Deputy Director for Museum Management and Strategic Initiatives

Job description

Hyde Park Campus

42740 Smart Museum

About the Unit
The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago (, located in one of the nation's greatest cities for art and on the campus of one of the world's leading research universities, opens the world through art and ideas. The Smart Museum is widely known for its ambitious exhibitions and programs; its collaborations with scholars and students have animated its collection both historically and conceptually. The Museum plays a central role in the University's arts initiative, which has brought extraordinary new focus and energy to the arts on campus. At the same time, the Museum collaborates closely with other units on campus as well as institutions and scholars in the city and across the country. Its exhibition projects often arise from partnerships with other institutions and travel nationally and internationally. The Smart Museum is also deeply dedicated to engaging its surrounding communities through programming that offers visitors of all ages a transformative experience involving significant and often unexpected examples of artistic expression. This is an exciting moment to join the Smart Museum, as the Museum is embarking on the creation of a compelling vision for the future under the leadership of a recently appointed Dana Feitler Director.

Job Information

Job Summary:

Reporting to the Dana Feitler Director, the Deputy Director for Museum Management and Strategic Initiatives is a vital member of the senior leadership team. Working closely with the Director and senior members of Curatorial, Academic Inquiry and Audience Engagement & Public Practice, the DDMMSI is charged with reimagining and tuning the museum itself as a tool and a machine for learning in the 21st century, making it a site to better serve students and faculty at the University of Chicago, the surrounding communities, national and international partners in all aspects of the Smart's collections and exhibitions programming. This includes ultimate responsibility for an effective, integrated approach to collections management and exhibitions administration, and finance and facility management.

Position Goals

  • Foster cross-museum collaborations and communications.
  • Assist in developing resources for collections research and community engagement initiatives.
  • Develop museum policies, methods and practices to support these goals.
  • Support deep exploration and research of art and pioneer new ways to discover and study the Smart's collection.
  • Uphold the value of expanded, innovative access to collections and lively cross-disciplinary exchange between artists, students, scholars, patrons, museum staff and the community.

  • He/she leads and is responsible for the successful planning, production, management, and completion of the museum's entire exhibitions program (including, special exhibitions, travelling exhibitions, focused exhibitions, and collections rotations).
  • The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of supervisory experience, having led the planning and implementation of exhibitions in a museum or gallery setting with a team of staff and contractors and being equally familiar with museums best practices in collections care and maintenance.
  • The DDMMSI will be responsible for overseeing the development of exhibition schedules and budgets, and working with curatorial, education, registration, communications, operations, and security departments to identify and manage all logistics of exhibitions, including overseeing tour details for travelling exhibitions.
  • The DDMMSI also provides active leadership in the Museum's general administration in accordance with its educational mission and objectives, including overall management and long-term strategic planning.
  • Critical to this position is the proven ability to develop and implement effective financial management and operational policies, as well as the initiative to work collaboratively with other senior managers and staff, and to communicate effectively and collegiality with a diverse community of faculty, students, administrators, and patrons.
  • The DDMMSI is responsible for overseeing all financial, administrative, and operational aspects of the Museum. Key responsibilities include managing the museum's multi-million dollar operating budget and maintaining the policies and goals that govern its operations, personnel, and financial performance.

  • Create systems of communication and information sharing in the museum.
  • Identify ways Education, Development, Digital, Publications, Design, Installation, Marketing, Public Programs, etc. is included early and systematically in the process to ensure cross-museum communications, planning, and budgeting.

Exhibition Management :
  • Lead the planning and execution of exhibitions for display at the Museum, as well as any related touring components of such exhibitions.
  • Evaluate the system by which exhibitions are introduced, reviewed, approved, developed, scheduled, managed, traveled and measured.
  • Utilize project management best practices, such as detailed project schedules, exhibition calendars, budgets, and communication platforms, to ensure high-quality exhibition results, completed on time and on budget.
  • Collaborate with all stakeholders to be sure they are well represented and incorporated within a strong team environment. Monitor contract issues throughout exhibition and installation to ensure contractual obligations are met.

Collections Management :
  • Oversee the collections and registration department, serving as partner, guide and resource to Head Registrar.
  • Work to facilitate operational efficiency of entire collections department, including all registrars and registration staff. Delegate tasks and responsibilities, analyze and determine staffing needs, evaluate and develop internal processes and policies.
  • Collaborate with curators and museum management to manage complex and shifting priorities, strategically evaluate and recommend solutions and new procedures and develop plans to implement and support new processes.
  • Working in close collaboration with the exhibitions manager, oversee the creation of detailed timelines of the work of the installations team (Preparators) throughout each exhibition from conception to completion.
  • Work in collaboration with the collections department to maintain the exhibitions schedule such that preparator time may also be managed in the service of ongoing collections moves and maintenance.
  • Identify and establish best practices such that the Smart maintains excellent exhibition quality and protocols.
  • Assess the possibilities for the development of a conservation program at the Smart museum and more broadly at the University of Chicago.

