Astronomy Laboratory Coordinator and Observatory Manager

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Classification Title: Instructional Services Specialist (PCH2)
Department: The Department of Physics and Astronomy
Type of Position: Regular (100%)
Salary: $50,000

For information about the Department see:

The Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Iowa invites applications for an Astronomy Laboratory Coordinator and Observatory Manager.

We seek a colleague with demonstrated experience in hands-on astronomical observations and instrumentation, a desire to collaborate, and strong leadership and communication skills, and a strong enthusiasm for public outreach. We strongly encourage applications from candidates who share our goal of building a diverse community. 

The successful applicant will be responsible for: 

• Laboratory instruction and support for astronomical observations across the Department’s astronomy curriculum, making use of both the on-campus Van Allen Observatory and the Iowa Robotic Observatory, a research-grade facility in Southern Arizona. 
• Management and maintenance of the Van Allen Observatory and the Iowa Robotic Observatory’s instrumentation and facilities. 
• Curricular innovation to help shape hands-on, active learning instructional materials, from introductory astronomy courses for non-majors to advanced opportunities for upper-level astronomy and physics students. 
• Training and management of graduate teaching assistants in astronomy courses. 
• Coordination of public outreach activities involving the Van Allen Observatory and other local outreach events. 

Application details 
Please attach a resume and cover letter as part of the application process. Job openings are posted for a minimum of 14 calendar days. This job may be removed from posting and filled any time after the minimum posting period has ended. For questions or additional information, please contact

Successful candidates will be subject to a criminal background check. 

Education Required: 
A Bachelor’s degree with a major in Astronomy, Astrophysics or closely related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience is required.

Required qualifications:
  • Practical knowledge of modern astronomical instruments (including a range of small telescopes and CCD cameras) and supporting software applications.
  • Demonstrated teaching experience (> 1 year ) in an undergraduate astronomical laboratory environment.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the night sky (planets, constellations, deep sky objects, special events).
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing with faculty, staff, students and the public.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team-oriented service and support work environment.
  • Must have flexibility in working hours some evening and weekend work is required.  

Desired Qualifications:
  • A Master’s and/or PhD degree in Astronomy or Astrophysics is desirable.
  • Working experience with astronomical imaging and data calibration.
  • Working experience in computer networking, especially Windows O/S and Linux file servers. 
  • Working experience with robotic telescope systems.
  • Experience with astronomical laboratory activity design, development and assessment.
  • Working experience with many types of telescopes and practical knowledge of functions such as telescope collimation and calibration.
  • Working experience with astronomical software applications such as Maxim, and TheSkyX.
  • Working experience with astronomical outreach events.

For a detailed job description, please email Christine Stevens (


Equal opportunity/affirmative action employer

The University of Iowa is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

Persons with disabilities may contact University Human Resources/Faculty and Staff Disability Services, (319) 335-2660 or, to inquire or discuss accommodation needs.

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