HR Division Chief Job Announcement

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of 40 US institutions and 4 international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research.  AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.

We are currently seeking a Human Resources Division Chief (HRDC).  The position is located in in our offices in Tucson, Arizona on the University of Arizona Campus.

Reporting to the Chief Financial Officer/Vice President, Administration for AURA, the HRDC will be responsible for developing and executing human resources strategy for our ground-based astronomical observatories operating in the U.S. and international locations; including 700+ domestic, expatriate and international employees.  HR strategies are to support the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization, specifically in the areas of talent management, compensation and benefits, change management, and organizational and leadership development. The HRDC will provide strategic leadership by articulating HR subject matter expertise, resources and plans to the senior management team and governing boards.    Responsibilities include:

  1. Providing overall leadership and guidance to the HR function by overseeing talent acquisition, compliance, equal employment opportunity/AAP, career development, retention, training, leadership development, organizational planning and development and compensation and benefits.  
  2. Managing staff and HR operations in multiple locations, domestically and in Chile.
  3. Developing and implementing HR plans, strategy and structure that effectively communicate and support the organization’s mission and strategic vision and support the achievement of the overall business operations objectives.
  4. Function as a strategic business advisor to the executive/senior management of each business unit or specialty group regarding key organizational and management issues.
  5. Develop and implement comprehensive compensation and benefits, performance management recruitment plans that are competitive and cost-effective for the organization.
  6. Drive greater consistency in policy, procedure and operations across the AURA footprint. 

The ideal candidate will possess a Bachelor’s degree (Master’s preferred) and 15+ years of progressively responsible Human Resources experience with at least 5 years in a management/supervisory capacity.  SPHR and/or SHRM-SCP certification desirable.  Additionally, they will demonstrate:


  • Competency in such areas as business acumen, relationship management, leadership, HR expertise, global and cultural awareness, critical evaluation, communication and the ability to negotiate and influence.
  • Thorough knowledge of modern human resources theories and practices including recruitment, employment, wage and salary administration, benefits administration, training, and employee and management relations; particularly as applied to an academic and/or technical/scientific work environment.
  • Ability to:
    1. Relate sound human resources management practice to the achievement of both management and employee goals,
    2. Employ good human resources practice in making a positive contribution to the overall problem-solving process of management;
    3. Operate effectively as a strategic partner in organizational decision-making;
    4. Plan, organize, assign, and direct the work of professional and administrative employees and administer an effective human resources program to meet the needs of the organization management; and
    5. Establish and maintain effective working relationships internally, externally, and with the communities-at-large.
  • Working knowledge of current applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations affecting the human resources function. 
  • Preferred experience and ability:
    1. Working with remote, multi-locational teams.
    2. Global employment experience.   
    3. Bi-lingual (English/Spanish).  

AURA offers an excellent benefits package, competitive salaries, and a stimulating work environment. Interested candidates are requested to complete an on-line application through our website at*F2401253BF4C5C66 Click the “Apply Online” link at the bottom of this posting. Please upload one PDF document resume and cover letter   Please include job #17-0166 in the filename. Applications received by September 1, 2017 will receive full consideration.  

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA and all of the centers, do not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our record keeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process can contact us at      EOE/AA/M/F/D/V