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  • Vice Preseident of Collections and Research

    Jason Weckstein
    • Employer: Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
      Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 05/25/2023
      Open Until Filled: No


    Link to Apply Now:


    Job no: 500825
    Work type: Full-Time
    Location: Center City - Philadelphia, PA
    Categories: Academy of Natural Sciences

    About the Academy

    The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was founded in 1812 for "the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences." Since then, it has sponsored expeditions, conducted seminal systematics research, and established a peerless natural history library and archive. Included in the 19+ million specimens are 10 major world-class collections of plants, animals, diatoms, and vertebrate and vertebrate paleontology. The Academy has offered public education for more than two centuries; been home to America’s greatest naturalists; debuted the world’s first articulated dinosaur; created one of the country’s earliest environmental consulting units; and transformed global understanding of freshwater ecology. In short, the Academy has been a pioneer of earth and environmental sciences for almost as long as the United States has existed.

    In 2011, the Academy’s storied mission was supercharged through its affiliation with Drexel University. Drexel invested in the Academy’s science enterprise, and in return the two institutions created the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES). Today the Academy’s Center for Systematic Biology and Evolution (CSBE) advances global understanding of biodiversity through collections-based teaching and research, while the Patrick Center for Environmental Research (PCER) is devoted to understanding, protecting, and restoring the health of watersheds. The Library & Archives department stewards internationally recognized collections of rare books, archives, artwork, and artifacts relating to the natural and environmental sciences, providing support to Academy and Drexel teaching and research, informing museum exhibitions and programs, and promoting cross-disciplinary scholarship. In partnership with our scientists, the Academy’s team of educators devise and deliver innovative research and nationally recognized programs that build STEAM literacy, especially in disadvantaged communities.

    As the Academy enters its third century it does so as an irreplaceable repository of biological specimens, a powerful driver of vital new knowledge, and a committed agent of societal change. It does so as an institution that can trace its impact from the tributaries of the Delaware River to the icefields of the Antarctic. And it does so with an ingrained appetite for impact, a demonstrable commitment to social justice, and the potential to do even more for our region’s communities and our threatened planet.

    Job Summary

    The Vice President of Collections and Research (the VP) is a new position that has been created to provide support to, management of, and leadership for staff who steward and research the Academy’s remarkable specimen collections and associated data and databases.

    The VP’s main deliverable is to make the Academy’s unrivalled specimen collections and knowledge more accessible to, useful for, and integrated with a global network of scientists and conservationists by (a) securing increased funding for collections management (especially in support of the extended specimen concept), research, data management, and computation; (b) widening digital and physical access to and engagement with collections among researchers, students, educators, and community scientists; (c) advancing a common purpose with nature conservation by devising and implementing a collections strategy and research initiatives that address extrinsic environmental challenges; and (d) leading, managing, and supporting staff and faculty so that they can work more effectively, efficiently and enjoyably within an institution they care deeply about.

    The VP must be a highly inclusive leader, capable of shaping and delivering the Academy’s strategic and annual plans while ensuring the professional growth and wellbeing of staff. The VP must establish and maintain productive working relationships with the Chair of BEES and as well as Faculty-Curators. To ensure optimal operation of the Academy’s taxonomic and systematic research enterprises, the VP will work with Faculty-Curators and Collections Managers to provide clarity of management on the one hand while maintaining the strong links and close collaboration between them on the other. The VP will have the opportunity to hold a Research Faculty appointment in the BEES department to provide opportunities for research and student mentorship. Additionally, the VP will collaborate closely with the Executive Directors of the Library & Archives, the Patrick Center for Environmental Research, and the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program.

    Essential Functions

    Institutional Responsibilities

    Ensure exemplary stewardship of the Academy’s specimen collections and represent the best interests of the collections at all times.

    Continuously model and advance the Academy’s values: that science matters; advocacy is essential; inclusion, diversity, equity, and access are fundamental; innovation sustains success; and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

    Model inclusive leadership and maintain collegial relationships with peers Inform and implement the Academy’s strategic and annual plans and ensure divisional alignment and accountability is maintained through regular divisional meetings, monthly one-to-ones, SMART goal setting, and annual performance reviews for collections staff, undertaken in collaboration with Faculty-Curators.

    Closely coordinate with and support the work of the BEES Chair to ensure that synergies between the Academy and Drexel are fully realized and the relationship between the two institutions is continuously strengthened.

    Closely coordinate with and support the work of the Executive Directors of the Library and Archives, PCER, and The Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program to ensure that synergies between the Academy and Drexel are fully realized, the relationship between the two institutions is continuously strengthened, and the Academy is a key partner in Drexel’s efforts to place the stewardship and activation of collections at the forefront of its educational and research activities.

