Manager of Public Programs, Block Museum of Art

Job ID: 39843
Location: Evanston, Illinois 

Department: Block Museum
Salary/Grade: EXS/7

Job Summary:
The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University seeks an experienced and dynamic Manager of Public Programs in its department of Campus and Community Education and Engagement. 

This position reports to the Associate Director of Engagement. 

The incumbent will manage the development, implementation, and execution of a wide-ranging scope of cross-disciplinary programs with and for broad audiences, including campus, community and the general public, that use the Block’s collection and exhibitions as a springboard for shared learning and dialogue around issues that matter in our world today. In their role, they will center equity and inclusion; foreground the Block’s interdisciplinary teaching, learning and research mission; engage with Northwestern students, staff, faculty and their ideas; and, through a suite of programs, advance the museum’s role as catalyst for new ideas, and a convener across disciplines and communities.  

The Block Museum of Art prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion in programs, exhibitions, partnerships, and working practice, by centering the voices and experiences of those who have been historically excluded from or underrepresented in higher education and museum practice. Therefore, the successful candidate will have demonstrated experience with public programs for diverse audiences, working with a range of communities and partners, leading teams and projects, and meaningfully connecting to internal and external stakeholders. They will be committed to creative, intellectually rigorous and collaborative public programming, and will build and maintain productive relationships with museum colleagues, faculty, students, campus and community partners, and the general public.  The capacity to create programs that center dialogue on challenging and complex issues with works of art and build the foundations upon which such conversations take place amongst a broad range of constituencies is essential.  Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, access and inclusion is required. 

Specific Responsibilities

  • Program Development:  With the Associate Director of Engagement, lead planning meetings with internal, campus and external partners to collaboratively generate and shape content for public programs, and target opportunities for others bring their ideas and expertise to the table. Meet regularly with the Block Student Associates to capture their ideas and feedback on programming. Research and suggest speakers, formats, partners and themes that align with departmental and museum mission. In accordance with program planning process and timeline and with the Associate Director, make recommendations for a suite of public programs, and refine scope/capacity.
  • Program Implementation:  Oversee the program development process and timeline. Engage in regular communication with internal and external program partners, and proactively flag areas of concern to Associate Director. With the Engagement Coordinator, manage speaker logistics, calendar and marketing needs, A/V and venue, talking points, and other event details. With Communications, consider audience and outreach goals. With Associate Director, identify opportunities for Student Associates to participate in public programs as emcees, discussants, and contributors.
  • Program Execution and Follow Up:  With the administrative and logistical support of the Engagement Coordinator, coordinate day-of event logistics, working with internal museum colleagues to ensure alignment, clear communication, and clarity of staffing roles. Ensure appropriate and timely follow-up with program participants. Gather and maintain data on programs for fundraising, grants, and end-of-year reports. 
  • Participate as an active member of the Engagement Department team, including through regular communication and collaboration, helping to assess issues of equity and inclusion, and the capacity, scalability, sustainability and mission-alignment of our work. Assist with writing and research for grants and museums communications as requested. Help ensure time is allotted for departmental reflection and evaluation of shared work.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications: 

  • Commitment to activating the Block Museum’s mission, vision, and values for broad audiences through public programs. 
  • Bachelor’s degree OR appropriate combination of education and experience.
  • At least 3 years’ experience managing public programs in higher education, museums, and/or community organizations.  
  • Demonstrated interest and experience in collaborating with partners to generate and execute multidisciplinary, intellectually rigorous and socially engaged programs on contemporary issues. 
  • Skilled facilitator with demonstrated experience working with and across diverse communities and multiple perspectives, and a record of work that models inclusive excellence.
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills, and familiarity with strategies for communicating ideas and information.
  • Excellent customer service, hospitality, and diplomacy skills, including ability to exercise good judgment in a variety of situations, to extend generosity and welcome at all times, and to act with grace under pressure.
  • Excellent organizational, event, and project management skills. Proven ability to take initiative, prioritize, set goals and meet deadlines.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Adaptability – Works effectively in an environment in which the parameters may change daily; adjusts behavior to meet the needs of different people and situations.
  • Assertiveness/Independence – Takes forceful stands on issues without being excessively abrasive; expresses own opinions even when adopting an unpopular position.
  • Coaching/Mentoring – Trains people for current assignment and develops them for promotion; uses feedback and personal example to encourage higher performance.
  • Collaboration – Facilitates open and effective communication, cooperation and teamwork within and outside of one’s own team; respects the needs and contributions of others.
  • Communication – Communicates effectively one-to-one, in small groups and in public speaking contexts; writes precise, well-organized emails, letters and proposals while using appropriate vocabulary and grammar.
  • Conflict Management – Exhibits understanding of natural sources of conflict and acts to prevent or soften them.
  • Customer Focus – Regularly monitors customer satisfaction; provides suggestions to improve quality and value to the customer.
  • Development of Self/Others – Stays current on technical/professional information; identifies methods for improving work procedures or systems; solicits feedback from customers, peers and superiors.
  • Diversity – Creates an environment of understanding and acceptance; solicits input from a wide variety of people and functions; challenges organizational policies and practices that may be exclusionary.
  • Efficiency/Dependability – Effectively performs duties and responsibilities; displays attention to detail; supports organizational policies; anticipates demands/pressures of assignments and adjusts accordingly.
  • Ethics and Integrity – Follows through on commitments; incorporates honesty, respect and fairness in daily actions; demands trustworthiness from others; demonstrates courage and objectivity.
  • Initiative – Exhibits energy and desire to achieve; sets ambitious goals and acts decisively; takes action that no one has requested to improve or enhance job results and avoid problems.
  • Innovation/Creativity – Explores alternatives to existing products and services; identifies opportunities to improve procedures and practices; shows imagination.
  • Judgment – Demonstrates logic, rationality and objectivity; shows common sense; uses all available information to make educated decisions.
  • Multi-Tasking – Demonstrates ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Organization – Plans, organizes and schedules in an efficient, productive manner; anticipates contingencies and pays attention to detail; targets projects or initiatives that require special attention and focuses on key tasks when faced with limited time and/or resources
  • Planning – Devises and implements clearly defined strategies to achieve business objectives.
  • Political Savvy – Shows awareness of political factors and “hidden agendas;” builds informal network to “wire” information sources and influence.
  • Problem Solving – Formulates realistic plans and contingencies and establishes appropriate measurements of anticipated results.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree or comparable experience a plus. 
  • 5 years’ experience in a related role preferred.

Please apply online at

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

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