Careers at the Aspen Institute
Share with friends or Subscribe!

Aspen Institute employees come from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a unique blend of education, skill, and policy experience. We recognize that our people are our vital resource and we value their knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. At the Aspen Institute we offer competitive salaries and a wide variety of benefits to our employees and their families.

If you would enjoy working in a dynamic environment and are looking for an opportunity to become part of a stellar team of professionals, we invite you to apply online today.

Manager, Instructional Design & Curriculum Development

Department: CEP
Location: Washington, DC

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 collegesí 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.

The College Excellence Program (CEP) has an immediate opening for a multi-talented individual with experience in curriculum development as well as exceptional writing ability. The selected candidate will join a dedicated team of 35 staff embedded within the vibrant larger environment of the Aspen Institute in its Washington, DC, headquarters.

We are seeking an action-oriented staff member who can co-lead the development of high-quality, engaging instructional materials to be delivered through CEPís Aspen Presidential Fellowships for Community College Excellence, programming for the Aspen Presidential Fellowship Alumni Network, and interactive workshop settings with other networks of two- and four-year college leaders and their teams. We are looking for someone who understands adult learning and thinks deeply and creatively about ways to engage groups in highly effective activities that are aligned to clearly defined learning objectives. The individual in this position will collaborate with the other members of the curriculum team, project team members across CEP, and expert partners in the field to create curricular resources (including agendas, slide decks, facilitation guides, and participant tools) that are flexible and innovative in delivery while maintaining fidelity to CEPís perspective on the qualities of excellence in community college leadership and practice. This individual will also play a key role in managing the delivery of curriculum across engagements, in partnership with other project teams at CEP.

The ideal candidate for this position is excited by the opportunity to develop and pilot new curricular materials, as well as to lead the customization and delivery of existing curricular materials for new audiences. This candidate will also partner with other members of the curriculum team to work on curriculum-related projects internally at CEP, including evaluation of our curriculum delivery and thought partnership on equity and inclusion considerations across our materials.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Translate community college leadership research and principles into high-quality in-person and virtual instructional content for our leadership curriculum delivery, including curricular modules, case studies, activities, and assignments.
  • Customize and tailor existing CEP curricular materials for different settings and audiences with varying levels of experience, including for CEPís leadership programs.
  • From ideation to delivery, develop new curricular content on emerging leadership topics in the field by collaborating with colleagues across CEP on research such as conducting interviews and synthesizing artifacts from colleges, including documents and data reports, and leveraging and maintaining relationships with subject matter experts within CEP and in the field.
  • Serve as a collaborator and thought partner in the design of CEP programs and convenings.
  • Represent CEP at convenings, conferences, and other public forums with a high level of professionalism and expertise.
  • Possibility for supervising junior staff members.
  • Some travel required.
  • This position reports to the Director of Leadership Curriculum.

Qualifications and Competencies

  • 5+ years experience in instructional design or related field; demonstrated skill and creativity in instructional design and curriculum development for adult learners. Note: we welcome candidates from higher education backgrounds as well as those who have proven experience developing high-quality instructional programming for organizational/industry training, professional development programs, K-12 teacher training programs, non-traditional postsecondary education institutions, or other settings serving adult learners.
  • A demonstrated talent for clear, effective, and persuasive 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.
  • 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 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 itís 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.
  3. An example of a professional development session or learning activity that you have designed for adult learners. You may wish to include any of the following: a PowerPoint deck, a facilitation guide, or a session plan with aligned handouts, etc.

The Institute has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy for all employees who will work at one of our physical locations, attend any of our in-person events or travel on behalf of the Institute. Staff unable to be vaccinated may request an exemption under certain circumstances.

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 have the ability to meet the regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.

Applicant Tracking System Powered by ClearCompany HRM Applicant Tracking System