Employment Opportunity

Program Director for Education

Cambridge, MA

With guidance from the Chief Program Officer (CPO), the Program Director for Education will work with Academy Fellows and senior staff to develop and carry out policy and research initiatives related to the areas within their portfolio. The Program Director has direct responsibility to steward and grow a select portfolio of projects and supervises Academy staff who may manage a subset of programs or initiatives within their designated area.

The Program Director will build a meaningful and robust portfolio of project work focused on education and especially higher education policy, develop new projects, provide leadership for the Academy’s university affiliates program, and foster partnerships that build on the Academy’s strengths, visibility, and impact in this area.

The Program Director helps to articulate the intellectual direction of their area(s) in full collaboration with the CPO, program advisory committees, and in consultation with the President and the Academy’s Governance Bodies. The Program Director is expected to articulate the programmatic priorities of the areas and identify and pursue opportunities for strategic partnership with a wide range of institutions to advance scholarship, knowledge, and policy solutions in this domain. The Program Director also works closely with the CPO and other Program Directors to help develop the strategic direction and best practices of the Programs area.

The Program Director upholds and advances the mission and values of the American Academy and strives to maintain excellence in its programmatic work to advance the common good. The Academy is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and looks to all its staff members to foster and promote its values.  

Due to COVID-19, the Academy is currently operating remotely through July 2021, after which time, the position will be based at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Major Areas of Responsibility Include:

  • Work collaboratively with Academy members, committee members, partner organizations, and Academy staff to ensure the success of projects within their portfolio, to carry out policy initiatives, and to identify and develop new projects;
  • Marshal and steward the creative and intellectual resources of Academy stakeholders and staff;
  • Oversee the organization of project workshops and symposia and help produce programmatic content for these and other Academy events, including Stated Meetings;
  • Maintain general administrative oversight of all projects within their assigned area(s);
  • Develop programs for the Academy’s network of affiliate universities
  • Supervise staff working in the program area; define responsibilities, motivate staff, and foster professional development of individual staff members;
  • Work with the Academy leadership and communications team to raise the visibility of Academy studies, including through institutional partnerships;
  • Oversee communications among committee/panel members, staff, consultants, and other applicable parties;
  • Usher projects through approval and oversight by governance and committees;
  • Work with Finance to develop and track budgets for program area and individual project(s) within the portfolio;
  • Facilitate discussions with Academy members, Academy leadership, and other experts to identify and design new initiatives within their assigned area(s);
  • Supervise background research related to Academy projects; 
  • Work with Development Office to write grant proposals and assist in fundraising for new studies and ongoing stewardship of project donors;
  • Supervise the design of workshops, committee meetings, conferences, and exploratory meetings.
  • Develop background research and draft reports for internal project use as well as final publication including proceedings, white papers. Draft and edit materials for publication;
  • Contribute to the drafting and dissemination of formal reports conveying the conclusions and recommendations from Academy project;
  • Work with the Academy’s Communications team and the Director of Strategic Implementation to develop strategies to communicate the findings and recommendations within reports to external audiences;
  • Other responsibilities as needed.

Required Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in a field related to the program area;
  • Five to seven years of project management and/or administrative experience, ideally at a university, foundation, learned society, think tank, or other non-profit organization;
  • Deep research experience and excellent written and oral communications skills, including an ability to synthesize and summarize research findings and recommendations to a variety of audiences;
  • General knowledge of the policy-making process and relevant policy issues, including existing research programs, policy and program interventions, and experts and key players in the field for the associated subject matter;
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse constituencies and stakeholders and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace;
  • Strong leadership skills and ability to work collaboratively and effectively in a team environment and to mentor and develop direct reports.

Ideal qualifications

  • Experience working with senior faculty, university presidents, business and non-profit executives, government officials, international stakeholders, and policy leaders.
  • Experience advising executive staff on strategic matters.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively engage with a wide variety of internal and external groups including funders; academic, policy, and research institutions; and other potential partners;
  • Successful grant writing experience and familiarity with private foundations and other funding sources.