Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Position: Program Officer, Digital Media & Learning, MacArthur Foundation
General Summary & Responsibilities:
The Program Officer will work with colleagues and the Director and Associate Director of Education on all aspects of the Foundation’s grantmaking in digital media and learning, which aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life, and to understand the significant implications for the formal and informal institutions of education—schools, libraries, and museums among them—that those changes entail. The Program Officer will be responsible for managing grantmaking activities in this area, and will design and refine grantmaking strategies, identify prospective grant recipients, review and evaluate proposals, and prepare grant briefs; manage complex program elements; monitor grantee performance and grant strategy implementation; represent the Foundation at program-related meetings and conferences; plan and convene meetings and events related to grantmaking; and keep abreast of current issues in the field.
MacArthur grantmaking in education explores one of the most significant forces shaping student learning and educational experiences in and out of school in the 21st century— rapidly-evolving new technologies, including digital media. Through research, policy, communications, scale-up of demonstrations, and innovations in schools, libraries, museums and other institutions, the Foundation is helping to build a new interdisciplinary field at the intersection of digital media and learning. Grants are provided to scholars, educators, designers, practitioners, and policymakers to explore and take to scale digital media practices that are changing how young people think, learn, interact, confront ethical dilemmas and engage in civic life, have significant implications for the formal and informal institutions—schools, libraries, and museums, and contribute to education and workforce development of American youth.
This role offers a good opportunity for an experienced professional who is interested in exploring opportunity position that brings together interests in research, practice, and policy, and practice of learning and youth development, with a specific emphasis on the role of digital media.
ESSENTIAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES:
1. Implement and adapt grantmaking strategies as conditions change.
2. Assist in the design and implementation of new initiatives.
3. Work with prospective grantees to develop proposals that advance grantmaking strategies.
4. Evaluate letters of inquiry and grant proposals, conduct background research and due diligence, prepare grant recommendations for funding and responses to unsuccessful proposals.
5. Manage a caseload of active grants, review periodic reports, and maintain accurate records and constructive contact with grantees.
6. Keep abreast of current events, developments and issues in relevant fields to maintain a balanced and objective perspective and approach to grantmaking.
7. Build and sustain relationships with leaders and others in relevant fields, including the public and commercial sectors.
8. Represent the Foundation at conferences and other public events, including as keynote speaker or panel participant.
OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES:
1. Serve on internal Foundation Committees from time to time.
2. Perform other duties as assigned.
Knowledge, Skills, and Experience:
The Program Officer role requires graduate training and experience as a researcher or designer, with a strong grasp of research and theoretical literature relating to learning, adolescent development and new media, and practical, “on-the-ground” experience with youth, in libraries and museums or schools. He or she must be familiar with significant thought leaders and national organizations in relevant fields, and to be a respectful, collaborative colleague who can build bridges and actively engage diverse staff members, designers, entrepreneurs, youth practitioners, policymakers, and researchers in productive, vigorous debate. The Program Officer must have strong interpersonal skills and be able to function as part of an interdisciplinary team, and to work across disciplines and sectors in a rigorous environment of thoughtful intellectual exchange.
Excellent analytical and communications skills, including writing, presentations and public speaking, are required. Other essential skills include: effective interpersonal relations and an ability to organize and convey problems and issues clearly and succinctly; an ease with and openness to people who hold diverse views; and a good sense of organization and talent for managing multiple tasks with significant initiative. The Program Officer should be self-confident, collegial, and diplomatic, and have an appreciation of the role of a grantmaking institution. Computer literacy is a prerequisite for consideration, including a high level of comfort with “do-it-yourself media.”
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The Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and benefits from the various perspectives and talents of a racially and culturally diverse staff.