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Job Title:
Associate Director, Internal Relations, IL-1330, Grade 00; $135,468 - $201,300 Annually.
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:  Open to all qualified candidates eligible to work in the United States.

Note:  This position is open to all qualified candidates. Women and people from underrepresented minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.


The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) is a joint institution connecting the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and the Harvard College Observatory (HCO).  The CfA engages more than 800 scientists in a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and earth and space sciences. The CfA is at the forefront, internationally, of the scientific exploration of the universe. 

The Associate Director, Internal Relations (ADIR) aids the Director, Lisa Kewley, in the development and implementation of an innovative and ambitious long-range diversity and inclusion action plan.  The ADIR supports the CfA Director in annual budget preparation, management, and implementation of initiatives supporting diversity, culture, inclusion, and professional development for all staff and students.  The ADIR will oversee the successful execution of diversity, culture and inclusion programs, building consensus around new initiatives, the management of committees, mentoring programs, and facilitating discussions around topical issues.  The ADIR develops and promotes diversity and inclusion policies and procedures across the CfA, and helps ensure adherence to these policies and procedures, in close coordination with the Director and the Executive Management team.  The relationship between SAO and Harvard University is fundamental to the success of the CfA.  The ADIR performs a critical role in facilitating and streamlining interactions between SAO and HCO.  The ADIR will assist the HCO and SAO leadership and senior managers in setting and achieving their internal relations, diversity, culture and inclusion goals, while developing a strong foundational program of training, development, and mentorship for students and staff.

Up to 0.5 FTE may be devoted to scientific research beginning in the 2nd year, with the precise FTE effort to be determined in consultation with the Director.  The ADIR will formulate and conduct independent and original astrophysical research that aligns with the strategic interests of the CfA.   The successful candidate will collaborate with the CfA scientific staff to coordinate and pursue new research initiatives.  The successful candidate will participate actively in the national and international astrophysical community and will contribute to increasing and diffusing knowledge through seminars and supervision of students within the CfA, and publishing peer-reviewed scientific research articles.


  1. Reports to and works with the Director, Deputy Director, and broader CfA leadership in the development and oversight of diversity and inclusion, professional development, and mentoring programs for the CfA.  Represents these areas on the CfA Executive Management team.  Serves as the liaison within the broader Harvard and Smithsonian organizations for diversity, inclusion and culture.   
  2. Aids the Director in managing internal relations between HCO and SAO.  Identifies challenges in HCO and SAO relations, including workflow and administration, and works with relevant HCO and SAO leadership, management and administration staff to identify solutions to overcome challenges. Identifies areas of mutual interest and shared resources, and opportunities for collaboration and synergy between the two organizations with respect to diversity, inclusion, and workforce development.
  3. Identifies and coordinates professional development opportunities and programs for a diverse workforce, which includes scientific, technical, engineering, administrative, and managerial staff and students.
  4. Identifies and coordinates culture-based professional development programs including implicit bias, anti-racism, cultural awareness, bystander and LGBTQIA+ ally training.  Advertises, tracks and reports on participation and feedback on training sessions.  Develops in-house training programs as needed. Solicits subject matter experts and staff and student feedback to optimize training content as it relates to organization specific issues, situations, or circumstances.
  5. Creates and communicates diversity plans and summaries to support CfA grant proposals to external funding agencies, including NASA and the NSF.  Identifies internal and external funding opportunities for diversity and inclusion initiatives. Advises and contributes to the preparation and submission of proposals for funding for diversity and inclusion initiatives for internal and external funding.  
  6. Aids the Director in managing culture and internal relations among scientific divisions, technical groups, and administrative departments including HR, finance, procurement, sponsored programs, central computing, and IT support.  Oversees the implementation of pan-institutional culture and internal relations surveys.  Reviews findings in consultation with subject matter experts and communicates the outcomes of surveys to the leadership and staff within divisions, technical groups, and departments.  Identifies internal relations challenges across the divisions, groups, and departments, and works with relevant CfA leadership, management and administration staff to identify creative solutions to overcome challenges. 
  7. Provides a fair and balanced representation to the Director and the Executive team on a regular basis as to the state of diversity, inclusion and professional development across the CfA.  Routinely obtains feedback from managers on diversity and culture priorities and needs. Identifies areas where change is needed and communicates these needs to the CfA leadership team.  Makes decisions regarding policy and execution of diversity and inclusion, professional development, and mentoring programs in the context of the overarching CfA goals and vision.
  8. Contributes to an innovative and forward-looking CfA-wide diversity and inclusion action plan, and aids in its implementation across the CfA.  Sets realistic targets and milestones to achieve the goals in the diversity and inclusion action plan.  Tracks new developments in diversity and inclusion research and best-practice. Benchmarks the CfA diversity achievements in the context of the broader astronomical community and peer institutions.  Proposes and implements new evidence-based initiatives and best-practice in diversity, inclusion, professional development and mentoring, as needed.   
  9. Manages effective and efficient communication within and outside the CfA on diversity, inclusion and culture policy, procedures and best-practice.   Ensures effective communication of diversity progress and outcomes through the CfA newsletter and other internal channels.  
  10. Oversees the CfA mentoring program and encourages broad participation across the CfA.  Monitors the success of the mentoring program through regular feedback and surveys.  Provides advice on modifications to mentoring program software to help the mentoring program achieve its goals while reducing program administration.
  11. Maintains close and harmonious working relationships with senior supervisory staff, including the CfA Director, the Deputy Director, other Associate Directors, Divisional chairs, and Department managers to assure integration of short-and long-range plans for professional development, diversity, culture and inclusion.  Maintains collegial working relationships with other senior staff members.
  12. Establishes a positive and engaging leadership style that emphasizes open, transparent and clear communication via written and oral messaging.  Coaches and counsels staff and encourages a supportive team-based approach to planning and implementation, introducing and readjusting operations to meet strategic plan initiatives, priorities and/or changing needs.  Relates well to people from varied backgrounds and different situations; is sensitive to cultural diversity, race, gender, disabilities, and other individual differences. Complies with all laws, regulations, and agency policies regarding the treatment and acceptance of all individuals.  Acts in ways that protect civil rights.
  13. Conceives, formulates, and conducts independent research in the area of astrophysical, astronomy, or a closely related field that aligns with the strategic interests of the CfA. Performs analysis that is original, definitive, and thorough. Prepares papers describing research results, techniques, and interpretations for publication in scientific or technical journals, and presentation at scientific or technical meetings and conferences, and within the CfA. Proposes for extramural contract and grant support for research in specific areas of astronomy, astrophysics or related fields.   Participates in or otherwise assists in the development of major new initiatives for CfA.  Maintains and/or establishes new collaborations at the CfA, nationally, or internationally, to support ongoing or new initiatives.


