20.11.2017 – Role Specification

Compassion Matters – Executive Director


As the world grows ever more interdependent, the challenges facing humanity grow larger and more pressing. Many of these challenges have to do with questions of ethics: of what is right, what is wrong and how we should behave towards one another.

The Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion (DLCC) is an independent ethics research centre which aims to advance society’s and individuals’ understanding of compassion and related values. As such, the DLCC is committed to the vision of its founding sponsor, the Dalai Lama, of a genuinely secular ethics focused on compassion.

Traditionally, ethics was taught by the religions but to an increasing degree, this is no longer the case. Our research confirms the need for a new approach to moral education that prioritises compassion in a way that is acceptable both to people who follow a particular religious tradition and to the growing numbers who do not.

To meet this need, the DLCC recently launched a project called Compassion Matters, whose purpose is to provide highly engaging and inspirational course materials to support the teaching of ethics to children in primary and secondary schools.

Initially designed for Key Stage 2, the course is being developed and piloted by Oxford academics in partnership with one of the country’s leading independent schools.

Informed by the latest research in ethical argument and pedagogy, the course comprises compelling video content, comprehensive accompanying materials and creative ideas for lesson plans, all of which are designed to be tailored by schools to fit their curriculum needs.

Feedback from our development partners on the first two modules has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition, the DLCC has received high levels of interest from other schools, and is now ready to promote the course across both state and independent sectors nationwide.

With funding in place to complete development of the first course, the DLCC has reached an exciting milestone and now seeks to appoint an Executive Director who will lead the project into the future. This is a unique opportunity for a person with the right mix of enthusiasm, energy and experience to drive a project that intends to be a game-changer in ethics education, first in the UK and then worldwide.

Executive Director – DLCC, Compassion Matters

The trustees of the DLCC wish to recruit an Executive Director to run the Compassion Matters (CM) project, including raising funds to support its long-term success.

The successful candidate will work exclusively on the CM project, alongside the DLCC’s existing team: a part-time Director, a pool of educational consultants (mostly working academics), a group of Fellows and advisors (all of them leaders in their field), and an active Board of Trustees. He / She will report directly to the Board of Trustees, one member of which will act as line manager.

The position is initially part-time, working 3 days a week, however the Board of Trustees will keep the role under ongoing review with an expectation that it will develop into a full-time role once funding and other success metrics are met.

Salary is £60,000 per annum, pro rata (i.e. £36,000). There are no other additional benefits at this time. No relocation assistance is available.

The job will initially be home-based, until the project grows to a point where an office is required. Much of the DLCC’s work is centred in Oxford and London and the successful applicant should live within manageable distance of one or both.

Leadership, management and fundraising

The Executive Director will:

  • Explore and assess both the commercial and non-commercial potential of the project, then work with the DLCC Director, the Project Committee and the Trustees to develop strategic objectives, a five-year plan and budget for the CM project
  • with professional fundraising assistance, create an ambitious CM fundraising programme to support the budget
  • deliver the fundraising programme by approaching and securing funding from individual donors, corporate donors, foundations and other grant-giving bodies
  • meet with school heads, governors and senior teams to secure adoption of CM courses in both state and private schools
  • become a key influencer within the education sector, establishing networks and building partnerships
  • harness PR and other opportunities to create a strong profile for the project as we engage with policy makers and the wider community
  • oversee the successful planning, development, marketing and implementation of future CM courses

Knowledge, skills and experience

Recognising the importance of core values in society and believing strongly in the role that ethics education can play in shaping the lives and behaviour of young people, the Executive Director will ideally:

  • have a successful track record working in a management position in the education sector for at least 5 years
  • have a successful track record delivering complex whole school projects involving a variety of stakeholders, on time and on budget
  • have a strong background in fundraising
  • have experience of financial management, including budgeting, management accounting and reporting of key performance indicators
  • have experience in either marketing or promotion of a new project or product in the education sector

Personal characteristics

The Executive Director will:

  • be approachable and friendly, in order to establish and maintain excellent working relationships with other team members, partners and funders.
  • be an outstanding, confident communicator, in order to advocate the value of the project to schools, funding providers and other stakeholders.
  • be comfortable presenting in public, good at listening to others, especially volunteers, and a clear writer
  • be a resilient self-starter, who can work independently and who can set up processes and projects from scratch.
  • be creative, helping to develop new ideas for the Compassion Matters project, and to execute these ideas efficiently and successfully.
  • be a leader who will positively influence others to achieve results, who thinks strategically about how to take the project forwards and who rolls their sleeves up as necessary.
  • be focused on results, have a reputation for being someone who gets things done, who sets clear goals and evaluates processes and outcomes.
  • be organised, with clearly agreed objectives and milestones, and appropriate planning and tracking of activities.

To discuss or apply for this role please contact Simon Carpenter on sjtc@dlccoxford.org

Further information about the DLCC can be found at www.dlccoxford.org

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