Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.



Managing Director, College Excellence Program Washington, DC

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program (CEP) invites applications and nominations for the role of Managing Director. This is an exceptional opportunity for a mission-focused, strategic, experienced, and operations-minded leader to support the growth of one of the country’s leading organizations that advances higher education practices and leadership to significantly improve student learning, completion, and employment after college—especially for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

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, CEP works to improve colleges’ 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. Its work focuses on improving higher education leadership and practice in five areas: ensuring high-quality learning, increasing completion rates, improving post-completion success in the workforce, strengthening bachelor’s degree attainment for students who transfer, and achieving equity in outcomes across all domains.

The Managing Director will join the organization following a period of rapid growth in staff and programming, and the selected candidate will have an opportunity to help CEP build on that momentum in the coming years. The Managing Director will partner with the Executive Director and senior team to advance CEP’s strategic direction; ensure alignment between CEP’s mission, organizational goals, and programmatic operations; strengthen CEP’s collaborative and outcomes-oriented organizational culture; support the growth and professional development of CEP’s staff; help lead CEP’s Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) initiative; and build effective external relationships and serve as a program ambassador.

The successful candidate will bring a demonstrated commitment to improving postsecondary outcomes—including for students who have historically been underserved and marginalized—and a belief that student outcomes can be improved at every higher education institution by advancing leadership development and transformational organizational change. In addition, the Managing Director will bring experience both cultivating and sustaining external relationships and developing and operationalizing strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth.

Jeff Kessner is leading this search with Katherine Stellato and Janette Martinez.



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


To achieve its mission, Aspen commits to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion across its myriad endeavors such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff. The best people-serving institutions make this commitment, and Aspen seeks to be a leader in the ways that it does so and learn from others.


Visit Aspen’s website to learn more about its commitment and recent actions taken toward building and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment.


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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