Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research

Organization: The Chicago Zoological Society (AZA Member)
Location: Brookfield, IL, United States
Job or Internship: Job

One of the exciting new challenges in enhancing high-level animal care in zoos is applying a broad range of sciences to evaluate animal well-being. The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) has addressed this challenge by establishing the Center for the Science of Animal Welfare (CSAW), a program designed to advance the science of “animal-directed” care at Brookfield Zoo. With CSAW, the Society is expanding the field through innovation— combining scientific study and animal husbandry to develop the best possible management practices. The Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research is responsible for overseeing and managing programs that directly impact knowledge and innovations in animal welfare science and that advance the CSAW.

The Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research is responsible for coordinating, conducting, and integrating basic and applied research in animal welfare that furthers an understanding of animal well-being and biodiversity conservation. This includes indentifying measures that advance the scientific assessment of animal welfare; providing advice based on the latest scientific discoveries in animal welfare to professionals in animal care; assisting animal managers in formulating questions with which they can systematically approach the interaction of physiology, social group dynamics, husbandry, nutrition, behavior, medical research, and reproductive performance for zoo animals; working with senior managers of Animal Programs and Conservation, Education & Training to assist in the prioritization and implementation of welfare assessments, species focus and welfare monitoring as appropriate; and working collaboratively with other researchers and animal care staff to identify and establish clear research priorities for the Center for the Science of Animal Welfare (“CSAW”). You will utilize your demonstrated leadership and collaboration representing the CSAW, its programs, and CZS externally to organizations, groups, and individuals including, but not limited to, Association of Zoos and Aquariums (“AZA”), local, national, and international conservation groups, the academic community, and the media. This also involves representing the position and interests of CZS on animal welfare and biodiversity conservation and other issues in a well-informed, positive, and responsive manner; representing CZS to external visitors, i.e., guests, trustees, donors, media, and visiting colleagues. Maintain a strong publication pipeline on scientific journals, books and book chapters, popular literature, and professional presentations. Making use of your prior funding and budget experience, you will work closely with CZS Program Unit and Advancement staff to research and obtain funding for animal welfare research program activities and needs, and existing budgeted expenses, including but not limited to, the support of this position; write, develop, and coordinate grant applications with internal and external scientists; and work with Advancement staff to support fundraising efforts, donor cultivation, and marketing and public relations activities of CZS as related to animal welfare research. The Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research will have overall responsibility for annual budget development, administration, and monitoring for assigned area and assist in setting priorities, annual operating plans and implementing institutional goals.

The Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research will be responsible for selecting, training, and creating/overseeing staff development plans; providing coaching and direct supervision; conducting accurate performance appraisals; and providing wage and employment recommendations; activity participate and support the employee survey and action planning process (encouraging participation, sharing results, engaging all staff, monitoring progress, etc). Provide timely and effective communications to staff about conservation and organizational issues, news, plans, concerns, programs, activities, fiscal status, needs, and opportunities. Provide feedback from reporting staff to senior management as appropriate. Facilitate communication and coordination of activities among the various conservation and research initiatives of CZS, including integration of programs. The Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research will also be responsible for fostering and cultivating conservation leaders through training programs that include CZS staff, graduate and undergraduate students, volunteers, summer fellows, exchange staff, visiting professionals, colleagues, and interns; participating in inter-departmental task forces, committees, and other groups as needed to further the ability of CZS to achieve its vision and to ensure integration, planning, and execution of activities in pursuit of established strategic institutional goals and objectives. The Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research will provide the Senior Vice President of Conservation, Education and Training, the Senior Vice President of Collections and Animal Care, and the CZS Management Team with information and advice concerning the science of animal welfare; participate in at least one major animal program committee (e.g., Behavioral Research Steering Committee, Animal Welfare Science), and assist in the integration of that committee’s work and goals with the CSAW; and assist with the development of CZS and department strategic plans and master planning efforts, including educational materials, exhibits, and instructional programs that promote public awareness about the science of animal welfare.

This is a visible, senior-level management position with significant responsibility for resources, staff, assets, and results achieved. The Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research will be expected to be present and visible at events sponsored by CZS for its employees, Board members, and other professional participants and audiences, and to represent CZS externally. Some travel may be required and work weeks in excess of 40 hours are not unusual.

The requirements for this position include:

Ph.D. in Physiology, Animal Behavior, Ecology, Conservation Biology, Zoology, Veterinary Sciences or related field, or equivalent combination of training and/or experience required.

Minimum of 3 years of comparable experience conducting relevant research and directing independent research programs at a management level required.

Minimum 5 years relevant management, supervisory or leadership experience required.

Successful track record of scientific output, including publications and professional presentations required.

Previous work experience with budgets required. Demonstrated record of seeking and managing outside funding required. Strong figure aptitude, analytical and organizational skills, and attention to details, completeness, and accuracy required.

Familiarity with AZA accreditation standards, code of ethics, and representative husbandry standards and AZA or other captive population management programs required. AZA professional membership preferred. Participation in appropriate cooperative management and conservation programs (e.g., AZA, Taxinomic Advisory Group, Species Survival Plans, and other advisory groups) preferred.

Demonstrated leadership working in collaborative professional partnerships, both within and outside the institution, preferred. Record of leadership and collaborative development and delivery of significant programs and long-term efforts to achieve targeted goals and objectives in advancing the science of animal welfare required.

Familiarity with United States Department of Agriculture and other regulatory animal welfare requirements related to free-standing research facilities preferred.

Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including verbal, written, listening, and platform/presentation skills required. Experience working with opposing constituencies and operating as a facilitator/reconciler of interests required. Must be articulate and able to establish, develop, and maintain a strong rapport and positive, engaging relationships with all levels of staff and external audiences.

Ability to work in a varied cultural environment that embraces diversity and inclusion required. Experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience. Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus.

Strong organizational skills and proven ability to meet deadlines required. Must be able to work effectively under pressure and meet strict deadlines in a fast-paced environment. Flexibility and ability to adjust to changes and shifting priorities and activities a must. Must be a dependable individual able to maintain the confidentiality of privileged information.

Computer proficiency with Microsoft Windows, Outlook, Word, and Excel required. Experience with data management and statistical procedures required. Experience with PowerPoint and other Office software preferred. Familiarity with animal record keeping systems and studbook programs preferred.

Valid driver’s license required. Illinois residents must possess a valid Illinois license within 90 days of hire. Valid out-of-state license required for out-of-state residents.

The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer - M/F/V/D.

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center at to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile. Please look for Requisition Number 1174.