Associate Director of Chapters

Job Description

The Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) is seeking an Associate Director of Chapters to strengthen the organization’s national network of over 35 volunteer-led chapters. 

This role will primarily focus on coaching chapter leadership teams -- volunteer researchers and the key community leaders with whom they work -- as they build active chapters.  Chapters are judged by their ability to engage member researchers to work with policymakers, journalists, community leaders, and funders to improve public policy and strengthen democracy. The Associate Director of Chapters will also work to help chapters and members work within their campuses to guide institutional policy in ways that serve democracy by fostering public engagement by scholars and civic engagement by students.

As a key contributor to SSN’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Associate Director of Chapters will help chapter leaders take concrete steps to ensure that chapters and the network as a whole grow in ways that are inclusive and equitable. This includes being thoughtful about channeling resources, identifying opportunities, and creating leadership ladders for researchers from historically marginalized groups. 

The Associate Director of Chapters is a full-time or three-quarters time position with a highly competitive annual salary and benefits, based on qualifications and experience. Flexible hours, including a less-than-full-time schedule are possible for the right candidate. SSN benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance; 403b retirement plan with employer match, generous paid time off, and opportunities for professional development. The Associate Director of Chapters will work within the department of Chapters, Membership, & Learning and report to the director of that department. 

SSN’s offices are in Inman Square, at 1035 Cambridge St., Suite 14B, Cambridge, MA 02141. All staff are working remotely at present and this role may be performed remotely.  Should physical distancing requirements end, work at the office is possible and some meetings at the office are likely. When and if it becomes safe to do so, some travel to chapters would be optimal. (Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this position was planned to expect regular travel. Those expectations have, of course, changed).

About the Scholars Strategy Network 

The Scholars Strategy Network is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that connects journalists, policymakers, and civic leaders to America’s top scholars and their research. Together they inform news and help solve the nation’s toughest policy problems. Across the country, scholars volunteer their research, time, and energy. Scholars join the network to become part of a community of researchers dedicated to improving policy and strengthening democracy. Through the network, journalists, policymakers, and community leaders connect with responsive scholars and jargon-free research expertise that supports their work.

Responsibilities 

SSN has a lean, productive staff that supports and creates opportunities for our member researchers. SSN staff are flexible team players willing to take on new responsibilities as needed. The Associate Director of Chapters will work on the following:

Chapter Coaching & Support: 

  • Connect regularly with chapter leadership teams to spur action, respond to requests or questions, give advice, and proactively ensure that chapters are: 
    • Engaging their members in the policy process, including reaching out to policymakers, civic organizations, journalists and others  to create meaningful relationships and substantive collaborations
    • Building strong, effective, diverse, equitable, and inclusive chapters
    • Building leadership ladders
  • Introduce new members to chapter leadership teams and support new members who may want to take on a larger role in chapter activities or projects
  • Hold onboarding calls with new chapter leaders and fellows
  • Advise groups of scholars interested in starting new SSN chapters
  • Communicate SSN policy changes and organizational learning to chapter leadership teams
  • Oversee and advise chapters as they create annual goals, plans, and budgets
  • Maintain up to date records of chapter progress to ensure progress towards chapters’ goals and strategic use of chapter budgets and resources
  • Update the chapter events calendar and check in with chapters shortly after major project milestones to capture successes and lessons learned

Chapter Leader and Member Training: 

  • Develop and lead trainings for SSN chapter leadership teams across the country to improve their local organizing and policy engagement
  • After appropriate training, help coordinate and co-facilitate in-person and online media and policy trainings for SSN members and chapters on across the country, especially SSN’s Training Researchers to Inform Policy workshop

Chapter Travel & Events

  • Travel across the U.S. to visit SSN chapters to meet leaders in person (often as part of a TRIP training), as well as other members or prospective members, and stakeholders outside of academia and follow up with recommended next steps (only after such travel is deemed safe and advisable by national and state authorities, such as the CDC. 
  • Contribute to the programming for SSN’s National Leadership Convening, especially around chapter organizing, celebrating successes, and uplifting effective leaders and members

Data Tracking & Evaluation

  • Update chapters’ and members’ Salesforce records, identify new information system needs, and work with relevant staff to meet those needs 
  • Document chapter victories and best practices, and share them across the network and with the SSN national office, especially with the Communications and Development teams
  • Assist the Chapters, Membership, & Learning department in developing, piloting, and expanding evaluation tools for the department 

Qualifications

The ideal candidate for this position would be:

  • An individual with 2 - 7 years of experience as an organizer (e.g., campus organizing, issue or electoral campaign organizing, union organizing, community organizing etc.)
  • Proficient and experienced at coaching others in effective organizing strategies
  • Proficient and experienced at recruiting and working with volunteers and developing leaders
  • Experience with digital organizing and/or or
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills
  • Committed to SSN’s mission and fully understand how to make use of SSN’s structure as a voluntary, federated network of member researchers
  • Committed to executing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout their work
  • A good facilitator and excited to teach others new skills and information
  • Comfortable and experienced at supervising interns or other staff
  • A solid understanding of policy making processes
  • Interested in evidence-based policy, and eager to learn more about when and how research is used in policymaking
  • Comfortable with occasional travel (approx. 8-10 times a year, for 1-3 days each trip)
  • Excited to work as part of a diverse and energetic team
  • Self-motivated, professional, positive, and trustworthy
  • Able to move among tasks and manage task follow-up
  • A strong writer and proofreader
  • Organized, detail-oriented, and willing to ask questions
  • Excited to learn and apply new skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Dropbox, Salesforce, and/or Zoom

How to apply

Email a cover letter, resume, and names and contact information of two references to Cindy Houle at [email protected] with subject line “Associate Director of Chapters - [Your Name].” Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

SSN is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, class, color, disability, ethnicity, faith, gender, national origin, race, sexual orientation, or gender. People of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, and women are strongly encouraged to apply. Candidates who fill some, but not all of the qualifications above are still encouraged to apply. We encourage you to view SSN’s statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion, located here.