Bard Graduate Center

Chief Operating Officer, New York, NY


Bard Graduate Center is devoted to the study of decorative arts, design history, and material culture through research, advanced degrees, exhibitions, publications, and events.


Founded by Dr. Susan Weber in 1993, Bard Graduate Center (BGC) is an international community of scholars and students from a variety of academic backgrounds united by their object-centered approaches to understanding the past. From the archaeology of ancient Greece to oral histories of contemporary craftspeople, BGC is home to a wide range of interdisciplinary historical inquiry. A fully accredited academic unit of Bard College and a member of the Association of Research Institutes in Art History (ARIAH), BGC's Manhattan campus comprisesa state-of-the-art academic building, the BGC Gallery in the Upper West Side, as well as Bard Hall, a residence hall for BGC students, faculty, staff, and visiting scholars located west of Columbus Circle.

BGC is one of only a handful of institutions in the United States where a student can obtain an advanced degree in the decorative arts. As a pioneer in the study and exhibition of decorative arts and material culture, BGC is committed to expanding the conversation regarding the content, meaning, and significance of objects.

BGC has special areas of strength New York and American material culture, modern design history, early modern Europe history, and theory of museums, comparative medieval material culture (China, Islam, Japan), archaeology, anthropology, and material culture. Over the years, BGC's innovative degree programs and path-breaking museum exhibitions have created a new context for the study of a significant portion of the heritage of human history.

Exhibitions, both in their gallery and online, emerge from classroom teaching and faculty research and often serve as the basis for collaborations with scholars and institutions locally and around the world. These critically acclaimed projects offer visitors cutting-edge perspectives on objects from the mundane to the extraordinary and their stories.

BGC presents multiple exhibitions in its Gallery every year. Curated by members of the faculty, staff, or curatorial consultants, exhibition topics have ranged from the ancient world to the present and from the Americas to East Asia. BGC Gallery publishes award-winning exhibition catalogues and offers a broad array of programs to enhance the gallery experience.

Bard Graduate Center is an academic unit of Bard College, a liberal arts college located in the Hudson Valley. BGC's endowment, a primary source of revenue for the Center, is part of the larger Bard College endowment portfolio. While BGC has its own advisory board, the Bard College Board of Trustees which counts Susan Weber as a member is the ultimate governing authority of BGC.

For more information on BGC, please visit: https://www.bgc.bard.edu/.


Reporting to the Founder and Director of Bard Graduate Center, the Chief Operating Officer will be a big-picture thinker and manager who will provide overarching financial and operational leadership for BGC and play a critical role in the execution of BGC's strategic plan. The COO will advise, support, implement, and administer strategic operations and projects critical to the BGC's health, vitality, and financial wellbeing.

The COO will provide leadership and direction for financial policy and the Operating Budget, oversee all BGC business and infrastructural practices including finance, general administration, human resources, fundraising, information technology, marketing/communications/design, security, facilities, and other functions, as necessary. The COO will maintain efficient and transparent day-to-day operations, foster a collegial environment in an academic community, and ensure the continued growth and stability of the institution.

Managing a team of nearly 30, the COO will direct BGC's $16 million budget and ensure the safety and security of the students, staff, faculty, and all BGC properties and resources.


The COO will be expected to give priority to:

  • Thoroughly understanding BGC's history, nuanced academic culture, mission, academic programs, exhibitions, staff, advisory board, structure, and organization; BGC's finances, fundraising efforts, policies, and critically substantive issues. Maintaining and fostering BGC's relationship with Bard College is key to understanding the special culture of this institution.

  • With the Director and the Dean, developing and coordinating BGC's framework for multiyear budgeting for various initiatives and long-range plans; directing the strategic elements of BGC's budget process; reviewing the allocation of resources at the departmental level; keeping a sharp eye on costs and issues that might impact the Center's financial wellbeing.

  • Communicating actively and positively with the BGC Dean and faculty to foster the success of BGC's academic and public humanities programs.

  • Promoting policies and systems that reinforce transparency, accountability, and partnership, encouraging sound financial decision making and discipline at all levels; monitoring and enforcing budgetary controls, and managing expenditures as needed.

  • Coordinating and executing BGC's current and future capital projects and ongoing infrastructure needs; fulfilling the lead internal role in developing BGC's pending acquisition and renovation project.

  • Recruiting, mentoring, developing, and leading a team that reflects BGC's commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion; advancing BGC's commitment to strengthening staff diversity at all levels.

  • Chairing the Management Committee, the senior policy-making group at BGC, which includes the Founder and Director, Dean, COO, Faculty Chair, and Chief Advancement Officer.


Additionally, the COO will have ongoing responsibility, supervising professional department heads, for:

  • Directing, motivating, and educating the finance and administrative staff; providing training and development; delegating to and holding accountable a professional and collaborative team.

  • Maintaining proper financial and accounting policies, procedures, and controls.

  • Providing leadership to BGC's physical facilities' operations and maintenance, service requirements, contracts, and upgrading and replacement of systems and equipment, as necessary.

  • Ensuring that all internal and outsourced security systems and procedures are well maintained and effective; ensuring the cleanliness, safety, and maintenance of the campus.

  • Maintaining a close working relationship with the development department; tracking fundraising, campaign income, and other revenue-generating activities to ensure that budgets and revenue projections reflect the fiscal realities and institutional direction.

  • Fostering the development of efforts in marketing, public relations, and communications both to the various publics served by BGC's programs and internally.

  • Working with the outsourced service firm, assessing and updating BGC's technology platform as necessary; ensuring that best practices and industry standards are utilized, and that appropriate investments are made in BGC's technology infrastructure to foster its leading-edge functionality and continued safety.


The ideal candidate will be a seasoned leader with excellent management, team-building, and analytical skills, as well as:

  • Proven senior-level problem-solving and planning capability, as well as significant financial, administrative, and day-to-day operating responsibility in a well-regarded nonprofit organization of similar scope.

  • Ability to supervise a construction project from start to finish; experience will be highly preferred.

  • Demonstrated experience as a committed strategic partner who can take charge, build consensus, and work cross-functionally; impart credibility, trust, integrity, and enthusiasm; understand the subtleties of motivating staff and promoting a collaborative environment; a champion of director- and/or department-level priorities.

  • Significant management skills and business acumen; ability to hire, develop, retain, and delegate to talented people, as well as define and implement effective management structures and systems and establish and uphold high performance standards.

  • Outstanding communication skills articulate and persuasive verbally and in writing; ability to effectively relate to others, keep people informed, and engage with multiple constituencies.

  • Prior experience in higher education and an advanced degree in a related management field are strongly preferred.

The ideal candidate will also have or be:

  • Self-motivated, with a demonstrated prominent level of emotional intelligence.

  • A team player who can build consensus; able to impart credibility, enthusiasm, and integrity; able to think strategically and affect and respond nimbly to change.

  • Intellectually curious, decisive, resourceful, responsive, and organizationally sensitive to gain the support and confidence of the BGC community in all functions and at all levels.

  • Resourceful and results-oriented; open to innovative ideas; politically savvy; able to make tough calls.

  • A hard worker with a high energy level; adept at planning, prioritizing, organizing, and following through.

Bard College is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications from those who contribute to its diversity. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, mental and physical disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, familial status, veteran status, and genetic information.

Bard is committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation for all individuals in employment practices, services, programs, and activities.

Please send applications including cover letters and CVs and nominations to Mark Tarnacki at BGC@PhillipsOppenheim.com.