Senior Program Officer, Digital Learning Infrastructure
Role Title: Senior Program Officer, Digital Learning Infrastructure
Division: US Program
Group: Postsecondary Success
Location: Seattle, WA
Travel: 40% (once deemed safe to do so)
Posting Close Date:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success strategy seeks to transform colleges and universities to ensure that more students, particularly Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income students, succeed in their postsecondary education, and are able to obtain quality, affordable credentials offering value and improved social and economic mobility. This strategy will assist in meeting the nation’s workforce development needs by working to close opportunity gaps by race/ethnicity and income.
The Senior Program Officer, Digital Learning Infrastructure will shape, influence and execute a novel and highly visible program to equitably develop and scale high-quality digital learning infrastructure (a combination of services and technologies across a value chain of digital learning design and delivery) to ensure undergraduate students receive affordable, engaging, and effective learning experiences at dozens of colleges and universities. Our initial wave of institutions will focus on both Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions. Through deep collaboration, our goal is to support the efforts of these institutions to employ advances in digital learning and infrastructure to improve academic success and momentum for these students while helping colleges and universities spread and scale digital learning at the undergraduate level as part of a broader institutional change process. The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will report to the Deputy Director for Solutions on the Postsecondary Success team.
To further the strategy’s impact, this individual will:
• Design and execute a digital learning infrastructure program enabled by the foundation’s support to catalyze and accelerate multiple institutions’ capacity to deliver engaging, more personalized, and more inclusive blended and online digital learning for their undergraduate students
• Design and execute a program that accelerates and integrates with a college or university’s broader change journey (erasing equity and opportunity gaps, improving student learning, helping colleges improve access to learners who require such flexibility, and improving institutional economics and return for these investments in effective and scaled digital instruction).
• Prospect, develop, negotiate, launch, and manage high impact and strategic investment opportunities (often multi-stakeholder investments including RFPs and potential capital and equity investments that require deeper financial and technical diligence), grants management and cross foundation and external relationship management to further the Digital Learning infrastructure portfolio and the PS team’s impact.
• Nurture, grow, and sustain credible and high impact relationships with senior executive leaders at higher education institutions, technology and service providers, and participating grantee organizations.
• Plan, manage and implement a wide range of market analysis, activities in support of developing a multi-year investment strategy development, understanding emerging innovations, barriers to scale, new developments, product market fit, segmentation analysis, user and institutional needs, and opportunities in the digital learning and learning technologies market aligned to the foundation and PS strategy’s mission.
• Prepare and write briefs and synthesize existing literature based on your analysis and research. Provide written analysis and presentations and summaries of key topics for Foundation management, leadership, and external partner audiences.
• Provide guidance, consultation, and support to grantees and external partners to achieve desired impact of grants; organize and conduct site visits when appropriate, provide technical guidance, lead and convene meetings (internal and external) and apply and evaluate milestone-based performance objectives to achieve successful outcomes.
• Manage internal processes and portfolio progress while ensuring appropriate and clear investment documentation, budgeting, and reporting.
• Contribute to both development and coordination of key investments related to this portfolio as well as collaborating with a team of program officers focused on the digital courseware solution as well as other postsecondary success solutions and portfolio(s).
Core Knowledge and Skills
• Equity mindedness and social entrepreneurship – demonstrable experience in partnering with diverse groups or coalitions to co-design and co-create lasting social change, grounded in principles of economic and racial equity, inclusion
• Excellent knowledge and ability in gathering and interpreting market information and analysis, both digital learning product and vendor analysis, market trends, as well as analysis of supply-side dynamics especially in the Digital Learning and learning technologies solution area (i.e., Online Program Enablement and/or Online Program Management, Learning Management Systems, deployment of learning analytics, digital courseware, OER).
• Experience designing and developing an enterprise digital learning strategy at a US postsecondary institution – encompassing everything from internal capability development and supports (e.g. faculty development and training, instructional design, learning analytics, high impact digital learning at the undergraduate level, etc.) to the design, development, and deployment of hybrid/online courses and programs and measurement of effectiveness or improvement of these courses, programs.
• Experience with higher education information technology infrastructure and campus enterprise IT solutions – related skills might include systems architecture and design, enterprise IT adoption and implementation, student success and digital learning design or development
• Experience in prior deal and investment making is desirable: structuring, negotiating complex service level agreements and contracts and/or financial transactions including experience leading due diligence, assessment of risk, deal structuring, and negotiation of term sheets, purchase and lending agreements and financing terms. Experience in making and managing investments with public/private capital via venture capital or venture philanthropy for the creation of public goods and shared digital infrastructure is highly desirable.
• Excellent quantitative, analytical, writing, and verbal skills crucial for communicating progress and stewardship with a diverse audience including internal foundation leadership as well as external market leaders such as investors, digital learning entrepreneurs, learning science and evaluation researchers, philanthropic partners, and senior higher education leaders.
• You are a passionate and effective collaborator. You relish the opportunity of working as part of a team and contributing to the foundation’s broader success and improving both the PS strategy and the Solution team’s performance. You possess a growth mentality and an ability to adapt in a dynamic and feedback rich environment.
• Strategic doer with the ability to wrestle with multi-dimensional problems. Proven ability to lead complex projects and see ideas through execution and implementation.
• Derives and creates energy and positivity. Trustworthy and reliable partner across the PS strategy and in the field.
Education and Experience
• Bachelor’s degree with 10+ years of higher education or private sector, digital learning and education technology experience.
• MBA preferred.
• Strategic philanthropy or social impact investing experience preferred
• Knowledge and/or experience in creating, designing, marketing or evaluating and implementing digital learning technologies (such as digital courseware) at U.S. higher education institutions; understanding of the US digital learning market and existing market dynamics - particularly, Online Program Enablement (OPE) or Online Program Management (OPM), learning management systems (LMS), learning analytics, advanced teaching and learning (digital courseware) platforms currently available in the market.