Program Officer, Higher Education Support Program

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    Jan 30

Position description

Program Officer, Higher Education Support Program. London. Posting Date: 01/29/2020. Deadline: 02/28/2020

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, London or Berlin to manage a grants portfolio focused on access to higher education for disadvantaged groups.

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 towards 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 higher education for disadvantaged groups, including refugees. 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, policy makers, 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
  • Manage financial and budget reports to track spending and assists in planning and development of annual budgets


What we are looking for:

  • Seven to ten years of relevant field experience in relevant higher education, civil society, multilateral, development, government and/or consulting organizations
  • An experienced higher education professional who can demonstrate a complex understanding of the role of universities as drivers of social change, especially in the main geographies where Open Society operates
  • 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 tensions in the field of higher education for refugees;
  • In-depth knowledge of and practical experience in developing or emerging countries; knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa region will 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 trainings and brown bag lunches with visiting experts
  • Top-notch benefits and perksdesigned 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

See what a day in the life of a Program Officer at Open Society is like here .

Application Instructions: If this sounds like the position for you, please submit a cover letter that addresses the specific skills and experience that Open Society requires for Program Officers (guidance is located here ) and a resume. We look forward to learning more about you.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

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.

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