Director of Student Programs

Updated: 14 days ago


Harvard Kennedy School


Job Summary

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Student Programs will oversee multiple Institute of Politics (IOP) programs to support the development and leadership of Harvard College students active in the IOP and considering careers in politics and public service.   

The successful candidate will have: 

  • Substantial experience working with students, particularly undergraduate student populations. 
  • Significant program management experience in higher education, government, or non-profit organizations.    
  • Educational and/or professional background in politics, public policy, government, or similar public service is ideal.  
  • The background, knowledge, and interest in supporting ambitious young people in executing their programs.  
  • Strong relationship building and collaboration skills with a wide range of constituency. 
  • An extremely high level of professionalism, awareness of risk management, confidentiality, sound and mature judgement, and collegiality. 
  • A proven track record of developing and implementing civic engagement campaigns, specifically around voter registration.   

Position Description

  • Developing an overall strategy and set of goals for each program and working with student leaders to ensure they are fully supported in executing the programs in pursuit of those goals. Determine metrics for each program to measure programs’ effectiveness.  Evaluate and make recommendations for programmatic changes and future goals. 
  • Mentoring student leaders who serve as student chairs of each program – serving as a liaison between the students, faculty, and administration; working to create budgets for each program; and putting together a calendar of events across programs. 
  • Identifying opportunities for collaboration across IOP programs and the Kennedy School to help the students scale the impact of their programs.  
  • Managing inter and intra-university relationships to ensure program is implemented across the College community.  
  • Overseeing communication strategy and outreach for each program’s specific needs. 
  • Managing travel and lodging logistics for program guests or guest practitioners. 
  • Supervise a student leadership council of 15-25 College Students. 

Student Programs oversee the following IOP programs.  For more information and full description of programs, please visit .     

  • Campaign & Advocacy Program (CAP)  
  • Citizenship Tutoring  
  • The Community Action Committee (CAC)  
  • The Politics of Race and Ethnicity (PRE)  
  • Harvard CIVICS  
  • The Women's Initiative in Leadership (WIL)  
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Program 
  • Lead the new Harvard Votes Challenge   
    • Develop, direct, and execute the IOP’s growing civic engagement program work across the entire Harvard University student body. Requires prior experience managing sizable program work, including experience in civic engagement, communications and marketing, and event planning. 
    • Implement the existing vision and strategy for Harvard Votes Challenge, including strategic plan, budget, and evaluation of the program. 
    • Serve as the primary point of contact on Harvard Votes Challenge programming for students, student leaders/task force volunteers, faculty, administrators, and school leaders. 
    • Manage inter- and intra-university relationships to ensure program is implemented across the entire university system.  
    • Build and maintain major non-profit partnerships. 
    • Oversee program fundraising, including grant writing, updating donors and prospective donors, and reporting on grants and other gifts. 
    • Bottom-line approval process to ensure voter registration, education and mobilization programming is legally compliant.

Student Engagement and Support: 

  • Cultivate a vibrant and inclusive campus community by providing opportunities for student engagement, leadership development, and civic participation. 
  • Serve as a resource and advocate for students, addressing their concerns, providing guidance, and connecting them with relevant support services and resources. 
  • Develop and maintain effective communication channels to promote student programs, events, and opportunities across campus. 
  • Provide leadership and direction to a team of program coordinators, advisors, and student leaders, fostering a collaborative and inclusive work environment. 
  • Supervise and support staff in the planning, implementation, and assessment of programs and events, ensuring alignment with organizational objectives and student needs. 

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor's Degree.   
  • Minimum of 7 years of experience developing and managing programs in higher education, non-profit, or government organizations.   
  • Must have prior experience managing students, staff, and/or interns.    

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Degree in government, politics, public policy or similar. 
  • Substantial student services experience.  
  • Experience working in diverse communities and on diverse teams of staff or volunteers. 
  • Strong project management skills.    
  • Natural team builder; respectful and respected leader.
  • Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal skills.    
  • Demonstrated experience working in partnership with major corporations or influencers. 
  • Experience in academic institutions a plus.
  • Evidence of ability to handle a wide variety of tasks and people in a fast-paced environment. 
  • Strong understanding of student development theory, best practices in student affairs, and current trends in higher education. 
  • Demonstrated experience in budget management, resource allocation, and grant writing. 
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills, with the ability to collaborate effectively with diverse stakeholders. 
  • Commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable campus environment that supports the success of all students. 

Additional Information

Learn more about our work culture and see yourself at Harvard Kennedy School.

We regret that the Harvard Kennedy School does not provide visa sponsorship.
Harvard University requires pre-employment reference and background checks. 
Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.

This is a hybrid position based on our campus in Cambridge, MA.  As a campus-based institution, we place a high value on the in-person experience, cross-team collaboration, and strong community building in order to create a vibrant campus for our students, faculty, staff, and research fellows. The position is required to work in-person on campus a minimum of five days per week during the academic year. Specific days and schedule will be determined between you and your manager.

The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University. With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccines.

Salary Range: $85,100 - $146,500
Note: Starting salaries typically fall in the lower half of the salary range; however, they are ultimately determined by the scope of the position, the candidate's relevant experience, and internal equity.

Work Format Details

This position is based primarily on-campus, in Massachusetts. This may include in-person during emergency situations (if applicable). Additional details will be discussed during the interview process. Certain visa types may limit work location. Individuals must meet work location sponsorship requirements prior to employment.

About Us

About the Institute of Politics 

The Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School has a rich history as the first institution of its kind with a mission to inspire young people—especially undergraduates—to become leaders in the world of politics and public life. The IOP bridges the worlds of academia and practice in order to expose students to the “real world” of politics and public life.

The IOP offers wide-ranging opportunities for Harvard students and acts as a convener for the broader Harvard community and students at colleges nationwide, with the goal of stimulating and nurturing a passion for politics and public service regardless of party affiliation. 

The activities of the IOP are extensive. For over 50 years, the IOP has welcomed Resident and Visiting Fellows to engage and lead students through study groups, policy discussions and job talks. The IOP also runs an extensive public service internship program; conducts educational seminars for elected officials; organizes conferences that bring together academic, political, and government leaders; the nation’s leading millennial poll and oversees the JFK Jr Forum at the Kennedy School. To find out more about the IOP, visit . 


We invite you to visit Harvard's Total Rewards website ( ) to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Job Function

General Administration

Department Office Location

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code

361058 Administrative Manager


Institute of Politics


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening

Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard Kennedy School’s Mission and Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism

At Harvard Kennedy School, fostering a diverse and inclusive community where everyone feels they belong is a matter of basic fairness consistent with our core values as an institution. It is also essential to our mission of improving public policy and leadership—because recruiting the best people and creating an environment where they can thrive make us better at what we do, because we learn more from people with different perspectives, and because we work in diverse groups and serve diverse societies.

Learn more about Harvard Kennedy School’s commitment to Diversity Equity, and Anti-Racism.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

LinkedIn Recruiter Tag (for internal use only)


Similar Positions