Posted August 6, 2014
The UWF Historic Trust is seeking an Executive Directorto lead its diverse public programs and to serve as its chief public advocate. The Trust
is an unusual museum in Northwest Florida – not only for its focus presenting programs in history, archaeology and the humanities disciplines for the public good, but for seeking to do so through a broad array of diverse interpretive experiences in seven museums housed in more than 29 historically significant properties spanning from historic downtown Pensacola to Milton, Florida.
The Trust’s mission is to collect, preserve and interpret the history of its region by connecting people and visitors to Pensacola and Northwest Florida by fostering and creating quality cultural programs using the best museum practices involving the humanities disciplines. These areas of study and thought provide ways of thinking about what it is to be human – our diverse histories, values, ideas, words, and dreams. They play a vital role in helping people to better understand the histories that connect us and the issues that divide us. In carrying out its mission, the Trust encourages exploration and community engagement for all ages through a variety of activities which bring academic community and the public together to examine history and culture.
The Trust’s vision is to be known as a unifying educational and economic force throughout the Pensacola region, whose programs help people connect with one another, and to be deeply engaged with the places where they live and visit, enriching their quality of life. It seeks to foster a greater understanding and engagement in the cultures, histories, environment and values which tell us who we were, are, and hope to be.
This wide range of public programs and historic properties provides important educational services to teachers, students, and the general public. The person leading the University of West Florida Historic Trust plays a significant role as the steward of these resources for the benefit of the University, the Pensacola region and the State of Florida.
About the University of West Florida Historic Trust
The University of West Florida is a growing dynamic university serving more than 12,000 students. It has special programs in Archaeology, Historic Preservation and Public History. The Historic Trust’s 23 FTE staff members are employees of the University of West Florida and the museum is a direct support organization (DSO) of the university, reporting to its Vice President for Advancement. An 8-member appointed Board of Directors advises the Trust and oversees its support foundation. The Trust’s professional employees are responsible for the strategic leadership and management of the museum’s day-to-day activities under the leadership of the Executive Director. The staff provides leadership in exhibition and program planning and execution, collections growth and management and works with university staff implementing a public relations strategy, overseeing finances, grant seeking and fund raising.
The Executive Director’s Position
The Executive Director of the UWF Historic Trust is its strategic and operational leader with responsibility for ensuring that the organization continues to deliver on its mission and leads staff and volunteers in maintaining its commitment to excellence in the provision of museum services and programs. In addition, he/she is the primary spokesperson, fundraiser and ambassador for the organization, articulating its value and contribution to the region and state for visitors, community leaders, students & faculty, grantors, educators, donors, and the general public.
The Executive Director is responsible for the planning, program and finances of all Historic Trust operations, including operating, capital and special project budgets. He/she will lead staff in the creation of the Trust’s strategic plan and will be responsible for managing daily operations on a full-time basis.
Executive Director Position Summary
Reports to: University Vice President for Advancement
Direct reports: Chief Operating Officer, Business Manager, Coordinator of Public Functions, Office Administrator, Public Relations Coordinator, UWF Historic Trust Foundation
Other key relationships: UWF Historic Trust Board, Florida Dept. of State Division of Historical Resources, FL Division of Cultural Affairs, University Administrators and Faculty, Elected Officials, Donors, Historians, Archivists, Libraries, Museums & Historical Societies, Primary & Secondary Educators, Community & Business Leaders, Arts & Cultural Heritage Leaders
• In collaboration with the University, Board of Directors and staff, develop, articulate, and implement a vision for the Trust’s future and translate that vision into strategic concepts, tactical directions, and operating policies necessary to fulfill the mission. Provide the impetus as a leader who manages change to respond to changing circumstances and opportunities.
• Direct the operations of the Trust and lead staff in the major functions of designing, creating and presenting exhibitions and public programs, development, university relations, external relations, financial stewardship, and non-profit administration. Develop a culture of collaboration and teamwork and use of formative evaluation to assess needs and ongoing evaluation and annual personnel assessment to measure effectiveness.
• Ensure that public programs exploring relevant humanities-based themes and ideas flourish and that public use of the Historic Trust and its resources continues to grow. Develop innovative solutions to evaluate, fund, and sustain the Trust’s long term proprietary programs.
• Play a leadership role in diversifying and increasing funding support for the Historic Trust; serve as the primary interface with University and state government leaders; and develop strategies for cultivating and raising additional public and private funds.
• Serve as the organization’s key spokesperson, clearly articulating its mission and activities and ensuring that the Trust’s accomplishments are conveyed to a wide audience of citizens throughout the state; foster and maintain a close working relationship with Florida and Gulf Coast-focused scholars and historians, educators, county, local historical organizations, and other related institutions.
• Work closely with the board and the University and its committees, providing updates, soliciting feedback, and engaging members and relevant administrators and faculty in constructive dialogue; participate actively in discussions of board composition, continuity, terms of service, committee structure, and succession planning.
• Identify, recruit, develop, and retain a talented and accomplished staff to meet the evolving needs of the organization; lead the staff to feel empowered, motivated, and rewarded for achieving organizational objectives. Create a culture of collaboration and innovation that fosters change and creativity in an atmosphere that values public engagement. Be a visible, accessible, and knowledgeable leader who is known and respected by university administrators and faculty, grantors, patrons, supporters, and employees.
• Manage the financial and historic resources of the Trust responsibly, ethically, effectively and in a timely manner; ensure budgets are developed and managed to reflect institutional priorities and that sound financial policies and controls are in place; proactively and transparently communicate with university administrators, tenants, the board and staff regarding financial issues.
