Filled and Search Closed – Head of Audience Research and Evaluation- Full-time – The Morton Arboretum

Head of Audience Research and Evaluation

The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned tree-focused botanical garden located outside of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois. The Arboretum engages more than one million guests annually on its beautiful 1,700-acre site. We’re seeking a self-starter with solid experience leading and collaborating on audience-focused research and evaluation initiatives. You’ll be part of a talented marketing and communications team making a positive difference in the world while working in a hybrid office environment.

Position Summary: Establish and lead The Morton Arboretum’s audience research and evaluation program, and set the agenda for priority evaluation efforts in alignment with the Arboretum’s Strategic Plan, programmatic needs, and field-wide trends. Directly conduct and manage key audience research and evaluation studies, while advising and collaborating with colleagues and external partners on approved projects they facilitate.

Essential Functions:

  • Develop and champion an audience research and evaluation strategy for the Arboretum. Working with colleagues across the organization (including partners in Learning and Engagement, Membership, IT, Marketing, and Guest Experience), create an annual plan for evaluation that reflects institutional and programmatic priorities, desired outcomes, and resource needs.
  • Working with internal and external colleagues and partners, deliver data-driven actionable insights, with an emphasis on guest experience, guest and member demographic profiles, and exhibition and marketing concept and experience testing. Effectively communicate insights to stakeholders to heighten internal awareness of Arboretum guest needs.
  • Leverage evaluation tools and data to support the audience development aspects of the Strategic Plan with an emphasis on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility.
  • Conduct select audience research as well as front-end, formative, remedial, and summative evaluations. Design and administer appropriate evaluation methods and tools (e.g, survey instruments, questionnaires, interviews, observations, focus groups, prototypes) for each project to effectively gather quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Manage select evaluation projects with external firms and partners, including the end-to-end request-for-proposal process.
  • Deliver presentations of study findings to Arboretum staff to aid decision-making. When appropriate, present or publish to professional networks in the arboreta, botanical garden,  and museum community.
  • Participate in professional networks. Build relationships and network with peers, keeping current on the latest principles in audience research and evaluation and actively applying best practices at the Arboretum.
  • Design and communicate a process for submitting, approving, and scheduling requests for audience research and evaluation projects. Establish and/or fortify best practices for audience data collection and research throughout the organization (e.g. standard demographic measures) to ensure Arboretum studies are consistent and comparable.
  • Plan and manage project budgets.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree required, master’s degree preferred, in research and evaluation-related field including, museum studies, science education, learning sciences, educational psychology, or related field. 7+ years of related experience required, preferably in a public garden, museum, or informal STEM education institution. Experience conducting social science research and evaluation studies with both qualitative and quantitative methods. Experienced with statistical analysis, advanced digital analytics tools, and survey platforms. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required, including the ability to convey the meaning of qualitative measures. Strong organizational skills and attention to detail and accuracy are required. Experience presenting to colleagues and soliciting and incorporating feedback. Ability to work independently and collaborate with internal and external colleagues. Experience reviewing academic literature and staying attuned to current trends. Demonstrated time management and problem-solving skills.

Success Factors: Earnest appreciation for the mission and work of an arboretum. Proactive, hands-on professional with a collaborative style and a strong service mentality. Strong communication, presentation, and leadership skills with the ability to motivate and inspire colleagues and drive multiple initiatives simultaneously. Positive attitude and strong work ethic. Highly organized in planning, budgeting, and execution. Open to input and a lifelong learner. Ability to embrace and align with the organization’s employee core values to be inclusive, take ownership, work together, keep learning, and make the Arboretum exceptional.

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Requires some physical activity: limited carrying and lifting (up to 25 lbs.), some local and national travel.
  • Work Environment: Fast-paced office environment. Work is performed primarily indoors. This position is designated as a hybrid-eligible position, allowing for some work to be performed off-premise, during regular hours of work.
  • Equipment: General office equipment.
  • Schedule: Position requires occasional extended work hours, including evenings and weekends.

To apply, visit

For full consideration, please include resume and cover letter with application.

All Arboretum employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of that status in order to maintain their employment.

The Morton Arboretum is a champion of diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success. The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status. To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.

The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment.