This Vacancy has closed.
Program Officer - Higher Education Support Program
  • Employer: Open Society Foundation
  • Reference: OSF/19/111879
  • Published: Mon 14/10/2019, 12:00 PM
  • Closing on: Sun 10/11/2019, 12:00 PM
  • Working Pattern: Full Time
  • Hours: To be confirmed
  • Salary: Competitive rates of pay apply + excellent benefits
  • DBS Check: No
  • Location: London, Westminster

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Program Officer - Higher Education Support Program

Do you want to help make the world a better place with your expertise in global higher education?

We are seeking a Program Officer that can be based in New York or London to manage a grants portfolio within a program that advances higher education in the regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

 The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and inclusive democracies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.

We are active in more than 120 countries, making us the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights.

 The Higher Education Support Program (HESP) aims to leverage higher education as a means of developing and strengthening open societies around the world.

HESP works with grantees in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East to promote innovative teaching and research at higher education institutions, to improve access to higher education for marginalized groups, to protect intellectual freedom, promote good practices and support the role of higher education in advancing social justice.

HESP works with leading thinkers in education to stimulate discussion of higher education policy and the role of universities and scholars in the development of open societies.


As a Program Officer at Open Society, you will:


  • Lead and refine existing portfolios of grants with a focus on academic freedom and higher education policy reform, with potential for new areas of work in the future. This responsibility includes annual grant planning, writing grant recommendations, identifying and working with prospective grantees, conducting organizational assessments, negotiating project budgets and contracts, and undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees
  • Collaborate with HESP colleagues and senior program leadership to contribute to the development and implementation of strategy for existing bodies of work and new bodies of work in line with future strategies
  • Build collaborative relationships within and outside OSF (e.g. with existing grantees, prospective grantees, experts in the community, policymakers, multilateral agencies) that advance portfolio goals
  • Assess organizational capacities of key grantees and provides capacity-building opportunities in order to strengthen the field
  • Conceptualize and convene meetings and seminars with relevant program partners.


What we are looking for:


  • 7-10 years of relevant field experience in relevant higher education, civil society, multilateral, development, government and/or consulting organizations
  • Deep knowledge and experience in the field of global higher education, including understanding of main policies, actors, trends and controversies
  • Good familiarity with key dynamics and trends on the issues of academic freedom and in higher education policy reform; experience with academic and/or student activism and working on advocacy projects would be an asset
  • Willingness to be flexible as areas of work may expand to a broader focus in the future depending on the skills and experience of the successful candidate, as well as the needs of the program
  • Ability to think creatively about the role of higher education in advancing open society mission and values; excellent strategic and analytical skills Excellent collaboration skills including demonstrated ability to work effectively with others, recognizing the value of diverse geographic and thematic experiences
  • Commitment to the Open Society Foundation’s values of diversity and inclusion
  • Willingness to undertake international travel.


What we offer:


  • Ample opportunities to learn and grow, from annual professional development allowances to onsite training and brown bag lunches with visiting experts
  • Top-notch benefits and perks designed for your well-being and a healthy work-life balance. With some variability according to location, this includes generous time off, flexible work arrangements, employer-paid health insurance, generous retirement savings plan, progressive paid parental leave, reproductive and family planning support, sabbatical opportunities, and much more
  • A commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace that enables everyone to bring their full self to work and make a positive impact on the world.


If this sounds like the position you have been looking for, please apply on our website. We look forward to learning more about you.


Closing date: 10 November 2019.


We aim to build an inclusive workforce that is reflective of the populations we support, and actively seek applications from those who are marginalized and underrepresented. We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and colleagues with disabilities.