LSSTC Executive Officer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, December 24, 2021
Archive Date: 
Friday, January 21, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
AURA/Vera C. Rubin Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The LSST Corporation (LSSTC), headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation formed to initiate the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project, now the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), and advance the science of astronomy and physics. Currently, the privately-funded LSSTC is focusing on supporting science by preparing the community to use Rubin LSST data when the facility becomes operational in 2024. LSSTC is committed to fostering and building new modes of interdisciplinary collaboration at the interface of astronomy, physics, computer science, mathematics, and information science. LSSTC also strives to enable the full scientific exploitation of the unique LSST data by a diverse and inclusive community of researchers.

LSSTC seeks an individual to serve as Executive Officer and Director of Science. In these capacities, the individual will act both as the chief executive for the Corporation and provide scientific leadership and expertise to LSSTC’s philanthropic funding development initiatives.

Essential Functions:

As Executive Officer: will serve as chief executive of LSST Corporation (LSSTC) and, in partnership with the Board, be responsible for implementing LSSTC programs. Together, the Board and the EO assure LSSTC’s relevance to the scientific community, the accomplishment of LSSTC’s mission and vision, and the accountability of LSSTC to its diverse constituents. The ED serves as the main point of contact for LSSTC with its institutional members and sponsors.

As Director for Science: will be LSSTC’s development liaison to Member Institutions and LSST Science Collaborations, identifying science cases and research activities of interest and importance, and developing fundraising materials and proposals for private funding opportunities. The ED will also be LSSTC’s primary representative to potential foundation, corporate, and individual donors. The ED will work closely with LSSTC’s other scientific staff and be supported in this effort by LSSTC Program Managers for the larger LSSTC initiatives, such as the LINCC programs, including the LSSTC Catalyst Fellowship and the LINCC Frameworks project.


  • Establishes strong and appropriate relationships with the Board, committees, donors and the scientific community. Develops smooth and constructive relationships with executive colleagues, outside agencies, organizations, and individuals.
  • Plans and meets deadlines. Maintains a flexible work schedule to meet the demands of executive management. Hours may be irregular; some travel required.
  • Conveys a professional and positive image and attitude regarding LSSTC and the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors. Demonstrates commitment to continued professional growth and development.

Primary Responsibilities – Executive Officer role:

  • Legal compliance
    • Assures the filing of all legal and contractual documents are in compliance with relevant laws and Board policies and regulations.
  • Mission, policy and planning
    • Helps the Board determine LSSTC’s mission, vision, and short- and long-term goals.
    • Helps the Board monitor and evaluate LSSTC’s relevance to the scientific community, its effectiveness, and its results.
    • Keeps the Board fully informed on the condition of LSSTC and on all the important factors influencing it.
      • Identifies problems and opportunities and addresses them; brings those which are appropriate to the Board and/or its committees; and facilitates discussion and deliberation.
      • Keeps aware of opportunities in philanthropy and fund development.
  • Management and administration
    • Provides general oversight of LSSTC activities and assures a smoothly functioning, efficient organization.
    • Provides oversight and coordination of the Business Manager, other scientific staff, any program managers, and the executive assistant.
    • Coordinates resources and support services obtained through the Rubin Observatory Project or AURA.
  • Governance
    • Helps the Board articulate its own role and accountabilities and that of its committees and individual members and helps evaluate performance regularly.
    • Works with the Board Chair to enable the Board to fulfill its governance functions and facilitates the optimum performance by the Board, its committees and individual Board members.
    • With the Board Chair, focuses Board attention on long-range strategic issues.
    • Manages the Board’s due diligence process to assure timely attention to core issues.
    • Works with the Board officers and committee chairs to maximize the best thinking and involvement of each Board member and to stimulate each Board member to give his or her best.
    • Offers input on the planning of board meetings, agendas, retreats, etc.
  • Financing
    • Works with the Board and the Audit & Finance Committee to ensure financing to support short- and long-term goals.
    • Together with the Business Manager, creates the annual operating budget.
    • Assures an effective Fund Development Program:
      • With Board approval, hires and supervises individuals responsible for this activity.
      • Provides direction and assistance to the LSSTC development team (LSSTC’s scientific staff, program managers for LSSTC initiatives, and Business Manager), as they carry out their position functions.
      • Helps the Board and its development committee, design, implement, and monitor a viable fundraising plan, policies, and procedures.
  • Community Relations - In support of the LSSTC mission:
    • Acts as an advocate, within the public and private sectors, for issues relevant to LSSTC, its services, and constituencies.
    • Works with LSSTC’s member institutions to improve and generate community involvement. Assures community awareness of LSSTC’s response to community needs.
    • Develops and maintains cooperative relationships with key constituencies.
    • Works with regulatory agencies, task forces, and representatives of the scientific community to promote the planning and preparation for science with the LSST and to address the issues of LSSTC’s constituencies.

