Program Officer, Higher Education Initiatives, ACLS

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)

Job Type: Government/Non-Profit

ACLS Mission and Overview

Formed a century ago, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a nonprofit federation of 75 scholarly organizations.  As the leading representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good. As such, ACLS strives to promote the circulation of humanistic knowledge throughout society. In addition to stewarding and representing its member organizations, ACLS employs its $146 million endowment and $38 million annual operating budget to support scholarship in the humanities and social sciences and to advocate for its central role in the twenty-first century.

Overview of Department

The President’s Office is comprised of the President, the Director of Member Relations and Assistant to the President, and the Executive Assistant.

Job Summary

As ACLS enters its second century, the leadership aims to be responsive to the many challenges facing its constituencies, particularly the 75 learned societies, the diverse community of emerging scholars embarking on careers inside and outside the academy, and humanistic researchers working around the world.  This is a new position, developed at an important and exciting moment for ACLS, in the midst of our Centennial Campaign and the development of our first-ever strategic plan. Working closely with the President, Vice President, the Senior Director of US Programs, the Director for International Programs, the Director of Philanthropy and other staff across the organization, the Program Officer will design and implement strategic initiatives that will enhance ACLS’s ability to serve our various constituencies and advance scholarship in new directions. We welcome applications from individuals who bring new backgrounds, perspectives, and types of professional and personal experience to our team.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Analyze trends in scholarship and institutional strategy in the humanities and social sciences;
  • Design new initiatives appropriate to ACLS and responsive to urgent issues in the humanities and social sciences, such as enrollment decline, inclusivity, scholarly innovation, academic publishing, faculty evaluation, public reputation, and shifts in doctoral education;
  • Organize events and design action plans involving our various constituencies, including learned society directors and delegates, higher education leaders, faculty, and students to work on these issues;
  • Expand the reach of ACLS to new groups, including new funders;
  • Assist the President and Vice President in preparing reports to constituencies, including funders and the board;
  • Develop content for ACLS communications;
  • Coordinate activities with other ACLS departments as necessary, including US Programs, International Programs, Digital & Information Technology, Philanthropy, and Finance.


  • PhD in humanities or humanistic social sciences;
  • Superior written and oral communication skills, with a keen ability to adapt communication style to different audiences;
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail;
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize long-term projects and short-term assignments in a deadline-driven environment;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a track record of working effectively on a team;
  • Facility both for working collaboratively with a team and for working independently;
  • Analytical and creative problem-solving capacity;
  • Ability to take initiative and respond flexibly to evolving circumstances;
  • Proficiency in MS Office, particularly Word and Excel;
  • Must be willing and able to travel to multi-day events 4-6 times per year, and to attend after-hour events approximately once per month;
  • Experience in not-for-profit or higher education administration;
  • Interest or experience in issues and challenges facing the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Experience raising funds from institutional philanthropies;
  • Expertise in using databases, especially relational databases such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM

See more information and apply here.

Posted: November 18, 2019