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Director, Social Impact Leadership

Columbia World Projects, Columbia University
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Posted Date
Apr 13, 2022

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Position Type
Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Other Business & Administrative Affairs
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Columbia World Projects (CWP) is a university-wide initiative that aims to forge closer and more useful connections between Columbia University's research capabilities and the needs of the world by mobilizing researchers and scholars in collaboration with governments, organizations, businesses and communities to tackle critical global challenges. CWP’s current areas of social impact include climate, COVID-19, democratic renewal, energy access, inclusive urbanism, maternal health and unequal opportunity in rural America. CWP also leads the Obama Foundation Scholars Program, and engages with faculty, students, and community members to connect knowledge and action.

The Director will oversee the Obama Foundation Scholars Program and create opportunities to engage and involve Columbia students in social impact leadership development. This will be done by initiating the design, implementation and managed growth of programs and initiatives aimed at rising leaders from around the world and the USA as well as targeting student leaders at Columbia. Programming in this portfolio will target Obama Scholars, the primary focus of the portfolio, and our emerging efforts to engage the university’s students who are interested in pursuing a blend of strategy and leadership, management and innovation skills to create social, environmental and economic value that advances equity and creates positive change. In this role, the Director will develop and establish relationships with a range of key internal (schools and departments) and external (governments, NGOs, private sector, foundations) partners to advance CWP’s mission to deliver relevant capacity building, training and educational programming.


  • Oversee and manage all aspects of the Obama Foundation Scholars Program (including recruitment of incoming Scholars, selection of Scholars, program curricula development, onboarding/off-boarding processes), in collaboration with the Obama Foundation. Similarly, establish recruitment and selection criteria and goals and objectives for CU students; devise and implement a recruitment strategy and plan. Review student applications, create and revise interview protocols, conduct interviews and select finalists.
  • Work in partnership with the Obama Foundation to define the learning objectives for participants in the Obama Scholars Program; develop the design and implementation plans of capacity building and educational programs that integrate academic and experiential components, offering Obama Foundation Scholars and Columbia University students opportunities to deepen their knowledge and skills as well as build new capacities to accelerate their impact as social leaders.
  • Leverage the University’s academic resources as well as relationships with external partners to create experiential learning opportunities for Obama Scholars and CU students during the academic year and beyond.
  • Track Obama Scholars and student progress and provide regular and ad hoc guidance on professional development, academic issues, and long-term professional goals.
  • Establish learning and development goals for Obama Scholars and CU students including training objectives and oversee the design of training agendas/coursework.
  • Establish a strong alumni network amongst Scholar and student participants and develop and maintain a robust alumni outreach program.
  • Develop, implement and report on portfolio workplan and budget.
  • Work with communications and development staff to capture the Obama Scholar and CU student experience as they gain capacity in social impact leadership and disseminate their work and progress to broader audiences, in order to highlight innovative approaches to solving global problems, the benefits of value-based leadership, and to engender interest in and funding for Social Impact Leadership Programs at CWP.
  • Utilize social impact research to inform reporting, analysis, and program development efforts that align with CWP’s strategic goals and direction.
  • Implement a monitoring and reporting framework for the portfolio. Compile, maintain and report robust data analyses on projects and initiatives and strategic planning support to strengthen projects and ensure continuous quality improvement.
  • Stay abreast of social impact leadership evidence and knowledge. Maintain knowledge of relevant pressing global issues, policies, programs, and initiatives that can benefit from social impact leadership.
  • Oversee and manage the work of full-time professional staff and consultants.
  • Additional duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree required.  Minimum 7-9 years related experience.

**Applicants must submit a cover letter and resume.**

Preferred Qualifications

Who You Are?

  • You have an advanced degree and, ideally, 10+ years of related experience.
  • You are an energetic, flexible, self-starting team player, who enjoys finding creative solutions to challenges.
  • You have excellent strategic management skills, including your ability to set goals, design and manage initiatives, and align program activities with organizational and program goals.
  • You have a passion for addressing global pressing social issues and have worked on related policy and programs.
  • You have a commitment to centering racial equity and justice in your work and a desire to address social issues by building capacity and maximizing impact.
  • You thrive in a team-oriented, multi-cultural, multi-generational environment.
  • You have exceptional communication skills, the willingness to adapt your style to various audiences and platforms, and the ability to effectively synthesize feedback from multiple parties.
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