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Job Opening: Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology

Museum LogoWe are excited to announce that the Alf Museum is searching for a new curator! Review of applications will begin by October 22, 2021, and the successful candidate will begin on July 1, 2022. Details are below, or in the linked PDF (available here). Please contact the museum director, Dr. Andy Farke (afarke@webb.org), if you have any questions.


Job Title: Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology, Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology at The Webb Schools
Department: Museum
Reports to: Director, Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology at The Webb Schools
Status: Salaried/Exempt, Full-time, Benefited

SUMMARY
The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology at The Webb Schools is accepting applications for the Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology, with the successful candidate to start employment July 1, 2022. The Alf Museum is the only nationally accredited paleontology museum located on a high-school campus, with a collection housing over 195,000 fossil specimens and a facility including recently renovated collections storage, a fossil preparation lab, and a research lab, as well as two floors of public exhibits. The Augustyn Family Curator will lead fieldwork and undertake museum-based research in paleontology, while mentoring high school students as partners in this work. The Augustyn Family Curator will also develop and deliver paleontology and museum-related courses and organize volunteer opportunities in paleontology for students at The Webb Schools. The ideal candidate will maintain an active research and publication program that complements and extends existing strengths in the Alf Museum’s collections, including (but not limited to) the Mesozoic and Cenozoic vertebrate paleontology of the western United States. The Augustyn Family Curator will collaborate with other museum staff to identify and resolve broad needs in museum collection use and care, set priorities for student and community volunteers and interns in the collection and preparation lab, present research results to the scientific community and the public, and represent the museum at public events and within the Webb community.

RELATIONSHIPS
The Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology reports to the Museum Director and supervises the Fossil Preparator, Collections Manager, and Collections Assistants, in addition to offering scientific expertise to outreach staff. The Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology works with the Director to advance the museum’s research program as established by the mission and strategic plan.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Job responsibilities are assigned by the Museum Director and Head of Schools, who can in their sole discretion, alter, add to, or eliminate job assignments anytime, with or without prior notice. The institutional character of the boarding school environment requires that many job responsibilities are scheduled after formal class time, in the afternoons, mealtimes, and on weekends.

  • Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
    Develop and implement a field and museum research program that enhances the museum collection, that is of high scholarship, and that engages Webb students.
  • Assume appropriate teaching responsibilities in The Webb Schools science department, including development of relevant curricula for the evolutionary biology course and paleontology-specific classes.
  • Facilitate activities and collaborations that enhance the museum’s presence within The Webb Schools community.
  • Coordinate the museum volunteer program for Webb students.
  • Coordinate overall use and care of the museum’s collections with the Collections Manager and other collection staff and promote use of the collection by outside researchers.
  • Set priorities for work in the fossil-preparation lab in collaboration with the preparator.
  • Assist in supervising interns at the museum.
  • Ensure that all research, fieldwork, collection work is conducted in accordance with relevant laws, ethical standards, and best practices in the field of paleontology.
  • Represent the museum at public programs and collaborate with outreach staff to present paleontology to broad audiences.
  • Publicize notable research projects and discoveries via professional conferences, news media, and social media.
  • Represent the museum in the scientific and educational communities through participation in professional organizations and conferences.
  • Support and enhance DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) initiatives in all facets of the museum program.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
The Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology must possess a Ph.D. in the geological or biological sciences, have published results of paleontological research in peer-reviewed journals, be committed to mentoring highly motivated adolescents in a unique secondary-school setting, and have experience in one or more of the following:

  • Teaching experience (formal or informal education).
  • Experience with museum operations.
  • Knowledge of museum curatorial practices and techniques.
  • Experience with paleontological fieldwork.
  • Leadership experience in a lab or field setting.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS
The Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology must have or obtain a California driver license with a satisfactory driving record. A criminal background check must be successfully completed before employment can begin.

OTHER SKILLS
The Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology must have excellent verbal and written communication skills. In addition, effective leadership and interpersonal skills are required to interact with staff, students, and the public, solve problems, and represent The Webb Schools in the community.

PROFESSIONAL QUALITIES OF WEBB FACULTY & STAFF

  • Contributes to the delivery of the mission, vision, and values of the school community.
  • Demonstrates inclusive and equitable practices to ensure that all members of the community feel a sense of belonging.
  • Follows community policies and procedures and models positive behavior.
  • Works effectively as a team member and develops professional and productive relationships with colleagues.
  • Understands boundaries and embraces responsibility for the care of students in loco parentis.
  • Promotes a trust-based community by keeping appropriate confidences.
  • Manages time effectively and meets deadlines and commitments.
  • Communicates and responds to all school communications in a timely manner.
  • Exhibits flexibility and adaptability to change as needed.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
The physical requirements of this position are those needed to successfully fulfill the job duties and responsibilities articulated above. As prescribed by law, reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.

