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.

Senior Program Manager, Leadership Curriculum

Department: CEP
Salary: 100,000-115,000

The Aspen Institute

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.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

To achieve our mission of a more free, just, and equitable society, we commit to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our myriad endeavors such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff. The best people-serving institutions make this commitment, and we seek to be a leader in the ways that we do so and learn from others. Visit our website to learn more about our commitment and recent actions taken toward building and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment.

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, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve collegesí capacity to achieve high levels of success for all students, and to eliminate disparities in postsecondary access and achievement for low-income and minority students. All of our projects are designed to improve higher education in four areas: strengthening learning; increasing completion rates; improving post-completion outcomes in community college transfer and the labor market; and increasing equity in educational access and outcomes for historically marginalized and underserved student populations. CEP is based in the Aspen Instituteís Washington, DC, headquarters. Learn more about our work at

Basic Function:

The Senior Program Manager (SPM) is an action-oriented staff member who co-leads the development of high-quality, engaging instructional materials to be delivered through the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, including both the Rising Presidents and New Presidents Fellowships, and other CEP leadership development engagements as needed. The SPM will understand adult learning and think deeply and creatively about ways to engage groups in highly effective activities that are aligned to clearly defined learning objectives and are appropriate for an executive audience. The individual in this position will collaborate internally with CEP program staff and senior leadership on both the Curriculum Development team and the Community College Leadership team, with CEPís senior fellows, and with external partners in the field to create curricular resources that are flexible and innovative in delivery while maintaining fidelity to CEPís perspective on the qualities of excellence in community college leadership and practice. 

The individual in this position will have a 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. The senior program manager will be a curious, self-directed, and collaborative learner who proactively identifies opportunities to integrate CEPís research into curriculum and strategically disseminate new insights to the field. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Activate the curriculum development and delivery strategy by doing the following:

    • Translate community college leadership research and principles into high-quality in-person and virtual instructional content for our leadership curriculum delivery for both the Rising Presidents Fellowship and the New Presidents Fellowship, including curricular modules, case studies, activities, and assignments.

    • Customize and tailor existing CEP curricular materials for CEPís leadership programs.

    • Create agendas, supporting materials, and pre-work for CEPís leadership programs.

    • Work closely with the Community College Leadership team to ensure that curricular materials designed for both fellowships meet the established learning goals, support a strong fellow experience, and align with session logistics.  

    • Alongside program leadership, support the preparation of facilitators and speakers for CEPís leadership programs.

    • As needed, create curricular materials for other leadership development engagements for CEPís network.

  • Serve as a thought partner for the design of programs and convenings across CEP initiatives.

  • Stay informed of current adult learning principles and practices in the instructional design field and implement those practices into CEPís curriculum and agendas.

  • Represent CEP at convenings, conferences, and other public forums with a high level of professionalism and expertise.

Competencies and Experience:

  • 7+ years of experience in professional development, teaching, curriculum design, or related field. 

  • Knowledge in areas of focus: Demonstrated skill and creativity in instructional design and curriculum development for adult learners. 

  • Written communication: 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.

  • Project management: Strong project management skills and initiative. Detail-oriented and resolute about following through, with the ability to independently produce high-quality products, lead projects, and work collaboratively.

  • Accountability: Ability to create high-quality products on tight deadlines.  

  • Adaptability and resiliency: Ability to adjust and manage ambiguity, including adopting a team approach, integrating feedback and new ideas, and fostering openness to change. 

Travel: Approximately 10-15% domestic travel required.

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 targeted ways to multiple audiences, including college presidents and other institutional leaders.

  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 focused on mission, are comfortable with multiple means to achieving mission, and are excited by seeing progress in the field typically do well at CEP.

  3. Team culture: Our team is top-notch, and we work to 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.  Please describe what motivates you, your connection to our mission, and why you are interested in working with CEP. 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, facilitation guide, or 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.


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