Deputy Director – Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago–Smart-Museum_JR24078

Salary Range

$110,000 – $130,000 annually

The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago is a site for rigorous inquiry and exchange that encourages the examination of complex issues through the lens of art objects and artistic practice. The Museum has long served as a model for academic art museums by combining the University’s deep-seated commitment to intense creative and intellectual engagement and open dialogue with Chicago’s entrepreneurial spirit, the South Side’s robust creative communities, and global arts perspectives that bridge lines of culture, language, and lived experience. Thousands of visitors annually experience the Smart, with exhibitions and programs highlighting permanent collections, works by contemporary artists, and objects on loan from institutional partners and private collectors.

The Smart’s permanent collection dynamically supports academic and artistic study, inspires new ideas and creative interpretation, and provides a space for reflection and conversation for the Museum’s many audiences. Comprising over 16,000 objects, this growing body of artworks represents art from across the globe, from antiquity to the present day. With the recent appointment of Vanja Malloy as the Dana Feitler Director and with the Museum approaching its 50th anniversary in 2024, now is an exciting moment to join the Smart Museum. The University of Chicago is keen to support the Smart Museum’s dynamic role in expanding artistic canons, rethinking received histories, introducing new perspectives, and engaging diverse communities – locally, nationally, and internationally.

Job Summary

The Deputy Director is a critical leadership position within the Smart Museum of Art. Reporting to the Dana Feitler Director, the Deputy Director is a member of the senior leadership team that oversees many fundamental areas of the Smart’s operations and administration, assuming a significant scope of responsibility. This new position serves as a partner and advisor to the Museum Director to achieve strategic goals and implement organizational initiatives with a focus on strategy, efficiency, process, and assessment.

The Deputy Director has a deep understanding of museum operations and the ability to align the workflow of multiple departments and functions to create cohesive, collaborative teams. This position is charged with leading collections and registration, exhibition production and management, publications, communications, facility and security management, guest services and rental events. The Deputy Director is also a senior administrator overseeing the museum’s legal needs, working with the Office of Legal Counsel and other external partners, and is the primary liaison for human resources support. They will oversee the Museum’s DEIA initiatives and serve as a key partner in creating a new strategic plan for the Smart.

As a senior staff member at the Smart Museum, the Deputy Director works collaboratively with leadership colleagues to manage a dynamic museum team, promote interdepartmental communication, and increase efficiencies in museum-wide workflows. This position will have oversight over project management for key strategic initiatives.


  • Provides leadership and guidance for registration, collections care and on-site/off-site storage, exhibition production and management, and Museum publications. Manages related timelines, deadlines, staffing, communications, and budgets. 
  • Guides the strategy and implementation for all communications, marketing, public relations, and collateral materials to enhance the Smart’s presence in the regional, national, and international community through print media and digital platforms. This includes advertising, branding, website, publicity, annual report, grants, reports, communications, and other needs. 
  • Provides leadership and guidance for Museum facilities, security, and visitor services team. Responsible for facilities, maintenance, and events/rental of all Smart occupied spaces, ensuring the building operates efficiently and safely in compliance with AAM standards and best practices. 
  • Oversees any future renovations and the creation of new facilities including needs assessment, design development, budgeting and controls, and general project management. Serves as staff representative to Facilities and external contractors.  
  • Hires, trains, coaches, and develops employees. Manages employees by establishing annual performance goals, allocating resources, assessing performance, and determining individual merit and/or promotional increases.
  • Acts as a key partner in the creation of the Smart’s next strategic plan and collaborates with the Dana Feitler Director and senior leadership to manage its implementation for the Museum.  
  • Assesses strengths and gaps in current operational workflow, processes, and procedures to create a new overall operations strategy. 
  • Collaborates with the senior team to create an assessment plan for the museum, documents the impact of the museum’s work, and identifies opportunities for improvement. 
  • Manages relationship for the Museum with the Office of Risk Management, Department of Safety and Security, Office of Environmental Health and Safety, IT Services, and Facilities.  
  • Serves as Smart representative overseeing the museum’s legal needs, working with the Office of Legal Counsel and other external partners. 
  • Serves as primary liaison for Museum human resources initiatives. Works with Arts HR Business Partner on projects involving employee engagement, training and development, safety and health, succession planning, conflict resolution, onboarding/offboarding protocols, and Museum-specific staff policies and procedures. 
  • Manages budgets for all areas of the museum this position oversees. Works with the Assistant Director of Finance to ensure that best practices are met for financial policies and practices.  
  • Collaborates with the Dana Feitler Director and Assistant Director of Finance to track organizational performance against both the annual budget and strategic plan objectives. 
  • Oversees external reporting, including annual report and reporting for Board of Governors meetings. Prepares and presents reports to the Board of Governors as needed.
  • Implements streamlined institutional archival processes and organization for museum’s digital files.
  • Represents the Museum at campus, community, and other external events as necessary.  
  • Manages professional staff and establishes performance goals, allocates resources, and assesses policies for direct subordinates.
  • Manages all aspects of the care, management, and operations of the museum, including the development of policies and procedures for preservation and conservation, documentation, exhibition, accessibility, interpretation, and enrichment of permanent collections.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.

Preferred Qualifications


  • Master’s degree in art history, arts administration, business administration, management, or related field. 


  • 10 years of progressive experience in a museum senior leadership role; experience in the arts, philanthropic, non-profit, or higher education organization. 
  • Previous experience with strategic planning and long-term visioning. 

Preferred Competencies

  • Knowledge of museum best practices as well as current and emerging trends in the academic museum field. 
  • An adept leader who can effectively manage and mentor staff reports in an active and diverse environment.  
  • Conceptualize steps involved in implementing programs, events, and broader projects. Knowledge of systems of assessment and evaluation. 
  • Establish and maintain collaborative and effective relationships with the Museum’s internal team, internal and external University collaborators, and diverse museum audiences. 
  • Strong commitment and provide outreach at all levels with well-developed interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work positively and collegially with staff, administration, students, and the public.  
  • Well-developed written/oral communication skills with the ability to communicate clearly and effectively.  

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)

When applying directly on the University of Chicago website, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Museum & Arts

Role Impact

People Manager

Categories: Job Postings