Director of Academic and Public Programs

89326 Requisition #

The Director of Academic and Public Programs reports to the Executive Director of the Cantor. The position will lead a staff responsible for developing and overseeing the museum’s education and programs department, which serves both the Stanford community and the broader public audience. Because the museum sits on the campus of one of the world’s premier research universities, the Director has a unique opportunity to develop diverse and innovative programs that respond to the contemporary moment and also connect the past to the present.


The Director of Academic and Public Programs works closely with the museum’s curators, educators, and staff in a collaborative environment that encourages the development of inventive programs. The candidate also must be able to thrive in a prestigious academic environment, developing partnerships with Stanford faculty members and engaging students across disciplines. The candidate should possess demonstrable museum experience and have a record of accomplishment in successfully producing significant academic and public programs, as well as be an adept public speaker.


The Director of Academic and Public Programs will help define a fresh vision for the presentation of art and ideas at the Cantor. As the encyclopedic art museum at Stanford, the Cantor has an opportunity to engage thoughtfully with campus, the community, and the Bay Area. Through thoughtful and cutting-edge interpretative initiatives, the Director will participate in, and in some aspects, lead that enterprise. Through talks, conversations, workshops, and conferences, the Director also will help establish the Cantor as a site of interdisciplinary cultural discourse, with social justice and other relevant contemporary issues as well as themes and concerns that reoccur across the Cantor’s wide-ranging collection.


About Us:

Cantor Arts Center boasts a proud and venerable history. Conceived with the founding of Stanford University in 1891, the museum opened in 1894, serving the University and the broader community. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the museum, necessitating its closure to the public. In 1995, groundbreaking for a major new wing and restoration of the historic building began. The revitalized museum opened in 1999 as the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts. The Cantor offers approximately 50,000 square feet of exhibition space, as well as classrooms and other study spaces for students and faculty. The Cantor’s collection spans 5,000 years and includes more than 38,000 works of art from around the globe. The Cantor intentionally seeks to create an environment of inclusion and diversity of staff, collections, exhibitions, and programs.


Stanford University is one of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, devoting tremendous intellectual and physical resources toward the betterment of humanity. As a major Silicon Valley employer, Stanford seeks people committed to excellence and to improving our world. In turn, the university is committed to supporting its employees as they develop their careers and enrich their lives. We believe Stanford’s future success will be shaped by the diverse perspectives, unique experiences, and inclusive culture of its community.


Core Duties:


  • To work with the Cantor’s Director to set overall interpretive goals for the museum and devises strategies and plans to achieve these goals. To explore through academic and public programs what it means to be a leading museum
  • Manage staff in day-to-day operations. To lead a team of programmers and educators who generate programs and other educational events that serve the museum’s 250,000 annual visitors, including lectures, symposia, film/video showings; and all facets of program planning, such as selection of and arrangements for participants, budget development, and developing grants and other proposals for funding
  • To oversee the development of interpretive materials and programs that provide multiple levels of access to the museum’s collections and temporary exhibitions, using both traditional and new interpretive methods and technologies
  • To work closely with curatorial staff to develop and produce educational and interpretive materials and related programming for exhibitions and permanent collections, including labels, gallery guides, interactive and participatory elements, and print collateral
  • To coordinate academic exchange across campus and help promote interdisciplinary programs organized with academic departments and centers
  • To work with faculty to develop courses that are based at the museum and/or use the collections as a resource
  • To promote activities and programs that attract new, under-served, and diverse audiences to the museum
  • Provide strategic leadership and manage efforts to assess educational and audience engagement programs and initiatives, including gathering and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate programs, measuring and reporting impact, and seeking grants and funding
  • Support funding efforts and participation in programs by partnering with colleagues in development and marketing to ensure that the dynamic nature of the program is communicated in a way that garners the involvement necessary to execute our academic mission


Minimum Requirements:



  • 5-7 years’ experience in museum, gallery, or higher education.
  • Strong academic and art history background: M.A. required; Ph.D. preferred in art history or related field. Combination of education and relevant experience may be considered.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Familiarity with the academic environment and the ability to work cross-departmentally with a distinguished faculty, curatorial, and other museum staff.
  • The ability to develop interpretive programs for a range of audiences and experience of and familiarity with the use of new technologies in developing interpretive materials.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including public speaking.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide creative and intellectual oversight to a team of staff and volunteers.
  • Demonstrated creativity and innovation in developing and leading programs or exhibitions engaging a broad public, in particular university faculty and students.
  • A proven ability to work collaboratively with others.
  • Ability and experience to effectively lead a department and manage complex budgets, assignments, and staff.
  • Personal skills of high-energy leadership, flexibility, intellectual curiosity, and openness in working with a wide range of staff in a fast-paced environment.



  • Constantly perform desk-based computer tasks.
  • Frequently sitting.
  • Occasionally stand/walk, reach/work above shoulders, use a telephone, writing by hand, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh up to 10 pounds;
  • Rarely twist/bend/stoop/squat, sort/file paperwork or parts, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh 11-20 pounds.


* - Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.



  • Occasionally work evenings and weekends.



  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Demonstrates commitment to promoting and supporting an environment of diversity and inclusion.
  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,


The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classification and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.


Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Cantor Arts Center is committed to developing a diverse candidate pool.

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