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Senior Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Senior Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Association of Research Libraries Job Location: Washington, D.C. Apply By: Open until filled Date Created: 01-13-2021

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) seeks a knowledgeable, passionate leader to advance the Association's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) priorities. This is a unique opportunity to advance DEI and social and racial justice for and with 125 of the major research library leaders in Canada and the United States. In this moment, we believe in our leadership responsibilities across the broader cultural heritage community to identify, highlight, challenge, and address the long-standing impact of institutional racism. We also see the urgent need to assess and restructure our systems to include marginalized and underrepresented perspectives, and to create pathways for recruitment, retention, and leadership advancement of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The successful candidate will build on ARL's long-standing commitment to DEI.

The Association has a strong history of establishing programs to recruit into our organizations and develop individuals who identify as BIPOC or are from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. The senior director of DEI will build on the strength of this foundation as a partner with ARL's senior director, Leadership and Organizational Development, to shape the path forward for research libraries and the Association. The successful candidate will demonstrate an ability to engage ARL member leaders through a consultative, inclusive approach with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, while working strategically with the executive director, and with other members of the staff, to increase the Association's capacity for anti-racist work and for building strong, inclusive research library cultures and encouraging best practices across all 125 institutions.

Through their leadership, presentations, and scholarship, the successful candidate will inform ARL member leaders and organizations on national and global efforts, policies, and practices to reconstruct cultures of oppression. They will lead, network, and participate in the DEI community across the academic and research library profession; participate in national and international forums; and act as ARL's media spokesperson on DEI. We are looking for a forward-thinking, experienced individual who recognizes this position at ARL as an opportunity to bring sustainable, positive changes that advance research libraries well into the 21st century. ARL is a diverse collective of leading libraries and archives in Canada and the United States and is committed to strengthening its members' capacity to shape their path forward in this moment. We know this takes work, commitment, and resolve and we invite those who have prepared for this moment. We are looking forward to reviewing your application.

Job Title: Senior Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Classification: Exempt

Reports to: Executive Director

Date of Last Review: January 12, 2020

Job Summary/Objective

The senior director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion leads the Association’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion priorities; works with and provides strategic guidance to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the Board of Directors; collaborates with the senior director, Leadership and Organizational Development; and reports to the executive director. As a member of a broader community the senior director informs the membership in their growth as leaders committed to anti-racist, inclusive, and equitable practice. The senior director’s expertise and skill create a community within and outside of ARL that demonstrates through its actions the commitment to ARL's Guiding Principles and adherence to the Code of Conduct.

The senior director works with the executive director; the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee; the senior director, Leadership and Organizational Development; and the program management team to develop an Action Plan focused on dismantling racism, on increasing equity and opportunity for underrepresented and marginalized communities, on creating more inclusive and structurally equitable research libraries and a more inclusive and structurally equitable Association. Once approved by the Board, the senior director is responsible for managing and assessing progress against Action Plan priorities and objectives, adjusting as needed—including resource plans and budget targets. They are responsible for reporting on progress to the executive director, the membership, and the Board.

Essential Functions

Program Leadership

The senior director provides vision, deep subject expertise, and guidance in the development of a culture of inclusion that honors, respects, and leverages our diversity. Specifically they lead by educating and working with the members to address systemic racism in research library culture, policies, practices, and staffing. They demonstrate pathways to structural equity.

Grounded in theory and practice, the senior director leads:

  • the Association’s work to increase the recruitment, development, retention, and advancement of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) or people from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in research libraries. They provide career/talent/leadership development while engaging in critical analysis of the cultures, policies, and climates within our institutions in order to remove barriers to retention and advancement. 
  • the Association members, Board, and staff in becoming inclusive leaders, and in raising their awareness of scholarship, practices, and other related resources. This may include bringing in external experts, working collaboratively with partners, engaging in peer-to-peer discussions, providing briefings, as well as social and scholarly publishing.

Working with the senior director of Leadership and Organizational Development and the program manager, Grants and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, this position is responsible for the Association's flagship programs in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: the Leadership and Career Development Program (LCDP) and the Kaleidoscope Program, both for emerging leadership. In collaboration with the senior director of Leadership and Organizational Development, the senior director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion designs, directs, assesses, and reports on the diversity, equity, and inclusion programs for members, fellows, and scholars; and participates as a subject-matter expert in the design and delivery of other leadership and organizational development programs. 

The senior director also analyzes, assesses, and reports on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the profession, focused on the recruitment and retention of library and information science students who identify as BIPOC or people from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and more recently focused on countering systems of oppression.

The senior director forges alliances with allied organizations, entering into and managing partnerships where appropriate.

The senior director represents ARL and presents at national and international forums, and serves as the ARL lead in the development of national and international relationships. They are the DEI media spokesperson.

Association Committee Staff Leadership

The senior director serves as the staff lead to the ARL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. In this role, they:

  • Develop and implement the program initiatives with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee once approved by the Board
  • Work with the DEIC chair to ensure delivery on action items, including preparing for and communicating after committee meetings
  • Participate on the Program Strategy Committee
  • Work with the staff leads on other Association and Board committees to ensure delivery on shared action items
  • Prepare program reports for members as requested by the executive director or the Board

Supervisory Responsibilities

The senior director of DEI supervises the work of external visiting program officers (VPOs) and external consultants who assist with the management of related programs, and who may be part of program grants.

This position works with the program manager for Grants and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for program delivery.

Work Environment

Through collaboration and teamwork, the Association (members, staff, partners) works together to deliver on the mission it serves, based on the Board-approved Action Plan. The Association adheres to its Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct in all it does.

All ARL staff are telecommuting until further notice. ARL is headquartered in Washington, DC, and under ordinary circumstances most of our staff is located in the DC area, with flexible telecommuting policies.

Position Type & Expected Hours of Work

This is a full-time position and may require work and travel in the evenings and weekends.


Historically travel for this position is frequent (50%), affiliated with Association meetings, national association meetings, and leadership programs. During the COVID-19 pandemic all work is conducted remotely.

Required Education and Experience

  • Related master’s degree required (such as sociology, higher education)
  • Significant knowledge and a minimum of 7 years of experience with program design and management in DEI programs or initiatives particularly in the context of research libraries, archives, or museums
  • Evidence of engagement with relevant professional communities (publication, conference participation, speaking/training engagements)
  • Demonstrable success in engaging internal and external stakeholders in establishing a vision, evaluating, and successfully meeting expectations of a diversity, equity, and inclusion portfolio
  • Proven demonstration of awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations
  • Team player who creates trust, exudes credibility, and can elevate enthusiasm across the organization
  • Ability to balance the management of multiple projects and priorities simultaneously
  • Excellent oral and written communication and public-speaking skills

Preferred Education and Experience

Preference will be given to those with experience in a higher education, nonprofit, or research library setting.

An existing public profile or reputation as a thought leader or leading practitioner in diversity, equity, and inclusion is preferred.

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