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Vice President of Learning and Engagement

Lisle IL


The Morton Arboretum was founded in 1922 by Joy Morton (1855-1934). Inspired by his father, J. Sterling Morton, who was the founder of Arbor Day, the Arboretum was envisioned as a “great outdoor museum” of trees. Over the decades, the Arboretum has continued to evolve, while staying true to the Morton family motto, “Plant Trees.”

Today, The Morton Arboretum, the Champion of Trees, leads the global effort to sustain a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world through extensive research and educational programs centered on trees, shrubs, and other woody plants. The Arboretum is the destination of more than one million annual visitors who explore 1,700 acres of collections, gardens, and landscapes that are home to thousands of different species of trees and plants from around the world. The Arboretum ranks among the leading arboreta of the world in size, age, quality of specimens, and programs and initiatives to plant and protect trees.



The Vice President of Learning and Engagement will lead the Arboretum’s strategy for education, knowledge exchange, exhibits and interpretation, and major exhibitions. The person in this position will be responsible for planning, integration, fundraising support, external relations, and collaborations related to learning and engagement. The Vice President of Learning and Engagement serves as a member of the Leadership Team, which is responsible for Arboretum leadership initiatives, institutional direction, strategic planning, and policy development. Specifically, the Vice President of Learning and Engagement will:

• Provide strategic leadership and planning for the Arboretum’s programs related to education and knowledge exchange, including the Education Program, Knowledge Management, Sterling Morton Library, Interpretation and Exhibits, Plant Information, and Children’s Garden. In this role, the Vice President will oversee the Arboretum’s formal and informal education offerings for audiences of diverse ages and backgrounds.

• Lead the exploration of opportunities, resources, contacts, and partnerships in support of the Arboretum and its learning and engagement programs. Pursue innovative approaches to advance the institutional mission and vision and engage in external relations with peers and allied institutions.

• Provide leadership guidance for the integrated knowledge management strategy for the Arboretum that ensures the capture, collation, and synthesis and dissemination of expertise and information that advances the mission and positions the Arboretum as the leading center of tree expertise.

• Support and ensure the development of effective interpretation and exhibit approaches and products. Lead the creative engagement of artists and others to envision and develop large-scale, innovative, and engaging exhibitions that attract and inspire audiences in a way that resonates with mission themes.

The Vice President of Learning and Engagement will provide direct supervision of the Director of Education, Head of Knowledge Management, Manager of Interpretation and Exhibits, and Project Coordinator, and manage a full-time staff of 24 and a part-time staff of 32.

This position ensures that the learning and engagement function operates as an integral part of the institution, and works effectively with peers who lead science and conservation, collections and facilities, finance and operations, development, and marketing and communications.



We seek a proven leader who has a passion for learning and demonstrates expertise and significant accomplishment in the creation, deployment and evaluation of strategies that engage diverse audiences and expand their knowledge and involvement in the Arboretum’s mission. The ideal candidate has high intellectual capacity and dynamic energy, combined with a background of authentic educational experiences, both informal and formal, and an outcome-centric approach for educational offerings. Experience in interactive learning environments, which may include an arboretum, botanical garden, museum, science center, and/or another innovative, engagement-driven learning/education organization is highly preferred. Significant interest in and appreciation for the mission and purposes of an arboretum, including educational objectives, is required.

Driven by delivering knowledge and experiences to diverse audiences, the Vice President is a strong advocate for informal science learning and is skilled in creating and sustaining strategic partnerships with other organizations, locally and nationally, to expand opportunities for engagement with the Arboretum. High-level experience working with public and private funding sources to secure support for on-going and future endeavors is desired. Experience in effectively managing a program budget generating meaningful revenue is required.

The ideal candidate will exhibit behavior and a work ethic that provide a model for other employees. Special emphasis must be placed on a positive attitude, energetic effort and initiative, active public engagement and service, and deep commitment to institutional mission, as well as the other values that guide the work of all Arboretum employees. The candidate will possess exceptional leadership skills with the ability to motivate others and drive multiple initiatives simultaneously. With a predilection toward service, the ideal candidate is a proactive, hands-on professional with a collaborative style, and strong interpersonal skills and is adept at negotiation, mentoring, influencing, and developing relationships at all levels of the organization.

A business-principled approach demonstrating a successful track record of astute, data-driven decision-making and delegation is expected. As a visible internal and external leader, this individual must have strong oral and written communication skills.

A Bachelor’s degree is required. A Master’s degree, in a field relevant to the mission of the Arboretum, is preferred. 7-10+ years of progressive leadership experience highly preferred. Experience with evolving technologies and the advancements of technological tools and digital delivery channels is required.

The Morton Arboretum is a champion of diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success. The Arboretum is committed to hiring and developing employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, gender identify, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status. To increase diversity, the Arboretum encourages applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.

The Arboretum is dedicated to complying with its obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment.


For a full description, please click here


To apply, please submit a current resume and letter of introduction to Kittleman & Associates, LLC at https://ww2.kittlemansearch.com/Jobs


For more information about The Morton Arboretum, visit www.mortonarb.org

Posted November 22, 2019

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