The University of Texas at Austin Job Posting

This posting is Closed

Superintendent, McDonald Observatory

Hiring department McDonald Observatory
Monthly salary $9,166+ depending on qualifications
Hours per week 40.00 Standard from 800AM to 500PM
Posting number 14-07-11-01-0415
Job Status Closed
FLSA status Exempt
Earliest Start Date Immediately
Position Duration Funding expected to continue
Position open to all applicants
Location McDonald Observatory (near Ft. Davis, TX)
Number of vacancies 1
General Notes

The position is based in far West Texas approximately 440 miles west of Austin. Successful candidate will be required to reside on-site as a member of the Observatory's residential community. Position is subject to "call-back" as an essential employee for emergencies or critical response.

Required Application Materials

  • A Resume is required in order to apply
  • A Letter of Interest is required in order to apply.
  • A List of 3 References is required in order to apply.

Additional Information


Reporting to the Director, the Superintendent promotes excellence in astronomical research and education and public outreach by providing daily management and technical oversight of a world-class, remote, research facility.

Essential Functions

Provides management leadership and supervision for the West Texas staff (approx. 50 people) in the day-to-day operations of a 24/7 remote research facility. Areas of management include Administration, Astronomers' Lodge, Observing Support, Physical Plant, and Safety Office. Manages on-site budgets for these areas. Manages interactions with contractors working on site and works closely with Project Management and Construction Services in Austin. Provides leadership to encourage creativity, productivity, initiative and personal development of employees. Promotes excellence in astronomical research at the McDonald Observatory. Anticipates and plans for future needs and demands. Interacts with researchers working at the Observatory to ensure that their needs are met. Develops and maintains a collaborative relationship with the HET Facility Manager and supports McDonald-HET cooperation at all levels. Coordinates scientific and technical efforts with the Asst. Director for Research Support, Chief Engineer, Chief Scientist, and Chief Astronomer. Acts as a member of the Senior Management Team to assist the Director with leading the scientific efforts of the Observatory. Keeps the Director informed of issues at the Observatory. Coordinates with tenant facilities to ensure that their research operations work smoothly within each Memorandum of Understanding. Promotes excellent relations with official visitors to the McDonald Observatory. Works closely with the Director and Development Officer to coordinate and host activities at the Observatory for official visitors and potential donors. Promotes excellence in administration at the McDonald Observatory. Works closely with the Asst. Director for Administration to establish and maintain general operating polices and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws, local rules and regulations, University policies and procedures, and the Regents Rules and Regulations. Promotes excellence in public outreach and education at the McDonald Observatory. Works closely with the Asst. Director for Education and Outreach to coordinate educational and outreach activities that inspire the general public and educators with informative, educational, and entertaining programs designed to promote the science and the hobby of astronomy. Supports the Observatory residential community and fosters high morale and a sense of community through social events and involvement. Fosters an environment that encourages open lines of communications among the West Texas staff. Encourages cooperative relationships and communication between the West Texas and Austin staff. Participates in the Davis Mountains community, promoting the Observatory's research and public-outreach missions through community affairs involvement and personal appearances. Develops and maintains excellent relationships with community members and local leaders.

Licenses: Class "C" Operator's Driver's License. Applicant selected must provide a current three year Driving Record from the current state of residence. If not currently a Texas resident, must obtain a Texas Driver's License within 30 days after entering Texas as a new resident.

Marginal/Incidental functions

Acts as senior member of the Observatory's Emergency Response Team that responds to fire, medical, hazardous material or other emergencies that threaten or interfere with the normal operations of the facility. Handles emergencies calmly and quickly.

Required qualifications

Bachelor's degree in science or engineering. Demonstrated success in five years of management experience of a research group or similar organization. Supervisory, program development, budget preparation and financial management experience. Experience as a team member and as a team leader. Demonstrated ability to plan, organize and meet multiple deadlines. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Equivalent combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications

Masters or Doctoral degree in Astronomy or related technical discipline and more than five years of experience in management of a research group or similar organization. Demonstrated ability to set goals in accordance with the mission of the Observatory and monitor progress towards meeting goals. Familiarity and interests in Astronomy.

Working conditions

May work in all weather conditions May work in extreme temperatures May work around standard office conditions May work around electrical and mechanical hazards Repetitive use of a keyboard at a workstation Use of manual dexterity Climbing of stairs Climbing of ladders Lifting and moving Participates in Observatory's Emergency Response Team that responds to fire, medical, hazardous material or other emergencies.

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