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How to Apply

A cover letter is required and should be attached as the first page of your CV. A 1-2 page Collection Management Vision Statement should describe the candidate’s motivation to become a collection manager, their skills and experience, and their vision on the roles and priorities of a world-class bird collection in the context of the Responsibilities and Qualifications listed below.

Job Summary

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) is seeking a Collection Manager for the Museum of Zoology (UMMZ) Bird Division (, located at the new state of the art Research Museums Center (RMC) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The UMMZ develops and maintains zoological collections explicitly for use in research and education, benefiting science, society, and the university at large. The scientific role of the UMMZ is to train students and engage in systematic biology and biodiversity studies. These broad and overlapping fields entail the discovery and study of the diversity of organisms, their evolutionary relationships, and the processes that originate biodiversity. EEB has an outstanding, diverse and collaborative group of researchers in evolutionary biology, biodiversity science, and ornithology.

The UMMZ Bird Collection is worldwide in its geographic scope and one of the largest collections of its type, including more than 215,000 specimens representing 98% of avian families. The collection is particularly strong in holdings from North America, the Neotropics, central and southeast Asia, and Africa. Although the collection is primarily bird skins, it also contains nearly 25,000 skeleton specimens, making it one of the largest and most diverse skeletal collections in the world.  The Bird Division also houses the expansive library of the Wilson Ornithology Society.

We seek candidates with a strong commitment to a vision of the Bird Collection as a key resource for research and education within the University and to the ornithological community nationally and internationally. The position offers exciting opportunities for mentoring and career development, including research within the context of the Bird Division curatorial priorities.


  1. Growth, Maintenance and Digitization (GMD) of the bird collections, including skin, skeleton, fluid and spread-wing specimens, specimen-associated (vouchered) samples of avian tissues, avian pathogens and parasites, and ancillary paper or digital collections such as paper archives, field notes, geographic and environmental data, photographs, X-rays, micro CT scans and audio recordings.  Activities may include facilitating, organizing and participating in field specimen collecting expeditions (which will include international collecting), organizing and facilitating the salvage of bird specimens from Michigan and elsewhere through agency and volunteer networks, coordinating and contributing directly to digitization efforts, and writing collection-based grants to support GMD of the bird collection. Responsibilities also include working with faculty curators to develop and implement policies, standards, and procedures for the scientific and technical work performed with the research collections, and reviewing, updating, and enhancing the bird collections management plan.
  2. Accessioning and cataloguing of new specimens, tissues and ancillary collections into the collection and the electronic database. This activity includes coordinating curatorial priorities with faculty curators and the daily management of staff workers, work-study students, graduate curatorial assistants and other personnel. Responsibilities also include securing and maintaining state, federal and international permits when appropriate.
  3. Training and supervision of staff volunteers, work-study students and graduate research assistants bird specimen preparation, conservation practices, geo-referencing and potentially digital imaging of specimens. Recruiting and mentoring of student trainees. Promoting a positive and inclusive work environment for students.
  4. Maintenance and growth of the bird genomic resources in the Liquid Nitrogen Facility.  This activity involves the accessioning of new specimens, maintenance of database records on genomic resources and working with faculty curators and other collections managers on the development and maintenance of efficient systems for collecting, databasing, accessioning, and accessing genomic resources in the Liquid Nitrogen Facility.
  5. Coordination and processing of inter-departmental and inter-institutional loans and exchanges.   Activities include answering informal inquiries from researchers about UMMZ specimen material, organizing and tracking formal loan requests and reviewing requests with faculty curators, packing and unpacking of loans (specimens and tissues), providing federal and international permit information when appropriate, and the electronic exchange of digitized information.
  6. Securing and maintaining state, federal and international permits for collections-based research. Facilitating the establishment of Memoranda of Understanding or Material Transfer Agreements among institutions for loans, exchange and import/export of collection-related materials nationally and internationally.
  7. Routine maintenance of the data portal through which our holdings are made accessible to researchers across the world.  This activity requires regular attention to both our electronic, searchable database and a server that connects us to the international community.
  8. Confer with faculty and student researchers to plan and develop research projects utilizing the research collections and/or that enhance collection resources.  Author or co-author articles / book chapters for publication; present or co-present with faculty in class settings or at scientific conferences; secure grant funding for research projects that enhance collection resources.
  9. Maintenance of the collection areas and equipment to make them suitable for research, outreach, and use by visitors, either on site or remotely through online communication.
  10. Coordination of research visits and educational tours of the collections and participation in museum outreach activities. Outreach activities may include engagement with local and regional birdwatching and bird conservation communities as well as with students from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM fields.

Required Qualifications*

An advanced degree (master’s or doctoral) in biology, zoology, or related fields with 3-5 years of experience with collections-based research on birds. Familiarity with research collections and specimen preparation is required, as is taxonomic and biological expertise with birds. Experience with database construction, use or management, molecular or genomic research experience, and/or experience with micro CT technology is highly desirable.

Additional Information

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitments to serve the diverse people of Michigan, fulfill the College’s Guiding Principles, and sustain the excellence of LSA.  


To learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion visit


To learn more about LSA’s Guiding Principles visit

Additional Information

Review of applications will begin July 23, 2018. The projected start date in Ann Arbor, Michigan is November 1, 2018 or as soon as possible.

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.  The University of Michigan is committed to foster learning, creativity and productivity, and to support the vigorous exchange of ideas and information, not only in the classroom but in the workplace by: 

  • Creating a work environment in which people treat each other with respect and dignity, regardless of roles, responsibilities or differences. 
  • Providing support, direction and resources enabling us to accomplish the responsibilities of our jobs and to reach the goals that are set for professional and personal growth.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. This job may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.