Executive Director – Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art University of Oregon

Eugene, OR


The University of Oregon’s art museum opened its doors to the public in 1933. Designed by Ellis F. Lawrence, then dean of Architecture & Allied Arts, the museum was built to house the Murray Warner Collection of Oriental Art—more than 3,700 works of art given to the University of Oregon (UO) by Gertrude Bass Warner. After a major renovation and expansion (from 32,000 to approximately 70,000 square feet), the museum was renamed as the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) in 2005.

The JSMA is one of the nation’s finest teaching museums and a premier Pacific Northwest visual art center for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art, as well as educational programs. The JSMA collection numbers more than 14,000 objects, including primary collecting areas in Asian art, art of the Americas and Caribbean, and European art, and contains the largest holdings of works on paper by Morris Graves.  With approximately 35 employees and 85 student employees, interns, fellows, and volunteers, the museum provides an important teaching, research, and learning laboratory for UO students and faculty, K-12 schools statewide, and the community at large. Each year, over 9,000 students take classes in the museum and more than 50 work in different capacities with JSMA staff.

The only academic art museum in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the JSMA features engaging exhibitions, significant collections of historic and contemporary art, and exciting educational programs that support the university’s academic mission and the diverse interests of its off-campus communities. The JSMA’s collections galleries present selections from its extensive holdings of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and American art as well as growing collections of Latin American and European art.  Special exhibitions galleries display works from the collection and on loan, representing many cultures of the world, past and present. The JSMA continues a long tradition of bridging international cultures and offers a welcoming destination for discovery and education centered on artistic expression that deepens the appreciation and understanding of the human condition.

Position Summary: 

Reporting to the Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in the Office of the Provost, the Executive Director of the JSMA provides strategic leadership in all areas of museum development and operations, and must foster campus, community, statewide, and regional support for the museum and its mission. The Executive Director will help articulate a strong and broad vision that is consistent with the JSMA’s position in both the Pacific Northwest and as one of the nation’s foremost teaching museums. The Executive Director will manage the staff and resources of the museum to ensure: strong, dynamic exhibition and educational programs; appropriate care of the permanent collection consistent with best professional practices; sound fiscal operations; a vibrant fundraising and marketing program; and continued coordination with the intellectual and academic life of the university and beyond. The Executive Director will work closely and collaboratively with the JSMA staff, board of directors and faculty, as well as various other university and external constituents to meet the strategic objectives of the museum.

Under the leadership of the outgoing director, the JSMA has successfully grown its operation into a thriving world-class institution, utilizing its expanded space to its maximum capacity. Working closely with donors to raise funds, the new Executive Director will help identify creative ways to re-envision existing spaces and consider options for future expansion.

The JSMA has always worked collaboratively across the campus with faculty primarily from the arts, humanities, and social sciences. In keeping with nationwide trends, the President of the university has articulated the importance of the university as a major research institution with a developing emphasis on the sciences. The new Executive Director will want to think strategically and explore new avenues to engage faculty in the sciences and continue to expand the museum’s contribution to the university’s overall research mission.  Those efforts will enhance the central role of the JSMA as a learning laboratory for all disciplines and further the university’s core educational missions.

Minimum Qualifications:    

  • Advanced degree in an appropriate field.
  • Five to seven years in increasingly responsible positions at an art museum, demonstrating excellence in resource management, leadership, supervisory and problem-solving skills, with clear measures of success.
  • Career track of ambitious leadership, collaboration and partnership, reflecting an understanding of all aspects of the internal and external operations of a significant art museum, including education, curatorial and publications.
  • Commitment to, and passion for, the visual arts from many cultures, both past and present.

Preferred Qualifications:    

  • Substantial experience representing an institution and its interests with the public, including the press.
  • Terminal degree.
  • Significant involvement in national museum organizations.
  • Experience with the AAM Accreditation process.
  • Experience in an academic art museum.

