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Director of Learning

Apply now Job no: 495132
Work type: Full-Time
Location: Center City - Philadelphia, PA
Categories: Academy of Natural Sciences

About Drexel 

Drexel is a comprehensive global research university ranked among the top 100 in the nation. With over 24,000 students, Drexel is one of America's 15 largest private universities. Drexel is one of Philadelphia's top 10 private employers, and a major engine for economic development in the region. Drexel has committed to being the nation’s most civically engaged university, with community partnerships integrated into every aspect of service and academics. 

Job Summary 

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is seeking an experienced, creative, and innovative Director of Learning to reinvent the way people learn in natural history museums. The role requires someone who is both visionary and tactical, big-thinking and big-doing, inspired and inspiring, and invigorated by challenge. They will create programs that are high-quality, high-impact, cost-efficient, and user-led, and display a dedication to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in all aspects of their work.

The visionary: The director will work with the Chief Learning and Engagement Officer to craft a slate of programs that will serve audiences onsite, offsite, and online, through both expected and unexpected times. They will provide a vision for how to serve public audiences, school audiences, and communities through museums visits, offsite engagements, and online tools. They will seek to explore the themes of the natural world, ANS’ collections, and the institution’s four position statements through a multidisciplinary lens; creating opportunities to learn science through many media (visual arts, performing arts, history, geography, food, writing). They will actively engage the scientists at ANS and Drexel University in program design and implementation, as well as local experts and partners in all aspects of the work.

The tactical: The director will be responsible for strategically creating, hiring, managing, mentoring, and inspiring the department’s staff and the suite of programs they offer. All aspects of managing the operations of the department will be the responsibility of the director, including strategic planning, budget management, payroll approval, annual reviews, and quarterly reporting. Continuous monitoring and assessment of the work is a key element of this role;  collecting and analyzing data, and making our impacts visible, will be a large part of the job. The director will also work closely with volunteers, Drexel co-op students, and interns, and manage their project load, schedules, and training as needed.

The ideal candidate will be a natural leader with robust management experience, a professional demeanor, a deep understanding of informal and free-choice learning, and a creative yet organized style of working. They will be intrinsically motivated to do outstanding work, passionate about learning and the natural sciences, and solutions-focused in their approach. They must display quality and excellence in their work at all times and guide all their teams to do the same. They will be an advocate for STEAM learning, integrating the sciences with other disciplines, and connecting the Academy with critical partners in the region, state, and nation.

The Director of Learning reports to the Chief Learning and Engagement Officer and is a key leader in the Engagement Division and institution.

Essential Functions 

  • Strategic thinking and planning:
    • In partnership with the Chief Learning and Engagement Officer, oversees the short- and long-term vision for the Learning Department, and aligns them with the institutional strategic plan and experiential master plan.
    • Creates, manages, and directs the development of new strategic initiatives.
  • Leadership and mentoring:
    • Actively mentors staff members and encourages growth in their skills.
    • Serves as an advocate for the visitor experience.
    • Fosters a culture of open communication and spirited collaboration between team members, departments, and local institutions.
    • Continually models excellence in informal education, gallery teaching, and program creation.
    • Stays current on thought leadership in the field of museum education, and freely shares that information with staff.
    • Seeks out opportunities to further the museum’s work in STEAM education and present it to the museum field.
  • Management:
    • Manages the creation and spending of multiple department budgets, endowments, grant funds, and gifts.
    • Identifies and pursues opportunities for earned and contributed revenue.
    • Identifies, recruits, hires, trains, supervises, and evaluates staff members, interns, Drexel Co-Ops, and volunteers. 
    • Prepares reports for museum leadership, board members, and stakeholders.
    • Maintains a database of information about programming at many levels, from spreadsheets to individual program briefs.
  • Programming:
    • Plans, develops, and implements a diverse yearly schedule of program offerings, including onsite programs, partnerships, and the utilization of distance learning, new media, and other technology.
    • Effectively collaborates on joint programming initiatives with other museum departments and outside partners.
    • Develops programming that embraces multidisciplinary learning; understanding the natural sciences through other modalities including writing, visual arts, performing arts, history, and geography.
    • Creates programming for those with different learning abilities and modalities and develops accommodations for those learning styles across all programs.
    • Facilitates programs alongside the team on a regular basis.
    • Understands current educational technologies and keeps current on new software, hardware, and delivery systems for a digitally discerning audience.
  • Partnerships and community engagement:
    • Identifies key partnerships on the local, national, and international level.
    • Works closely with partners to provide public programming at ANS that features the voices of others and their work in collaborative, co-created way.
    • Ensures the museum enjoys a lively and productive relationship with educators and the education community locally, regionally, and nationally and makes appropriate contributions to the field.
  • Assessment:
    • Establishes a plan for meaningful visitor assessment, data collection, and dissemination.
    • Works closely with other departments to create surveys, collect data, and use it to make our impact visible to staff, members, visitors, and key stakeholders.
  • IDEAL:
    • Actively engages with the IDEAL Charter Team and committees to identify ways that our programming can keep inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, and leadership central to our work.
    • Inherently believes in the strength of a diverse and equitable workforce and makes that belief visible in their work.

Required Qualifications 

  • Master’s Degree in Education, Museum Studies, or equivalent
  • Minimum of 6 years of advancing management-level museum experience (or equivalent) is required
  • Minimum of 4 years applied educator experience is required; informal learning experience preferred over formal or classroom teaching
  • Available evenings and weekends
  • Valid driver’s license and 3-year clean driving record
  • Must pass criminal background check and child abuse clearance check
  • Proficient computer skills including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook
  • Experience or ability to learn specialized software
  • Exemplary written, verbal, and listening communication skills and a demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and professionally
  • Highly developed public speaking skills and demonstrated mastery of teaching techniques
  • Strong staff management and mentoring skills
  • Self-directed work style, and the ability to work independently and effectively
  • Ability to maintain the highest levels of confidentiality and discretion
  • Understanding of and ability to maintain the highest ethical standards, related to organizational responsibilities and public accountability
  • Ability to create and successfully manage multiple annual budgets
  • Demonstrated organizational planning, problem solving, and collaboration skills
  • Demonstrated knowledge of current practices in museum education, multiple learning styles, and visitor studies
  • Enthusiastic, patient, and flexible leadership style

Preferred Qualifications 

  • Database creation and reporting experience
  • A positive, proactive outlook and a great sense of humor

Physical Demands 

  • Will be working primarily indoors on physical and administrative tasks.
  • May be required to move supplies and materials for programming, 25-50lb.
  • Available evenings and weekends.
  • Typically sitting/standing/stooping/walking/crouching


Center City 

Additional Information 

This position is classified as Exempt with a salary grade of L. For more information regarding Drexel’s Professional Staff salary structure, 

Special Instructions to the Applicant 

Please make sure you upload your CV/resume and cover letter when submitting your application. 

Review of applicants will continue until a suitable candidate pool is identified. 

Advertised: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close: Eastern Standard Time

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