Aspen Institute College Excellence Program

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

The College Excellence Program (CEP) aims to identify and replicate practices and policies that significantly improve college student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, the American Talent Initiative, and other highly visible national projects, CEP works to improve colleges’ capacity to achieve high levels of success for all students, and to eliminate disparities in postsecondary attainment and social mobility for students from low-income backgrounds and historically marginalized and underserved groups. Learn more about our work at

The College Excellence Program staff is a diverse team of driven and energetic professionals who share a commitment to increasing access to and success in higher education. We are motivated by the power of education to change lives, and we work hard to have measurable impact while also pushing ourselves to learn constantly, collaborate and innovate, and take joy from our work. The Aspen Institute’s D.C. headquarters provides a vibrant setting in which to pursue these goals, and we benefit from a rich array of expert panels, discussion groups, and lectures that occur throughout the year.


The College Excellence Program identifies what works through qualitative and quantitative research, then influences practice through several means, among them editorial products (including research publications and practice tools), intensive leadership development programs, collaborative service provision, and high-profile awards. Our ability to drive action depends on the production of a wide variety of high-quality written products.

We are looking for an editorial manager to manage our editorial processes, edit and write publications, and coach and collaborate with staff on a range of writing projects. The ideal candidate is an excellent editor and writer and an effective, highly organized project manager who appreciates the freedom to build effective systems in a new position but also is a highly collaborative team member. They think critically and analytically, and adapt when priorities change. They develop content expertise quickly and have a researcher’s mindset, asking questions and proactively filling gaps in knowledge. They are comfortable adhering to the organization’s mission and balancing individual and institutional voices, while being unafraid to challenge thinking in productive ways. They can think creatively about how content could be adapted for multiple uses and audiences, then make it happen.

The expected time breakdown for the work is 60 percent editing and coaching, 20 percent writing, and 20 percent publication management.

Essential duties and responsibilities

  • Provide developmental editing and copy editing for CEP’s written products, including research reports, policy briefs, curriculum guides, op-eds, and blog posts
  • Oversee the publication process: manage the editorial workflow; collaborate with communications and program staff in support of promotion and dissemination; maintain the in-house style guide; and engage design firms, external copy editors, and other editorial consultants with an eye toward clarity and consistency across products
  • Write site visit reports of best practices and op-eds, blog posts, and feature articles, in collaboration with team members or independently
  • Adapt content for a variety of purposes and audiences—for example, creating brief summaries to accompany lengthy research reports
  • Coach staff at all levels, through workshops and ad hoc engagement, on writing skills and projects

Required skills and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Seven years’ experience editing and writing professionally—editing experience (not just writing) is imperative
  • Exceptional editing skills and a demonstrated talent for clear, effective writing
  • Deep understanding of the structures and challenges in higher education
  • Experience shaping content for a variety of audiences, synthesizing complex ideas, making technical material engaging, and working with qualitative and quantitative evidence
  • Experience managing multiple projects
  • Experience building the writing skills of others
  • Passion for the mission and objectives of the College Excellence Program and the values of the Aspen Institute

What it’s like to work with CEP:

  1. Systems change: We are working to change the field of higher education by conducting research; translating the research into curriculum, reports, and other products; and delivering this content in multiple ways to a variety of audiences.
  2. Entrepreneurial approach: We pride ourselves on being entrepreneurial so that our work can reflect the changing nature of the field, and we can nimbly respond to trends and funding opportunities. People who are comfortable with ambiguity and are excited by seeing progress in the field typically do well at CEP.
  3. Team culture: Our team is top-notch, and we treat people well. Our team members are dedicated to seeing meaningful change in higher education, and are smart, collaborative, and do what it takes to get the job done. We are committed to the growth and development of our team members, and we deeply value diversity in our team to enrich our work and enable us to develop creative, inclusive strategies aligned to the needs of the diverse colleges and leaders we support.

To learn more about how we hire at CEP the generous health, retirement, and other benefits offered by the Aspen Institute, please visit our website.

To apply:

All interested applicants must submit the following:

  1. A cover letter. CEP prefers cover letters that describe what motivates you and how you understand and relate to our mission, rather than a narrative version of your resume. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.
  2. Resume/CV.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet the regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.

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