Educ: Director of Literary Arts

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Chautauqua Institution is a ‘not-for-profit’ global convener of dialogue and debate on the most significant issues of the day through engagement across four pillars of arts, education, religion, and recreation.  The Chautauqua Community is located on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State and comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine/performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship/programs, and recreational activities.


Mission:  Chautauqua Institution is dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through a program that explores the important religious, social and political issues of our times; stimulates provocative, thoughtful involvement of individuals and families in creative response to such issues; and promotes excellence and creativity in the appreciation, performance and teaching of the arts. 


Vision:  Chautauqua aspires to create an informed, engaged and renewed public that fosters and actively contributes to a more civil society, nationally and within the various communities represented by its individual constituents and partners. 


Application Procedures

Qualified candidates should apply online at  Interested applicants must submit a resume and writing sample (typically a cover letter) for consideration.  You are encouraged to learn more about Chautauqua Institution at and the 150 Forward Strategic Plan at


Position Summary

The Director of Literary Arts will report to the Vice President/Emily & Richard Smucker Chair for Education to design and implement collaborative strategic initiatives to strengthen and deepen the value of the literary arts program to stakeholders. This incumbent provides administration and leadership for the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC), the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, pre-season Writers’ Festival, the literary journal Chautauqua, and two national literary prizes (The Chautauqua Prize and The Chautauqua Janus Prize), and works collaboratively with other colleagues on school-based programs, such as the CLSC Young Readers Program and Young Writers Institute. 


This position has the opportunity to build upon the strengths of Chautauqua’s literary legacy in support of the Institution’s recently adopted strategic plan that calls for leveraging the power of various programmatic platforms to “advance the most important, relevant conversations and experiences of our time, during the summer assembly and beyond, on the grounds of the Institution and beyond.”


Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide strategic vision and working leadership for Literary Arts programs, including program evaluation, operational support, fiscal management and community engagement.
  • Produce coordinated and unified programs within Chautauqua’s Literary Arts, supporting the mission, vision, shared values and strategic direction of Chautauqua Institution and Department of Education.
  • Plan, develop and deliver compelling, creative and innovative programs for a sophisticated, well-educated reading audience by working effectively with other internal managers, program coordinators and informal network contacts. Work collaboratively with Institution colleagues on developing program and growing audiences in support of Chautauqua Institution’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.
  • Working within the Institution’s weekly theme concept, curate a list of Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) selections for the upcoming season. Coordinate Chautauqua visits and hospitality for 9-12 CLSC authors and the winners of The Chautauqua Prize and The Chautauqua Janus Prize.
  • Serve as program director for the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, managing the hiring and supervision of writers (generally, one prose writer and one poet each week) for the summer assembly season; hosting public Writers’ Center events (one reading and two literary lectures each week); overseeing workshops; and handling administrative details of the program including arranging for author transportation, housing needs, and guests.
  • Provide literary leadership and expertise to the processes of Writers’ Festival, literary journal production, and The Chautauqua Prize and The Chautauqua Janus Prize. Partner with and support director of Writers’ Festival in planning and execution of festival program.
  • Manage planning and execution for the seasonal operations of the CLSC, the CLSC Octagon, the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall and the Poetry Makerspace.
  • Develop year-round contact and engagement with CLSC, Writers’ Center, and Writers’ Festival alumni. 
  • Cultivate partnerships with national literary arts and academic institutions in support of and aligned with programmatic goals and Chautauqua Institution’s strategic plan.
  • Oversee year-round and seasonal staffing and budgeting for literary programs and work with staff of the Chautauqua Foundation on philanthropic support for programs through grants and donor cultivation.
  • Evaluate programs and content to measure impact, mission alignment, financial sustainability and as part of institution’s program optimization goals.
  • Working in support of Chautauqua’s strategic plan, develop a multi-phase plan to reclaim Chautauqua’s position as a national force in the literary arts and develop a year-round literary presence with Chautauqua’s current participants and prospective Chautauquans.



Formal Education & Experience Requirements

  • Master’s Degree in English, creative writing, or closely related liberal arts field required; doctoral degree or pursuit preferred. 
  • 10-years’ experience in literary education, writing, publishing or related fields with proven success in program development and leadership in advancing effective engagement in a higher education or not-for-profit landscape strongly preferred. 


Skills and Abilities

  • Exceptional literary background and wide/deep intellectual interests with a broad professional and literary network, or experience developing such a network  
  • Possesses an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoys working in a participative work environment that respects varied opinions and diverse audiences
  • Creative, imaginative, a quick learner with excellent communication skills to present often complex information, frequently with public speaking engagements or at board meetings
  • Exceptional program administration and management skills, including, but not limited to: staff supervision, program evaluation, budget development/management, data gathering/analysis, communicating with stakeholders and population served
  • Advanced competencies in critical questioning, trust-building, networking, managing change/uncertainty, continuous improvement and mobilizing stakeholders as advocates of innovation within a traditional environment
  • Capacity to envision new operational landscapes and ability to quickly adapt new skills in a constantly evolving, rapid-pace culture of visionary thinkers
  • Intermediate knowledge and application of Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, and digital learning methods/resources


Physical Requirements, Environment Hazards & Working Conditions

  • Primarily light work with approximately 85% of work performed sitting at a desk and using substantial/repetitive motion of fingers, wrists and hands (including grasping)
  • Exerting up to 10 pounds of force occasionally and/or negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull or otherwise move objects, including the human body
  • Stooping, kneeling, crouching, reaching and when organizing office, filing paperwork and managing daily administrative tasks using resources at floor/desk/overhead levels
  • Standing, walking, pushing, pulling and lifting to travel to work events and assist with transportation of materials and/or event set up
  • Visual acuity to perform an activity such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; transcribing; viewing a computer terminal and extensive reading
  • Talking by expressing ideas and conveying instructions as well as hearing to perceive sound with or without corrections.  Ability to receive detailed information through oral communication.
  • Normal levels of office noise from conversation, computers and systems. Risk of eye strain due to heavy computer usage. Employee should seek to change visual focus every twenty minutes to alleviate potential discomfort.
  • Travel required to various events, conferences and/or trainings using personal (or occasionally rental) vehicles.  Travel predominately in PA/NY within an approximate 100-miles radius.  Potential to visit Chautauqua Institution Offices in Washington, DC.
  • Flexibility to work evenings, weekends, and holidays required and willingness to flex up in scheduled work hours (based on business need).


  • Executive Leadership Team, specifically Vice Presidents of Education and Strategic Initiatives
  • Education Department Team, including Director of Youth & Family Programs and Manager of Community Education
  • Senior Leadership Team
  • Chautauqua Foundation
  • Strategic business partners, including professional networks and consultants
  • Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees
  • Community-at-large, including donors, patrons, and community members 

Supervision and Guidance

  • Seasonal employees Literary Arts Programs

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