Division Director – Evaluation and Learning

Job Type

Full Time




New York
New York
New York

United States


Division Director - Evaluation and Learning, Strategy Unit, New York, Deadline: 12 10 2018

Reporting to the Strategy Unit director, the Division Director for Evaluation and Learning will lead and build OSF's results assessment capacity and culture, supporting the Foundation's staff and boards across the global network to assess their work and cultivate critical decision-making skills.

The Strategy Unit facilitates the evolution of the Foundations' strategy, budget, and results assessment practice. Working closely with OSF's 50+ programs, foundations and departments, the Strategy Unit helps staff and boards create unit-level strategies that are informed by continuous learning and adjustment, and aligned with budgets and staffing plans. The Strategy Unit also supports strategy at the organization-wide level, providing guidance and training in research methods, empirical evidence gathering, collaboration, experimentation and informed risk-taking. We facilitate the review and authorization of unit-level strategies with executive leadership and the global board, and support staff-board engagement on issues and questions of strategic relevance for the whole network.

The Strategy Unit's nascent evaluation function, which the candidate will help build, supports staff in maintaining the integrity of OSF's work through continuous learning for improvement. Crucial to this is establishing a space where staff can be open in critiquing their decision making, where management and board members can advise them constructively and be kept apprised of outcomes, and where colleagues from within and outside the unit can contribute to and learn from the discussion. At OSF, this space has primarily taken the form of internal reviews that focus on structured self-critique, reflection, and learning (referred to as Portfolio Reviews). The team supports staff in preparing and conducting these reviews. As a complement to this emphasis on reflection, we are increasingly encouraging units to better track and understand the outcomes of their efforts through expanded assessment methods that can directly inform course correction and strategy updates. At the same time, sensitivity to issues of agency and attribution should be inherent. The team also works with Strategy Unit planning colleagues to help program staff anticipate their evaluation needs at the planning stage, and build a stronger link between strategy and assessment.

Job Profile

The Division Director for Evaluation and Learning will grow, shape, and lead an approach to evaluation and learning that is appropriate to our foundation's values, ambitions and mission. This senior position serves as the centralized advisor and resource for staff and boards on all aspects of results assessment and learning. Their remit includes building skills, habits and approaches to results assessment that serve both individual program units as well as the whole institution.

In this leadership role, the Division Director for Evaluation and Learning will supervise one support staff at the associate level. Their main partners will be the Strategy Unit director, two other division directors in the Strategy Unit, the Research Services team, Information Specialists across the network, and a cohort of evaluation and learning staff embedded in different programs and foundations across the network. The role includes the following and other similar activities:
  • lead and manage OSF's centralized assessment function, turning the division into the 'go-to' resource center on assessment tools, practice and support across the network
  • expand a culture and practice of informed strategic decision-making and learning, drawing from relevant good practice in the wider MEL field
  • assist grant makers and advocates to align planning with assessment at different levels of their programmatic strategies
  • design an advisory and support system to ensure that all units (programs, foundations, advocacy offices, operational departments) have relevant methodologies, guidance and resources to effectively assess and reflect upon the results of their work in the field
  • manage and guide the continuing evolution of "portfolio reviews" - OSF's main vehicle for reflecting critically on strategy -- while driving an expanded approach to assessment that focuses on result in the field
  • strengthen programs' and foundations' ability to acknowledge and manage bias in their decision- making by adopting empirically-informed assessment practices in strategy planning and grant making
  • identify a coherent set of insights about the impact and lessons from our work, drawing from across the network
  • help define indicators and a method for assessing the results of open society strategy at the institution-wide level, drawing from methodologies and good practice inside and outside OSF

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will bring deep knowledge and direct experience in a range of diverse evaluation methodologies in order to identify, support or introduce approaches most appropriate to OSF's work as an operational donor supporting long-term social change with multiple partners in complex, volatile and highly political contexts.

This position calls for superior communication skills (verbal and written), excellent facilitation and analytical abilities, and a natural instinct for building strong, constructive connections across diverse constituencies and cultures. Additional qualifications include:
  • 10+ years of experience or equivalent in implementing, designing, and managing MEL systems, tools, processes, and teams across a range of contexts and environments, within a social justice focused organization
  • Significant experience as an implementer/ experience as a grantee of large donors a major plus
  • experience in testing, designing, and socializing evaluative and learning approaches appropriate to context in a complex organization; and deep familiarity with qualitative as well as quantitative approaches relevant to assessing a range of social justice interventions, including policy advocacy
  • experience driving and leading change in complex, hierarchical, and multi-faceted organizations
  • superior emotional intelligence, communication skills, maturity, and confidence in managing and cultivating relationships across multiple roles and levels of internal governance, including advisory, foundation, and global board members
  • highly self-motivated, creative and adaptive thinker, comfortable leading out front and from behind
  • demonstrated cross-cultural competence, with experience working within and across different cultures (international experience preferred)
  • exceptional communication skills, including writing, editing, and speaking skills in English; proficiency in other languages will be a great advantage
  • seasoned facilitation, presentation and instruction skills with knowledge, experience and confidence supporting others to learn through a range of modalities, including formal presentations, didactic/interactive instruction, tailored workshops, virtual meetings and webinars
  • experience leading teams and supervising others
  • skills in service provision and relationship management
  • ability to travel internationally as needed
  • Operational knowledge of databases, data management, survey design, and evaluation design and management
  • Graduate level degree or equivalent in areas relevant to OSF's social justice mission

Application instructions: Please include a cover letter and resume, and upload as one document when submitting an application.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required