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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Jobs at UW

University of Wisconsin–Madison



Apply now(opens in a new window) Job no: 275444-AS
Work type: Onsite, Staff-Full Time
Location: Madison
Categories: Research

Job Summary:

About the Role: The University of Wisconsin-Madison seeks a visionary leader for the position as the Director of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and Wisconsin State Geologist.

This position provides overall leadership, administrative direction, vision, and oversight for all activities carried out by WGNHS staff and reports to the Director of the Natural Resources Institute, within the Division of Extension. This position offers direct service, research, outreach and education to constituents and partners, bringing the resources of the University to all regions and people of the state - i.e., applying the Wisconsin Idea. The WGNHS Director also provides leadership, planning, and oversight of finances and funding for WGNHS, ensuring resources including facilities are aligned with organizational needs. WGNHS has approximately 30 staff members, and an annual budget of $2.5 million. Staff at the Survey work closely with faculty, staff and students within UW-Madison, such as with colleagues within the Department of Geoscience and the Division of Extension, as well as with collaborators at several UW campuses. This role directly supervises administrative and research positions within the Survey and also oversees hiring, managing performance, and ensures reporting expectations are met across the unit. The Director is expected to foster organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Director is expected to have a strong ability to communicate the need for and impact of the applied research carried out by WGNHS with diverse audiences and organizations, including those in academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations, legislative representatives, county officials, tribal communities, and the public. The Director represents WGNHS, Extension, and the University on various state and national committees, boards, and councils, and serves as Wisconsin's delegate to the Association of American State Geologists (AASG). The Director/State Geologist works actively to maintain and enhance the Survey's reputation for objective unbiased, high-quality science, and related public service. The Director/State Geologist also works with the Chair of the UW-Madison Department of Geoscience to identify mutually beneficial collaborative opportunities between Survey and Departmental students, faculty, and staff.

The principal duties of the Director include administrative leadership and vision, representing the WGNHS as it fulfills its mission, guiding WGNHS research and publications, and overseeing institutional obligations of the WGNHS.

Administrative leadership and vision
- Provide strategic and operational direction for the faculty and staff of WGNHS.
- Advocate for and provide primary guidance and support to the faculty and staff of WGNHS.
- Provide leadership for staff recruitment, diversity, inclusion, compensation and professional development practices to support a welcoming and positive workplace, and enhance organizational capacity and effectiveness.
- Communicate regularly about budgetary, scientific, and professional issues with WGNHS faculty and staff.
- Implement mechanisms for regular faculty and staff feedback and engagement on these issues.
- Ensure compliance and reporting to all funding sources and the University.

Represents the WGNHS to fulfill its mission
- Serve as delegate to the AASG and serve on the State of Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council.
- Carry out responsibilities specified under Wisconsin State Statutes.
- Summarize and present WGNHS research and data to various stakeholders, including the general public, local and state agencies, and national committees.
- Interact regularly with the university community and its stakeholders, all levels of government, the private sector, and the public.
- Support the Division of Extension mission and outreach efforts.
- Work with the Department of Geoscience and chair, faculty and staff to facilitate collaboration.

Guide WGNHS research and publications
- Maintain an awareness of trends in geoscience research, funding agency priorities, and technology to facilitate funding opportunities for WGNHS faculty and staff.
- Establish and maintain partnerships across the Division of Extension, UW-Madison and UW System institutions to foster collaboration.
- Ensure editorial integrity in WGNHS publication.

Oversee other institutional obligations of WGNHS
- Ensure that programs meet federal, state and other institutional requirements.
- Support UW-Madison and the Extension Dean with their communications when appropriate or requested by elected officials and state and federal administrative staff to help inform decisions around federal and state government support for work that is or could be carried out by WGNHS.

Responsibilities: Interacts regularly with the university community and its stakeholders, all levels of government, the private sector, and the general public and works actively to maintain a reputation for objective, high-quality science and related public service. Identifies mutually beneficial collaborative opportunities between the unit and departmental students, faculty, and staff. Represents the unit and university on various state and national committees, boards, and councils.
  • 20% Provides internal administrative direction and oversight
  • 15% Establishes policies, coordinates and directs operations and activities including program planning, budgeting, personnel management, equipment, and facilities
  • 15% Provides direction to staff in the development and conduct of research, investigations, educational outreach as well as service and support activities
  • 10% Identifies and seeks out funding
  • 15% Makes hiring decisions, encourages professional development, and evaluates individual staff performance
  • 5% Collaborates with other state geologists in the development of national policies and programs involving earth science issues and initiatives
  • 10% Represents WGNHS and the university on various state and national committees, boards, and councils, and executes duties mandated by WGNHS enabling legislation
  • 10% Participates in research and serves as an expert in their field to advise on collaborative research projects carried out in WGNHS and in coordination with partners
Institutional Statement on Diversity:

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background - people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.

