Public Programs Administrator

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, CA, USA
  • May 07, 2021
Full time Other Administrative Positions

Job Description


Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all positions (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


The Public Programs Administrator is responsible for executing assigned campus and public events and programs. Manages full range of event logistics, including coordinating and leading planning committee meetings, when appropriate, and serving as contact to external vendors and contractors. Acts as liaison for Education Outreach and community projects, providing logistical support and delivering content as necessary. Serves as the Architecture Tours program manager, including recruiting and training docents, developing policies and procedures and proactively resolving any issues that may arise. Provides oversight and support for online gift shop activities. Acts for Director, Public Programs (DPP) for Public Programs issues in his/her absence. Interacts with all levels of the organization, including senior management and faculty, donors and members of the community. Responsible for independent problem-solving and performing duties with a high level of service and the utmost courtesy and confidentiality.


Education Outreach Program Management (50%)

  • Under direction from the Institute Programs Specialist, assists in coordinating EO programs including SciChats@Salk, High School Science Day and Introduction to Research Science and Communication.
  • Coordinates all aspects of SciChats@Salk, including coordinating with teachers, recruiting and providing guidance to scientist speakers and delivering content in both virtual and in-person formats, as needed.
  • Coordinates High School Science Day event, including teacher and student registration, scientist and volunteer recruitment and event logistics. Consults with EC and COMM in event planning and collateral development.
  • Assists EO staff with the virtual Introduction to Research Science and Communication program by delivering lesson plans, facilitating discussion groups and coordinating virtual lab assignments.
  • Serves as primary back-up for Mobile Science Lab (MSL) program. Includes working with classroom TAs and volunteers to deliver STEM programming to middle school students, both in person and virtually, as well as driving the MSL van to school locations and delivering boxes of supplies and equipment.
  • Maintains relevant data and prepares reports on all SciChats@Salk and High School Science Day activities, as needed, for grant reports.
  • Maintains volunteer and scientist speaker databases for future reference.
  • Corresponds with teachers, volunteers and community partners, as needed.
  • Manages all aspects of various small teacher and student or community groups who request visits, presentations or tours of Salk to raise awareness of Salk research and further interest in biological sciences education.
  • Manages determination of Institute program event dates and notification to schools and other participants to coordinate reservations.
  • Manages the annual EO volunteer appreciation event, including all aspects of event logistics and communications needs.
  • Supports the EO team with special projects and program delivery, as needed.

Event and Special Project Management (50%)

