Our mission: To inspire everyone to be curious and engaged in science.
The exciting nugget at the core of curiosity is finding out the WHY of something. How things work. What things are. The reason. The solution. And the beauty of WHY is that everyone can ask it. Everyone can wonder. Everyone can seek out answers. Curiosity is naturally inclusive to all. At the Saint Louis Science Center, the wonder of WHY is exactly why we exist – to be a cutting-edge catalyst for the excitement of WHY to those inside our building and outside our front door and erase limits that keep people from it, making it inclusive, equitable, and always changing.
As one of few free nonprofit science museums in the country, the Saint Louis Science Center features hundreds of interactive experiences, a five-story OMNIMAX® Theater and the iconic James S. McDonnell Planetarium with the largest artificial sky in the Western Hemisphere. A member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the Science Center has earned a reputation for innovative practices, award-winning programs, and successful partnerships in the local community as well as nationally and internationally. The Science Center was named a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2016.
Reporting to the President and CEO, the Chief Science and Education Officer will provide strategic direction, vision, operational leadership, and program content for all science and education engines of the Science Center, including educational programming, collections, design, exhibits, strategy and planning, research and evaluation, and community engagement for the Saint Louis Science Center.
The Chief Science and Education Officer, along with other members of the leadership team, will serve as champion for the Science Center, enhancing its presence and relevance, and encouraging and supporting the kinds of innovations, galleries, and programs that will capture the imaginations of the Science Center’s audiences of all ages. Specifically, the person in this role will be responsible for the overall guest experience around our science and education exhibits and educational programs and the integration of other departmental functions to ensure that institutional goals and priorities designed to attract and engage new and diverse audiences are met.
The Chief Science and Education Officer will build, motivate, evaluate, and mentor a team of creative and enthusiastic departmental directors and managers, and support team leaders in their efforts to provide exciting, informative, and engaging guest experiences. This person will be responsible for the professional development of their team through effective coaching and performance management.
The Chief Science and Education Officer will be expected to serve as a leader internally and beyond, within the educational, scientific, and cultural communities of St. Louis. Additionally, it is expected that this person must demonstrate their commitment to the Science Center’s already strong emphasis on STEM learning, while providing and serving as a resource that amplifies the appeal of the Science Center to the broadest possible audience.
PRIORITIES AND KEY RESPONSIBILITIES
The Chief Science and Education Officer will capitalize on the Science Center’s potential and have the following priorities and responsibilities:
- Develop compelling galleries, exhibits, special events, and experiences that build on the Science Center’s strategic and master plan, with a focus on supporting the 2030 Jobs Plan released by Greater St. Louis, Inc.; ensure the integration and balance of exhibit and educational objectives; with the President, formulate and lead planning efforts which bring clarity to short- and long-term goals and objectives
- Explore new ideas around youth programming and membership, curricula development, lectures, etc.; engage an even larger audience of school groups, civic groups, and the general public with exhibits and educational experiences that invigorate inquiry and make science come alive
- Lead the overall design and development of the Science Center’s program portfolio and engagement strategies for onsite, offsite, and online programs, initiatives and special projects; serve as project sponsor and innovator of major permanent and semi-permanent galleries and exhibits as well as special projects
- Review and maximize the potential of the Science Center’s science and education-related earned revenue programs, federal grants and community supported opportunities
- Take the lead in developing a comprehensive strategy to integrate STEM content, maintain scientific integrity, and ensure connections to the STEM professional community; facilitate the development of partnerships and collaborations with colleges and universities, area school districts, and community partners
- Represent the Science Center through leadership roles in various external organizations based on expertise, as well as at various relevant conferences; cultivate key relationships within national organizations, museum education networks, and STEM learning ecosystems
- Support the President and Chief Institutional Advancement Officer in fundraising efforts; cultivate the philanthropic interests of potential and long-time donors as appropriate; work closely with the institutional advancement and marketing divisions to support fundraising efforts, grant opportunities, and promoting visitation to the Science Center
- Inspire, motivate, evaluate, and direct the team; nurture an aspirational, diverse and inclusive culture that fosters an environment of creativity, collaboration, and strategic thinking; attract and hire talent appropriately, with particular attention to adding expertise/bench strength to core areas of science and education as needed
- Harness and maximize the appropriate use of technology in exhibit and education program development to enhance the guest experience; with the managing director of marketing and communications, develop content plan for promoting the Science Center and for reaching new and diverse audiences; encourage the effective use of new technology, improved internal coordination, and communication
- Serve as a liaison for the President to Board Committees as appropriate, professional organizations, funding agencies, businesses, government agencies, and the general public when needed
- Attend national and regional conferences, including facilitating workshops and representing the Science Center as needed; cultivate relationships with national organizations such as IMLS, NASA, NSF, AAAS, ASTC, ACM, AAM, NSTA, IMERSA, ISTE, Smithsonian Affiliates, etc.
- Define and design the changes necessary to our educational theory as it relates to STEM and informal learning, our galleries, exhibits, educational programs and collections as necessary to effectively implement or new strategic plan; keep up to date on the latest technologies and experience-based approaches for learning
- Oversee and administrator the process of data collection, analysis, and reporting of information for institutional measures of success (guest satisfaction, net promoter, program mission impact); remain current on best practices in nonprofit leadership and innovation in science centers and museums
IDEAL EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
The scope of this role will reflect the strengths and experience of the ideal candidate, who, first and foremost, must demonstrate a deep interest in the current role and future potential of the Saint Louis Science Center, and should have or be the following:
- A forward-thinking and inspiring leader, with a demonstrated passion and understanding of science and technology and their importance and impact on community and culture; a demonstrated record of achievement in guest-centric science and/or education programming
- A commitment to educational outreach; leadership experience in nurturing the development of programming, curricula, and engagement; a demonstrated commitment to bringing the Science Center’s vision and mission beyond the walls of the institution and out into the community, particularly into communities of need who lack resources; meaningful experience in developing productive relationships with educational institutions and partners
- Able to translate vision into workable actions and priorities; a team builder with strong business and management skills; superior communication and presentation skills that are effective with a range of audiences; proven interpersonal skills and comfort interacting with guests, communities, and coworkers
- An advanced degree in some area of science and/or education: MA, MS, or MEd/MAT degree in a STEM field, education, museum studies, or related field (doctorate or terminal degree in related field preferred).
The Chief Science and Education Officer should also be or have:
- A person who can grow programs, excite constituents, and expand institutional reach, impact, and visibility; able to coordinate multiple priorities and manage effectively in all directions
- Able to generate enthusiasm, inspire others, and delegate with clarity and confidence; proven supervisory capabilities, ideally, in a highly collaborative environment in a public or nonprofit setting
- Proven skill in project management as well as program development and implementation
- A consensus builder who will quickly gain the respect and credibility of all key constituencies; an outgoing people person who will warmly embrace community members
- Persuasive, flexible, resourceful, and energetic
- Must be proficient in using office productivity and project management computer applications and cloud-based solutions.