Saturday, October 24, 2015

General Curator

General Curator

The Indianapolis Zoo is a national leader of animal conservation and is an AZA accredited institution. We’re located on a 64 acre campus in the heart of vibrant downtown Indianapolis, and a top tourist destination in the affordable and friendly Midwest. In addition to our animal exhibits, gardens, and aquarium, we support local and international animal conservation efforts. The Indianapolis Zoo is a private, 501(c)(3) organization.

The charge of the Life Sciences Department is to: 1) manage a living collection of animals and plants in support of the institution’s mission; 2) provide extraordinary husbandry care, enrichment and welfare for specimens within the living collection; 3) integrate and coordinate exchange of information and services with other departments to assure optimal care of the specimens in the living collection and achievement of the institution’s goals and objectives; 4) further the knowledge and understanding of species within the living collection; and, 5) maintain and reinforce a culture of continual improvement.

The General Curator of Life Sciences will reports to the Supervising VP of Conservation, Science, and Education, and lead a team of curatorial and support staff in the development of zoological and botanical programs that represent best practices in living collections management. The General Curator directly supervises the Curatorial staff and the Registrar.

The programs will be widely recognized for their innovation and scholarship. In that regard, it is imperative that the General Curator of Life Sciences has strong credentials in the biological, behavioral or other related disciplines. The General Curator of Life Sciences will be an active, highly visible presence in the local community in promoting the Zoo’s mission, and in developing and strengthening strategic alliances with other partners. The position works directly with other senior Zoo staff. Strong leadership, organizational, negotiation and motivational skills are required of the position.

The duties and responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to:

1.        Works closely with the VP of Veterinary Services, Associate Veterinarians, Nutritionist and Curators to ensure the health and well-being of the animal collection.

2.        Provides technical input and serves as a resource for the creation of policies that relate to the living collection.

3.        Develops departmental procedures in conjunction with veterinary and curatorial staff, and ensures compliance with protocols.

4.        Creates metrics for measuring the quality of animal care, advancements in animal care, and impact on animal well-being.

5.        Creates and fosters a culture of safety in all areas of Life Sciences.

6.        Provides direct supervision of curatorial staff and administrative support staff, including: hiring, scheduling, job assignment, performance review, and mentoring. Coordinates any disciplinary action with the Human Resources Department as appropriate.

7.        Develops, in conjunction with the Supervising VP an annual business plan for all areas of Life Sciences, including clearly articulated goals, objectives, action plans, timelines, resource assignments, budgets, and risk analysis.

8.        Works directly with the Finance Department in monitoring Life Sciences Department revenue and expense accounts, and ensures Life Sciences staff compliance in adhering to all protocols.

9.        With input from the Supervising VP and curatorial staff, develops, implements, and communicates a management plan for the zoological collection (including species selection, reproduction, contraception, and transactions) that optimizes the well-being of individuals and populations, as well as genetic and demographic management, and to meet the institution’s exhibition and guest experience goals.

10.        With input from the Supervising VP and the Horticulture Curator, develops, implements and communicates a management plan for the botanical collection that meet the institution’s exhibition and guest experience goals.

11.        Participates in oversight of planning, construction and maintenance projects for animal facilities and enclosures.

12.        Identifies and develops plans for gathering data needed in the care of the collection.

13.        Works with Guest Services and Marketing with respect to exhibition, visitor experience and special functions.

14.        Works closely with Institutional Advancement staff in seeking and securing external funding in support of institutional goals.

15.        Supervises the Registrar to ensure that animal record systems meet all regulatory requirements and accreditation standards, and provide integrated and accessible data. Analyzes data to identify trends in the zoological collection.

16.        Works with the Horticulture Curator to ensure that botanical records meet accreditation standards.

17.        Works with the Registrar to ensure that all Life Sciences licenses and permits are secured and maintained for all aspects of housing, exhibiting and transporting animals or plants in the Collection.

18.        Closely monitors regulatory trends that impact either the zoological or botanical collection on the international, national, state and local levels.

19.        Ensures that Life Sciences operations, policies and procedures meet or exceed the current accreditation standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums.

20.        Ensures that the Zoo has an appropriate presence on and participation in national and international programs for the captive breeding of species, including designating staff to serve roles as institutional representatives, studbook keepers.

21.        Oversees Compliance and Regulatory requirements of the Collections division.

Physical work in the biomes may occur on occasion, including climbing while maintaining body equilibrium. Although limited, the General Curator must be able to work outdoors and indoors under all environmental conditions.


1.        Minimum of ten (10) years experience with or knowledge of similar work required.

2.        Minimum of four (4) years practical, direct work experience in a zoo (or similar animal/mammal research care organization) required.

3.        A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in a related field (Biology, Zoology, Animal Science, Wildlife Biology, or other life-science field) is required. An advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred.

4.        Demonstrated strong interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills – both verbal and written;

5.        Demonstrated experience in setting and achieving goals, project management, and handling multiple complex tasks.

6.        Proven ability to lead, manage, and motivate subordinate employees.

7.        Proven ability to work well with a wide variety of people that in this position will include executive management, community leaders, work colleagues and direct reports, and community volunteers.

8.        Must be temperamentally suited to working with animals.

9.        Demonstrated proficiency with computers including: Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Project, and SharePoint software.

The Zoo offers a competitive benefit package (medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, 403b; generous Paid Time Off) upon 90 days of continuous employment. Compensation is commensurate with experience.


The application deadline for this position is November 4, 2015.

Candidates must apply online AT In the “Position Desired” section of the application, please put “General Curator.”

In addition to completing the on-line application, interested candidates must attach:

•        a cover letter, including compensation requirements

•        the names of, and up-to-date contact information for, three (3) professional references

Finalists for this role must provide college/university transcripts.

To help ensure receipt of your online application, we recommend applicants use a computer running Windows XP or higher, with at least Internet Explorer 8, Google Chrome, or Safari.

Candidates must apply online. A cover letter and résumé may be attached to the online application. In the “Position Desired” section of the application, please put “General Curator.”

Employment is contingent upon the successful completion of pre-employment training, drug testing, criminal history checks and a BMV check.

The Indianapolis Zoo is a drug-free/smoke-free workplace and an equal opportunity employer.

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