19 days old

Program Manager, College Excellence Program

The Aspen Institute
Washington, DC 20037
  • Job Code
    121686203

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

The College Excellence Program (CEP) aims to identify and replicate practices and policies that significantly improve college student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, the American Talent Initiative, and other highly visible national projects, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges' capacity to achieve high levels of success for all students, and to eliminate disparities in postsecondary attainment and social mobility for low-income and minority students. Our work focuses on improving higher education in four areas: ensuring high-quality learning for all students, increasing completion rates, improving post-completion success in transfer or the labor market, and increasing equity in educational outcomes for individuals from historically marginalized and underserved groups. Learn more about our work at https://highered.aspeninstitute.org/

The College Excellence Program staff is a diverse team of driven and energetic professionals who share a commitment to increasing access to and success in higher education. We are motivated by the power of education to change lives, and we work hard to have measurable impact while also pushing ourselves to learn constantly, collaborate and innovate, and take joy from our work. The Aspen Institute's DC headquarters provides a vibrant setting in which to pursue these goals, and we benefit from a rich array of expert panels, discussion groups, and lectures that occur throughout the year.

About the Role:

CEP Program Managers oversee research, content development, and project management across a set of initiatives focused on advancing equitable opportunity for high-quality postsecondary education. CEP's program managers engage with and solicit input from a broad range of stakeholders including institutional leaders, partner organizations, internal colleagues, and funders to produce research and tools that are well-researched and responsive to the greatest needs in the field.

CEP seeks a Program Manager to fill this important role for two projects:

Advancing Rural Community College Success: CEP recently launched a two-year project to investigate strategies that lead to strong and continuously improving student outcomes at rural and rural-serving community colleges. Over the course of this initiative, the Program Manager will lead qualitative and quantitative research to identify high-performing rural community colleges, engage an advisory board of rural college and community leaders, and distill insights into a playbook and curricular resources designed to help more rural colleges improve student outcomes. This initiative is closely tied to the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which will serve as one source of information about rural college outcomes and a platform for elevating and disseminating findings. The project will also involve planning and implementing workshops for rural college leaders, in partnership with the advisory board, to take action on the findings and recommendations that result from the research. This project offers the opportunity to contribute to shaping and defining a new area of research and community college reform for CEP that responds to a significant need in the field.

The American Talent Initiative (ATI): ATI is a multi-year national initiative co-led by the Aspen Institute and Ithaka S+R and supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. ATI seeks to substantially expand access and opportunity for talented lower-income students at four-year colleges and universities across sectors with high graduation rates. ATI supports and connects its 131 member institutions in their efforts to set and achieve goals to recruit and support lower-income students and works to advance the issue of socioeconomic diversity in higher education more broadly in the field. The selected Program Manager will join a talented, high-energy team and provide complementary research and analyst capacity to an already robust set of research and network engagement efforts. Learn more at https://americantalentinitiative.org/

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

CEP's Program Managers are exceptional analysts who conduct applied research to garner insights of value to the field, strong writers who can develop original content and work collaboratively with CEP colleagues and external partners to edit and refine public-facing materials, and proven project managers skilled in balancing competing priorities to deliver high-quality results.

Ideal candidates are curious, eager to learn and solve problems, and driven by making an impact. They have experience mobilizing teams around shared goals, a track record of collaborating with a complex range of stakeholders, and some knowledge of higher education. They also have demonstrated effectiveness as a manager and can align organizational activity and resources to a high-level strategy, leading a project team to deliver high-quality outcomes on time and within budget while simultaneously keeping an eye on the big picture. CEP's Program Managers grow professionally through collaboration with senior staff and exposure to thought leaders in higher education, as well as through the many opportunities the position offers for deep learning about strategies for increasing postsecondary access, equity, and success.

The Program Manager will raise the bar for the quality and impact of our work through research, content development, and strategic project management. Specifically, the Program Manager will:

  • Manage projects on a tight timeline with a high level of attention to detail, quality, and professionalism.
  • Serve as a critical backbone coordinator for partner organizations and other stakeholders with a focus on collaboration, engagement, outcomes, quality of content and delivery, and partnership health and effectiveness.
  • Conduct applied research and qualitative/quantitative analysis to generate critical insights about effective strategies for improving student success and increasing equity and socioeconomic diversity in higher education.
  • Guide the development of clear, actionable content and tools, and lead the development of impactful events and meetings, to facilitate dissemination of insights to a range of audiences, including college leaders and practitioners and national higher education reform organizations.
  • Maintain close control of project budgets, including tracking and reporting on grant expenditures.
  • Facilitate effective input from colleagues and senior staff, delegate tasks across team members, mentor junior program staff, and contribute to program-wide team-building and collaborative efforts.

Knowledge, Education, and Experience:

  • Excellent project management skills, including a demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines
  • A problem-solving orientation that drives towards quality
  • A proven collaborative demeanor: patience, great listening skills, resourcefulness, attention to detail, and a sense of humor
  • Ability to work productively with both internal teams and larger extended teams that include contractors and third-party partners, and ability to build relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, including high-profile institutional and philanthropic leaders.
  • Professional experience in higher education or closely related fields or industries strongly preferred
  • Graduate degree in higher education or a related field strongly preferred, or bachelor's degree and equivalent experience of at least five years in a related field with a track record of accomplishment and growth.

What it's like to work with CEP:

  1. Systems change: We are working to change the field of higher education by conducting research; translating the research into curriculum, reports, and other products; and delivering this content in multiple ways to a variety of audiences.
  2. Entrepreneurial approach: We pride ourselves on being entrepreneurial so that our work can reflect the changing nature of the field, and we can nimbly respond to trends and funding opportunities. People who are comfortable with ambiguity and are excited by seeing progress in the field typically do well at CEP.
  3. Team culture: Our team is top-notch, and we treat people well. Our team members are dedicated to seeing meaningful change in higher education, and are smart, collaborative, and do what it takes to get the job done. We are committed to the growth and development of our team members, and we deeply value diversity in our team to enrich our work and enable us to develop creative, inclusive strategies aligned to the needs of the diverse colleges and leaders we support.

To learn more about how we hire at CEP the generous health, retirement, and other benefits offered by the Aspen Institute, please visit our website.

All applicants must submit the following to be considered for the position:

1) A cover letter. CEP prefers cover letters that describe what motivates you and how you understand and relate to our mission, rather than a narrative version of your resume. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

  1. Resume/CV.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also be able to comply with the regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.



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Posted: 2020-07-17 Expires: 2020-08-17

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Program Manager, College Excellence Program

The Aspen Institute
Washington, DC 20037

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