Director, Learning & Development

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • May 17, 2021
Full time Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences Deans & Directors

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 position (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


This position is responsible for the strategies around assessment, research, design, creation and delivery of learning and development programs and initiatives that are relevant, timely, relatable, and measurable so that learning is embedded into the fabric of Salk for all members of the Salk community.  Planning and building momentum and support for initiatives by providing tools and avenues for supervisors to own, create/facilitate and reinforce learning through application will be critical.

The incumbent will focus first and until further notice on strategies to meet the most pressing training and development issues facing the Institute for all cohorts in alignment with leadership goals, coordinating closely with the Office of Equity & Inclusion and Human Resources to develop and present a long-term strategy for the Institute that is attainable, sustainable and measurable.

This role will identify ways of merging traditional methods of design and development of learning content and programs in a manner that is relevant and timely through approaches that address historical barriers to user engagement.  The ability to be nimble and creative in terms of learning deployment and capitalizing on opportunities to develop learning champions into area trainers who can create and deliver decentralized content will be key to success.  

A focus for this position will be peer engagement, interactive learning, and platforms that encourage problem solving through shared experiences to encourage learning that is social and contextual and so participants are invested in it.

This position will be expected to influence individuals at all levels of the organization so learning and development becomes relatable and the value is understood and appreciated.  This function is intended to build and advocate for a training model, that demonstrates an investment in employees so continuous development and support for employees becomes an expected norm.  An emphasis on access, shared information, collaboration, and productivity in a manner that recognizes travel and work commitments will all be measures of success that the offerings are relevant targeted, and intuitive.

The completion of organizational needs assessments, development and delivery of a variety of organizational development programs including leadership development, skills training, succession planning and organizational change initiatives, compliance training, e-learning, and specialized training needs such as modules/programs that support the diversity of and inclusion for, our population, are key components of this role.


1) Needs assessment & strategic planning (35%)

  • Participates with members of management to identify needs and establish strategic plans and objectives for learning and development, including the development of a staffing plan and areas for cost-effective outsourcing to meet immediate needs.
  • Responsible for the conceptualization, design, development and execution of learning/development in support of strategic initiatives.
  • Evaluates and prepares a plan for effective and relevant faculty professional development taking accessibility, scheduling constraints and other perceived barriers to engagement into account.
  • Works in partnership with the Human Resources (HR) team, the Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI), Institute leadership teams, the Postdoctoral Office (PDO), to identify and implement organizational development programs, processes and training initiatives to proactively address organizational development and business needs, through a variety of delivery means (e.g., live, e-learning, self-paced, etc.) as appropriate for the audience/cohort.
  • Works closely with the HR team on initiatives to effectuate talent management, career development and succession planning.
  • Identifies and implements appropriate measurement systems to ensure learning objectives are being met.

2) Training & Coaching Facilitation (25%)

  • Creates a bank of external coaches for Salk who can be tapped for proactive coaching as high potential faculty and administrators and those poised for promotion have access to resources prior to moving into a new role. Ensures this resource is also appropriate for incumbents when it becomes necessary for further personal growth and professional development.
  • Ensures delivery and facilitation of effective training in a variety of formats, including classroom, online, role-playing, group discussion, and other methods depending upon specific needs, learning styles and work-related constraints.  May be the live facilitator or may identify outsourced resources or learning champions within Salk to develop/deliver training.
  • Works with the OEI and HR to recommend, develop and deploy learning opportunities that affirm the basic tenets of cultural advocacy and appreciation for all members of the campus and related inclusion efforts. Supports initiatives aimed to promote race relations, civility (e.g., bullying, professional conduct, bystander intervention, implicit bias, advocacy, and proactive conflict resolution). 
  • Develops career development modules for groups at Salk that recognize the critical role of their professional cohort (e.g., lab managers) and align with retention goals.
  • Works with the PDO staff to develop and deploy training that supports and promotes initiatives aimed at advocacy, and proactive conflict resolution to strengthen their skills and resources and to foster career development. 
  • Works with the CSO to develop and deploy training that supports faculty professional development to prepare them for their advancement as Salk leaders.
  • Develops methods, techniques, and evaluation criteria for projects, programs, and people. Helps HR and supervisors connect learning & development initiatives to performance management and evaluation.

3) Program Management (30%)

  • Develops and maintains relationships with a variety of stakeholders on campus and provides training support to established groups that provide direction and support to the training function.  Using evaluations from participants, supervisors and colleagues, prepares and presents summary reports and recommendations for management that outline training results and impact
  • Develops scopes of work for outside vendor relationships in the learning and development space in collaboration with Procurement and other members of HR.
  • Ensures logistical support in the assessment, development, planning, marketing and execution of approved programming. Evaluates where collateral materials are beneficial and ensures their creation/delivery. Ensures that post-training evaluations are conducted. Creates and uses metrics to measure return on investment.
  • Ensures that the training module of the human capital management system (HCM) is maximized. Troubleshoots issues with the HCM System Manager to ensure timely, accurate use of the system for registration, cancellation, attendance, tracking and reporting.
  • In consultation with others who may need access to centralized training funds, prepares and manages training budget.
  • In coordination with the Communications Department, will propose and/or develop regular, timely, creative communications around training value strategically designed to drive engagement and interest in training and related internal initiatives.  Avenues include but are not limited to the HR/Training website, Salk this Week entries, all-campus emails, etc. 
  • Oversees, monitors and strengthens relationship with UCSD staff education so it is leveraged effectively. Networks with the UCSD academic personnel department to determine how partnerships can be forged to develop our faculty.

