Assistant Director, Office of Urban Initiatives
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Job Info

Title: Assistant Director, Office of Urban Initiatives

Supervisor: Deputy Executive Director, Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) / Assistant Vice President, Office of Urban Initiatives (APLU)

Department: Office of Urban Initiatives

Status: Full-Time; Exempt

Location: Washington, DC

Level: Assistant Director

Application Deadline: Applications will be reviewed as received with preference given to those received by May 10, 2022


The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) are seeking an Assistant Director to work across multiple, complex projects in USU's portfolio of 21st century workforce, advancing racial justice and equity, health equity, and equitable student success. The position requires a highly motivated and collaborative individual able to communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders who possesses strong project management, presentation, analytic, and writing abilities. This full-time position is based in Washington, DC. Employees of APLU are eligible to telework at least two days per week. They must reside in DC, MD, or VA, be up-to-date with their COVID vaccinations and pass standard background checks. For more information, consult

Background on USU and APLU

The Coalition of Urban-Serving Universities (USU) is a president-led organization committed to enhancing urban university engagement and tackling key urban challenges in our nation's cities. With a membership of 41 public, urban research universities across 26 states, USU's agenda focuses on: 21st century workforce, advancing racial justice and equity, health equity, and equitable student success. Annually, member campuses enroll over 1 million students, confer 276,000 degrees, employ 195,000 faculty and staff, and conduct $4.6 billion in university research. USU has partnered with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to establish the APLU Office of Urban Initiatives and remains in permanent partnership with APLU to jointly lead an urban agenda for the nation's public universities.

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 244 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 5.0 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $49.5 billion in university-based research.

Primary Responsibilities

The Assistant Director, Office of Urban Initiatives responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Project and Network Management

  • Develop and implement appropriate mechanisms to manage the network of university leaders and maintain communication with sites and external partners to meet project outcomes. Manage execution of cohort learning, to include: virtual meetings, working groups, providing coaching on progress as needed, and professional development experiences. Work with technical assistance providers to determine and address additional capacity needs. Collaborate with partners across multiple external organizations (e.g., higher education associations, funders, technical assistance providers) to achieve project outcomes. Provide deep content knowledge subject matter expertise in student success. Manage project day-to-day functions, including administrative (e.g., contact lists, report writing, managing logistics), finances (e.g. tracking budget and expenses), and project management (e.g. developing timelines and tracking activities, completing progress reports as needed for grant requirements). Assist USU leadership in articulating priority areas and developing concepts for future programs and initiatives.

Documenting and Disseminating Learning

  • Assist in the collection, analysis and documentation of university-level data. Monitor progress toward project-identified goals/metrics. Document and track learning that is occurring at sites, with an aim towards developing effective, equity-based resources, products, and tools that advance the field. Develop creative, technology-driven outlets (e.g. webinars, online modules, dynamic infographics) to promote learning, dissemination, and adoption of project learning across the project and coalition-wide network.

Meeting Planning and Facilitation

  • Develop meeting agendas, prepare background materials, and coordinate logistics for monthly calls and periodic meetings. Prepare and distribute products such as meeting summaries, learning briefs, and blog posts. The Assistant Director may also assist in conducting research, developing background material, and writing or editing programmatic reports and publications as needed. Travel to and facilitate off-site meetings to provide point-person assistance. Attend and present at national meetings as needed.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master's degree in higher education or related field. 5+ years of experience in higher education, policy, non-profit or other grant-management roles.
  • Deep content knowledge in student success and/or the unique perspective and challenges of urban universities.
  • Ability to articulate issues of equity in higher education and challenge institutional structures, barriers, and culture to promote sustainable change.
  • High level of organization, with ability to carry out administrative, financial, and significant project management activities with accuracy, and attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and facilitate meetings, and ability to work effectively and professionally with high-level university leaders.
  • Commitment to closing equity gaps in higher education, and awareness of the historical, social, and structural barriers facing students from underserved and marginalized communities.
  • Experience in coalition building, with ability to deploy different communication technologies (e.g modules). Superior analytic, writing, and editing skills. Experience in writing program or policy reports is ideal.
  • A self-starter, able to problem-solve and take on a wide range of tasks to deliver results; collegial and professional manner; excellent communication and inter-personal skills.
  • Experience with qualitative and quantitative research or program evaluation. Ability to analyze and synthesize information.
  • Proficient in MS Office 365 Suite, especially Word, PowerPoint, and Excel Ability to travel domestically as needed.

To Apply

Please send a letter of interest and resume to APLU's Human Resources Department at with the subject line of USU Assistant Director no later than May 10, 2022. Applications will be reviewed as received and continue until the position is filled. APLU provides a generous benefits package.

APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and is committed to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment and promoting a sense of belonging, which includes recruiting, employing, training, compensating and promoting staff regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status

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