Primary Responsibilities – Director of Science role:

  • Facilitates the integration of LSSTC into the fabric of the scientific community by communicating effectively with stakeholders.
  • Works with LSSTC Member Institutions and the LSST Science Collaborations (SCs), in particular the SC Chairs, to identify urgent and necessary research and development efforts and the impactful science that could emerge
  • Works with the Board and institutional members to identify potential donors and coherent funding opportunities that will advance preparations for LSST science and assure early delivery of science results in key research directions of the LSST program
  • Coordinates with the Rubin Observatory Construction Project Director and Rubin Project staff, the Rubin LSST Operations Director and staff, and the SC Chairs to build a strong solicitation team and to ensure LSSTC programs are well positioned to augment the Federal support for Rubin Observatory scientific output
  • Takes the lead role in preparing science documents, proposals, and supporting materials to solicit funding from identified sources
  • Works with the relevant SC Chairs and researchers at member institutions to establish core teams and execution plans for initiatives that are successful in obtaining funding
  • Serves as LSSTC’s point of contact for science with potential donors, foundations, and corporations on an ongoing basis


Experience in a senior management position in a major scientific or technical enterprise is an asset. A Ph.D. in science, preferably in astronomy, physics or a related field, and demonstrated leadership in astronomy, astrophysics or physics research is required. A broad understanding of and interest in Rubin Observatory science goals is essential. Demonstrated organizational and fund-raising experience, preferably in an interdisciplinary environment. Ability to speak and write effectively, with experience in the preparation of astronomy or astrophysics science reports and proposals. Experience with international collaborative projects would be an asset. The individual should demonstrate critical competencies in four broad categories: commitment to results, business savvy, leading change, and motivating.

Commitment to Results: The ED is a systems thinker who is customer focused and goal driven. This individual identifies relevant information and helps transform this information into individual and organizational knowledge and learning. The ED is action oriented and innovative. They translate broad goals into achievable steps. They anticipate and solve problems and take advantage of opportunities and are a self-starter and team player.

Business Savvy: The position of ED requires an individual with knowledge of and experience in management and administration. The position requires demonstrated experience in integrating and coordinating diverse areas of management.

  • Knowledge in the following areas is required: the astronomical and/or physics community, oral and written communications, planning and evaluation, and governance.
  • Some experience in the field of philanthropy, not-for-profit management, and community relations is preferred. Some general knowledge of fund development is also preferred.
  • A high level of personal skills is required to make formal, persuasive presentations to groups and to deal effectively with people from all segments of the community.
  • The individual must be comfortable with diversity and respectful of a wide range of beliefs and experiences. 

Leading Change: The ED possesses the skills and implements the functions of a leader. They share LSSTC's values, mission and vision. They consistently display integrity, model behavior, develop people, and build teams. This individual deals effectively with demanding situations and designs and implements interventions.

Motivating: The ED manages continuity, change and transition. This individual knows how to influence and enable others. They address the impact of attitude and action on the LSSTC and the scientific community.

The role of the LSST Corporation ED can be expected to represent a significant commitment of time. Since LSSTC staff and a large part of the Project staff are located in Tucson, it is preferred that the ED also be located in Tucson. Depending on the professional circumstances of the selected candidate, support for this effort can be provided flexibly through direct employment by LSSTC or a suitable compensation arrangement with the individual’s current employer. Compensation and benefits would vary based upon the employment status. LSSTC is also open to discussing the allocation of a fraction of the individual’s time to scientific research involving Rubin related science.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • The work is mostly carried out in an office environment. Long periods of sitting and computer usage may be required.
  • Some travel may be necessary both domestic and international

*LSSTCorp has all staff working virtually during the COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape. Offers of employment can be extended and new hires will on-board virtually once they are resident in the Tucson area. We will then ship resources to enable working virtually until it is safe to report to our Tucson offices. 

COVID-19 Policy Update: AURA has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy that requires all employees to be vaccinated, unless qualified for an exemption based on medical or religious reasons.  All new employees will be required to comply with this policy and will be required to present proof of full vaccination or submit a completed request (including supporting documents, if applicable) for an exemption at least five (5) business days prior to their start of employment.  Individuals who fail to meet this deadline may have their employment start date delayed.  This is a requirement for all employees working onsite or from home (telework or hybrid remote work schedule).

Please list 3 professional references in your application (references will only be contacted later in the recruitment process) and attach a CV or resume as well as a cover letter or other statement of interest (PDF files preferred) to your application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to develop and describe their own vision for the Executive Director role, consistent with the responsibilities outlined above.

Please name any attachments with the following format:  LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to [email protected]

The position will remain open until filled, applications received by February 4, 2022, will be given priority in review.

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates and to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at [email protected]

About AURA:

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF’s NOIRLab, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA.

AURA provides administrative support to the LSST Corporation.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA and all of the centers, do not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, February 4, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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