Assistant Director for Learning and Community Engagement – Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College

Paid:  Salaried/Hourly                                   

 Position Status:  FT/FY

Reports to: Deputy Director and Curator                                                  

 FTE: 1.0   52 Wks./Yr.

1.     Overview

The Assistant Director of Learning and Community Engagement is a newly created position at the Loeb Art Center at Vassar College that offers an exciting opportunity for an experienced arts educator or museum professional to develop and implement new programs that align with the Loeb’s Impact Plan and commitment to DEAI goals, current pedagogy, and best practices in the field as well as to build upon the Loeb’s existing educational initiatives. The ideal candidate is prepared to collaborate with colleagues and coordinate all aspects of interpretation for the Loeb’s collections and exhibitions to ensure meaningful access for various audiences, including Vassar faculty and students, PreK-12 teachers and students, families, and adult visitors. The ideal candidate brings an affirmative attitude and proactive approach, works well with team members and other departments, and thrives in a fast-paced, collaborative, work environment.

Working closely with and reporting to the Deputy Director, the Assistant Director sets the overall vision for the department; initiates, builds, and strengthens relationships with Vassar faculty and community partners such as school district administrators, local teachers and students, and other cultural organizations in the region; helps implement the educational strategies of the Loeb; develops clear and measurable goal and collects and analyzes evaluation data to meet those goals; sets departmental priorities, charts progress, and makes recommendations to stakeholders. This position also coordinates the student docent and intern programs and provides training and professional development to student workers, emphasizing opportunities for underrepresented students.

The Assistant Director works closely with the curatorial team to plan and execute interpretation and programming for all exhibitions and collections, develop and implement onsite and virtual programs for a diverse audience, and facilitate collaborations with faculty and local teachers on curriculum-related opportunities. They also work closely with the Collections Discovery Initiative team to strategize and shape ideas about increased access and discoverability of the collection and ways to network with other collections and archives sought out by scholars and researchers.

Other responsibilities include developing and overseeing the departmental budget and leading and managing a team of 2–3 people who are responsible for academic outreach, teaching, learning, visitor engagement, public programming, and digital initiatives. The Assistant Director will engage with Vassar classes and lecture on the collection in area of expertise, and more broadly where appropriate.

The Assistant Director of Learning and Community Engagement is a salaried, full-time position based in Poughkeepsie with a competitive benefits package. The position may require a flexible schedule to accommodate programs, events, and after-hours work, including regularly occurring weekend and evening hours. Salary is commensurate with experience.

2.     Qualifications

Section I: Required Qualifications

·      Three or more years of experience developing and implementing programming and partnerships in a museum or cultural organization setting

·      Ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with collaborators at the College, in the community, and in the field, as well as with diverse museum audiences.

·      Self-directed person who possesses a big picture understanding of museum audiences and will help carry out the departmental vision for learning and engagement

·      Willingness and ability to help strengthen new and existing community and campus partnerships

·      Fluency in different modalities and strategies for all audiences but especially for PreK-12

·      Clear communicator and comfortable with public speaking and engagement

·      Collegial team player willing to collaborate with educators, faculty, curators, and collections management team

·      Ability to work directly with people of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religious affiliations, physical abilities, ages, genders, and sexualities

·      Fluency in and experience with implementing DEAI practices

·      B.A. in Art History, Education or related fields

·      Experience and proven abilities in managing two or more staff members and/or volunteers

·      Empathic to the needs of local children, families, and teachers

·      Local to the Mid-Hudson area or willing to relocate there; this position requires daily in-person interactions with Vassar and surrounding communities

·      Willingness and ability to work some evenings and weekends

Section II: Strongly Preferred Qualifications

·      Background or specialization in art/culture not represented by Loeb staff (e.g., Native American Art, African diasporic art, Latin American art, Asian art, fiber arts)

·      Advanced degree (M.A. or Ph.D.) in Art History, Museum Studies, or related fields

·      Track record of using Art History research as a foundation for developing interpretive programs for exhibitions and collections

·       Experience building productive relationships with college-level faculty, teachers and school administrators and working with PK-12 audiences

·      Experience bringing campus and local communities together for meaningful interactions

·      Understanding of inquiry-based teaching practices that facilitate experiential learning

·      Experience with TMS, especially with the Events module, and tracking engagement with specific objects in the collection

·      Evaluation skills for post-program debrief

·      Comfortable using social media (especially Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, MailChimp, etc.) for marketing and engaging audiences

·      Investment/interest in the Hudson Valley region and its histories

·      Flexible and open to learning new ways of doing things with a tolerance for change

Section III: Preferred Qualifications

·      Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite, Mac, PC, and Google platforms

·      Experience with children either as a parent, educator, caregiver, or in a similar role

·      Proven ability in a leadership role in museum education

·      Multi-lingual, preferably Spanish

·      Interest in and passion for social justice issues

·      Flexible, kind, and unflappable

·      Openness and willingness to work with all types of people and various learning modalities

3.     Background

Vassar College

Founded in 1861, Vassar College is a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. Consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country, Vassar is renowned for pioneering achievements in education, its long history of curricular innovation, and the beauty of its campus.

The mission of Vassar College is to make accessible, as the College’s First Annual Catalogue stated, “the means of a thorough, well-proportioned and liberal education” that inspires each individual to lead a purposeful life. The College makes possible an education that promotes analytical, informed, and independent thinking and sound judgment; encourages articulate expression; and nurtures intellectual curiosity, creativity, respectful debate, and engaged citizenship. Vassar supports a high standard of engagement in teaching and learning, scholarship and artistic endeavor; a broad and deep curriculum; and a residential campus that fosters a learning community.

Founded in 1861 to provide women an education equal to that once available only to men, Vassar is now open to all and strives to pursue diversity, inclusion, and equity as essential components of a rich intellectual and cultural environment in which all members, including those from underrepresented and marginalized groups, are valued and empowered to thrive.

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center was founded in 1864 as the Vassar College Art Gallery. Vassar was the first college or university in the country to include an art museum as part of its original plan. The current 36,000 square foot facility was designed by Cesar Pelli and named in honor of the new building’s primary donor Frances Lehman Loeb, a member of the Class of 1928.

The Lehman Loeb Art Center’s collections chart the history of art from antiquity to the present and comprise over 22,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, textiles, and glass and ceramic wares. Teaching students and working as an important tangible complement to the curriculum is the main focus of the collection. Notable holdings include the Warburg Collection of Old Master prints, a significant group of Hudson River School paintings given at the College’s inception by Matthew Vassar, and a wide range of works by major European and American twentieth century artists.

In addition to providing vital resources and programs for Vassar College’s students, faculty, and alumnae/i, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center serves a region within a 20-mile radius of 587,988 residents (2010 census). In particular, the City and Town of Poughkeepsie are generally viewed as a single place and are commonly referred to collectively as “Poughkeepsie,” with a combined population of 74,751 (2018). According to the most recent census estimates (2019), in the City of Poughkeepsie 39.8% are identified as white, 37.6% as black or African American, and 17.1% as Hispanic or Latino. And the nearest public-school system, with which we work closely, has an enrollment of 4,245 students (2016-17), of which 81% are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

The Art Center has an annual operating budget of approximately $2 million and currently employs a team of more than a dozen full-time employees.

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With the following documents

1.     Resume

2.     Cover Letter

3.     Contact Information for 3 References

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