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Director, Economic Development & Community Engagement

Association of Public & Land-grant Universities
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Posted date
Nov 13, 2021
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The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is seeking a Director, Economic Development and Community Engagement to oversee the Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation (IEP) program and serve as the primary point of contact for the Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE). The Director may also design and implement funded projects within the Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement that support the priorities of CECE and work with other APLU offices across APLU to contribute to the association’s work on advancing institutional transformation, student success, policy development, and advocacy agendas. This full-time position is based in Washington, DC.  Employees are working remotely from locations within DC, MD, VA through April 1, 2022 due to COVID-19. Employees of APLU must reside in DC, MD, or VA. For more information 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 244 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 5.0 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $49.2 billion in university-based research.


The Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement (OEDCE) was established to lead and coordinate the association’s pillar of “expanding economic and community engagement.” To this end, it supports university efforts that promote innovation and technology-driven economic development, talent and workforce development, and place development through public service, outreach, and community engagement. The office helps universities develop and share effective practices in these three realms of engagement frequently focusing on how institutions partner with entrepreneurs, small businesses, major corporations, community organizations, state and local government, national associations, and economic development organizations. OEDCE also helps senior university leaders, their staff and partners imagine and then realize a shared vision for healthier and more engaged citizens, thriving economies and other outcomes that lead to a better tomorrow. In addition, the office convenes the association’s Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) which bring together senior decision makers at universities who are responsible for

the institutions’ work in economic engagement. CECE serves as a premier national forum for economic and community engagement issues.


APLU’s IEP Universities Designation Program offers higher education institutions a robust national platform and process for better knowing, measuring, and telling the impact of colleges and universities through economic engagement. Economic engagement refers to the broad range of efforts universities undertake with their public-private partners to support talent and workforce development, innovation and entrepreneurship, and through place development via public service, community engagement, Cooperative Extension, and outreach. To earn the IEP designation, institutions complete a rigorous self-study and stakeholder engagement study to identify their strengths and areas of needed improvement throughout their campus economic engagement enterprise. Campuses share and learn from one another throughout the process in a national learning community. Designees engage in APLU projects, advocacy, and communication efforts around university-based economic and community engagement. To date, 66 institutions have earned the designation and 30+ institutions are currently pursuing the designation. For more information, please consult



The position’s primary duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:


IEP - 60% 

  • Lead the day-to-day activities of the IEP designation and awards program including developing continuous improvement projects and activities, conducting research on best practices, and coaching IEP startup and designees ensuring that it meets it stated goals and objectives on time and on budget. 
  • Collaborate with the Vice President to develop and implement an annual workplan and to obtain external funding to support the aims of the program.
  • Communicate regularly with key stakeholders at participating campuses. 
  • Develop and facilitate webinars, meetings, and other events that support the learning, research, communication, and advocacy objectives of the IEP community of practice.
  • Write blog posts, newsletters, white papers, and other materials to communicate the impact of the IEP designee activities to important external audiences.


CECE – 40%

  • Work with the Vice President to develop and implement an annual workplan for the Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE).
  • Work with the Vice President and CECE leadership to build agendas and facilitate CECE in-person and virtual meetings and activities, including CECE activities at the APLU annual meeting and the CECE summer meeting.
  • Work with the Vice President to identify external funding to support CECE program priorities. Responsible for implementing programs as assigned ensuring they are completed on scope, on time and on budget.
  • Communicate regularly with CECE members to support and promote their engagement in CECE activities.
  • Deploy communication strategies, including white papers, op-eds, and other products, to document, share, and promote the work of CECE members.



  • Support an inclusive climate in the Office of EDCE and APLU.
  • Participate in other activities that support the work of the Office of EDCE.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in public policy, planning, economics, or a related degree from an accredited university.
  • A minimum of 6 years working at a university, nonprofit, or government agency on community engagement and economic development with a focus on the role of universities in regional economic and community ecosystems.
  • An analytical orientation with strong data analysis and evaluation skills.
  • Experience identifying and pursuing external funding to support program priorities.
  • Strong project management skills to meet goals and objectives on time, on scope, and on budget.
  • Experience planning meetings and events, including agenda development, logistical oversight and budget management. Excellent session design and facilitation skills
  • Excellent strategic planning, organizational, and interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, establish priorities and exercise sound judgment in response to complex and sensitive situations.
  • Ability to work in a dynamic environment with a diverse, cross-functional team and to establish effective and inclusive working relationships with employees at all levels of the organization.
  • Excellent presentation and written communication skills.
  • Facility with project and team management platforms such as Microsoft teams.
  • Strong commitment diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to advancing the work of the Office and APLU.
  • Ability to travel as necessary.


To Apply

Please send a letter of interest and resume to APLU’s Human Resources Department at with the subject line: Director EDCE. Applications will be reviewed as received. Priority will be given to applications received by December 1, 2021. APLU is committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment, and supports staff with a generous benefits package. 


APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and is committed to recruiting, employing, training, compensating and promoting staff regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or military service.

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