Professional Competencies:

  • Demonstrated ability to act as a dynamic leader who can generate excitement and inspire the museum’s broad constituencies including the board, faculty, students, executive staff, academic leadership, alumni, community leaders, museum supporters, the public at large and museum staff to support and develop the JSMA’s many potentials.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead an organization through strategic planning and visioning process, and to develop and implement short- and long-term plans for the museum consistent with the mission of the museum and the university.
  • Demonstrated excellent communication skills—both verbal and written.
  • Ability to demonstrate commitment to cultural diversity.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage the larger community in support of the museum including effective relationship building, fundraising, and donor relations.

Reports to    Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Leadership – 30%

  • Provide strategic vision for the museum’s role on campus and in the community.
  • Represent the museum and articulate its mission to the campus community, the region, and the nation.
  • Bring a broad vision of the potential inherent in exhibitions, collections, and related programming, and serve as a forceful advocate for the visual arts.
  • Work closely with the university community and the museum staff to integrate the museum’s programs and resources throughout the intellectual and academic life of the university, and to ensure the museum contributes to the academic mission of the university.
  • Provide overall strategy and direction for the exhibition and educational programs, as well as the care and maintenance of the permanent collection.
  • Develop and maintain a diversity plan that builds access and inclusion for all museum constituencies.

External Affairs – 30%

  • Work closely with the JSMA Leadership Council to meet the strategic objectives of the museum.
  • Work with the appropriate university and museum staff to develop and manage a comprehensive and coordinated marketing and public relations plan that is consistent with university objectives and supports the museum’s objectives.
  • Develop strategies to grow and sustain a vibrant membership and annual program.
  • Work closely with appropriate university staff to develop and sustain a comprehensive major gift fundraising program.
  • Cultivate, solicit and steward major domestic and international donors to support museum objectives.
  • Cultivate, solicit and steward major domestic and international artists and art associations to support museum objectives

Curatorial Vision – 15%

  • Provide clear curatorial vision in collaboration with senior museum staff.
  • Collaborate with senior staff on the development of a dynamic and exciting exhibition schedule.
  • From time to time curate exhibitions and write/edit accompanying publications.

Management and Supervision – 15%

  • Supervise staff including a system of hiring, discipline, annual performance evaluation, training and mentoring consistent with university policy and museum objectives.
  • Ensure effective deployment of staff resources.
  • Ensure development and maintenance of an effective program to recruit and retain appropriate team of volunteers and student employees.

Resource Management – 10%

  • Prepare and manage an annual budget that meets the strategic objectives of the museum.
  • Ensure appropriate accounting practices are maintained, and regular reporting requirements are met.
  • In consultation with the Advancement staff, prepare short and long-term fundraising plans to meet the museum’s objectives.
  • Ensure appropriate professional museum standards are maintained in the physical plant, and that the care of the collection meets AAM Accreditation standards.

COMPENSATION:  The position will offer a competitive salary and benefit package.

START DATE:  Summer 2019


Diane Frankel of Management Consultant for the Arts, is the consultant assisting the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on this search. To be considered for this position, you must submit pertinent information and attach a current résumé, a one-page narrative describing interest and experience, and three professional references utilizing our online application system:


Once all your materials have been submitted online, you will receive a confirmation of your submission via the email address you have provided in the application.

All offers of employment are contingent upon successful completion of a background inquiry.

The University of Oregon is proud to offer a robust benefits package to eligible employees, including health insurance, retirement plans and paid time off. For more information about benefits, visit http://hr.uoregon.edu/careers/about-benefits.

The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the ADA. The University encourages all qualified individuals to apply, and does not discriminate on the basis of any protected status, including veteran and disability status. The University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities. To request an accommodation in connection with the application process, please contact us at uocareers@uoregon.edu or 541-346-5112.

UO prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in all programs, activities and employment practices as required by Title IX, other applicable laws, and policies. Retaliation is prohibited by UO policy. Questions may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, Office of Civil Rights Compliance, or to the Office for Civil Rights. Contact information, related policies, and complaint procedures are listed on the statement of non-discrimination.

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