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Executive Director, Harvard College Observatory

Harvard University
Massachusetts, United States
Salary Not specified
Start date
Jul 2, 2021

View more

Position Type
Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Other Business & Administrative Affairs
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Reporting to the Director of the HCO, with a dotted line to the Administrative Dean of Science, FAS, the Executive Director:
  • Provides high-level organizational management and leadership including planning, organizing, directing, and reporting; provides leadership, strategic planning, and oversight of HCO's budget, finance, sponsored research, facilities, equipment, human resources, academic appointments, environmental safety functions, and intra-CfA finance and operations
  • Provides day-to-day leadership and management of HCO's Central Administration and Finance Team, Theory Division Administrator, SSP Division Administrator, and Science Education Administrator; responsible for overseeing faculty administrators, technical and project management staff working within CfA Divisions and sub-departments.
  • Will be instrumental in playing a key role on the Diversity Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) Committee as well as partnership, collaboration, and facilitation in the implementation of DIB tools, resources, events, education for faculty, staff, and students.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

Budget / financial operations: Develop $10-11M annual department operating budget; determine and designate appropriate use of endowed, unrestricted, and gift funds; develop $3M facilities budget including capital projects. Lead HCO in the development and implementation of best practices in all areas of HCO's operations and financial interactions within six scientific divisions, several scientific institutes, off-site domestic and international research facilities, a library, and the Oak Ridge Observatory; oversee the overall financial management of HCO, including financial reporting, systems of internal control, implementation of University-wide and FAS policies and procedures, stewardship of restricted resources, and implementation of new financial and administrative systems.

Human Resources: The position is responsible for HCO exempt and non-exempt staff which fluctuates between 40-50, depending on funding and projects, and can include SW and HW engineers, telescope operators/observers, project managers, librarians, non-HUIT IT, and technical staff, financial administrators, research administers, divisional administrators, faculty administrators, and facilities staff. Ensure compliance with Harvard and FAS policies and procedures; partner with SAO HR Head on joint projects and employee hiring; partner with FAS HR, ultimate departmental responsibility for creating new positions, hiring, terminating, leaves of absence, and all HR functions. Develops staffing and organizational plans and directly hires, manages, and evaluates staff. Oversees administrative and financial support for the 20 members of the Astronomy Department faculty and four SAO senior scientists who have Harvard Principal Investigator status at HCO/FAS. These SAO PIs have active research projects/groups within HCO and are able to hire Harvard research and administrative staff.

Facilities: Oversee facilities for 160,000 square foot complex at 60 Garden Street, 170-space on-site parking lots, and Oak Ridge Observatory in Harvard, MA. Supervise facilities superintendent who manages building and capital projects. Negotiate the lease with the Smithsonian Institution for SAO's partial occupancy of 60 Garden Street. Oversee complex capital projects and renovations. In coordination with Harvard's Office of Community Affairs, manage relationships with neighborhood population, including local schools and church.

Research Policy / Compliance: Provide high-level oversight of pre-and post-award research administration including Uniform Guidance audits; ultimate departmental responsibility for all pre-and post-award sponsored research management; ensure compliance with all aspects of government, OSP and FAS research finance policies and regulations; use discretion and judgment on complex sponsored research matters that involve SAO/SI and HCO/Harvard.

Environmental Health & Safety: Partner with Harvard's EH&S to ensure a safe, healthy, secure, and productive workplace in 160,000 sq. ft. complex at 60 Garden Street, and for Harvard staff located at 160 Concord Avenue (non-Harvard building).

Additional Information

The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) comprises the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). While the HCO, SAO, and the Astronomy Department are scientifically intertwined and highly collaborative, each is administratively separate.

The position handles advanced levels of complexity in the areas of finance, human resources, research administration, physical plant, and equipment management. Memberships and partnerships require administrative management, including shepherding and oversight of legal and contractual agreements.

Position Impact: The impact of this position within the HCO, the CfA, FAS, SAO, and outside universities and organizations is highly significant and works with faculty and staff in Harvard/HCO, Smithsonian/SAO, and outside constituents such as the Carnegie Institute and the Magellan Consortium.

FAS is committed to cultivating not only the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students but also in developing an inclusive culture that is vibrant, engaging and encouraging of innovation as well as intellectual debate. We believe creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace allows employees from all backgrounds and walks of life to achieve their fullest potential. We also believe an inclusive culture is one that accepts, values and views as strength the difference we all bring to the workplace.

Please note we are unable to provide visa sponsorship for this position.Basic Qualifications
  • Bachelor's degree required.
  • At least ten years of increasingly responsible management experience in an academic, research, or healthcare environment.
  • Financial, budgetary, and staff supervisory experience.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

Advanced degree preferred. Must have a successful track record and proven skills in all phases of administration and operations, strategic planning, development, finance, human resources, academic program development, and program monitoring and evaluations. Prior management experience is essential. A record of leading a program in an academic or professional environment is highly desirable. Experience supporting science faculty.

Demonstrated leadership, communication, and analytic skills. Strong written and verbal skills are essential. Familiarity with current sponsored research regulations is necessary. Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and flexibly with all kinds of people and across all levels of an organization. Demonstrated ability to coach and inspire staff to provide unparalleled customer service


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