Program Officer - Higher Education Policy -- Open Society Foundation, London

The Higher Education Support Program (HESP) aims to leverage higher education as a means towards developing and strengthening open societies around the world.  The program is expanding and developing new and innovative strategies to address the multiple challenges facing global higher education. HESP works with grantees in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East to improve access to higher education for marginalized groups, to protect intellectual freedom, and to support research and teaching related to social justice. The program focuses on improving quality, reducing costs to students, and making the learning experience more relevant to a world of rapid technological and social change. HESP works with leading thinkers in education and development to stimulate discussion of higher education policy and the role of universities and scholars in the development of open societies.

Job profile

HESP seeks a Program Officer with expertise in higher education policy to join our team in London. The position is intended for a mid-career professional who is committed to the role of higher education in creating and protecting open societies. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated knowledge of global trends in higher education policy and a deep understanding of the economic, social and political origins of policy change. We are looking for a creative person, able to take initiative and identify exceptional opportunities to achieve policy change. They will actively participate in global debates on higher education and advocate for policies that increase access, improve quality and that promote tolerance, democratic principles and social justice.
Essential duties and responsibilities:
  • Determine key leverage points in the regional higher education landscape, through which higher education can contribute to more open societies. 
  • Develop and implement a regional strategy that is in line with our program strategy.
  • Research new areas of potential work and find appropriate partners.
  • Assess organizational capacity, including financial health.
  • Negotiate and manage grants, projects and contracts with diverse organizations.
  • Design and implement monitoring and evaluation processes.
  • Build collaborative relationships within HESP, as well as across OSF’s geographic and thematic entities.

Candidate profile

  • PhD in higher education policy or a related subject.
  • 7-10 years of relevant experience related to the culture, practice and administration of higher education; experience developing and managing programs in higher education is mandatory, previous grant making experience preferred.
  • Knowledge of the field of higher education with demonstrable understanding of current trends and debates.
  • Familiarity with the activities of key donors, foundation and institutions.
  • Ability to function effectively in cross-cultural settings, particularly in the context of the power dynamics of a grantee-granter relationship.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.
  • Excellent computer skills, and comfort using technology extensively
  • Willingness to travel.
  • Commitment to the principles of an open society.

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