Director of Science Education and Research

Director of Science Education and Research

Job Type: full-time permanent position
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posting Date: March 24, 2014

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a historic glasshouse and public garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been inviting visitors to discover and enjoy the natural world since 1893. As a cultural and architectural centerpiece of its region, Phipps’ rich history and continued commitment to excellence in horticultural display and education have secured its place among the nation’s top conservatory experiences. In recent years, Phipps has transformed into one of the world’s greenest public gardens, serving as a model of sustainability for the next century and expanding its campus to include the first LEED certified visitor’s center in a public garden; the first LEED certified greenhouse (LEED Platinum EBOM); a revolutionary, energy efficient Tropical Forest Conservatory; and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a net-zero energy and water building designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, LEED Platinum and Four Stars Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) certification. Through a dynamic slate of science education programs and outreach initiatives targeted to all ages and demographics, Phipps inspires and engages people to recognize the beauty, wonder and irreplaceable value of the natural world. In all its services to the public, Phipps upholds a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse.

Phipps seeks a Director of Science Education and Research to develop and oversee all science education, science communication and research efforts at Phipps. The Director of Science Education and Research will incorporate research into science education, conduct original research and participate and/or oversee collaborative research with universities and other organizations. He or she will be responsible for building cutting-edge programming focused on using the botanic garden and other informal learning venues at platforms for imparting knowledge and inspiring behavior change. Emphasis will be placed on the continuation of research collaborations now underway with local universities and organizations, including the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, Carnegie Mellon University and others.


Science Education
• Incorporate science education into all interpretation and programming.
• Build cutting-edge programming in science and environmental education focused on using the botanic garden and other informal learning venues as platforms for imparting knowledge and inspiring behavior change.
• Incorporate social science research practices into science education programming in order to evaluate its impact on learning and behavior. Based on this evaluation, further improve, expand and develop these programs and share results in the field.
• Position Phipps as one of the premier organizations in the United States for children, connecting them to nature and fostering an appreciation of science and the environment. An example of some of our current programs:
- The Fairchild Challenge
- High School Internship for Under-Resourced Youth
- Green and Growing
- Youth Seasonal Camps

• Conduct and publish on original research in environmental psychology or in a related area relevant to Phipps.
• Increase the number of relationships and collaborative efforts with research scientists in sustainability, conservation, education, public health and psychology.
• Position Botany in Action as a national model for research and science communication.
• Explore and enhance opportunities for collaborative activities and partnerships with local academic and medical communities.
• Foster associations with professional and amateur botanical communities on regional, national and international levels.
• Lead and promote research to bring the science of nature to individuals of all education levels, with a strong emphasis on children.
• Advise and facilitate development of research programs at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes.

• Assist and collaborate with all departments at Phipps in all areas of Phipps’ activities, with a particular emphasis on education, evaluation, interpretation, messaging and research.
• Develop and oversee programs designed to teach scientists on how to communicate to the public.
• Help write grants and solicit funding to support Phipps’ research and discovery-based education.
• Serve as spokesperson and advocate of science education programs and research on regional, national and international levels.
• Assist with the development and growth of the Biophilia Network.

Education and Qualifications:

• Ph.D. preferred in environmental education, eco or environmental psychology, the ecological or conservation-focused biological sciences or environmental social sciences.
• Relevant experience in the field of science education in an informal learning environment.
• Demonstrated ability to work with children and adults in a pleasant and courteous manner to convey a positive message of activism and responsibility for the conservation of plants and ecosystem integrity.
• Excellent written, oral and interpersonal communication skills, including public speaking.
• Proficiency with computer software packages including Microsoft Office.
• Excellent organization skills.
• Experience managing multiple simultaneous projects and supervising staff in a team environment.

Contact Information: Applicants should send cover letter, curriculum vitae and three professional references via email to Please include salary history in your cover letter. The search will remain open until the position is filled. EOE.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Address
Jan Kortz
(412)441-4442 URL
One Schenley Park
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
United States