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University of California Observatories: Director of the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics (Open until filled. Apply by 5/1/18)

Recruitment Period

Open date: March 5th, 2018
Last review date: May 1st, 2018
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.
Final date: June 28th, 2019
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.



The University of California Observatories ( at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for the position of Director of the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics (LAO). The LAO ( is closely affiliated with the Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) and the UCSC Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. Duties will include defining goals and leading the design and construction of new adaptive optics systems and instruments, conducting original research that has visibility and impact on the course of astronomical science, coordinating UCO’s adaptive optics research portfolio with all UC astronomy campuses, participation in fundraising for new instruments and other instrumentation initiatives. In partnership with the CfAO Director, the LAO Director will develop a comprehensive program in adaptive optics that includes technology and instrument development, and host the annual CfAO Summer School in Adaptive Optics and the CfAO Fall Retreat Conference. The position will require the incumbent to employ excellent verbal and written communication skills, understand the barriers facing women and minorities who are underrepresented in higher education careers, and have a familiarity with the intended science to be accomplished with various kinds of adaptive optics systems.

Applicants with the following preferred qualifications are strongly encouraged to apply: a current research program in adaptive optics and/or related fields, demonstrated technological expertise in areas relevant to adaptive optics, previous leadership roles in the design and construction of high-technology astronomy projects, previous leadership roles in directing substantial technical groups, familiarity with numerical simulations and modeling; experience mentoring students in astronomical instrumentation; experience in building an equitable and diverse scholarly environment with respect to teaching, mentoring, research, and/or service.

Assistant Research – Research

Commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Ph.D. (or equivalent foreign degree) in Astronomy, Physics, or a closely related Engineering discipline at the time of application; at least five years of post-baccalaureate experience in design and construction of large, high-technology astronomy projects.

August 1, 2018, or as soon as possible after the initial review of applications.

Initial appointment is full-time for two years, with the intention of reappointment upon successful review. Reappointment is contingent upon the continued availability of funding.

Applications are accepted via the UCSC Academic Recruit online system. All documents and materials must be submitted as PDFs.

Please refer to Position # JPF00517-18T in all correspondence.


  • Letter of application that briefly summarizes your qualifications and interest in the position, including a summary of scientific management and administrative experience (required)
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of publications (required)

Reference Requirement
Applications must include confidential letters of recommendation* (a minimum of three are required and a maximum of five will be accepted). Please note that your references, or dossier service, will submit their confidential letters directly to the UC Recruit System.

*All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. For any reference letter provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service, career center), direct the author to UCSC’s confidentiality statement at

Full consideration will be given to applications completed by May 1, 2018. Applications received after this date will be considered only if the position has not been filled.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 or by phone at (831) 459-2686.

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check (see More information is available at the APO website (see or call (831) 459-4300.

UCSC is a smoke & tobacco-free campus.

If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact the Academic Personnel Office at (831) 459-4300.


Job location

Santa Cruz, CA

Learn More

More information about this recruitment:


Document requirements
  • Cover Letter - Letter of application that briefly summarizes your qualifications and interest in the position, including a summary of scientific management and administrative experience.

  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V., which must include a list of publications.

Reference requirements
  • 3-5 letters of reference required

How to apply

  1. Create an ApplicantID
  2. Provide required information and documents
  3. If any, provide required reference information
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