NPS finally posts job announcement for chief historian

Historians in the News

As regular readers of this publication are aware, we rarely post vacancy announcements. Once in a great while, however, an announcement of such importance comes to our attention that we break our own rule. This is one such occasion.

Since the retirement over a year ago of Dwight Pitcaithley, Chief Historian of the National Park Service (NPS), this key history position has remained vacant. Upper level management at the NPS redescribed the position several times in an effort to downgrade it to a lower salary level and status. That effort failed. Thanks to the persistence of the selecting official and others, the position has finally been properly described and is advertised to be filled at the same target level as the position was when Pitcaithley occupied it -- at the GS-14/15 level.

According to the position announcement (NPS/WASO-06-128), "The purpose of this position is to serve as the Chief Historian of the National Park Service. As such, the selectee provides expert advice and guidance on all NPS historical programs and oversees the development of policy and guidelines to govern these programs."

The basic eligibility requirement is a "Bachelor's degree in history, historic preservation, or related field that includes at least 18 semester hours in history or a combination of experience and education with courses equivalent to a major in history, or major in a related field with at least 18 semester hours in history, plus appropriate experience or additional education. Additionally, to qualify for the GS-15, applicants must have 1 year of specialized experience at the GS-14 level; to qualify for the GS-14, applicants must have 1 year of specialized experience at the GS-13 level. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of this position and involves overseeing and directing an American history program." Closing date for applications is 19 January 2007.

The position is being advertised as what amounts to be an "all sources" posting - that meaning that not just NPS employees may apply, but any and all qualified federal historians (persons employed in the historian series 170 who currently are at the GS-13 pay level will easily qualify for the position) as well as public historians, and historians employed in universities and outside federal service. While a BA in history is the minimum requirement specified in the announcement, it is expected that the position will be filled with a qualified person possessing at least a Masters degree, and in all likelihood with a person possessing a Ph.D. If interested in this key federal position, please visit the USA Jobs announcement at:

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