Employment Opportunity

Program Officer - American Political Culture and Information

Cambridge, MA OR Washington, DC preferred

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences seeks a Program Officer to serve as project lead and subject matter expert for the Academy’s efforts to advance the recommendations of Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century. Working with project chairs, the program director, and Academy staff, this role will be responsible for helping to craft and implement a national strategy to advance media platforms, civic infrastructure and a civic culture that support a healthy constitutional democracy. These efforts will reflect the Academy’s unique nonpartisan and multidisciplinary status, reputation for thought leadership, and commitment to research-driven policy recommendations.

The final report of the Academy’s Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, Our Common Purpose (OCP) contains recommendations that cut across political institutions, civil society, and civic culture with the goal of strengthening American constitutional democracy.  The Academy is committed to advancing the report’s theory of change and to making significant progress on all 31 of the report’s recommendations by 2026, the 250th anniversary of the nation’s founding.

The Academy is committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion and looks to all its staff members to foster and promote these values.

This position will report to the Director of American Institutions, Society and the Public Good.

Proximity to the Academy’s Cambridge, MA or Washington, DC offices preferred, but exceptions will be considered. This is a two-year, full-time position with the possibility of contract renewal through 2026.

Major Areas of Responsibility:

  • With the program director and other project leadership, design and implement a multi-year, national strategy to advance the recommendations in Our Common Purpose in keeping with the Academy’s status as an independent, nonpartisan policy center.
  • Regularly monitor, assess, and report on the progress of the subset of OCP recommendations related to political culture, civil society, and civic media.
  • Build relationships and serve as thought partner with local and national stakeholders and thought leaders to advance the subset of recommendations found in strategies 4-6 of the OCP report; maintain regular communication with existing champion organizations and grow the network necessary to advance the recommendations.
  • Organize, manage, and facilitate meetings, working groups, and public events to support a subset of democracy reform recommendations; create supporting materials as needed.
  • Contribute to the writing and development of materials for the purposes of internal use, outreach, and public education initiatives.
  • Integrate racial equity into all strategic initiatives.
  • Assist with executive briefings, presidential remarks, and speeches.
  • Represent the project at various convenings and briefings as requested.
  • May supervise permanent or temporary Academy staff in tasks related to the project and encourage staff development.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • An MPA, MPP, Ph.D, or other relevant degree in the social sciences, humanities, or public policy;
  • At least 5 years (1 year with a Ph.D.) full-time substantive professional work experience in grassroots advocacy, American politics, policy making, or a related field;
  • Expertise in contemporary American political culture and partisan polarization, with a focus on the current digital information environment (social media, news media, etc.) preferred;
  • Strong skills in academic research, data collection and analysis, and ability to translate collected data clearly to diverse audiences;
  • Demonstrated strategic outreach and communications experience, with an ability to grow and leverage stakeholder networks; to identify campaign and public education opportunities; and to be adaptive to changing political opportunities;
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, including an ability to synthesize, summarize, and present research findings and recommendations for a variety of audiences;
  • 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;
  • Ability to foster an inclusive and collegial team environment and leverage diverse perspectives of committee members and internal staff;
  • Experience managing complex projects on tight deadlines;
  • Ability to creatively problem-solve and be flexible in a changing work environment;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Word); SPSS, R or similar statistical software; data visualization, and social media tools. Familiarity with public opinion research methodology a plus;
  • Occasional travel may be required.