Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Science Education Leaps Forward in California's Great Valley: Want to be involved?

I announced this opening on Geotripper yesterday, but I thought that this press release would provide some more detailed information about the position. This is an exciting time for science education in our valley, despite the disturbing anti-science currents across our country. If you want to be involved in one of the most dynamic science education efforts in California, think about applying for this position:

Press Release:
The Great Valley Museum of Natural History at Modesto Junior College seeks a new Director to oversee all day-to-day and fundraising operations. 

Situated in the heart of California’s Central Valley, the Great Valley Museum (GVM) serves to educate and promote the study of science and nature throughout our service area of approximately 500,000 people.  The GVM serves as the community education arm of the Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Division of Modesto Junior College, providing educational programs for children grades Pre-K through 12 both on-site at the GVM and at area schools through our extremely popular Traveling Teacher program.

The GVM offers Central Valley ecosystem displays, a California Natives exhibit, a live animal vivarium, the Discovery Room full of hands-on materials, a backyard exhibit, and full-body taxidermy of animals from around the world.  The GVM has a long history of assisting classroom teachers. Our expertise is in bringing science and nature to students throughout the community.  Using the California Science Standards as a guide, we offer a multitude of programs on science and nature topics.  Tours of the Museum showcase our many exhibits and displays. We are flexible and mobile and we will provide these programs at our Museum, parks, classrooms or other educational sites.

In April, 2014, the GVM will move into its new home on the ground floor of the brand-new Science Community Center on MJC’s West Campus.  This location will provide immediate access for MJC’s science students to study the flora, fauna, and ecosystems of our area, from the Sierras to the valley floor, and to utilize the Science-on-a-Sphere display (from the NOAA) for the study of Earth and space sciences.  Operated in concert with the GVM, and also overseen by the GVM Director, is our brand new, state-of-the-art planetarium with 107 seats below a 40-foot dome housing both a Zeiss ZKP-4 LED/fiber-optic star projector and the Zeiss Velvet Digital Projection system with Uniview software.  The MJC Planetarium will be a sought-after destination for teachers and their classes from throughout our community and within the college itself, and for families and groups seeking exciting science learning opportunities and events.

Adjacent to the GVM (currently in design) will be an outdoor education area with native plants, an aquatic ecosystem, geology specimens, a greenhouse, and a shaded gathering area.

The Director of the Great Valley Museum will supervise all GVM staff, currently consisting of two full-time employees, a dozen traveling teachers, and a cadre of volunteer docents and helpers.  In addition, the Director serves ex-oficio as a member of the Great Valley Museum Foundation Board and is charged with oversight of all fundraising activities.  With the new facilities, the GVM is perched to take off to great heights and expand its staffing accordingly, based on vastly increased visitation, on-site classes and planetarium shows, and increased donations from the community and corporate sponsors.  The GVM seeks a leader with the skills and vision to fully realize this next phase of growth in its new home.  The ideal candidate will couple a background in science, education, and/or museum studies, with success in fundraising and collaborative leadership of a diverse staff of dedicated employees and volunteers.

Details of the position, including minimum qualifications and application procedures, can be found at https://yosemite.peopleadmin.com/postings/991.  Interested applicants must create an account and submit their applications electronically. 
Closing date = February 10, 2014, 11:59 pm.

For additional information about the Great Valley Museum, visit our website at http://www.mjc.edu/community/resources/gvm/index.html.  Also visit the Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Division website at http://www.mjc.edu/prospective/programs/sme/ for more information and a photo of the beautiful new Science Community Center.

Questions can also be directed to museum staff members Molly Flemate (flematem@mjc.edu, 209-575-6674) and Tana Dennen (dennent@mjc.edu, 209-575-6196) or to Brian Sanders, Acting GVM Director, as shown below.

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