Manager, American Talent Initiative, Aspen College Excellence Program

Posted by
The Aspen Institute
Washington, DC
Published 22 days ago

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 Aspen 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 students from low-income backgrounds and historically marginalized and underserved groups. Our work focuses on improving higher education in four areas: ensuring high-quality learning, increasing completion rates, improving post-completion success in transfer or the workforce, and achieving equity in outcomes across all domains. Learn more about our work at

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.

Role: Program Manager, American Talent Initiative

The College Excellence Program (CEP) has an immediate opening for a Program Manager to lead portions of the American Talent Initiative's work to expand access and opportunity for highly talented lower-income students. The Program Manager will synthesize information and package it for executive audiences. Typical formats include slide decks, tools, memos, and short briefs. Ideal candidates have experience working directly with executive leaders like university presidents, trustees, chief executive officers (CEO), or members of congress, preferably in a special assistant or another highly collaborative role. Ideal candidates innately understand how institutions work, the role of the president, how and what to communicate to a president, and how to support presidents in leading change on campus.

In addition, the Program Manager will engage in qualitative research, writing, and will support the delivery of content to our target audience, university presidents. Program Managers are expected to contribute strategically to CEP projects, in addition to their primary work.

The ideal candidate for this position is excited by the opportunity to work directly with university presidents, collaborate strategically with CEP colleagues, and with ATI partner organizations. The ideal candidate is comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, adaptable to change, and has the ability to mentor and share expertise with other team members.

Essential Duties:

  • Demonstrated ability to translate research and principles into high-quality products for executive leadership (e.g., university presidents, boards, CEOs, members of congress). This will include slide decks, memos, briefs, tools, and other materials.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects with competing timelines.
  • Ability to represent CEP at convenings, conferences, and other public forums with a high level of professionalism and expertise.
  • Ability to conduct qualitative analysis.
  • Experience designing agendas for meetings that engage executive leadership
  • Some travel required.
  • This position does not have supervisory responsibilities.

Qualifications and Competencies

  • 5+ years experience in higher education or a related field. CEP is specifically looking for someone who has worked directly with executive leaders in a collaborative and/or supportive role.
  • A demonstrated talent for clear, effective, and persuasive speaking and writing; the skill to tailor writing style and voice to target different audiences; and an ability to communicate data and complex ideas simply and effectively to executive audiences.
  • Ability to understand and analyze data, identifying insights and implications and applying them to work products.
  • Strong commitment to improving postsecondary outcomes, particularly for students served by community colleges, and a belief that student outcomes can be improved by supporting leadership development and transformational organizational change.
  • Strong project management skills and initiative: Candidates should be detail-oriented and resolute about following through, with the ability to independently produce high quality products, lead projects, and work collaboratively.
  • Demonstrates adaptability and resiliency; comfort working under tight deadlines and with integrating feedback from multiple stakeholders.
  • Ability to use effective and varied communication with a range of stakeholders; able to develop and maintain strong external relationships.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work on a team.

What it's like to work with CEP
More information about our hiring practices:

  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.
    2. 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.

Job Location

Washington, District of Columbia, United States OR REMOTE

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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…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Education
    4-Year Degree Required
  • Professional Level


Washington, DC, United States

How to Apply

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