Careers at the Aspen Institute
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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.

Program Coordinator - College Excellence Program

Department: CEP
Location: Washington, DC

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners. 

The College Excellence Program (CEP) aims to identify and replicate practices and policies that significantly improve postsecondary student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the American Talent Initiative, the Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ capacity to achieve high levels of success for all students, and to eliminate disparities for low-income and minority students on American campuses. All of our projects are designed to improve higher education in four areas: strengthening learning; 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

The College Excellence Program staff is a small, 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 while also pushing ourselves to learn constantly, collaborate and innovate, and have fun. The Aspen Institute's DC headquarters provides a vibrant setting in which to do this work, and we benefit from a rich array of lectures, expert panels, discussion groups, and other convenings that occur throughout the year on a diverse spectrum of topics.

The Program Coordinator Role

We are looking for an energetic Program Coordinator who will play a critical role in a variety of CEP initiatives. Successful Program Coordinators are smart and curious, eager to learn and solve problems, and are driven by making an impact. They understand connections between their individual tasks and project goals and are able to map backwards from objectives to help organize and prioritize their work. CEP's Program Coordinators grow professionally by gaining skills in a range of administrative and communications functions; at the same time, CEP offers exposure to thought leaders in higher education and the opportunity for extensive learning about leadership, collective impact strategies, program design and evaluation, and strategic communication. 

The ideal candidate will thrive in a busy setting while expertly handling multiple competing priorities, maintaining a positive, “can-do” attitude, and working collaboratively across multiple project teams. Candidates must have exemplary organizational and problem-solving skills with the ability to respond to rapidly changing priorities and have superior interpersonal skills, high self-awareness, and sound judgment. The position also requires the ability to communicate proactively and professionally at all times and be comfortable in an entrepreneurial organization where we're often "building the plane while flying it."  

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The Program Coordinator will work closely with multiple project teams to support an array of functions integral to the program's mission and raise the bar for the quality and impact of our work. Specific responsibilities include preparation and implementation of convenings with high-profile external partners. Specifically, the Program Coordinator will:

  • Arrange for and manage logistical elements of the American Talent Initiative annual meetings and other CEP events. Duties will include, but are not limited to:
    • Managing vendors to ensure timely and accurate booking of travel for meeting participants;
    • Surveying hotel options, meeting venues, and catering companies and negotiating pricing for rooms, conference space and services; and
    • Recruiting and managing team members and volunteers to help during events.
  • Prepare & disseminate materials and correspondence before and after the execution of programmatic events & meetings.
  • Manage event reimbursement and honoraria processes.
  • Prepare & disseminate materials and correspondence before and after the execution of programmatic events & meetings, including travel booking logistics, final logistics, and meeting wrap-up notes
  • Communicating to external partners regarding event goals and logistics with a high level of professionalism and clarity. 

The Program Coordinator will also support the administrative efficiency of the College Excellence Program by serving as a problem-solver and go-to expert on critical administrative processes, including:

  • Maintain various contact databases and assist in regular communication to different constituencies via email, mailings, and other means.
  • Schedule phone calls and in-person meetings with senior executives from institutions and external partners.
  • Record meeting notes and synthesize key takeaways.
  • Assist program staff with budget & contract maintenance.

Desired Knowledge, Education and Experience

  • Strong professional communication skills and confidence interacting professionally with high-level executives and organizations. 
  • Superior organizational skills and ability to multi-task and balance competing timelines.
  • Comfort with ambiguity and ability to respond adeptly to rapidly changing priorities.
  • An unwavering commitment to producing high-quality work product.
  • Commitment to the College Excellence Program’s mission to improve lives through higher education
  • Ability to work both autonomously and as part of a close-knit team.
  • Comfort with working under pressure and tight deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Bachelor's degree and 1-3 years professional experience
  • Expertise with Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

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

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