4) Research (10%)

  • Engages in research, memberships (ATD, CUPA-HR) and other means to keep abreast of best practices and continually assesses and realigns direction as appropriate for the benefit of constituents and the campus overall.
  • Looks for new and innovative learning techniques for traditional and non-traditional training and development for both onsite and remote associates.
  • Incumbent continually finds ways to develop relationships with outside vendors and demo outside training at no or low cost with potential vendors for Salk.
  • Uses and leverages social media as appropriate and in accordance with Salk policies and procedures to promote learning and development.
  • Conducts research and polling on best practices to help position Salk as an employer of choice overall with an emphasis on training as a benefit.  Makes recommendations about those which could have measurable impact at Salk.



  • Bachelor's degree in psychology, organizational development, human resources, communication, education or equivalent combination of education and applicable job experience.


  • Master's degree in business, organizational development, communication or other relevant field.

  • MBTI, DiSC, and/or other practitioner certifications relevant for application to a diverse audience.



  • 10+ years of previous experience in the design and delivery of trainings with an emphasis on complex issues facing organizations today including diversity, civility, inclusion in addition to leadership development, compliance, etc.
  • 10+ years in a role working with a diverse employee population audience with multifaceted goals of reaching the targeted audience, successfully implementing new methods of training/development to a variety of audiences and the ability to recognize when communications could be designed to connect and engage all workplace stakeholders in furtherance of common goals.
  • Demonstrated experience designing and implementing learning and development programs.
  • Prior experience with needs assessment, evaluation development, results analysis, metrics development and expectations management.
  • Experience with current learning technologies and platforms; to include human capital and learning management systems.
  • Ability to work in fast paced, team focused environment and exhibit flexibility within changing environmental business needs.
  • Experience collaborating effectively with subject matter experts (SMEs) across various functions and levels of an organization.


  • Experience working in or with either an academic environment or other shared governance model where different approaches and spheres of influence are critical, is strongly preferred.


  • Strong knowledge of instructional design, facilitation, coaching, e-learning, virtual learning, in-person learning and related best practices.
  • Knowledge of a wide array of diverse adult learning styles.
  • Able to make recommendations and offer alternatives when training is not a preferred solution for performance gaps.
  • Able to analyze cost/benefit of various learning approaches to determine the best solution to close the gap while managing timelines, budget and resources.
  • Strong analytic skills and metrics aptitude.  Organized program management skills.
  • Ability to work with confidential and sensitive information.
  • Proven leadership, team-building and mentoring skills, a proven track record of building, leading and working on teams.
  • Excellent communication skills, ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with persons inside and outside the business.  Strong public speaking skills.
  • Adept at facilitating communications and presenting information to small and large groups.
  • Needs assessment knowledge.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective and cooperative working relationships with others regardless of title, rank, power dynamics, governance or other factors which may present themselves as barriers.
  • Ability to independently formulate long-range objectives and manage varied programs and services. Excellent critical thinking and analytical skills. Strong communication and writing skills.
  • Working knowledge of and the ability to apply standard theories, principles, practices, and techniques applicable to the program and/or administrative specialty to develop conclusions and make recommendations.
  • Working knowledge of operational and fiscal analysis and techniques. Ability to take initiative and plan, organize, coordinate, and perform work in various situations where numerous, diverse, and time sensitive demands are involved.
  • Skilled in research methods and the synthesis of information.  Strength in the development and evaluation of policies and programs.  Ability to quickly read and synthesize voluminous information quickly and comprehensively and determine its applicability/usefulness to the relevant workplace.
  • Ability to collect, evaluate, and interpret data to develop sound conclusions and make appropriate recommendations. Expertise in investigating and analyzing problems with broad administrative impact and implications.
  • Ability to anticipate problems, address them proactively and creatively and develop appropriate recommendations leading to effective, sustainable solutions.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively interpret, organize, and present information and ideas in written or presentation form and use consultative and facilitation skills to gain consensus.
  • Skill in self-management, deadline adherence and appropriate follow up.
  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office products (PowerPoint, Word, Excel). 
  • Knowledge of and skill in use of e-learning platforms and how to leverage them for various audiences.
  • Excellent in building and maintaining relationships with internal clients/stakeholders and external vendors.


  •  Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Successful completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support operational needs.
  • Must be willing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.


This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, touching, feeling, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside. 


Application Details

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 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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