    Partner with the Institutional Advancement, Finance and Operations Divisions to secure sponsored and contributed revenues that sustain and grow the division.

    Partner with the Experience and Engagement, Community Learning, and Marketing Divisions to conceptualize and deliver the Academy’s exhibition and public programs.

    Partner with Drexel’s HR and Talent Acquisition departments to oversee divisional recruitment, ensuring adherence to the Academy’s IDEAL recruitment policies, delivering on its deep commitment to building a diverse workforce, and building an institutional culture aligned around the Academy’s values.


    Promote a divisional culture that models Academy values, supports vulnerability, ensures accountability, encourages professional growth, and nurtures a “bias for action.”

    Establish and maintain transparent and collaborative relationships with peers in ways that further reinforce collegiality, trust, and mutual support within the Academy’s leadership team.

    Build and maintain key relationships regionally, nationally, and internationally that benefit the Academy’s reputation and promote recognition of Academy faculty, staff, students, and research. This includes participation in international conferences and committees.


    Deliver strategic and annual plans through the effective delivery of relevant projects in accordance with project management processes.

    Provide clear, evidence-based, two-way performance reviews and annual appraisals that promote institutional values, recognize success, and ensure accountability while working in full collaboration with Faculty-Curators where secondary reporting lines exist.

    Ensure the consistent implementation and routine review of the Collections Policy and devise and deliver a Collections Strategy as appropriate.

    Supervise the Academy’s academic publishing program – including the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Notula Naturae, and special publications.

    Lead the Academy’s AAM Accreditation process.

    Provide regular project status updates to the Leadership Team.

    Manage the implementation of a collections-wide data management system and associate staff as required.

    Ensure comprehensive management of all specimen collections, including the effective establishment and monitoring of benchmarks, and the provision of efficient storage, appropriate risk management, and adequate insurance.

    Develop, enhance, and support the Academy’s digital infrastructure and collections data management staff with the aim of optimizing and expanding the use of collections in research, education, and development.

    Ensure effective and efficient collections documentation and tracking.

    Serve as a collections advocate for external audiences in local, national, and international venues.


    Support the development of sponsored research projects through the considered resourcing and implementation of individual work plans.

    Collaborate with the Executive Director of The Environmental Collaboratory to identify and manage interdisciplinary research projects with faculty and students from Drexel and other universities.

    Collaborate with the Marketing and Institutional Advancement divisions to promote and share the Academy’s research with appropriate audiences through diverse channels.

    Establish and maintain an accessible database of Academy-related research activities to support a shared institutional understanding of current activities.

    Learning and Engagement

    Contribute to the development and delivery of exhibitions and public programs, and coordinate contributions from divisional staff in ways that are fair, equitable, and sustainable.

    Ensure timely contributions of required resources from divisional staff.

    Collaborate with the Marketing Division to facilitate staff involvement in media relations and communications-related initiatives.

    Required Qualifications

    Minimum of PhD or Doctorate

    Minimum 5 years experience in museum leadership, natural history collections care and development and research

    Strong record of securing and managing external funding for research and collections management.

    Experience in building and managing strategic partnerships.

    Experience in working with collections management systems, including cutting-edge tools for the management of digital collection databases for internal and external use.

    Experience in managing projects, including budget planning and monitoring.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Experience in publishing research and contributing to conferences, professional networks and forums relating to collections care.

    Experience in delivering cultural change through inclusive leadership.

    Widely known and respected among leading collections management and research professionals.

    Ability to forge relationships with staff, public, partners and stakeholders.

    Ability to take initiative, prioritize tasks and work to deadlines.

    Ability to hold others accountable for delivering on goals.

    Ability both to lead and to work collaboratively as part of a team.

    Ability to encourage the development of unique approaches and creative solutions.

    Ability to engage in public relations and communicate with a wide variety of people.

    Excellent organizational skills.

    Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

    Physical Demands

    Typically sitting at a desk.

    Lifting demands <50lbs


    Center City, Philadelphia, PA

    Additional Information

    This position is classified as Exempt with a salary grade of P. For more information regarding Drexel’s Professional Staff salary structure, https://drexel.edu/hr/career/ducomp/salstructure/

    Please review the Benefits Brochure for some information on our benefits offerings.

    Special Instructions to the Applicant

    Review of applicants will begin once a suitable candidate pool is identified.

    Advertised: Apr 25 2023 Eastern Daylight Time
    Applications close: May 25 2023 Eastern Daylight Time

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