Head of Communications, Outreach and Education

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
Street Line 1: 
950 N Cherry Ave
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The National Center for Optical/Infrared Astronomy (NCOA) is planned to be an AURA-managed center headquartered in Tucson, Arizona that will integrate the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in the United States and in Chile.

NCOA is seeking a Head of Communications, Outreach, and Education (COE) to provide leadership, planning and direction to the communication, education and public outreach team of NCOA and its activities.

The Head of COE reports to the NCOA Directorate and directly manages Communications, Outreach and Education activities for the entire Center.  The Head of COE develops and oversees the strategic focus of activities such as news releases, media planning and interaction, community outreach, formal and informal education activities, and product and service development and implementation in support of  NCOA’s programs.  The Head of COE manages the resource planning, scheduling, and execution of these various activities.   The Head of COE will be substantially supported by a Communications Manager for the development and implementation of communications-specific strategies and programs.  The Head of COE serves as the point-of-contact for education and outreach issues and needs arising on behalf of NCOA and its programs.

This position will begin as soon as the selected candidate can begin, and no later than May 1, 2019.  This position is initially a primarily planning position, in anticipation of launching a centralized NCOA COE team on October 1, 2019.  The COE team is expected to be geographically distributed between Hilo, Hawaii, La Serena, Chile, and Tucson, AZ.  The position may be based in any of these locations.

Essential Functions:

  • Develops a COE Group Establishment plan for the launch and operation of a centralized Communications, Outreach and Education function to support Gemini, NOAO and LSST Operations starting in October 2019.
  • Manages the geographically distributed Communications, Outreach, and Education team.
  • Responsible for the hiring, training, direction, and performance management of COE staff in accordance with AURA Policies and Procedures Manual and NCOA procedures.  
  • In conjunction with NCOA and Program (Gemini, NOAO, LSST Operations) leadership, plans and establishes the strategic direction, general policy, scope, and standards of performance for NCOA’s education and outreach functions.
  • Responsible for the development of communications, outreach, and education services and products to support management and staff.
  • Responsible for developing and maintaining a fully functioning education and outreach program that fulfills the planned roles in support of the NCOA mission.
  • Collaborates with NCOA and Program management to develop working partnerships in support of NCOA’s COE-related goals.
  • Through both internal and external partnerships, anticipates emerging trends and needs in communication, education and outreach, and, after proper vetting, ensures new and forward thinking products and services are developed and implemented in a timely fashion.  Looks especially at how to leverage advancing technology in bringing education and outreach to the public.
  • Interacts with various and diverse astronomical customers and constituencies to gain feedback on existing products and services and gathers information to provide for continuous improvement of those products and services.
  • Ensures the development and implementation of evaluation plans for COE activities.
  • Acts as a conduit for community input and translates community needs into strategic action in support of the missions.
  • Interfaces with media, committees, NSF personnel, advisory committees and staff, and the astronomy community.  May act as spokesperson.
  • Identifies and pursues appropriate resources.  May be required to retain active membership in professional associations.
  • Administers the budget of the unit.  Plans, projects needs, determines allocations, approves expenditures, and ensures adequacy of the budget.
  • Responsible for ensuring there are effective intra- and inter-departmental channels of communication.

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Communications, Public Relations, Science Education, Astronomy/Physics, or other relevant field.  
  • Five or more years of progressively responsible leadership and staff management experience in science education and outreach.
  • Demonstrated strategic leadership skills.  
  • Extensive knowledge of community outreach and education in science.  
  • Working knowledge of astronomy.  
  • Working knowledge of current technologies used in science education and outreach, and experience leveraging that technology to support education and outreach needs.  
  • Experience planning, organizing, assigning, and directing the work of professional and technical employees.  
  • Ability to develop and administer an effective business plan to meet the needs of the NCOA’s Programs and National Science Foundation.  
  • Ability to plan and implement projects.  Ability to negotiate effectively.
  • Strong communication abilities in English, both verbal and in writing, including being able to present and communicate ideas effectively.  
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with employees (including support staff, scientists, and engineers), AURA leadership, NSF, internal and external astronomical communities, internal and external contractors.  

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates. For Tucson based positions, preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

AURA provides a generous compensation package including health coverage, paid time off and retirement plan contributions.

Review of applications will begin on December 12, 2018 and the position will remain open until filled.

Please visit this webpage to see the full job advertisement: https://recruiting2.ultipro.com/SPA1004AURA/JobBoard/57b96f30-6a4b-42cc-8f73-d417a17b54e9/OpportunityDetail?opportunityId=6c0b7bd4-bac8-413e-afe7-0feadc7219da


Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at employment@aura-astronomy.org

Application Deadline: 
Friday, December 28, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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