  • Working with DPP, coordinates assigned planning committee and event logistics for annual Symphony at Salk gala event for up to 800 attendees. Works with planning committees consisting of representatives from various Salk departments, including Events Coordination (EC), Facilities Services (FS), Security Services (SEC), etc. Secures and acts as liaison to event vendors, consulting with Salk Procurement department as necessary. Acts as right hand to DPP to oversee delivery and pick-up of equipment and rentals; staffing assignments; artist lodging, transportation and green rooms; AV production; and to troubleshoot any issues that arise during execution of event.
  • Executes annual 75-attendee Benefactors' Dinner, including Symphony at Salk sponsors, performers, board members and faculty. Includes securing a venue, managing event logistics, working with vendors and coordinating guest artist performance with San Diego Symphony. Checks in with regular status updates and consults with DPP for final approvals.
  • Coordinates guest artist and secures faculty speakers for Salk Science & Music Series concerts. Works with COMM to oversee development of collateral materials and promotional strategies, as well as remarks for each concert. Works with appropriate development officers to assist in coordinating President's Club and sponsor stewardship activities, including logistics, AV, etc.
  • Serves as deputy to DPP in planning of annual Explore Salk public open house event. Coordinates collateral creation and advertising, catering, equipment, decor and staffing. Consults with necessary departments to plan and execute a successful event.
  • Develops timelines to ensure meeting deadlines for printings, mailings, responses, guest lists and briefings. With DPP, works with COMM to develop invitations, programs, etc. Works with DEV Services team to confirm mailing list criteria and perform any necessary data cleanup.
  • Manages volunteer efforts for various events, including but not limited to Explore Salk and Symphony at Salk. Includes overseeing volunteer acquisition efforts, developing and updating job descriptions, providing day-of training and management and coordinating necessary stewardship and/or correspondence. Coordinates volunteer efforts with the Education Outreach (EO) team.
  • Manages the Salk Architecture Tour and Meet-a-Scientist programs. Oversees recruitment and training of docents, manages requests for special tours, oversees day-to-day tour operations, runs complex tour reports for ER and FIN use, coordinates visitor and tour surveys and makes improvements as necessary.
  • Delivers tours as needed, including VIP and educational groups.
  • Recruits and schedules Salk scientists to give Meet-a-Scientist presentation for tour attendees.
  • Coordinates meetings and events for docents and scientists, including but not limited to training, annual holiday mixers and farewell/retirement celebrations.
  • With DPP, provides supervision to External Relations Coordinator (ERC) in tour-related activities. Includes advice on scheduling, exceptions to existing policies and procedures, scheduling and handling of special tours, daily tours, Meet-a-Scientist talks, customer service guidance, updating and improving the tours website and submitting weekly and monthly financial reports.
  • In absence of ERC, prepares required materials, including name badges, brochures, etc. prior to tour group arrival. Meets tour attendees and docents in reception area to check in all parties and ensure smooth start to each tour.
  • Solicits feedback regarding script, customer service, etc. from DEV, COMM, SEC, docents and tour attendees to ensure optimal visitor experience. Makes recommendations for new and updated visitor policies as necessary.
  • Working with COMM, develops tour collateral and program details. Assists ERC in the development and maintenance of a self-guided architecture app for campus visitors.
  • Provides oversight for online gift shop platform and acts as primary backup to ERC for gift shop operations.
  • Acts as primary contact for Institute volunteer inquiries. Maintains volunteer database to ensure detailed records of past volunteers to help determine most appropriate job assignments for future events.
  • Assists with Institute exhibition organization and execution, including leading planning committee meetings, coordinating with FS, planning project/event timelines and coordinating equipment and decor installation and pick-up.
  • Manages coordination of space and other logistics with Events department for all Institute programs.
  • Oversees ordering of supplies and equipment to ensure adequate inventory for Institute events and programs.
  • Manages additional special projects and events as assigned.



  • 3-5 years of relevant work experience.
  • Experience with research and gathering of materials and information for meetings and events; and drafting, editing and proofreading correspondence, briefings and reports.
  • Demonstrated experience using personal computers and a wide variety of software for presentations, written communication, data processing and electronic communication.
  • Experience with event and meeting logistical preparation.
  • Experience with basic budget reconciliation and reporting.
  • Experience with information gathering and subsequent analysis with ability to make recommendations.
  • Experience providing strong customer-oriented service and assistance.


  • Experience as a teacher and/or in a classroom or other educational environment.
  • Prior experience in a larger (500+) non-profit organization.
  • Demonstrated success in recruiting and working with volunteers.
  • Knowledge of the principles and processes of professional fundraising.
  • Demonstrated skill in utilizing major online databases in event management, fundraising, nonprofit institute environment and other reference sources.



  • Bachelor's degree in relevant field, or equivalent combination of education and experience



  • Demonstrated ability to plan, organize and execute a successful event. Demonstrated ability to handle logistics and effectively carry out event goals in a manner that enhances the image of the Salk Institute.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the philosophy of quality service and group process with proven aptitude for working as part of a team.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills to communicate and interact in a positive and effective manner with diverse and demanding clientele, including media contacts, senior management, faculty, volunteers, professional advisors and other staff using a high degree of tact, diplomacy and discretion, with emphasis on flexibility and professionalism.
  • Proven excellent written and verbal communication skills. Experience in writing/editing general correspondence and miscellaneous documents.
  • Ability to communicate extensively and persuasively to be collaborative, facilitative and to accomplish goals in a timely manner.
  • Ability to make excellent decisions with minimal direction and to employ mature judgment under demanding conditions and/or when confronted with frequently changing priorities.
  • Proven ability to work with independence, maintain confidentiality and anticipate problems and needs of department, taking necessary actions to mitigate potential negative effects and proactively assisting where possible.
  • Ability to be goal-oriented, self-motivated, reliable, detail-oriented, articulate and poised, and to possess personal integrity, and sound judgment.


  • Occasional evening and weekend overtime to staff events.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, as needed.
  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Must have a valid California Class C driver's license and clean driving record. Standard Institute background check will also include a motor vehicle report.
  • Must sign an employee confidentiality agreement.


This position requires constant grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, touching/feeling, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside. 


Application Details

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 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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