Leadership team participation:  Shares in branch vision and supporting actions to bring the vision to fruition with program supervisors and director.
  • 5%      Outreach:  Develops contacts and partnerships with local community organizations, universities, public and private schools.
  • 5%      Finances:  Assists director in constructing annual operating and assets budgets; prepares and supervises staff in monthly accounting tasks.
  • 5%      Miscellaneous:  Facilitates teambuilding classes. Shares in the responsibility of maintaining safe, clean and efficient facilities. Assists director in proposing new course types; scouts and coordinates efforts to explore logistics or programs for these new course types. Other duties as assigned by director.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK: A criminal background check is required from all NOLS employees.


MOTOR VEHICLE CHECK:  Applicants must be at least 21 years of age by the position start date and possess a valid driver’s license and clean driving history.

WORKING CONDITIONS:  This job is an approximate 10 - 11 month/year salaried position with benefits. The remainder of the year is typically filled up with NOLS field time, usually in the summer. The NOLS Southwest operating season is approximately 8 months long, running from late August to early December and early January to mid-May. The remaining 4 – 8 weeks of NOLS Southwest related planning work can be done remotely during the December break and summer months.

Private housing with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom is available year-round on the NOLS Southwest property. Meals are provided when students are on-site.

HOW TO APPLY:  Please submit an application via email to Lindsay Nohl

( Please email or call with questions (SW office: #520-749-0955).

CLOSING DATES FOR APPLICATIONS:  April 28, 2014. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. 

START DATE:  Will need to fully move to Tucson to start on-site work in late August 2014.  Depending on scheduling, approximately 3 – 6 weeks of Southwest related prep work will need to be accomplished during the summer of 2014. This work will likely be a mix of remote work and training time in Lander, WY beginning sometime in mid to late June. Schedule permitting, there is potential to participate in the Faculty Summit and Program Supervisor Meetings in Lander, WY from May 5 – 9, 2014.

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