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Assistant Director, Special Events

American University
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Salary Not Specified
Date posted
Apr 13, 2024

American University is a student-centered research institution located in Washington, DC, with highly-ranked schools and colleges, internationally-renowned faculty, and a reputation for creating meaningful change in the world. Learn more about American University


University Special Events

Time Type:

Full time

Work Modality:

Hybrid 01 (On Campus 3-4 Days/Week)


Job Description:


The Assistant Director manages a portfolio of annual campus-wide and AU House events including (but not limited to) ceremonies, university-wide receptions, donor recognition events, staff/faculty appreciation events, and advancement events. Determines all logistical needs for primary events, coordinates technical aspects of events, and provides on-site management as well as oversees planning and execution of associated budgets. Determines all logistical needs for events, prepares recommendations for proposed events and programming, assists with scheduling, develops invitations, designs, and executes approved events, including programmatic planning, on-site management, oversees planning and execution of associated budgets, establishes planning timelines and benchmarks, and monitors event progress. This position works directly with campus partners including the Office of Advancement and academic units to provide leadership and consulting services for one-time special events including visits by dignitaries, ground-breakings, and dedications to effectively execute events.

The Assistant Director supports and directly collaborates with the Director of Special Events to ensure alignment with the Office of Special Events and the Office of the President, including creating, reviewing, and/or editing briefings, programs, and event timelines.

This position is also responsible for budgetary management needing to perform duties such as tracking and reconciling complex budgets, vendor negotiation and management, ROI tracking, and coordinating and activating the utilization of institutional resources when appropriate.

Performs other related duties as assigned. The omission of specific duties does not preclude the supervisor from assigning duties that are logically related to the position.

Essential Functions:
  • Manage a portfolio of special events. Duties include determining the logistical needs of events, preparing recommendations, assisting with scheduling and coordinating the necessary arrangements such as room reservations, audio-visual, event staffing including volunteer recruitment and management, security, catering, and event design. The position collaborates with a variety of offices and external vendors to execute events. This includes vendor selection and management, negotiating terms and contracts, preparing, tracking, reconciling complex budgets.

  • Staff special events as needed. Duties include overseeing pre-event set-up, registration, on-site management with on and off-campus vendors, and volunteer/staff coordination. Perform a minimal amount of manual labor including moving boxes and furniture necessary for event set-up.

  • Manage technical aspects of events including online ticketing and systems in support of commencement, creation of online forms, communication with high-level audiences, and mass email communication. Perform website updates as needed including special event-specific web presences as appropriate. Design and create promotional materials including signs, banners, and invitations.

  • Provide guidance and leadership to university faculty, staff, and students for their events. Areas include on-site assistance and requests for information on event dates, event agenda and speakers, suggested room set-ups, protocol, and service providers.

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work:
  • Full-Time.

Salary Range:
  • Commensurate with experience:

Education Requirements:
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred.

  • Experience creating and updating website content in a content management system and familiarity with mass email systems preferred.

Minimum Requirements:
  • A minimum of five years of experience in event planning and coordination required. Must possess a high level of professionalism, organizational skills, oral and written communication abilities, and an ability to work effectively and diplomatically with a variety of on and off-campus constituencies. Computer skills required, experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Social Tables, and event CRM solutions or equivalent software packages preferred.

  • The position must be able to handle multiple events and priorities calmly and professionally, manage and execute highly complex or specialized projects or processes, ensure a high degree of accuracy and flexibility, is a team player, and possess sound judgement, discretion, and confidentiality. Must be willing to work evenings or weekends that coincide with events.

Preferred Requirements:
  • Experience in planning and coordinating events at a college or university desired.


AU offers a competitive benefits package including a 200% matching retirement plan, tuition benefits for full-time staff and their families, several leadership development certificates, and has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a fit-friendly worksite. Click here to learn about American University's unique benefit options .

Other Details
  • Hiring offers for this position are contingent on successful completion of a background check.

  • Employees in staff positions at American University must deliver their services to the university from either the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia, or perform work on-site at the university.

  • Please note this job announcement is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

  • American University is an E-Verify employer.

Current American University Employees

American University current employees must apply through their employee Workday account. If you are a current employee at American University, please log into Workday and select the Find Jobs report which will take you to our internal career listings.

Contact Us

For more information or assistance with the American University careers site, email .

American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively "Protected Bases") in its programs and activities.

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