Washington, United States
Competitive Salary
Mar 25, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The University of Washington, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) has an outstanding opportunity for a Director of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens (UWBG).

The mission of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, to sustain managed to natural ecosystems and the human spirit through plant research, display, and education, is carried out at both UWBG locations - the Washington Park Arboretum (Arboretum) and the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH). UWBG manages 320 acres of collections, research areas, and public-access spaces, has a staff of over 40, and has an annual budget of $2.7 million from various sources. UWBG is an accessible community asset that seeks to engage with diverse audiences and community groups.

The 230-acre Arboretum includes a vibrant collection of more than 40,000 plants from around the world with trails to explore and public programs for youth and adults. The Center for Urban Horticulture includes demonstration gardens and natural areas, and also houses the Elisabeth C. Miller Library, Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium, the UW Farm, and the Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program. Areas of academic strength include restoration ecology, urban farming and forestry, sustainable urban systems, plant conservation, horticulture, environmental education, and plant collections. On-going strategic discussions within the University of Washington about future interdisciplinary academic opportunities, involving biology, landscape architecture, public health, geography, and others, and with our partners in the community about opportunities for greater accessibility and impact, make this a particularly exciting time to join this dynamic organization.

The UWBG partners with Seattle Parks and Recreation and the private non-profit Arboretum Foundation in programming, operations, and maintenance at the Arboretum. Following on recommendations from a task force of members from each organization and community leaders, we are currently exploring possible alternative models for structuring this 86-year-old partnership. The Director will represent UWBG and play a significant role in these on-going conversations.

We seek a flexible leader with demonstrated organizational, interpersonal, communication, planning, fundraising, and fiscal skills. The Director is the primary representative of the UWBG and its academic and public engagement missions to the University and to the greater Seattle area community. Strong abilities in strategic and entrepreneurial organizational leadership are needed. The Director will partner with academic leadership to provide a platform that serves to advance the university’s leadership in community-engaged scholarship and opportunities for student engagement in UWBG programs and facilities. The Director will also partner with members of the community, the City of Seattle, and non-profit organizations to develop and implement a collaborative vision for the facilities, programming, and management of the Arboretum. The Director will encourage and aid the development of new initiatives, directions, and innovation, and will champion ongoing successes. We seek a leader who prioritizes diversity and equity in all decisions and programs, and with a vision for more diverse community engagement in all programs of the UWBG. A vision that includes programs and engages topics related to environmental justice, racial disparities, Indigenous representation, and/or impacts of racism and colonization in urban environments and expands access and equity in program participation is essential.

For candidates with credentials as a distinguished practitioner, distinguished academician, or with commensurate teaching, research, and service responsibilities, a Professor of Practice appointment in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, with concomitant opportunities to engage in teaching and research, is possible.


Manage UWBG Operations

•Lead the UWBG management team
•Partner with UW leadership, Arboretum Foundation, and Seattle Parks and Recreation to coordinate maintenance and development of collections and physical infrastructure
•Support development, prioritization, and operation of education, research, library, farm, conference center, and curation activities
•Oversee management of the building facilities at CUH and the Arboretum
•Collaborate with UW faculty on promoting and developing the UWBG research and education programs
•Represent the University on mitigation matters related to the SR 520 Bridge Replacement project, especially as they apply to the Washington Park Arboretum and University of Washington Botanic Gardens; includes coordinating with Native American tribes, and other community groups
•Serve as lead person for UWBG in the implementation of the master plan for the Washington Park Arboretum, which focuses on conservation, education, and recreation
•Facilitate a revised master plan for the Center for Urban Horticulture and provide leadership in partnership to develop a new master plan for the Arboretum.
•Work with the new Academic Director to facilitate research and education programming at UWBG
•Support and promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all aspects of the program and administrative processes

Communication, Public Engagement, and Advancement

•Lead UWBG’s fundraising efforts to maintain and expand its donor base. Partner with UW Advancement team, the Arboretum Foundation, Miller Charitable Foundation, and others.
•Participate in and facilitate positive organizational change in supporting relationships with partner organizations.
•Work with multiple foundations, government organizations, and donors
•Maintain and facilitate active engagement with the community horticultural organizations, including the Northwest Horticultural Society, the Seattle Garden Club
•Encourage entrepreneurship in seeking new opportunities for funding, programs, and impact
•In conjunction with the Academic Director, advance the role of UWBG in the academic activities of the University of Washington faculty
•Engage and coordinate with regional, national, and international partnerships across arboreta and botanical gardens to support mutual program outreach, program innovation, and resource sharing
•Represent UWBG to the Washington State Legislature and Seattle City Council on issues such as budgets, opportunities, and projects
•Work with the Dean of the College of the Environment, the Director of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and others in the UW Administration
•Serve on various committees within the UW, the UW Botanic Gardens, and externally
•Seek and engage in nation-to-nation collaborations working with the native peoples of the Salish Sea

Financial and Administrative

•Oversee budget process and decision making
•Identify and prioritize resource needs across the multiple purposes served by UWBG
•Oversee management of revenue, gift, and state budgets
•Direct management of senior staff, oversee management of over 40 staff members
•Lead the UWBG management team
•Serve as lead person for UWBG in the implementation of the master plan for the Washington Park Arboretum, which focuses on conservation, education, and recreation
•Oversee management of the building facilities at CUH and the Arboretum

The University of Washington is building a culturally diverse student body and workforce. SEFS works to create a dedicated team of educators capable of enabling our students to explore and interpret the rich array of disciplines and perspectives that they will encounter. Therefore, we seek candidates whose leadership, research, and/or teaching have not only prepared them to fulfill our commitment to equity and inclusion, but have also given them the ability to engage audiences from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, and have led them to develop strategies for engaging communities of color, low income communities, disabled communities and/or LGBTQIA communities.


•Master’s degree in horticulture, conservation, ecological restoration, plant physiology, urban ecology, environmental justice, business administration, public affairs or related field and at least five years of experience in leadership and management of public or private gardens or other environmental or natural resources non-profits.

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except where there are legal requirements such as license/certification/registration.


•PhD in horticulture, conservation, ecological restoration, plant physiology, urban ecology, environmental justice, or related field.


To apply, submit a letter of application and resume to

Requisition #188518.

Applications accepted until filled, with priority for review for applications received by May 1, 2021.