Position Summary:

Reporting to the Senior Manager of the Docent Program, this position is responsible for providing docents with a positive and rewarding experience and ensuring that docents provide Academy guests with a quality engagement that inspires and educates. Docent Program Coordinators serve as point people for docents regarding the docent experience. This position works collaboratively with docents, docent staff, and other departments to develop and coordinate numerous docent facilitated activities on the main floor. This position is responsible for administrative functions of the docent program, including tracking, communication, volunteer and program assessment, and some clerical duties. This is a flexible position and will require some evening and weekend work.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

Docent Relations:

  • Provide docents with effective and responsive support and supervision to ensure an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
  • Regularly communicate with the docents by walking the floor and via phone, email, and mail, providing information about Academy programs, scheduling, activities, etc. This includes responding to telephone and email inquiries and correspondence in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Model for docents appropriate public engagement, including interpretive skills and knowledge of content
  • Effectively facilitate and participate in docent committee and task force meetings.
  • Provide timely, relevant, and accurate information to docents through pre-shift talks, participation in and facilitation of formal and informal discussions and meetings.
  • Offer formal and informal opportunities for docent feedback and dialogue; act as a conduit for feedback from docents to management staff.
  • Act as a staff liaison with docents involved with assigned Specialties and/or docent programs (Tours, Special Events, School Programs, Live Animal Handling)
  • Research, communicate, and/or coordinate educational and other benefit opportunities for docents.


Program Responsibilities:

  • Assist with the recruitment, screening, and orientation of a diverse, quality docent corps.
  • Work as a team to develop strategic plan, policies, procedures, and budget for the docent program, including program assessment.
  • Coordinate all aspects of assigned Specialties and/or docent programs, including logistics, scheduling, and docent preparation.
  • In collaboration with docents, Docent Program staff, including the Docent Engagement Specialist, and appropriate Academy departments and program staff, develop guest engagement experiences in the assigned Specialties and/or docent program areas.
  • Ensure that all content provided by and to docents is vetted for authenticity, accuracy, and Academy messaging by staff that are approved by the Academy to vet content.
  • Ensure that all materials used with Academy guests are appropriately branded and of a quality representative of the Academy.
  • Ensure that docents are adequately trained and prepared to engage guests.
  • In collaboration with Docent Program staff, docents, and appropriate Academy department and program staff, develop and implement a comprehensive training and on-going training program that includes docent evaluation.
  • Assist in the planning and production of program, department, division, and Academy events.


Administrative Responsibilities:

  • Develop administrative procedures, protocols, and forms to ensure an efficient and effective management of docents and the docent program.
  • Use and maintain appropriate technology to communicate to docents, including webpage.
  • Effectively use technology to track individual docents and statistics, process DVDs, operate video equipment and communication devices, and all appropriate office equipment.
  • Use database in timely manner to enter data and pull reports and lists.
  • Maintain up-to-date informational files on all docents.
  • Use computerized scheduling program.
  • Work in collaboration with the other Docent Program staff to manage office area, including inventory and ordering office and program supplies and materials.
  • Responsibly and accurately process all expenditures and collection of funds.
  • Provide general Academy information to the public by telephone or in person.


  • Participate in professional development, such as attending relevant classes, workshops, and conferences about volunteer coordination and museum engagement
  • Support other department-wide initiatives
  • Follow all Academy safety regulations
  • Other duties as assigned



To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience:

The ideal candidate will possess a combination of the following education and/or equivalent experience

  • College degree required, in education, life sciences, human resources, museum studies, or nonprofit management
  • Two years minimum experience coordinating or managing volunteer programs, preferably with one year experience training volunteers.
  • Minimum of one year experience in an informal science or museum setting, such as zoos, aquariums or science centers.
  • Minimum of one year experience working with scientific experts in an education or research setting.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Committed to the importance of the docents’ role in inspiring the public to action in regards to sustainability, including the public’s appreciation and understanding of science.
  • Knowledge of and experience with volunteer management concepts and best practices
  • Knowledge of adult training techniques and best practices
  • Knowledge of museum engagement concepts and best practices preferred
  • Excellent communication skills, including telephone, interpersonal, email, and written skills
  • Customer service oriented; able to interact professionally and appropriately with staff, volunteers, and the public.
  • Flexible, patient, and able to solve problems under a variety of circumstances.
  • Ability to organize, facilitate, and lead meetings
  • Highly organized; able to organize details and schedules
  • Able to prioritize continually shifting tasks; reliable and able to follow tasks though to completion in a timely manner
  • Self-starter, takes initiative, learns quickly, works well independently
  • Team player, works collaboratively with others, including program staff, other staff, and docents.
  • Ability to accept guidance, direction, and supervision; able to give feedback and share ideas appropriately and professionally.
  • Able to work weekends and evenings as needed, at minimum, one weekend and one evening per month
  • Computer literate (Requires MS Word and Excel and Outlook Calendaring and Email.


Preferred Skills & Abilities

  • Access or other database, Power Point, Adobe AcrobatAccurate math and analytical skills
  • Ability to handle confidential information with skill and diplomacy


Language Skills:

Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine reports and correspondence. Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals.


Physical Demands & Work Environment:

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, walk, and reach with hands and arms, and talk or hear. Must be able to perform repetitive motions 50% of the time. Must be able to lift 20 lbs. The position requires frequent visits to the museum public floor (walking on concrete floors, climbing stairs) and outdoors (walking on uneven ground, exposed to the elements). Must be able to tolerate high levels of noise, as the position requires extensive public speaking, sometimes in noisy environments. The position may include working the tidepool, which requires hands in cold water.

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes applications from individuals who will contribute to its diversity.


The California Academy of Sciences is a non-smoking facility. There is also no smoking in Golden Gate Park.


Please submit your cover letter and resume online athttp://calacademy.snaphire.com/?job=12192IL. Note that the recruitment timeline for positions vary and depend on many factors, so it is impossible to accurately predict when a position will close. We appreciate your patience during this process. No phone calls please.