Davidsonians for Freedom of Thought & Discourse
Davidson, North Carolina
Click here to apply at Talent Market
About the Organization
Davidsonians for Freedom of Thought & Discourse (DFTD) originated in 2018 with the mission of promoting free speech and expression, open debate, viewpoint diversity, and ideological balance at Davidson College. DFTD includes some of the leading alumni of Davidson, such as current elected federal office holders, highly successful businessmen, nonprofit luminaries, and public intellectuals and journalists. DFTD stands up for the free speech rights of ALL—progressives, moderates, and conservatives— if we see free speech or expression being denied.
DFTD played a key role leading to the College’s development of the “Davidson’s Commitment to Free Expression” Statement in December 2021 and has emphasized the importance of Davidson’s next President, who will take office at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year, placing a high priority on free expression and viewpoint diversity on the campus.
DFTD aims to bring to the College administration’s and Trustees’ attention specific developments on campus it believes impede free expression, open debate, or academic freedom, and to hold the administration and Trustees accountable. All Davidsonians—alumni, faculty, employees, students, and parents of students—are welcome to participate in the activities of DFTD.
About the Role
The Managing Director will report to the Chair of the Board of Directors (Board). The Managing Director's role is to complete the launch of the organization, develop its business plan, implement key strategies and tools, ensure effective use of board members’ time and expertise, and manage consultants and/or part-time staff.
The ideal candidate will have a strong background in outreach/coalition-building and a deep passion for protecting free speech. They will be innovative and entrepreneurial with a desire to meaningfully improve the climate of free speech on Davidson’s campus and beyond. The position offers tremendous potential for growth with an opportunity to work directly with some of the nation’s leading advocates for free speech.
This is a full-time role based in Davidson, North Carolina. It is essential that the Managing Director maintains a local presence in Davidson and fully engages in the campus culture.
Strategy and Operations:
• Establish a near-campus office to provide a “safe space” for students, faculty, and staff where they can confidentially discuss free speech and viewpoint diversity issues with DFTD staff/board members, hold group meetings, and formulate action agenda
• Help the Board of DFTD establish a working relationship with Davidson’s next President, especially regarding the formal ratification and vigorous implementation of the “Davidson’s Commitment to Free Expression” Statement
• Periodically commission independent surveys of students, faculty, and alumni/ae on the state of free expression, open discourse, and viewpoint diversity at Davidson. Ensure that Trustees, the college administration, students, alumni, and the media are informed of the findings
• Help the DFTD board encourage the Davidson College Board of Trustees to exercise greater vigilance on campus freedom of speech and ideological balance and to make these issues top trustee concerns
• Support DFTD’s membership in the Alumni Free Speech Alliance (AFSA) and working relationships with the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
• Run the 3x-a-year DFTD board meetings
• Oversee and maintain DFTD’s financials, accounting, and audit
Outreach and Communications:
• Further develop DFTD’s website (dftdunite.org) in order to draw traffic to it, increase the number of subscribers, and make full use of its communications potential
• Spur the development of a vibrant external campus speakers program at the College promoting viewpoint diversity and free public discourse on controversial topics
• Encourage the Davidson chapter of Young Americans Foundation and similar campus groups to bring external speakers to Davidson promoting ideological balance and enriching the diversity of discourse
• Work with the faculty’s Deliberative Citizenship Initiative (DCI) to bring speakers to campus who promote productive disagreement and good argument
• Work with key DFTD board members in writing and publishing articles and blogs on free speech issues at Davidson
• Fully develop and grow DFTD’s current supporter-donor database to ensure effective communication with supporters, and current & prospective donors and to inspire donations to support the organization
• Develop and implement a fundraising strategy to underwrite DFTD operations
Resources to ensure your success:
DFTD board members are committing personal resources to the launch of DFTD and expect to grow the donor base.
DFTD board members—especially the board chair— stand prepared to lend their expertise and time as needed to assist the ED in developing DFTD. Sister organizations at other colleges and universities and staff at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) will be valuable resources for strategy development and tasks like website development and survey design, implementation, and reporting.
We emphasize that there will be consultants, board members, staff of sister organizations to help achieve these goals. We also emphasize that “Rome was not created in a day,” and that the work plan laid out in this job description is a long-term one. Depending on the need for growth, we expect that staff expansion will be possible over time.
The ideal candidate will possess the following attributes:
• 3+ years of experience in outreach, coalition-building, or a related field
• Deep passion and support for free speech, especially on college campuses
• Keen negotiating and diplomacy skills, ability to serve as a free expression goodwill ambassador
• Demonstrated aptitude for strategic planning and execution; resourcefulness in setting priorities and guiding investment
• Exceptional communication skills, both oral and written, and a thorough understanding of writing for a variety of target audiences
• Strong interpersonal skills to work with all levels of board members, staff, allies, and vendors
• Good organization with high attention to detail
• Knowledge of the higher education landscape
• Entrepreneurial spirit
• Alumnus of Davidson College preferred, but not required
Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials in one PDF:
• Cover Letter detailing your interest in the position, the mission of DFTD, and your salary requirements
Applications should be submitted to Talent Market.
There is no application deadline for this position. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. This job will remain posted on our site until it is filled.
Questions can be directed to Stephanie Keaveney, Network Engagement Manager of Talent Market, who is assisting with the search: [email protected].
While we thank all applicants in advance for their interest in this position, we are only able to contact those to whom we can offer an interview. Only direct applications will be considered. No phone calls, please.
Talent Market is a nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting liberty by helping free-market nonprofits identify talent for critical roles. We provide free consulting and recruiting services to free-market think tanks, policy organizations, research centers, and capacity-building institutions dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government and free enterprise.