The expected start date for this position will be with the 2022-2023 academic year.

Interested candidates should send their cover letter (2 to 3 pages, including statements outlining goals for research and fieldwork programs as well as educational philosophy) and curriculum vitae to:

Andrew A. Farke, Ph.D.,
Director, Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology at The Webb Schools
careers@webb.org
Fax: (909) 482-5272

Review of applications begins by October 22, 2021

The Webb Schools are an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities and do not discriminate based on perceived or actual race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, pregnancy (or any related conditions), age, marital status, military or veteran status, medical condition, gender/identity/expression, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law.
www.webb.org

Alf Museum Paleontologist Named to National Geographic Fellowship

Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology Outreach Coordinator Gabriel-Philip Santos was named a 2021 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow by National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions on Feb. 9 for his work as an informal science educator, including his creative use of cosplay and pop-up museums to engage diverse communities in science education.

Photo of Gabriel Santos (Filipino Male) posing next to a brick wall. The Alf Museum, based at The Webb Schools of California in Claremont, is the nation’s only accredited paleontology museum on a high school campus.

The prestigious fellowship is named for Gilbert M. Grosvenor, chairman emeritus of the National Geographic Society. Santos is one of 50 pre-K-12 educators from across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico selected for the fellowship’s 14th cohort – an announcement delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship selects exemplary educators to embark on a life-changing voyage to one of the many remote and extraordinary environments the Lindblad fleet explores around the world. Given the ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions, field-based experiences are currently on hold.

Once conditions allow, Santos and his peers will embark on a Lindblad Expeditions’ voyage to experience natural wonders alongside an expedition team that will include marine biologists, geologists, historians, scientists, undersea specialists and National Geographic photographers. They will return home to incorporate discoveries into re-imagined curriculum, as well as to serve as program ambassadors for two years.

“I’m just tremendously honored by this selection,” said Santos, who also serves as the Alf’s collections manager. “The Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship will allow me to grow as an educator and help me to expand my efforts to connect the sciences to people of all backgrounds and to show students that there’s a place for everyone in the sciences.”

In his six years with the Alf Museum, Santos has focused outreach efforts on expanding understanding of equity and access to the sciences, including the Alf’s Discovery Days program that invites guests to meet paleontologists at the museum.

Santos is a cofounder of Cosplay for Science, a group of scientists and educators that brings science to the community at such events as Los Angeles Comic Con, where he built a program inspired by the science of Star Wars. He creates pop-up museums at community events, recognizing that not everyone can travel to a museum.

“A lot of what I do is really based in storytelling,” said Santos, who holds a Master of Science in geology. “Storytelling is a powerful tool for education that allows us to go beyond conveying facts. With storytelling, we inspire people to use critical thinking to question the world around them. Science, politics, pop culture – it all connects.”

Santos’ passion for science education is evident in his drive to pursue outreach even after the pandemic closed the Alf Museum to visitors in March 2020. Since then, he has hosted more than 1,000 virtual school tours and launched a talk show entitled Fossil Friday Chats in collaboration with the Western Science Center.

The show – now celebrating more than 40 episodes – invites paleontologists from diverse backgrounds often underrepresented in scientific fields to share stories about themselves and their research.

In the National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions announcement, Santos was singled out for receiving a grant from the COVID-19 Remote Learning Fund for Educators, which provides educations with funding for devising innovative instructional resources that assist other educations in teaching via remote and hybrid learning environments.

Alf Museum Director Dr. Don Lofgren said the grant and fellowship both recognize what museum operators have long known: Santos is a powerful educator who elevates those with whom he works.

“It all goes back to museum founder Ray Alf’s challenge for us to make the most of our moment in time,” Lofgren said. “Gabe Santos is using his moment to make a difference in so many lives, inspiring the next generation of scientists.”

National Geographic has not announced where the Grosvenor Teacher Fellows will travel as it awaits the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

“No matter where I get to go, I’m very excited,” Santos said.

