Senior Program Associate, Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute


The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, seeks a full-time Senior Program Associate who will work closely with the GEHLI Director to advance high potential and high performing employees in public, private and nonprofit sectors. The Senior Program Associate will have responsibility for the operational success of the Institute including: project management and administration; project planning and implementation, and community and alumni engagement. The Senior Program Associate serves as a member of the Institute’s leadership team, providing senior level support for a comprehensive portfolio of leadership programs and as primary support for the efficient and effective operation the Institute’s operations, programs, and outreach. The Institute seeks qualified candidates who will be responsible for implementing processes, organizing work, setting priorities, making assignments, establishing deadlines, and making decisions to assist with ongoing program delivery.

Successful candidates will join a dedicated group of colleagues who promote the development of current and emerging leaders in academic institutions, other public, private, and nonprofit organizations, and communities through leadership training and public policy research.

The Wilder School's mission is to:
● Engage, teach and inspire students and leaders to understand and solve challenges in our world.
● Advance research that informs public policy and decision-making to improve our communities.
● Collaborate with communities through innovative partnerships to enhance the quality of life.

The Wilder School's vision is to be the premier resource for public policy expertise and social equity in public safety, governance, and economic and community development. The 2022 U.S. News and World Report rankings confirm the Wilder School among the top 15% of graduate schools of public affairs at No. 38 and tied for No.1 in Virginia. The School is also ranked No. 19 in Social Policy, No. 28 in Urban Policy, and No. 34 in Public Management and Leadership. The Wilder School has over 1,500 students and more than 11,000 alumni, with an established environment where diverse perspectives thrive and where a common interest in public service and the betterment of society unites these perspectives together. Our academic excellence attracts the highest quality faculty, staff, and students, and our graduates are leaders in their professions.

Our location in Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, combined with our proximity to Washington, DC, provides numerous opportunities for engaged scholarship, teaching and community engagement activities. A creative, interdisciplinary School with both academic programs and training/research centers in the social sciences and professional arenas, we reflect the diversity of the communities we serve, providing students and faculty with the knowledge, skills, opportunities, and experience necessary for success.

For additional information about the Wilder School, please visit our website at .

Typical Duties

Program Management and Administrative Duties

● Provide leadership for, coordination of, and assistance with various programs and projects in line with strategic planning process of GEHLI.

● Coordinate team throughout all phases of program delivery.

● Establish and maintain annual program and events calendar.

● Contribute to a wide variety of functional areas, advising on decisions related to budget allocation, program expenses, and event logistics, and monthly reporting on program goals, process improvements, and quarterly metrics.

● Create content and manage program communication strategy through Institute's print and online mediums including website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

● Undertake staffing responsibilities (training, engagement, evaluating etc.).

● Orient and train staff members as appropriate on emerging issues and trends in core content areas and constituencies served in accordance with Institute standards.

● Keep current with leadership development theory, methods, publications, and initiatives.

● Other duties as assigned.

Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation

● Prepare and deliver workshops and programs on a variety of leadership topics.

● Teach and/or help facilitate leadership development programs as needed.

● Coordinate, design, and deliver annual leadership conference and other large events including, content development, speaker identification, participant recruitment, and identifying sponsorship outlets.

● Coordinate and implement recruitment strategies to identify new program participants including: planning, executing and attending events to promote the GEHLI brand and full range of available opportunities for participant recruitment.

● Play an active role in the collection and reporting of data that serves as a driver for strategic decision-making.

● Conduct external research and benchmarking to ensure strategy, content and delivery models are positioned to deliver best practices.

● Other duties as assigned.

Community and Alumni Engagement

● Write and present technical reports and general presentations on leadership development topics to increase brand awareness.

● Develop and implement learning experiences including brown bags, workshops, lecture series, and seminars for alumni and other external audiences.

● Engage stakeholders to gain community support for programs and the Institute.

● Undertake activities within the community that promote the visibility of the organization.

● Represent the organization on appropriate committees, networks, and joint projects.

● Network with other staff, institutes, and organizations to share information and to gain knowledge that would help improve the program.

● Evaluate impact of existing and external collaborations to support programmatic development and future opportunities for expansion.

● Responsible for drafting and disseminating Institute communications.

● Establish engagement strategy for engaging alumni.

● Represent the Institute at VCU and external events to promote Institute.

Typical Education and Experience

Minimum Hiring Standards
  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited university, or a combination of education and equivalent work experience at a level that equates to a degree.
  • 3-5 years of professionally relevant experience managing programs.
  • Ability to manage multiple programs simultaneously directly managing all aspects of the program life cycles.
  • High degree of personal ownership and accountability to consistently deliver results and prioritize work in a fast paced and high-profile environment.
  • Comfortable creating and delivering presentations and workshops.
  • Demonstrated experience creating and facilitating training and workshops for adult learners.
  • Excellent presentation skills and confidence speaking in a variety of public settings.
  • Excellent written and verbal skills with the ability to relate to varying audiences.
  • Meticulous attention to detail, deadlines and protocol.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to think critically, creatively, and strategically to develop practical learning solutions.
  • Ability to perform gracefully under pressure and manage multiple projects with competing deadlines in a self-directed manner.
  • Ability to collaborate cross-functionally in the office environment and to interface with program participants and university and community stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated mastery of Microsoft Office suite (word, excel, PowerPoint, publisher) and Google Suite.
  • Requires approximately 20 percent travel time.
  • Availability to work non-traditional hours on program and event days.
  • Ability and willingness to transport program supplies to program sites.
  • Demonstrated experience working with diverse populations.
  • Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment at VCU.
Preferred Hiring Standards
  • Master's degree from an accredited university.
  • Project management experience.
  • Experience working with higher education, other public, and nonprofit clients.
  • Awareness of trends in in higher education leadership, public policy, women’s leadership, and leadership by/in underserved communities.
Typical Physical and Cognitive Requirements

Physical Demands and Activities (Essential):

Light lifting (<20 lbs.)




Emotional Demands (Essential):

Fast pace/Average Pace

Multiple stimuli

Frequent change

Intense customer interaction

Mental/Sensory Demands (Essential):







Verbal Communication

Written Communication

University Benefits

All full-time university staff are eligible for our generous benefits package that includes choices for health, vision, and dental coverage, life-insurance, short and long-term disability coverage, retirement planning, tax-deferred annuity and cash match programs, flexible spending accounts, tuition benefits, significant paid-time off, 12 paid holidays, and more. Explore our benefits further here: .

Application Instructions

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.

All applications should include a cover letter and a detailed resume with the names and contact information

of three professional references. A resume does not take the place of work experiences on the application.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

“Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university providing access to education and employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or disability”.

Salary Range: $50,000 - $70,000

Position Details:

Department: Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Employment Type: UF - University Employee FT

Job Title and Code: Administrator GA 1 (19911)
Restricted Status: No
FTE: 1
Exemption Status: Exempt

Contact Information:

Contact Name: Nakeina Douglas-Glenn

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 804-827-7480

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