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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Jobs at UW

University of Wisconsin–Madison



Apply now(opens in a new window) Job no: 258156-AS
Work type: Onsite, Staff-Full Time
Location: Madison
Categories: Research

Job Summary:

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.

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 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 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 has 29 staff members, 5-10 students per semester, 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 with collaborators at several UW campuses.

The WGNHS Director also serves as the Wisconsin State Geologist and provides overall leadership, administrative direction, vision, and oversight for the scholarship and outreach activities carried out by WGNHS staff. This is a 12-month academic staff appointment that reports to the Director of the Natural Resources Institute of Extension. This position offers direct service, outreach, and education to constituents and partners, bringing the resources of the University to all regions and people of the state - i.e 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. This role directly supervises leadership 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 culture changes to address organizational diversity, equity, and inclusivity goals. 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 works actively to maintain and enhance the Survey's reputation for objective unbiased, high-quality science, and related public service. The 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.

Success as the WGNHS Director and State Geologist requires dedication and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization, and in all aspects of this role. This includes increasing representation from those typically underrepresented in the field of geosciences, and through expanding access to applied and culturally relevant research and outreach carried out by WGNHS staff.

The core responsibilities of this positions include:

1. 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 increase organizational capacity and effectiveness.
- Ensure and promote a diverse, inclusive, welcoming, and positive workplace.
- 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.

2. 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 Statute.
- 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.

3. 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.

4. Oversee other institutional obligations of WGNHS.
- Ensure that programs meet federal, state and other institutional requirements.
- Support UW-Madison and the Extension Dean on 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 the unit and 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 the unit 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


Master's Degree
in Geology or closely related field;

PhD 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 write, teach, and 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.

COVID-19 Considerations:

UW-Madison continues to follow necessary health and safety protocols to protect our campus from COVID-19. All employees remain subject to the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy: Please visit for the most up-to-date information.

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:



Starting salary is negotiable based on experience and qualifications.

Additional Information:

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. We understand that there is a lack of diversity in the field of geoscience, and that continued work and reflection on systemic barriers to diversity in our field are required. WGNHS staff and our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee are actively learning and working to implement positive change in our organization so we can effectively support diversity in our staff and in our community engagement. We enthusiastically encourage 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, our staff and projects, and to see our publications, please visit 

How to Apply:

We are eager to learn more about how your experience and passion may align with this position. 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 qualifications in their cover letter and/or CV/resume. Applicants who have preferred qualifications should share those too in the 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.

We are committed to reducing bias in the recruitment process and utilize a redacted application process, which is the practice of removing personally identifiable information from application materials, before the screening of applicants begins. This may include, but is not limited to, name, gender, age, education, address, dates (such as graduation dates), photos, references, links to personal webpages, supervisor names, and/or citizenship.


Tricia Gorby
Relay Access (WTRS): 7-1-1 (out-of-state: TTY: 800.947.3529, STS: 800.833.7637) and above Phone number (See RELAY_SERVICE for further information. )

Official Title:

State Geologist(RE052)



Employment Class:

Academic Staff-Renewable

Job Number:


  The University of Wisconsin is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. 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 Daylight Time
Applications Close: Central Daylight Time

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