Senior Program Manager- Evaluation and Learning

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
    Apr-28-2018
  • Posted
    Mar 31

Position description



The Strategy Unit helps Open Society staff create, implement, and assess “living strategies” that can be used to signal plans, share new ideas, align actions, clarify authority, budget resources, and hold themselves accountable. We add value by bridging various perspectives throughout the strategy and budget cycle, soliciting staff input and serving as their advocates while advancing the goals of OSF’s leadership. In all our efforts, we try to embody values that OSF strives for in its internal culture: transparency, collaboration, responsibility, inclusion, and informed risk-taking. These characteristics are enabling conditions for living strategy at OSF.

The Strategy Unit’s nascent evaluation function, which the candidate would help to build, supports staff in maintaining the integrity of OSF’s work through continuous learning for improvement. Crucial to this is establishing a space where staff can be open in critiquing their decision making, where management and board members can advise them constructively and be kept apprised of outcomes, and where colleagues from within and outside the unit can contribute to and learn from the discussion. At OSF, this space has primarily taken the form of internal reviews that focus on structured self-critique, reflection, and learning (referred to as Portfolio Reviews). The team supports staff in preparing and conducting these reviews. As a complement to this emphasis on reflection, we are increasingly encouraging units to better track and understand the outcomes of their efforts through expanded assessment methods that can directly inform course correction and strategy updates. At the same time, sensitivity to issues of agency and attribution should be inherent. The team also works with Strategy Unit planning colleagues to help program staff anticipate their evaluation needs at the planning stage, and build a stronger link between strategy and assessment.

Job Profile

Reporting to the Division Director for Planning and Assessment, the Senior Program Manager will lead and expand our approach to evaluation by serving as the primary resource for staff on all aspects of assessing, learning from, and adjusting Open Society program strategies. This role will be essential in helping to cultivate, shape, and implement a vision for evaluative culture and practice at OSF. As part of their assessment role, they will also pursue a variety of other projects to deepen OSF’s efforts to build strong, assessable strategies, alongside or in support of the Division Director and in partnership with other Strategy Unit staff and program colleagues from across the network. The Senior Program Manager role may involve any or all of the following and/or similar activities:
  • drawing on existing practice inside and outside OSF, assemble and build consensus around a set of principles and expectations for assessment of open society programming, in contribution to building a culture of strategy and learning
  • design an advisory and support system for ensuring that Open Society programs and foundations have approaches to assessing their work that reflect those principles and expectations
  • working closely with fellow Strategy Unit team members and other colleagues focused on assessment across the foundations, deepen the integration of planning and assessment functions, especially at the program strategy and portfolio level
  • guide the continued evolution of the foundations’ main vehicle for reflective practice, the portfolio review, while encouraging and helping to develop an expanded approach to assessment
  • strengthen programs’ and foundations’ ability to limit bias in their decision making by pairing reflective practice with evidence of results, working in partnership with the OSF library/research services
  • contribute to thinking and support dialogue regarding assessment and evaluative learning at the institutional level, staying current on trends in the evaluation field, and helping to identify and track the progress and change achieved through open society work
  • management of a nascent assessment function in partnership with colleagues in the Strategy Unit, and direct supervision of at least one Associate Strategy Officer

Candidate Profile

This position calls for superior writing and analytical skills, plus the ability to build connections across topics and with people. The ideal candidate will have considerable experience with a variety of evaluation techniques, but also an understanding that complex social changes like the ones we seek rarely happen in a predictable or linear fashion. Technical skills on building and assessing emergent strategy and facilitation skills on how to make change in a complex organization are both essential to this role, and equally valued. Additional qualifications include:
  • 7-10 years of experience in an evaluation role in the human rights field, or another qualitatively-rich context that isn’t wholly dependent on metrics
  • experience in testing, designing, and socializing evaluative and learning approaches appropriate to context in a complex organization
  • experience driving and leading change in complex, hierarchical, and multi-faceted organizations
  • experience, maturity, and confidence in managing and cultivating relationships across multiple roles and levels of internal governance, including advisory, foundation, and global board members
  • skills in working within and across cultures (international experience preferred)
  • experience leading teams and supervising others
  • skills in service provision and relationship management
  • ability to travel internationally as needed

Application instructions: Please include a cover letter and resume, and upload as one document when submitting an application.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable accommodations so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfil the essential functions of the job.

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