New Director Appointed at Alf Museum, Current Director Transitions to Emeritus

Andrew Farke, Ph.D., has been appointed the next director of the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, only the fourth individual to hold this position since the museum’s founding in the late 1930s. Farke is currently the Augustyn Family Curator and director of research and collections at the Alf Museum. Farke succeeds Don Lofgren, Ph.D., who leaves the position in July 2021 to become director emeritus.

Picture of Andy Farke and Don Lofgren
Dr. Andy Farke (left) and Dr. Don Lofgren

“Andy Farke is extremely intelligent and ambitious and brings a host of talents to the table. He has had a major positive impact on all operations and programs at the museum. He’s internationally known for his paleontological expertise and research. Andy will be a terrific director and take the museum to even greater success in educational and scientific endeavors,” Lofgren says.

Farke joined the Alf Museum in 2008. He completed his undergraduate work in geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and his Ph.D. in anatomical sciences at Stony Brook University.

Farke is excited about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

“A major priority is to continue our positive momentum with the museum collection and its care,” Farke says. “I’m excited by the budding partnerships developed by the outreach and collections staff, which really challenge past assumptions about what a museum is, what a museum should be, and who the “typical” museum visitor might be.”

Chair of the Board Larry Ashton looks forward to Farke in his new role, “Every new museum director brings their own list of ideas, goals and objectives. Andy has the right mix of these, and the staff to take the Alf Museum to the next level. We all look forward to his long tenure.

The Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology, located on the campus of The Webb Schools in Claremont, California, is the only nationally accredited museum in the USA on a high school campus. The museum is a center for paleontological education and research by maintaining and continually expanding its outstanding collection of over 195,000 specimens. The fossil collections consist of vertebrate, invertebrate, plant, and track way specimens, as well as many other miscellaneous specimens. The museum’s fossil track way collection is widely recognized as one of the largest and most diverse in the nation. Also, the Alf Museum provides a unique research program for Webb students where they study fossils they find on collecting trips and publish the results of their research in collaboration with museum staff, a unique program for secondary school students only offered at Webb.

Asked about Farke’s appointment, Head of School Taylor Stockdale shared his excitement about what the future holds for Webb and the Alf Museum.

“Without a doubt, Andrew Farke is the educator and leader we need to carry the extraordinary legacy of the Alf Museum at The Webb Schools into the future,” Stockdale says.

For more information, see this article from The Webb Schools.

Paleontologist and Educator Alexis Mychajliw Honored by Alf Museum

Dr. Alexis Mychajliw

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology recognized Dr. Alexis Mychajliw with the Alf Award for Excellence in Paleontological Research and Education at the annual Peccary Society event, on October 16. The award honors a paleontologist who demonstrates exceptional achievement both in original scientific research, as well as in education and outreach at the primary and secondary school (K–12) levels.

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Update: Museum Resources for Colleges

Although the Alf Museum remains closed to the public, we have developed many virtual experiences to be used by college-level educators and students from home. This page summarizes currently available options.

Virtual Museum:

The Alf Museum has a fully virtual, interactive museum available on our website (https://www.alfmuseum.org/about-us/exhibits/). Students can take self-guided tours of the Alf Museum and can be used with previously made assignments as an alternative to in-person visits. Please be advised that some portions of signage are not legible in the virtual museum. We encourage educators to test compatibility of the virtual museum with assignments and make adjustments as needed.

Virtual Experiences:

The Alf Museum also offers virtual group tours utilizing the virtual museum guided by Alf Museum educators. These are currently being offered at no-cost to educators and registration in open for the Fall. Visit us online to see more information or to register: https://www.alfmuseum.org/schools-and-educators/virtual-experiences/

Fossil Friday Chats:

Looking to add more engagement with scientists to your class? Every Friday, you can join the Alf Museum and the Western Science Center for Fossil Friday Chats. Each week, we invite a guest scientist to chat about their research and take questions from a live audience online. Past episodes are available on our Facebook page and upcoming episodes are Facebook Live. (Live episodes coming to YouTube soon)

Upcoming episodes: https://www.facebook.com/AlfMuseum/live_videos/

Recorded episodes: https://www.facebook.com/watch/198373920530/529748157617840/

 

The Alf Museum remains dedicated to serving our community as an educational resource during this difficult time. Please let us know how we can be of service to you as an educator, and we will do our best to provide assistance!


For virtual tours, please contact our Tours Manager, Monique Reyes: mreyes@alfmuseum.org

For other inquiries regarding educational content, please contact me, Gabriel Santos: gsantos@alfmuseum.org

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