Finance and Administration
  • In consultation with the Director and the senior leadership team, develops, coordinates, executes policies, methods, and procedures in finance, administration, and HR; recommends and implements systems to improve Museum operations and to provide for successful integration of museum-wide activities and throughout the university.
  • Develops, directs and administers all financial plans, adhering to University policies and procedures; provides overall financial oversight and monitoring; oversees financial forecasting and the preparation of projections.
  • Leads and supports organizational budgeting process; directs the development and administration of complex budgets; oversees all contracts connected to the museum.
  • Oversees reporting and monitoring of organizational performance metrics; ensures that relevant financial data is presented regularly to the Director, senior management team, and university administration.
  • Oversees museum staff and university employees responsible for the overall appearance of the museum; facilities maintenance and repair; security; capital improvements; engineering; purchasing; space management and administrative support services.
  • Ensures the smooth daily operations of physical plant and equipment and the health and safety of staff and visitors.
  • Oversees all necessary maintenance contracts.
  • Responsible for disaster planning requirements.
  • Maintain effective interface with University officials working with building, security, maintenance, and facility issues.
  • Oversees the security systems of the museum, including the hardware/software of the operating systems and contracts, and the training, policies, and emergency procedures for on-site personnel.
  • Oversees the manager of museum the store and caf. Establishes and implements strategic goals for revenue streams.
  • Manages and oversees the human resource function for the Museum in close coordination with University HR, including organizational structure, staffing, compensation; benefits; professional training and development; development of retention strategies.
  • Advise the Director on employment related policies and practices.
  • Manage personnel actions to ensure compliance with University policies on equal pay, employment, training and wage administration.
  • Establish and communicate the museum's internal HR and payroll policies to all hiring managers.
  • Supervise and coordinate the work of the finance and operation departments.
  • Perform other related duties incidental to the work described herein.

The above statements describe the general nature and level of work being performed by individuals assigned to this classification. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and duties required of personnel so classified. Competencies:
  • Teamwork
  • Project Management
  • Analytical Thinking

Additional Requirements

Education, Experience, and Certifications:

  • B.A. required.
  • Preferably in Museum Studies, Arts Administration, or a related field or comparable work experience in those areas.
  • Graduate level studies preferred

  • A senior museum professional with a minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible supervisory experience managing registrars, preparators, and exhibition staff, with a deep knowledge of exhibition concepts, practices, policies and procedures, is required.
  • Proven supervisory and leadership skills; a solutions-oriented, diplomatic problem solver and team player.
  • Experience within a highly productive international operation is preferred.
  • Knowledge of current and emerging trends of museums and cultural institutions is a key component to a candidate's potential success in this role.
  • Knowledge of professional museum practices.
  • Extensive experience in the preparation of financial statements; knowledge of fund accounting and not-for-profit management.
  • Experience leading an institute-wide budget process to completion on a timely basis and then providing ongoing monitoring of financial performance and measuring against approved budgets.
  • A proven track record of managing multiple complex projects simultaneously and staying on budget and on time.
  • Self-confident and secure; unflappable in the face of multiple problems; pragmatic, grounded, authoritative, decisive and disciplined; mentally flexible and creative as circumstances demand.
  • A creative problem-solver who is nimble and able address and lead a team to solve any unexpected challenges.

Technical Knowledge or Skills:
  • Superlative communication, interpersonal and negotiation skills grounded in excellent judgment; a diplomatic ambassador who can assess risk, hold a position, engage diverse partners and drive complicated deals to closure.
  • Experience negotiating and managing contracts and legal agreements.
  • A true collaborator about whom all sides consider possesses a strong sense of integrity and an unerring ethical compass in a dynamic cultural arena.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish priorities, manage shifting priorities, and handle numerous time-sensitive projects with multiple deadlines.
  • Ability to accomplish goals working through formal and informal channels, with diplomacy and tactfulness.
  • Demonstrated creativity, problem solving, critical analysis, initiative, judgment and, decision-making skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and meet budget goals.
  • Demonstrated solid planning and organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated experience working independently and as part of a team.
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong relevant subject matter knowledge.
  • Ability to direct the work of others, for jobs requiring supervision.

Working Conditions and Physical Requirements:
  • Constantly perform desk-based computer tasks.
  • Frequently stand/walk, sitting, grasp lightly/fine manipulation.
  • Occasionally use a telephone.
  • Rarely lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh 11-20 pounds.
  • Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

Required Documents:
  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • Reference Contact Information

Note: When applying, all required documents (3) MUST be uploaded under the Resume/CV section of the application.

Benefit Eligibility

Pay Frequency

Pay Range
Depends on Qualification

Scheduled Weekly Hours


Job is Exempt?

Drug Test Required?

Does this position require incumbent to operate a vehicle on the job?

Health Screen Required?

Posting Date

Remove from Posting On or Before

Posting Statement:

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

Full time

About Us
The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

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Job No:
Posted: 5/18/2018
Application Due: 6/22/2018
Work Type: