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Director of Letters (100% FTE)


Employment at Wisconsin Academy:

The Wisconsin Academy is a lifelong learning organization created by and for the people of Wisconsin. We bring people together at the intersection of the sciences, arts, and letters to inspire discovery, illuminate creative work, and foster civil dialogue on important issues. Learn more at

The Wisconsin Academy is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating a welcoming environment for all employees. We provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability status, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and organizational need.


Director of Letters (100% FTE)

The Director of Letters is a communications and publication expert with experience in print magazine editing and production, as well as an understanding of civil discourse. This individual is an essential member of our team, working closely with the Executive Director, program leads and administration staff, as well as board leadership. The staff position is based at the Academy office in Madison, but hybrid or remote work arrangements would be considered. This is a full time, nonexempt position. The person that takes this position will join a collaborative team of dedicated professionals who maintain a positive, inclusive, respectful workplace culture.

Compensation: Starting wage is between $47,000 and $52,000 depending on skill sets and experience.

Employees at 50% FTE or higher are eligible for our health insurance package and other benefits on a prorated basis, including a generous personal leave policy.

General Duties: The Director of Letters position has three primary focus areas:

  • Editor for the signature Academy publication, the quarterly Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine and for Academy communications;
  • Lead on Academy literary efforts as ambassador and partnership point person for the statewide literary community, including the Poet Laureate Commission;
  • Lead on Letters programming broadly, including civil discourse.

Reports to: Executive Director


Education Requirement

  • Undergraduate degree, preferably in English, journalism, communications, or related field
  • Graduate degree or equivalent experience

Minimum Qualifications

  • Outstanding writing, editing, and creative skills
  • Experience working in publishing in periodicals
  • Minimum of 3 years as a magazine or literary journal editor
  • Knowledge of the literary community in Wisconsin
  • Ability to understand and reach target audience
  • Understanding of distribution and subscription strategies
  • Branding, marketing, and digital communications knowledge
  • Experience with program development, particularly in current affairs or civil discourse
  • Program administration experience, such as budget development and management

Preferred Qualifications (Optional)

  • 5+ years of experience as a magazine or literary journal editor
  • Experience working in layout and design
  • Experience working with printers
  • Experience with magazine distribution
  • Management experience
  • Grant writing or development experience
  • Experience with Content Management Systems and Project Management Systems
  • Broad communications knowledge and experience, including successful brand, marketing, public relations, digital communications, and social media efforts
  • Experience developing experiences or content that bridges divides, establishes common ground, or considers a spectrum of perspectives   

Essential Skills and Attributes

  • Attention to detail
  • Planning, organizational, and project management skills
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Strong people skills
  • Decision-making skills


Main areas of responsibilities for this position include but are not limited to:

Editor (60% of position)

Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine

  • Creates editorial calendars, planning and overseeing content across several issues at one time, including special advertising sections
  • Develops and assigns stories
  • Hires and manages freelance writers and photographers
  • Sets and manages the production process with staff, contributors, designer, and printer
  • Oversees photography, design, and artwork
  • Communicates and manages contributors including deadlines, writing style, and fees
  • Revises, copyedits, and proofreads articles to meet publication standards
  • Engages literary and other networks for feedback and content ideas
  • Manages vendor relationships including: ​Working with graphic designer on magazine appearance and layout; overseeing printing and distribution of publication; handling invoicing and payment for freelance writers, photographers, designer, printer

Academy Editor and Communications Team Member

  • Collaborate with Academy staff to ensure consistent voice and brand across Academy communications to ensure communications quality
  • Contribute to Academy communications strategy
  • Implement successful communications strategies for Letters programs, in collaboration with communications team

Literary Lead (15% of position)

Letters Programming

  • Engage with statewide literary network, Letters Sounding Board, Vice President of Letters, Academy Fellows, and others to be aware of developments, trends and opportunities for the Academy
  • Lead Academy Letters programming including, Poetry and Pi(e), Wisconsin Book Festival involvement, connections and collaboration across the other Academy program areas – such as readings at the Watrous Gallery or at science programs, topics and/or instructors for Academy Courses
  • Direct and execute the Wisconsin People & Ideas Writing Contests
  • Hires contest screeners and judges  
  • Administers contest submission process
  • Oversees contest screening process
  • Communicates with screeners and judges
  • Handles press releases and notification of winners
  • Works with winning writers to edit manuscripts for publication
  • Creates and submits invoices for prizes and honorariums

Civil Discourse Lead (15% of position)

Letters Program Administration (10% of position)

  • Works with Wisconsin Book Festival to schedule contest reading 
  • Oversees marketing, promotion, and public relations
  • Engage with stakeholders (including colleagues) to develop civil discourse programming that engages with topics important to the people of Wisconsin and established common ground
  • Collaborate with colleagues to maximize cross-disciplinary opportunities for civil discourse
  • Collaborate with External Relations Coordinator on events and communications
  • Collaborate with Executive Director, Director of Development, and Program Leads on development efforts and funding opportunities
  • Budget management
  • Assist Development team with grants
  • Academy Board relations and Letters-related presentations


How to Apply

Please submit a resume and cover letter to The deadline for best consideration is October 27, 2023.


Contact Us

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Wisconsin Academy Offices 
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
Phone: 608.733.6633


James Watrous Gallery 
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25