Communications Manager

Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, Washington, District of Columbia

Date Posted May 21, 2020
Industry Public Relations
Specialty Not Specified
Required Education Bachelor's Degree
Job Status Full-time
Salary Not Specified


The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners.

The College Excellence Program (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, and other initiatives, the program works to improve colleges’ capacity to achieve high levels of success for all students, and to eliminate disparities for low-income and minority students on U.S. campuses. Learn more about our work at

The College Excellence Program staff is a diverse team of driven and energetic professionals who share a commitment to increasing access to and success in higher education. We are motivated by the power of education to change lives, and we work hard while also pushing ourselves to learn constantly, collaborate and innovate, and have measurable impact. The Aspen Institute’s D.C. headquarters provides a vibrant setting in which to do this work, and we benefit from a rich array of expert panels, discussion groups, and lectures that occur throughout the year on a diverse spectrum of topics.


The College Excellence Program advances practices that significantly improve student learning, completion, and outcomes after college, especially for the growing population of students of color and low-income students on American campuses. We identify what works through qualitative and quantitative research, then influence practice through several means, among them intensive leadership development programs, editorial products including research publications and practice tools, collaborative service provision, and high-profile awards.

Projects the communications manager advances include:

Our ability to drive action depends on our communications efforts. We are looking for a communications manager to take CEP to the next level by developing and executing strategic communications initiatives across our programs and equipping staff at all levels to be effective communicators. The communications manager will be able to manage communications strategy across the program and independently create content.


In collaboration with CEP staff and partners, including college leaders, nonprofit organizations, and funders, the communications manager will lead a variety of efforts to amplify our work, highlight best practices (primarily in the community college sector), and engage in public dialogue—all with the goal of building and sustaining urgency for systems change in higher education. Strategies include digital communications efforts, media placement, editorial product development, publication launches, event promotion, communications channels for our own network of community college leaders, and creative ideas we haven’t yet considered.

The ideal communications manager candidate has a proven ability to take initiative, conceive and make the case for ideas, and drive processes forward even in ambiguous situations. They are an excellent writer and an effective project manager. They learn quickly, think critically and analytically, and adapt when priorities change. They have experience cultivating and managing a large number of internal and external relationships, building consensus among multiple stakeholders.

Essential duties and responsibilities

Required experience:

Preferred experience:

What it’s like to work with CEP:

  1. Systems change: We are working to change the field of higher education by conducting research; translating the research into curriculum, reports, and other products; and delivering this content in multiple ways to a variety of audiences.
  2. Entrepreneurial approach: We pride ourselves on being entrepreneurial so that our work can reflect the changing nature of the field, and we can nimbly respond to trends and funding opportunities. People who are comfortable with ambiguity and are excited by seeing progress in the field typically do well at CEP.
  3. Team culture: Our team is top-notch, and we treat people well. Our team members are dedicated to seeing meaningful change in higher education, and are smart, collaborative, and do what it takes to get the job done. We are committed to the growth and development of our team members, and we deeply value diversity in our team to enrich our work and enable us to develop creative, inclusive strategies aligned to the needs of the diverse colleges and leaders we support.

To learn more about how we hire at CEP and the generous health, retirement, and other benefits offered by the Aspen Institute, please visit our website.

To Apply:

All interested applicants must submit the following:

  1. A cover letter. CEP prefers cover letters that describe what motivates you and how you understand and relate to our mission, rather than a narrative version of your resume. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.
  2. Resume/CV

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.

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet the regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.

To apply to this job, click here.