Program Manager, Center for Public University Transformation (CPUT)

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) - Washington D.C., District of Columbia - Full time



Program Manager, Center for Public University Transformation (CPUT)


Executive Director, Center for Public University Transformation


Full-Time; Exempt


Washington, DC

Application Deadline:

Until filled (preference given to applications received prior to March 13)

Annual Salary Range:

$55,000 – 65,000


The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), a research, policy and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the US, Canada and Mexico, is seeking a Program Manager for the Center for Public University Transformation (CPUT), which aims to advance student success, equity, and university transformation. The program manager will manage four groups of universities (“clusters”) to realize their goals, develop learning products and other deliverables for advancing knowledge, facilitate meetings (both virtual and in-person), plan events, and speak publicly about APLU’s work. The ideal candidate will have strong expertise in project management, be task-oriented and detail-conscious, and have excellent written and oral communication skills. This full-time position will be based in Washington, DC. For more information please consult


APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 242 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll five million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $49.3 billion in university-based research.

APLU’s national Center for Public University Transformation (CPUT) is designed to grow, innovate, and sustain solutions that are scalable across the diverse set of institutions comprising the public university sector. It seeks to align and scale successful strategies from APLU’s many projects and initiatives related to degree completion and coordinates the association’s degree completion initiatives. In order to take its degree completion efforts to the next level, APLU is working to identify 100 change-ready public institutions to work together in 10 “transformation clusters.” By working together, these groups of universities will develop, refine, and scale innovative practices to address shared challenges. Collectively, these efforts will reach more than two million undergraduates nationwide – with the aim of closing the achievement gap and awarding hundreds of thousands of additional degrees by 2025.


Responsibilities will include, but not be limited to:

Program Management

Develop project plans for each cluster with clear deliverables and milestones that will help the group advance toward shared, agreed-upon goals.

Develop mechanisms for ensuring satisfactory progress toward project milestones and goals.

Update project documents, including schedules, stakeholder lists, risk management plans, communications management plans, and budgets.

Schedule and facilitate monthly virtual meetings with each cluster, guided by a strong agenda; take and distribute high-level notes and action items following each call.

Identify action steps and “homework” for each cluster between calls and follow up as needed. In many cases, this will involve synthesizing raw material from campuses, identifying main themes, and sharing pre-work with the clusters before each meeting.

Plan and execute 1-2 in-person meetings each year with the clusters. This includes developing an agenda and programmatic content, in collaboration with other Program Managers and the Executive Director, as well as logistics and event planning responsibilities (e.g., obtaining meeting space, procuring catering and supplies, issuing travel reimbursements).

Draft project updates and formal written reports to funders. Participate in meetings with funders. Assist with grant proposals and other fundraising activities as requested.

Assist with procuring consultants and other technical assistance when needed, including developing scopes of work, contract negotiation, and invoicing.

Stakeholder Engagement

  • Maintain a close professional relationship with the lead institution team, characterized by mutual trust and confidence. The Program Manager should feel comfortable calling the lead team to discuss upcoming meeting agendas, trouble-shoot issues, and ask for feedback on ideas. Although it is ideal to have to lead institution facilitate cluster calls and drive the agenda, not all leads will be ready to jump in, and the Program Manager will need to provide support and guidance to empower lead institutions to play this role.
  • Ensure all participating campuses are engaged and participating in the project. This may involve taking attendance at monthly virtual meetings; tracking who speaks on calls and prompting or calling upon individuals to share, so that all voices are heard; and following up with individual campus personnel by phone to update them and ensure we are delivering value.
  • Participate in monthly internal staff meetings with other Program Managers to discuss progress, solve problems, and share lessons learned. Complete pre-work as needed for these meetings.
  • Regularly collect and synthesize feedback from campuses about their experiences, via email, phone, surveys/evaluations, and other tactics.
  • Travel as needed to meet with campus teams and to participate in APLU convenings.

Communications and Knowledge Management

Identify promising degree completion and equity strategies among the institutions and prompt campus teams to share with their peers. The Program Manager is responsible for prompting campuses to share and asking probing questions to dig deeper into the issues at hand.

Engage in regular sensemaking with campuses and other Program Managers. Create supportive documentation and learning products (e.g., learning briefs, reports, blog posts) to synthesize and share cluster work.

Work with APLU’s Public Affairs team to communicate results with APLU’s membership more broadly. Coordinate with Public Affairs to identify stories for wider dissemination, conduct outreach to campuses for more information (e.g., key informant interviews), and draft or edit content with Public Affairs as needed.

Use the Microsoft Teams platform to engage in virtual conversations with campuses, share documents, curate content, and encourage campuses to contribute. Develop strategies for ensuring effective uptake and use of the platform.

Make presentations about APLU’s work at conferences and other events.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Minimum of three to five years of progressive experience in project planning, project implementation and management, supervision of project staff, and collaboration with organizational partners. Experience working on a college or university campus preferred.
  • Experience in creating realistic project and production timelines and project budgets. Ability to prioritize work effectively and adjust to multiple and competing demands.
  • Demonstrated experience in all aspects of meeting and workshop planning.
  • High level of organization, with ability to carry out administrative, financial, and significant project management activities with accuracy, and attention to detail.
  • Superior communication, presentation, and problem-solving skills. Ability to schedule and lead efficient and productive meetings both in person and via web-based communication tools.
  • Experience implementing communications strategies.
  • Knowledgeable about qualitative and quantitative research or program evaluation.
  • Superior analytic, writing, and editing skills. Experience in writing program or policy reports is ideal.
  • Strong people management skills including the ability to provide direction to and leadership of indirect reports, partners, subcontractors and consultants. Demonstrated success in working in a matrixed professional environment.
  • Ability to work independently, take initiative, exercise discretion, maintain confidentiality, demonstrate sound judgment, participate as an effective team member, cooperate with co-workers and supervisors, and follow through assigned tasks to completion.
  • Commitment to the work of APLU and equity and social justice.
  • Advanced degree (MA, MS) and/or certification (PMP) preferred.
  • Experience with multiple MS Office software, online video conferencing, and willingness to learn new software packages.
  • Ability to travel domestically as needed.

To Apply

Please send a cover letter, resume and writing sample of no more than five pages (if you are not the sole author of the writing sample, clearly indicate which portion was written by you) to APLU’s Human Resources Department at with the subject line: Program Manager, CPUT. Applications will be reviewed as received with preference given to applications received prior to March 13.

APLU provides a generous benefits package. For more information on APLU, please visit 

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