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Position Announcement:

Executive Director, Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and APLU Vice President, Urban Initiatives

Supervisor: Jointly—USU Board of Directors and APLU President
Status: Full-Time; Exempt
Location: Washington, DC

Summary
The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) are seeking a highly skilled leader who will serve both as the USU Executive Director (ED) and APLU Vice President for Urban Initiatives (VP). USU is a president-led network of 43 public urban research universities working to drive transformational change throughout their institutions and the communities they serve. It is an affiliate under the umbrella of APLU, and the USU presidents are also all members of the APLU Council of Presidents.

The USU Executive Director is responsible for providing strategic leadership for the organization. They supervise a team of five full-time employees, and funding for the office derives from grant-funded projects and annual assessments paid by the USU members. As a VP within APLU, the incumbent is an integral part of the leadership team with the responsibility to create synergy between USU and APLU, provide strategic advice to APLU’s president and others on pertinent issues relevant to urban serving univiersities, and work to advance the best interests of the association.

Strong candidates will have demonstrated leadership experience (e.g., as a President, Provost, or Cabinet Member) in a university, group of universities, or higher education association, and be recognized for their ability to successfully engage with and across university and urban leaders and be well-versed in the challenges and opportunities facing urban universities. Significant experience working on student access and success, and workforce development is desirable. The successful candidate will bring a track record of successful fundraising, including building and sustaining relationships with foundations, federal, and other non-government funding agencies. The ED/VP should also have demonstrated a commitment to USU values including diversity, equity, inclusion, community engagement, and serving urban university students, with specific experience supporting historically underserved students.

This full-time position is based in Washington, DC and the incumbent must reside in DC, MD, or VA, be up-to-date with their COVID vaccinations and pass standard background checks. The incumbent is eligible for a hybrid work schedule. For more information about USU, please visit https://www.usucoalition.org/.

Background
The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) is a president-led network of 43 public urban research universities working to drive transformational change throughout their institutions and the communities they serve. USU is a 501 (c)6 organization with its own board, budget, and members. USU works in permanent partnership with APLU, is housed in space leased by APLU, and leads a joint urban agenda for the nation’s public universities, centered in the idea of the public urban university as an anchor institution for its neighborhoods. Its priority work areas are equitable student success, 21st century workforce, affordability and access, and community engagement and impact.

APLU is a membership organization that fosters a community of university leaders collectively working to advance the mission of public research universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The association’s membership consists of more than 250 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations focused on: increasing access, equity, completion, and workforce readiness; promoting pathbreaking scientific research; and bolstering economic and community engagement. Drawing on the powerful collective action of its members, the association’s advocacy arm helps shape federal policy that maximizes the positive impact of public and land-grant universities. APLU’s members span across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. Annually, member campuses enroll 5.4 million undergraduates and 1.4 million graduate students, award 1.5 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $51 billion in university-based research.

The responsibilities of the ED/VP include, but are not limited to: 

  • Provide strategic leadership for USU, overseeing the successful implementation of USU’s multi-project portfolio and leading the development, operationalization, and implementation of an annual USU strategy and workplan.
  • Further develop and deepen relationships with existing member institutions. Design and facilitate member meetings (e.g., annual meeting, summer meeting, and other meetings as appropriate) to promote engagement and provide meaningful value to current members.
  • Work with the USU board to develop and implement a plan to increase USU membership and raise the profile of USU.
  • Design, develop and cultivate new programs in alignment with USU’s mission and goals and secure funding to support them including serving as a representative of USU/APLU when working with different donors and funders.
  • Oversee the USU budget and determines dues, staffing, and project allocations in partnership with the USU Board. 
  • Supervise all USU staff, interns, and consultants, promoting a diverse, inclusive, effective, and positive team environment within the Office, providing coaching, support, training, and development opportunities as needed.
  • Support the USU Chair, Executive Committee, and Board of Directors including developing meeting agendas, staffing meetings, managing annual budgets, collecting dues, recruiting and retaining members, overseeing all USU communications, board nominations.
  • Collaborate with APLU’s Office of Governmental Affairs (OGA) to help inform OGA’s work on federal policy and advocacy and provide USU background and expertise where appropriate.
  • Serve as an integral part of APLU’s leadership team and advise the association’s president and others on pertinent issues relevant to urban serving univiersities while working to create synergy between USU and APLU.  Collaborate with other APLU VPs to help ensure the effective implementation of the association’s strategic goals and annual objectives.
  • Perform other duties to advance the work of USU and APLU.

Required Qualifications

  • Strong candidates will have senior leadership expereince (e.g., President, Provost, or Cabinet Member) in a university, group of universities, or higher education association, and be recognized for their ability to successfully engage with and across university and urban leaders.
  • Significant experience in project leadership, including planning, design, management, and implementation, as well as a proven ability to collaborate within or across universities and organizational partners.
  • Deep understanding of public urban universities and their anchor mission. Demonstrated ability to embed an equity/urban/systemic lens in higher education and urban issues.             
  • Proven ability to cultivate and maintain relationships with donor organizations, including building and sustaining relationships with foundations, federal and other non-governemtnal funding agencies.
  • Strong interpersonal and team leadership skills, including the ability to build successful and effective relationships with diverse staff, partners, and constituencies.

Strongly Preferred Qualifications

  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills. Excellent presentation skills with experience speaking at the national level concerning higher education and/or urban issues. A talented facilitator.
  • Subject matter expertise in one or more of the following areas: equitable student success, access and affordability, workforce preparedness, economic development, and community engagement and impact.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to build successful and effective relationships with representatives of member institutions and construct and/or maintain partnerships and coalitions with other organizations that have shared interests and goals.
  • Exceptional leadership and management skills, with successful experience in building and maintaining positive, supportive, diverse, and inclusive work environments.
  • Strong program design and management skills; experience designing and implementing successful programs, meetings, workshops, and conferences.
  • Excellent analytical skills. Ability to understand and utilize data (both quantitative and qualitative) to accurately diagnose and report on key issues and develop strategies and plans. 
  • Demonstrated experience creating and managing budgets.
  • Masters or terminal degree (eg Ph.D, Ed.D, JD). 
  • Commitment to the values and work of USU and APLU, including diversity, equity, inclusion, community engagement, and serving urban university students, who are often low income, first generation and/or students of color.
  • Ability to travel domestically as needed several times per year.

To Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to APLU’s Human Resources Department at resume@aplu.org with the subject line: ED/VP USU & APLU. Applications will be reviewed as received, with preference given to those received by March 22, 2023.

Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. APLU offers an excellent benefits package.

APLU is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to recruiting, employing, training, compensating, and promoting staff regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. Read more about APLU’s Commitment to Diversity here.