Shedd Aquarium is a nonprofit organization dedicated to animal care and welfare, conservation research and public education. Situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, Shedd is home to nearly 32,000 aquatic animals representing more than 1,500 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters around the world.
Shedd Aquarium seeks an experienced Vice President of Learning & Community. This position provides the vision, strategic direction and leadership to ensure all programs within the division carry out the Aquarium s mission and strategic plan, are coordinated and communicated both internally and externally, and meet institutional goals and budgets. Reporting to the Senior Vice President for Guest Experiences & Communications, the Vice President of Learning and Community serves a member of the Aquarium s Senior Leadership Team and contributes to organization-wide planning, goal setting and policy direction.
Duties & Responsibilities:
- Demonstrate commitment to Shedd s vision, mission and values.
- Lead the creation and facilitation of all Shedd Programming including those for Schools and Teachers, Youth, Families and Adults, Teens, Guest Engagement programs for the public, and Live Programs including aquatic presentations. Ensure that all programs maintain a high level of quality and alignment with Shedd s experiential brand principles.
- Develop, maintain and nurture strategic relationships with community organizations, schools, cultural institutions, universities, other museums and the general public. Act as an entrepreneurial catalyst for the Aquarium, exploring and producing ideas for new learning opportunities, community partnerships and innovative programs.
- Work collaboratively with internal stakeholders and supervise and support the division s staff to accomplish departmental and institutional goals. Foster and support staff professional development, job satisfaction, retention and individual growth.
- Involve education staff in the design and use of technology to advance learning.
- Establish and employ meaningful KPIs related to the attainment of Shedd s strategic goals for Learning and Community involvement. Manage the collection of data from and about visitors to measure and document the impact of learning programs.
- Support and facilitate interdepartmental planning to integrate the needs of the various communities into Shedd activities.
- Be an effective and contributing member of the senior management team responsible for institution-wide planning, goal setting and policy direction. Participate on Aquarium-wide teams and collaborate effectively with other Aquarium departments and projects.
- In collaboration with members of the department, develop annual budgets and meet revenue and expense commitments with respect to the budget. Prepare periodic budget revisions and other financial reports.
- Represent the Aquarium and its commitment to education on a local, state and national level. Cultivate and maintain relationships with the educational community, community partners, governmental, conservation, cultural and zoological organization.
- Model effective leadership practices and institutional values and hold direct reports responsible for doing the same.
- In coordination with organization-wide fundraising initiatives, prepare and deliver written and oral grant solicitation to secure funding for learning programs.
- Regularly assess staff performance and the department s progress in meeting short- term and long-range objectives.
Candidate Profile & Qualifications:Education & Experience:
- Master s degree in Education, a Natural Science or related field. Related experience at a senior level will be accepted in lieu of a degree.
- Ten years (10) of experience in a senior management position at an institution in the education or informal learning fields. Experience in an aquarium, cultural attraction, or museum is desired as is experience in a non-profit organization.
- Knowledgeable about informal science learning and evaluation pedagogy as it related to industry standards, trends and innovations.
- A convincing public speaker who shares a desire to share the expertise with the field of other cultural organizations.
Skills & Abilities:
- Outstanding leadership, interpersonal, oral and written communication skills. Ability to motivate and inspire interdisciplinary teams to accomplish highly creative work. Strong personal commitment to the Aquarium s mission and to serving the public.
- Brings a compelling vision for how experiential learning programs can spark curiosity and compassion for the aquatic world for people of all ages and backgrounds and how those programs might catalyze meaningful conservation action.
- An effective administrator who easily manages and leads large and diverse teams towards excellence in a wide range of complex programming and community initiatives.
- An inclusive leader who values and acts to advance diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion as they work with community members, internal staff, and external stakeholders.
- A Strategic thinker who effortlessly fuses qualitative and quantitative metrics into the work of evaluating learning programs.
- A voracious learner who thrives in a high-performing team and who accepts and gives feedback generously.
We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.
If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).