Executive Director, History of Science Society

The History of Science Society seeks a visionary Executive Director. Founded in 1924, the Society is dedicated to understanding science, technology, and medicine in historical context. More than 1700 individual members, one-third of whom reside outside the United States, support the Society’s mission to foster interest in the history of science, promote discussion of science’s social and cultural relations, and bring this understanding to others worldwide.

The Society sustains and advances academic research through its annual meetings, field-leading journals Isis and Osiris, and other scholarly resources such as the Isis Current Bibliography. It seeks to promote general interest in the history of science among educators at all levels and the public, in part by providing opportunities to scholars to expand their audiences and make their work more effective. It further seeks to advocate on behalf of the field and its practitioners to the public, to government officials, to universities, and to potential employers of historians of science. In many of these activities, it works in cooperation with government agencies, private foundations, and sister organizations in the United States and worldwide. The Society’s 2014 Strategic Plan may be found here: https://hssonline.org/about/history-of-science-society-strategic-plan-2014/

As the History of Science Society looks towards its second century, the next Executive Director (ED) will be charged with advancing the Society’s mission in a global context. The successful candidate will ensure that the Society sustains a vibrant scholarly community and acts as an effective advocate for the history of science. The ED will be expected to bring energy, creativity, and insight to meet the aspirations of existing and potential members, as well as to address the challenges that members face. The ED will be expected to strengthen the Society by ensuring its financial sustainability, enhancing the diversity of its staff and members, and sustaining the quality and relevance of its programs and publications. The ideal candidate will bring experience in academic administration or nonprofit management, as well as enthusiasm for working with elected leadership to create new avenues for advancing the history of science.

The Executive Director works with the Society’s President, Executive Committee, and Council as the chief executive officer of the Society. The ED serves as a non-voting ex-officio member of the Executive Committee and the Council.

The responsibilities of the position include but are not limited to:

  • Organizing meetings of the Executive Committee and the Council; assembling briefing books and other documentation for the meetings; reporting to these bodies twice a year and on an ad-hoc basis as requested.
  • Working with the Treasurer to manage the financial affairs of the Society, facilitate the audit, and produce the budget.
  • Managing the Executive Office; hiring and supervising office staff.
  • Planning the annual meeting in coordination with the Program Co-Chairs and the Committee on Meetings and Programs; negotiating contracts with conference venues and vendors; coordinating conference budget and logistics; producing and distributing the program; managing registration.
  • Supervising and, as appropriate, developing communications to be disseminated through the Society’s various digital platforms (including website and social media).
  • Handling correspondence and inquiries from members; supporting the work of the Society's committees.
  • Supporting prize committees and organizing the awards ceremony.
  • Directing the travel awards program; participating in fundraising activities.
  • Working with the Society’s Editors and liaising with the publishers as necessary.
  • Communicating on behalf of the Society with external bodies (ACLS, AAAS, NSF, etc.), with associated learned societies, and with the US National Committee of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science/Division of History of Science and Technology.
  • Maintaining the Society’s records and archives.

This is a full-time position based in the United States with a renewable 3-year contract, subject to annual performance review. We envision this as a telecommuting position for the initial 3-year term, with occasional travel for programs and meetings, flexible hours, and work on weekends required. The Executive Office will be relocating in the next year and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to participate in the Executive Office search process. Telecommuting will be reevaluated at the end of the initial 3-year term.

Compensation will be commensurate with experience.

The position will begin on July 1, 2021.

The ideal candidate will bring a strong commitment to HSS’s mission, and to increase diversity, inclusivity, and transparency in the organizational culture of the society. The following professional qualifications, skills, and experience will be important for success in the role of Executive Director:

  • Experience with budgeting, financial statements and fundraising

  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills, and a commitment to teamwork

  • Excellent computer skills and an understanding of the value of technology

  • Experience with conference planning

  • An advanced degree in the history of science or another relevant academic field

  • Senior-level managerial experience in foundations, research, higher education or the nonprofit sector, including strategic planning, budgeting, and staff management

Candidates should submit a cover letter addressing the position description, a curriculum vitae, and a list of three references to directorsearch@hssonline.org. For questions and nominations, please contact Professor Florence Hsia, Search Committee Chair (florence.hsia@wisc.edu). Review of applications will begin on May 2, 2021 and continue until the position is filled.

The History of Science Society is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, or local laws.