• Lead the planning for and successful allocation of earned and investment revenue, state appropriations, and project-focused grants, ensuring that staff is in place to meet the commitment made for use of and outcome-based expenditure of funds. Communicate effectively with university administrators, donors, legislators, and other stakeholders to ensure funding is available on an on-going basis and that the Trust’s success stories are shared with supporters.
• Success in a leadership position in a complex nonprofit, academic, or
governmental institution where there are multiple and diverse constituencies and where financial support must be secured annually from multiple sources.
• Enthusiasm for and a commitment to fundraising, with measurable and successful results with funders representing a diversity of sources (e.g. government, foundations, individuals).
• Experience working with a mission-driven educational organization, either directly through employment or as a board member where leadership was demonstrated. Ability to articulate the mission and make a persuasive case for the public value of history to garner both public and private financial support.
• Experience building partnerships among diverse stakeholders that resulted in
successful outcomes. Vision, creativity, and excitement about the possibilities
presented by the increasing diversification in Northwest Florida and the potential afforded to interdisciplinary learning by the new relationship of the museum to the University of West Florida.
• Demonstrated ability to exercise leadership and manage a well-educated staff within a public, nonprofit setting and demonstrated mentorship of high-potential leaders. Knowledge of state and national standards and best practices in museum management, historic preservation, public history and archaeology.
• History of reporting to and working closely with a volunteer board that resulted in a strong partnership and successful organizational outcomes.
• Experience as an advocate and spokesperson that suggests the candidate will be comfortable as the welcoming public face of the Historic Trust, especially in utilizing the Internet and leveraging social media to make the humanities highly accessible to the public.
• An undergraduate degree in conjunction with eight years of museum or related professional experience is minimally required. A master’s degree in a relevant humanities discipline with six years of museum or related professional experience meets the preferred qualifications.
Critical Competencies for Success
Strategic Leadership:As the UWF Historic Trust grows and increases its impact, the Executive Director must create a compelling, intellectually exciting, and financially viable agenda to address the short- and long-term issues facing the Council by:
• Demonstrating an appreciation for the Trust’s potential to further evolve as a valued local and statewide resource and forum for historical research, learning and civil public discourse.
• Exhibiting a willingness to change in response to external changes and internal
• Assessing external dynamics and institutional strengths to develop a roadmap for the future which links financial realities to the Historic Trust’s mission and strategic plan.
• Inspiring institutional confidence and enthusiasm and appropriately balancing
consensus building with decisiveness.
• Taking the lead in planning for the recognition of key events and personalities that are important to Pensacola’s and Florida’s history.
• Effectively leading people and the organization through growth and change that both honors the past and anticipates the future.
Profile Raising and Resource Development:In a resource-constrained environment, the Executive Director must have the ability to engage and connect external audiences with the institution and increase public and private support by:
• Serving as an advocate for the Historic Trust with university and elected officials to ensure the priorities and goals of the organization are well represented, understood, and eventually funded.
• Leading and directing aggressive and effective solicitations and grant writing for individual, corporate, and foundation support.
• Articulating, in an inspiring way, the importance of the Historic Trust’s mission and the value of a direct, personal experience with history and a preserved historical environment.
• Generating excitement and engagement, elevating the institution in the minds of faculty, administrators, board members, patrons, and donors and leveraging that enthusiasm both verbally and through the written word to expand the financial base of support.
Vision and an Appreciation for the Significance of History:In times of constant change, the Executive Director must be willing to expand viewpoints about Pensacola and its region and envision how the people, institutions, and events of contemporary Northwest Florida will be interpreted, preserved, and shared both now and in the future.
• The successful Executive Director will have demonstrated vision and creativity and a deep commitment to engaging the public in exploration of the enduring relevance of historical inquiry.
• Multiple and diverse constituents are known to “own” Pensacola’s stories. The Executive Director must be able to discern their interests and make decisions about limited resources that reflect a keen understanding of the changes occurring both within and outside the state and region.
• The Executive Director must work with the university and staff to ensure that the Council’s strategic assets and its rich network of relationships are not only nurtured, but shared appropriately through collaboration to leverage public access to rich humanities resources.
• History and the humanities are experienced from widely differing perspectives. The Historic Trust expects its Executive Director to present and encourage public programs that reflect the richness of Florida’s diversity to a broad range of ages, backgrounds and levels of income.
Other Personal Characteristics
• Enough familiarity with Florida and the Gulf Coast region and its resources, government, business and institutions to know what makes it distinctive, and a facility for quickly detecting its most pressing questions and identifying opportunities.
• Strong interpersonal skills and unquestionable ethics.
• An open, visible, and approachable style.
• A strong commitment to diversity and gender equity.
• A healthy ego that needs neither authority nor affirmation to sustain itself.
• An open mind, excellent listening skills, a reconciliatory spirit, and a respect for paradox.
Compensation: Competitive salaried position with range between $80,000 – $95,000 with full comprehensive university benefits figured at a minimum of 35 – 40% of salary, including a pension plan, family friendly health insurance, including optical and dental, sick leave, vacation time, holiday leave and opportunities for travel support and professional development.
Evaluation: The Executive Director will be reviewed annually by the University’s Vice President of Advancement. A written performance appraisal will be provided, and he/she will always be given an opportunity to address it in a closed session on performance-related issues at the time of the annual review if requested.
Procedure for Applying: For more information or to apply for this position, applicants should visit the University of West Florida’s Human Resources website: https://jobs.uwf.edu. Be prepared to attach a resume, a cover letter, and a list of references to the online application. The position will remain open until filled.