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Vice President, Community Learning
Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date Posted August 11, 2021
Executive-Administrative Vice President
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled

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

About the Academy

The Academy of Natural Sciences was founded in 1812 for "the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences". Since then, it has sponsored global expeditions, conducted pioneering environmental and systematics research, and amassed remarkable collections containing more than 18 million specimens from around the world and a peerless library and archive. Since 2011 its academic enterprise has been further strengthened through its affiliation with nearby Drexel University – a leading private non-profit research institution that focusses on innovation and entrepreneurship and provides a unique cooperative education program for its undergraduate and graduate degree students.

Today the Academy is one of the most important natural science institutions in the world. However, the world is changing fast and the Academy – directed by its Strategic Plan 2019-24 - is changing with it. Over the next five years the Academy will become a “force for nature” and advance its mission: “to understand the natural world and inspire everyone to care for it”. In so doing the Academy will build on its fundamental belief that diversity and inclusion generates better ideas, inspires creativity, and is essential to building a positive workplace so that in time it can become an institution that is of, by and for all Philadelphians.

Job Summary

The Vice President leads the Community Learning division, a suite of high-impact informal learning programs, which consists of the Center for STEAM Equity, the Schools and Community Science Departments, and Volunteer Services. The goal of the division is to partner with communities to develop and deliver measurable improvement to the educational wellbeing of traditionally marginalized and underserved communities by engaging communities in collaborative investigation, analysis and implementation of learning programs tailored to self-identified needs onsite, offsite, and online. Serves as a key member of the Academy’s leadership team and reports to the Academy’s President/CEO.

Essential Functions

  • Work closely with Academy staff, volunteers, and trustees to advance the institution’s identity model.
  • Create and support an open, collaborative, and accountable working culture.
  • Establish and facilitate a Community Learning Committee to ensure appropriate strategic oversight; maintain a strong relationship with the School of Education; create high levels of enthusiasm for, and understanding of, the Academy’s learning programs.
  • Shape and deliver the strategic direction of the Community Learning Division with reference to the Experiential Masterplan. Prepare and implement a three-year learning plan that advances informal learning onsite, offsite and online; meets community needs; drives learning through community science; integrates with the Academy’s research, collections and exhibition programming; clearly differentiates the Academy within Philadelphia’s Museum learning ecosystem; and supports Drexel and The Environmental Collaboratory as appropriate.
  • Devise and deliver revenue goals and manage the divisional budget.
  • Contribute to the Academy’s website, ensuring that it always represents the Academy’s learning opportunities.
  • Strategically represent and advocate for the Academy and its programs at appropriate regional, national, and international venues and forums.
  • Cultivate, strengthen, and sustain relationships with community leaders and cultural organizations.
  • Build in-kind support for the Academy through the development of an effective volunteer corps that engages people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • In collaboration with the VP of Program Innovation and Academy leadership articulate an Academy philosophy of learning; and prepare and implement an audience development plan that supports engagement with students, faculty, and the public with special consideration of communities of color.
  • Significantly deepen the Academy’s relationship with Drexel across existing touch points (in particular, the School of Education).
  • Advance the Academy’s mission by drawing not only on the discipline of science but also the arts and humanities.
  • In partnership with the CFO/COO drive earned and contributed revenue through growth in learning-related programs.
  • In partnership with the VP Science and VP Program Innovation, support community engagement as a significant pillar of the Academy’s work.
  • In partnership with the CFO/COO embed IDEAL into all aspects of the Academy’s community learning enterprise.
  • In partnership with the VP Science and the VP Program Innovation, support the development and delivery of content for exhibitions and public programs.
  • In partnership with the VP Marketing establish formative and summative evaluation processes that are used to inform all aspects of decision making and project reporting.
  • Significantly advances our IDEAL commitments by collaborating with the Academy’s leadership and management teams and Drexel University colleagues to deepen a shared responsibility for measurable improvements to diversity, equity, and inclusion across aspects of the Academy’s work.
  • Reports to the Chief Executive Officer and serves as a key member of the Academy’s Leadership Team.
  • Delivers the Academy’s Strategic Plan by developing and imbedding a communities-centered and impact-focused approach to the conceptualization and creation of learning programs onsite, offsite, and online.
  • Provides thought leadership around innovation in informal learning, museum pedagogy and the role of museums in community science.
  • Increases understanding of the natural world through varied disciplines (including art, literature, history, film, and music) by creating multiple entry points for people from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and interests.
  • Strategizes the sustainable growth of Community Learning departments by working closely with the Advancement, Finance and Operations Division to secure foundation grants, corporate sponsorship, contributed revenue, and define and deliver earned revenue goals.
  • Supports the Program Innovation and Marketing Divisions in conceptualizing and delivering the Academy’s exhibition and public programs.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Science, Art History, Fine Arts, Museum Studies, Education, or equivalent
  • Six years of management-level experience required, preferably in museums or non-profit institutions.
  • Minimum of four years of experience in education.
  • Deep commitment to IDEAL and a demonstrable understanding of its application to museum learning.
  • Understanding of the challenges and opportunities of community learning.
  • Experience developing community learning projects.
  • Proven ability to lead inclusively, manage empathetically, and administrate effectively with a demonstrable record in change management.
  • Proven track record in securing grant funding.
  • Familiarity with Philadelphia’s communities and cultures.
  • Significant understanding of formal and informal learning pedagogies and contemporary museum practices.
  • Significant understanding of national and regional curricula requirements, local educational needs, and trends in funding.
  • Knowledge of current evaluation practices and tools, with experience in both collecting and applying critical findings.
  • Understanding of community engagement and/or community-based research.
  • Experience in building and/or managing a team with a communities-centered mindset.
  • Understanding of, and belief in, the value of community science.
  • Commitment to lifelong learning and professional development.
  • Inspiring, can-do perspective and ability to coach staff in ways that unlock their potential, embody the Academy’s values, advance institutional culture, and promote individual accountability.
  • Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Exemplary written, verbal, and listening communication skills and a demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and professionally
  • Effective interpersonal skill.
  • Highly developed public speaking skills
  • Strong staff management and mentoring skills
  • Deep respect for volunteers, and skill in volunteer interaction and appreciation
  • Self-directed, able to work independently and effectively
  • Ability to maintain the highest levels of confidentiality and discretion
  • Understand and maintain highest ethical standards related to organizational responsibilities and public accountability
  • Ability to create and successfully manage multiple annual budgets, reports, and internal core documents
  • Demonstrated organizational planning, problem-solving and collaboration skills
  • Demonstrated understanding of and natural skill in diplomacy.
  • Proficient computer skills in MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Database and additional software knowledge

Physical Demands

  • Typically sitting at a desk/table
  • Typically standing, walking
  • Lifting demands up to 25lbs


Center City

Additional Information

This position is classified as Exempt with a salary grade of P. 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: Aug 10 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Sep 10 2021 Eastern Daylight Time

*Please mention to employers when applying for this job*
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