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A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Job Summary

The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, a unit in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, opened with all-new exhibits and programs in the new Biological Sciences Building in 2019. The new Planetarium & Dome Theater is a landmark on campus with a prominent golden dome on a major avenue through campus. The new planetarium has a Digitstar 6 projection system, a 30-foot dome with 57 reclining seats plus 9 wheelchair positions facing front, and has a tilted dome and floor. The facility was designed to double as a small performance or lecture space. The Planetarium & Dome Theater offers an array of astronomy programming as well as shows on a range of other topics, and highlights U-M research projects whenever possible.

Though closed to the public due to the pandemic from March 2020 to the present, the museum is currently open to the campus community two afternoons per week and is offering a robust array of virtual content to a wide online audience. The new Planetarium & Dome Theater is currently closed, but is offering both live streamed and asynchronous programs for K-12 schools, live virtual public programs, and is providing instructional video clips for U-M class instruction and student projects.


This is an exempt, full-time position.

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.

Responsibilities*

We are seeking an experienced planetarium manager to take the new facility forward. The museum was only open for 11 months before it was forced by the pandemic to close. The new planetarium facility is very popular and has the potential to engage all of our audiences (U-M and K-12 classes, general public, and groups) in exciting educational opportunities. The Planetarium & Dome Theater is also an important component of the museum’s revenue-generating activities. Virtual programming will be part of this activity at least for the short term, and possibly longer.

Reporting to the Assistant Director for Education, and in partnership with the Financial Specialist on revenue generation, the Planetarium Manager provides strategic leadership of the Planetarium & Dome Theater as well as technical and content expertise, serving to increase the quality and reach of the planetarium’s programming. This position manages the operations of the planetarium, trains and supervises university student operators, and leads the production of planetarium programming as needed for grant proposals, partnerships, and feature programming. This position also participates as an active member of the Education team, contributing to public events, summer camp, and other programming for all ages and abilities, i.e. hearing or sight impaired. Current opportunities exist to reconfigure our collaborations with the Ann Arbor Public Schools, the operational 1854 U-M Detroit Observatory, U-M Department of Astronomy and its observatory and analog planetarium at Angell Hall, and other area partners.

Responsibilities include:

Planetarium Operations - 30%

  • Oversee the operation of the planetarium. Ensure maintenance, and in consultation and collaboration with other staff, establish schedules and program plans.
  • Provide expert guidance for all activities of the planetarium, including problem-solving and budget requests related to the facility, programming, and equipment.
  • Coordinate with Museum Security and Building Maintenance personnel to request, schedule, and follow up on repairs and maintenance needs.
  • Oversee maintenance of planetarium facilities and equipment; contact outside vendors as needed for repairs, maintain documentation and inventory of equipment.
  • Work with Financial Specialist and other U-M finance and procurement staff on contracts related to planetarium purchases and professional services.
  • Develop and oversee a Planetarium & Dome Theater continuity of operations plan and emergency procedures.

Student Operator Training, Mentorship, and Supervision - 25%

  • Work with Student Docent Manager to recruit potential student operators.
  • Develop planetarium training procedures and timelines.
  • Coordinate with other staff on weekly operator schedules.
  • Evaluate and provide mentorship on student operator learning and skill growth.
  • Develop summer internship goals and selection process, select and mentor summer planetarium intern.

Program Development and Presentation 25%

  • Evaluate, modify, and add to existing programs to serve U-M, preK-12, and public audiences, taking into account state standards and age-appropriateness for school programs.
  • Program the planetarium software to enable operators to deliver live programs, quickly illustrate concepts, and answer questions.
  • Develop or purchase new programs, often in coordination with museum-wide themes and initiatives.
  • Develop and present offsite and virtual programs and participate in outreach events.
  • Create new programs in partnership with faculty or for other opportunities.
  • Expand opportunities for the museum’s Science Communication program within the planetarium.
  • Present programs when a high level of expertise and polish is required.
  • Cover shifts when student planetarium operators are not available.

Strategic and Business Planning - 10%

  • Working with museum leadership, develop and maintain a business plan that focuses on the planetarium’s programmatic direction and new initiatives, as well as revenue, access, and attendance goals.
  • Develop and maintain annual revenue and spending goals for program activities.
  • Support faculty NSF Broader Impacts activities.
  • Evaluate program effectiveness to improve efficiency and quality and use results for revisions.

Development and External Relations - 5%

  • Work with the Museum Director and Assistant Director for Development to host potential and current donors and other special guests in the planetarium.
  • Represent the planetarium to the University community, public community, other cultural institutions, and industry wide.
  • Interact with the Department of Astronomy, Student Astronomical Society, Detroit Observatory, LowBrow Astronomy Club, and other related campus and community organizations.
  • Assist the marketing department with strategies and marketing materials related to the Planetarium & Dome Theater.
  • Work to develop a collaborative relationship with Ann Arbor Public Schools, with goals of student impact, collaboration, efficiency, and revenue generation.

Professional Development, Teamwork - 5%

  • Keep abreast of developments in planetarium technology, including lighting and sound systems and developments around ADA requirements.
  • Participate in museum staff and DEIA Team meetings.
  • Work as “staff-in-charge” on periodic weekend days or evenings.
  • Manage the museum’s portable a-v equipment for a limited number of museum events.
  • Support other technology needs as time permits.

Required Qualifications*

The ideal candidate is an energetic, enthusiastic individual with the ability to work both independently and as a collaborative team member on multiple time-sensitive tasks. He/she/they should be a resourceful and creative problem solver, in addition to demonstrating self-reliance and excellent attention to detail. Must be flexible and able to prioritize projects with interruptions for time-sensitive tasks.

  • Three to five years experience in a planetarium setting
  • Demonstrated success in show production, show delivery, staff training, and management
  • Bachelor’s degree is required in a relevant field
  • Minimum of two college courses in astronomy
  • Supervisory experience
  • Successful experience training/mentoring others
  • Demonstrated teaching and/or informal science presentation skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Demonstrated aptitude in technology capabilities
  • Demonstrated ability to organize time and work in a highly effective manner
  • Demonstrated ability to work with employees and audiences of wide-ranging cultural backgrounds and ages, and ability to create an inclusive environment
  • Past experience in a customer service-related environment
  • Access to a reliable source of transportation for off-site programs
  • Ability to work in a team setting
  • Ability to work some weekends and evenings
  • Basic office computer skills

Physical Requirements:

  • Office environment including positioning oneself at a desk and a console
  • Frequent movement between office and Dome and to other locations in the museum
  • Occasional moving of objects, generally less than 30 lbs
  • Occasional need to ascend a ladder, squeeze into a tight storage area, or position self under the console

Desired Qualifications*

  • Prior experience working with the Digistar 6 projection system
  • Background or education in astronomy
  • Strong management experience including training and supervising staff, and establishing and meeting budgetary goals
  • Five or more years of experience as an educator working with preK-12 youth and adults in a formal or informal setting
  • Knowledge of child development and school curriculum and ability to apply this knowledge to program implementation
  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in science, education, museum studies, or related field of study
  • Evidence of being adaptable, flexible and dependable
  • Evidence of of skills in resourcefulness and creativity

Additional Information

Commitment to Diversity
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 https://lsa.umich.edu/lsa/dei.html.


To learn more about LSA’s Guiding Principles visit http://lsa.umich.edu/lsa/faculty-staff/human-resources/lsa-staff-guiding-principles.html.

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 are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening 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.