For more information on diversity and inclusion on campus, please visit: Diversity and Inclusion


PhD or other terminal degree in Geology or closely related field


- At least 5 years administrative experience coordinating scholarship/research in geosciences in an academic, laboratory, center/institute, government agency, or corporate environment;
- Demonstrated success in supervising and leading a team of scientists and/or professionals and building a positive and inclusive workplace culture;
- Demonstrated ability to secure and manage diverse funding streams;
- Evidence of effective communication skills including demonstrated ability to engage diverse audiences;
- Experience developing and maintaining effective interagency and collaborative partnerships, and serving as a skilled liaison between and among diverse groups, with the ability to engage in successful negotiation, collaboration, conflict resolution and relationship building; and
- Evidence of the ability to effectively work with people from different cultural backgrounds, including those associated with race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, socioeconomic status, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other aspects of human diversity.

- Knowledge and demonstrated understanding of the mission and impact of state geological surveys;
- Demonstrated familiarity with the geology and landscapes of Wisconsin and/or the geology of the Upper Midwest or Great Lakes Region of the United States;
- Demonstrated experience in developing and implementing a strategic plan and leadership vision for a unit or organization, and evaluating a unit's impact and success; and
- Experience developing successful partnerships and collaborations with historically underrepresented groups and organizations, and carrying out culturally relevant work as accomplished through these partnerships.

Work Type:

Full Time: 100%

It is anticipated this position requires work be performed in-person, onsite, at a designated campus work location.

Appointment Type, Duration:



ANNUAL (12 months)

Additional Information:

About the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey: The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS) was created by the Wisconsin Legislature in 1897 and is the descendant of earlier state surveys in Wisconsin, which date back to 1854. The WGNHS, a part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension, is an interdisciplinary organization that conducts earth-science surveys, field studies, and research to produce information used by government organizations, industry, businesses, tribes, and individuals for decision making, problem solving, planning, management, development, and education. WGNHS faculty and staff members often work independently and as an integrated team to conduct topical as well as local, regional, and statewide research projects related to the geology, mineral resources, and water resources of the state or region. They collect and archive data and physical samples; analyze these data and samples; communicate results to the public; and respond to requests for technical advice, education, and service. The main office of the Survey is located within a short distance of downtown Madison and the UW-Madison campus. An additional geologic repository (Research Collections and Education Center located in Mount Horeb) houses rock cores, water-well cuttings, more than 15,000 rock samples, supporting documentation of the collection, and classroom and laboratory facilities.

WGNHS recognizes the value and importance of diversity, particularly as it improves the quality of our science and informs equitable service to the residents of Wisconsin. WGNHS staff and its DEI committee are actively learning and working to implement positive change in its organization to effectively support diversity in its staff and community engagement. UW-Madison encourages applications from communities that are not well represented or advocated for in the geosciences, including people of color, people with disabilities, women, and people who identify as LGBTQ. For more information about WGNHS, its staff and projects, and to see its publications, please visit

Employees in this position can expect to receive benefits such as generous vacation, holidays, and paid time off; competitive insurances and savings accounts; retirement benefits. Benefits information can be found at (

Current UW-Madison Faculty may qualify to retain their FA appointment. Applicants interested in retaining their FA Appointment as a backup should identify this in their cover letter.

Please note that successful applicants are responsible for ensuring their eligibility to work in the United States (i.e. a citizen or national of the United States, a lawful permanent resident, a foreign national authorized to work in the United States without need of employer sponsorship) on or before the effective date of appointment.

How to Apply:

We are eager to learn more about how your experience and passion may align with this position. Please submit a cover letter referring to your related work experience and a resume detailing your educational and professional background. Please keep in mind, applicants need to articulate all required qualifications in their cover letter and/or resume.

Please submit a resume/CV and cover letter outlining relevant qualifications and experience in the following areas:
1. Organizational leadership
2. Personnel management
3. Relationship and partnership building
4. Budgeting and fund development
5. Experience working with people from diverse backgrounds and how these experiences reflect your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Please keep in mind, applicants need to articulate all required and preferred qualifications in their cover letter and/or CV/resume. The application reviewers will be relying on written application materials to determine who may advance to preliminary interviews.

NOTE: Unless confidentiality is requested in writing, the names of applicants must be released upon request. Finalists cannot be guaranteed confidentiality.


Ken Genskow
Relay Access (WTRS): 7-1-1. See RELAY_SERVICE for further information.

Official Title:

State Geologist(RE052)



Employment Class:

Academic Staff-Renewable


Job Number:


  The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to, including but not limited to, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, pregnancy, disability, or status as a protected veteran and other bases as defined by federal regulations and UW System policies. We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

If you need to request an accommodation because of a disability, you can find information about how to make a request at the following website:

Employment will require a criminal background check. It will also require you and your references to answer questions regarding sexual violence and sexual harassment.

The University of Wisconsin System will not reveal the identities of applicants who request confidentiality in writing, except that the identity of the successful candidate will be released. See Wis. Stat. sec. 19.36(7).

The Annual Security and Fire Safety Report contains current campus safety and disciplinary policies, crime statistics for the previous 3 calendar years, and on-campus student housing fire safety policies and fire statistics for the previous 3 calendar years. UW-Madison will provide a paper copy upon request; please contact the University of Wisconsin Police Department.

Applications Open: Central Standard Time
Applications Close: Central Daylight Time

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