Associate Director OR Director of Strategic Partnerships

Location: ACM office, Chicago, IL
Start date: By May 1.
Application deadline: Applications will be reviewed beginning March 26, until the position is filled.


The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), a non-profit educational consortium seeks an energetic, entrepreneurial, and ambitious Associate Director or Director of Strategic Partnerships based in downtown Chicago.


Under new ACM presidential leadership, the consortium is in the midst of strategic planning to build on its success and create the next generation of programs prioritizing initiatives that leverage the Midwest through equitable civic partnerships, encourage the exploration of career and education pathways, and promote diversity through leadership development. The Associate Director or Director of Strategic Partnerships will identify and solicit new foundation and corporate gift and grant opportunities that advance the ACM’s strategic priorities, and work in collaboration with consortial staff and campus partners to design, implement, expand, and promote programs and initiatives for faculty, students, and staff across the member colleges and with external partners.


The ACM is a consortium of 14 residential liberal arts colleges located in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, founded in 1958. The ACM enriches residential liberal arts education and strengthens members through collaborative initiatives and programs for faculty, students, and staff. The ACM is governed by the presidents of the 14 member colleges and an advisory board of deans. The colleges enroll about 24,000 students, almost 60% from Midwest states, and have 2,700 faculty. In the past five years, the ACM has received more than $11 million in foundation support for its programs and initiatives.


Key Responsibilities:
Strategic Partnerships and External Relations (50%)
• Work with ACM leadership, faculty, and staff to communicate and engage with corporations and foundations around ACM’s strategic priorities and initiatives of greatest intersection with companies and foundations;
• Diversify revenue sources for the ACM with a range of foundations and corporations;
• Write high quality proposal narratives, progress reports, grant applications, and other documents for new programmatic initiatives;
• Develop program budgets that align with proposal narratives, in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officer and consortium leaders;
• Manage calendar of deadlines, submissions, reports, and other relevant communications with all foundation and corporate partners;
• Track and grow relationships vital to the success of strategic initiatives; and,
• Devise and implement effective internal and external messaging and promotion of the ACM’s programmatic initiatives with external partners.


Program Development (40%)
• Cultivate relationships with civic, corporate, and foundation leadership in Chicago, regionally, and nationally to catalyze new programmatic opportunities;
• Engage faculty, students, and staff at member campuses to build a foundation for effective collaboration and program design through focus groups, surveys, and other methods;
• Conduct detailed research to support program design and development with strategic partners and consortium leaders; • Draft proposals for new programmatic initiatives in collaboration with ACM staff and external partners, including program architecture, financials, and evaluation;
• Monitor the external environment for topics, issues, and developments that would impact existing or potential ACM programs; and,
• Review existing ACM programs based on an evaluation of their past success and areas for improvement.


Other duties (10%)
• Support the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Programs by providing leadership, guidance, and involvement on a variety of projects and initiatives as assigned.


• Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree preferred.
• Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience in program development and corporate and foundation relations, preferably in a higher education setting.
• A strong working knowledge of the foundation landscape, particularly within the Midwest.
• Demonstrated ability to build productive external partnerships and create networks, coalitions, and projects with multiple constituencies. Ability to win the trust of stakeholders and partners.
• A high level of motivation, drive, and energy. An entrepreneurial, “go-getter” mind-set.
• Ability to collaborate and build relationships.
• A collegial, consultative style with the ability to be decisive when needed. • Superb written and oral communication skills.
• Proven ability to lead projects from start to finish.
• Demonstrated skill at directing multiple complex, concurrent initiatives.
• Knowledge of the role of small, residential liberal arts colleges in the US higher education landscape is preferred.
• A valid driver’s license and the ability to drive a motor vehicle.


This position will require travel to 14 ACM member campuses as well as travel to other locations as needed. Estimated travel of the position is 10 percent. May require some evening and weekend work and travel. The Associate Director or Director reports to the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Programs and will work closely with the President, CFO, Vice President and Director of Faculty Development and Grant Programs, and other ACM staff members. This is a full-time, exempt position in Chicago, IL; salary and benefits commensurate with experience. The ACM offers an excellent benefits package and a flexible, stimulating environment.


Application instructions
If you would like to be considered as a candidate for this position, please send:
• a letter explaining your interest in the position, the qualifications you would bring, and how you would contribute to ACM goals for this position;
• a professional skills resume;
• salary requirements;
• available start date; and
• a list of at least three references (who would be contacted only with prior permission).


Please submit materials electronically as attachments, in MS Word or PDF format, to [email protected] using the subject “Associate Director/Director of Strategic Partnerships.”


Position also posted at
The Associated Colleges of the Midwest is an equal employment opportunity employer. ACM does not discriminate in the operation of its educational programs, activities, or employment with regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by law. ACM member colleges: Beloit College, Carleton College, Coe College, Colorado College, Cornell College, Grinnell College, Knox College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Luther College, Macalester College, Monmouth College, Ripon College, and St. Olaf College.

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