Education Requirements:

Minimum Education Requirements:
A) Degree in one or a combination of astronomy, physics, mathematics, space science or electronics, including course work in differential and integral calculus and 12 semester hours in astronomy or physics;   OR

B) A combination of education and experience equivalent to A above including at least 30 semester hours of courses equivalent to a major in any combination of astronomy, space science, physics, mathematics, and electronics with required course work as shown in A above.  


Specialized Experience: One year of directly related experience (Federal or other) equivalent to GS-15. Specialized experience would include formulating and conducting independent and original astrophysical research.  In addition, experience overseeing and managing the effective functioning of a broad range of committees and/or working groups, developing strong foundational programs of training, development and mentorship for students and staff in a large scientific research environment.  

In addition to meeting the specialized experience, candidates will be rated on their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the following:

Diversity and Inclusion: Extensive experience in introducing and managing diversity and inclusion initiatives across a large organization.  Knowledge of current best practice in culture, diversity and inclusion.  Experience in strategic planning to achieve diversity, inclusion and culture goals.  Ability to manage and enhance relations at all levels across multiple sites.  Ability to engage with staff with a broad range of job responsibilities.  Experience leading committees and teams to achieve short and long-term milestones in diversity and inclusion.  Success engaging staff to adopt new ideas, approaches, and practices.

Scientific: Advanced knowledge of the concepts, principles and practices of astrophysics as would be evidenced by a Ph.D. in astrophysics, astronomy, or physics, or comparable professional experience.  Exceptional initiative and scholarly expertise necessary to formulate, conduct, lead and present results of programs of advanced scientific research.  Proven ability to work independently or as a member of a research group or scientific team.  Proven skills in preparing scientific results for publication in peer-reviewed scientific or technical journals and for presentation at professional conferences.  Extensive experience in student and early career researcher supervision and mentorship.

Personnel Management:  Significant experience in management of and delegation within teams with effective collaboration methods to achieve milestones.  Knowledge of performance management systems, recruitment policies and practices, and personnel policies and procedures.  Proven ability to manage personnel effectively, while creating a positive and inclusive work environment.  Proven ability to influence and engage others in effective management techniques and in building an inclusive and positive work environment.  Exceptional ability to delegate tasks and engage staff in contributing towards diversity, inclusion, culture and other organization goals.

Communication skills— Outstanding ability to express information effectively in all formats, including on-line and during video conferencing, taking into account the audience and nature of the information.  Exceptional ability to listen to others, attend to nonverbal cues, and respond appropriately and respectfully.  

Qualification requirements are derived from the Office of Personnel Management's Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days after the closing date of announcement

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and its impact on your application, click on Smithsonian Institution’s Frequently Asked Questions.  

APPLICATION PROCEDURE We are only accepting online application packages for this position. To apply please visit:

Required Documents:

Your application package must include the following documents:

1. CV and Bibliography.

2. Vision Statement of the role of the AD, Internal Relations: statement should include your plan to improve CfA internal relations, diversity, culture and inclusion, while developing a strong foundational program of training, development and mentorship for students and staff (maximum 3 pages).

3. Statement for innovative science and research to be conducted at the CfA (maximum 3 pages).

4. Statement addressing the duties and qualifications required of the position (maximum 2 pages).

5. A Diversity and Inclusion Statement:  Statement should address your prior experience related to increasing/improving diversity and inclusion, including specific examples of success (maximum 2 pages).

6. Unofficial school transcripts, if the position has an education requirement or if you are using education to qualify. If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment. 

7.. Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.

8. Names and email addresses for three (3) professional references.


Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.

A recruitment bonus may be paid.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace

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