Job Opportunity: Planetarium Director at Samford University

The Director is responsible for the operation of the Christenberry Planetarium. This includes, but is not limited to, a broad scope of responsibilities and understanding of the field, such as development of planetarium shows (pre-production, production, post-production), scheduling and presentation of regular shows (for Samford students, primary and secondary school students, and the general public), promotional marketing of scheduled events, maintenance of the facility, especially the multimedia equipment used for shows, and management of budgets, policies, and other administrative matters.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Work with Samford faculty to provide Samford students with a “planetarium experience” during their study at Samford; this will be primarily, but not exclusively, for undergraduate students in all disciplines.
  • Produce individualized planetarium lessons for faculty for in-class presentations to students. Coordinate pre-production meetings with faculty, develop content for presentation based on supporting student learning outcomes for the class, and deliver presentation to students.
  • Mentor Samford students in space science research, public relations, technology, data visualization, and education to promote successful Samford and post-Samford careers in STEM fields.
  • Maintain the planetarium facilities and a variety of technology equipment, including telescopes and the multimedia equipment associated with show presentation as well as room/seating conditions. Perform administrative duties including:
    • Budget management: operating, revenue, and gift funds
    • Calendar management (including scheduling for the planetarium) – Building Coordinator
    • Supervision of student assistants
    • Policy development and review
  • Seek external sources of funding, including grants, gifts, and underwriting.
  • Contribute to enrollment growth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields by hosting events (such as many of the above) that will attract prospective science and mathematics students to Samford.
  • Set up telescope viewings (pre/post presentations, star parties) for students and other groups as appropriate.
  • Maintain the planetarium lobby exhibits/displays/TV and keep content current.
  • Other duties and responsibilities as discussed by the planetarium director and his/her supervisors.
  • Support the Christian Mission of Samford University.
  • Produce and design live and interactive planetarium shows for schools, community organizations, and the general public.
  • Continually expand the show offerings of the Planetarium by means of in-house development of new content using data visualization techniques.
  • Oversee design and production of planetarium publications including newsletters, fliers, brochures, posters, and planetarium and astronomical press releases. Work with Creative Services and Marketing to ensure consistency of marketing efforts.
  • Develop and maintain a summer program to inspire youth involvement in STEM fields.
  • Serve as expert media source for astronomical events in the greater Birmingham area.
  • Develop and maintain a website and emailing list for the planetarium.
  • Develop and maintain a social media presence on the following platforms:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
    • YouTube
    • Snapchat
  • Visit schools, libraries, community and youth organizations, and college classes and events to market the planetarium and give presentations when appropriate.
  • Represent the planetarium at regional, national and international planetarium conferences, and symposiums. Present new ideas and topics in order to enhance the planetarium field.
  • Generate revenue through private presentations, gift shop sales, and donations.

Required Qualifications

To apply for this job, your resume and/or cover letter must show that you have:

  • Master of Science degree from an accredited institution in physics, astronomy, astrophysics, space physics, cosmology, or related discipline

Qualified applicants will also be required to have the following skills, attributes, and abilities:

  • Extensive knowledge of physics and astronomy
  • Knowledge of contemporary events in physics, astronomy, astrophysics, space physics, cosmology, space exploration
  • Understanding of applied physics
  • Demonstrated administrative skills including management of calendars, budgets, and personnel
  • Proficient in marketing and creative design to promote planetarium events and design appealing merchandise for sale to the public
  • Excellent science communicator with a good speaking voice and a working knowledge of physics
  • Experience using WorldWide Telescope planetarium software and Adobe Creative Suite
  • Ability to work cooperatively with students, faculty, staff, and administrators
  • In addition to planetarium administration, successful candidates will show potential to contribute in one or more of these areas: Event Management, Technology Services, Grant Writing and Administration, or Science Recruitment.

Physical requirements of the position

Must be physically able to:

  • Move chairs, tables, and telescopes
  • Provide maintenance to the media equipment in the planetarium, (located in elevated areas) which requires the use of ladders for access; media equipment, such as projectors, may weigh over 100 pounds
  • Climb the exterior of the suspended dome is necessary for occasional vacuuming of the dome

Preferred Qualifications

  • Work experience in a planetarium or similar facility that requires production and presentation of public shows


Submit a resume and cover letter with current salary/salary requirements to:
Office of Human Resources
Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229
FAX: 205-726-4027
Resumes received after the posting is removed will not be considered.
Samford University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Employer.

In order for your resume to be routed to the appropriate hiring manager, you must include the job number PLAN20 in the subject line of your email.

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