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Duke University:

Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.

Job Title: PROGRAM DIRECTOR (working title, Policy Director)
Job Code: 1435
Job Level: 13

Occupational Summary
The Policy Director leads the development and implementation of public policy efforts on behalf of the Wilson Center for Science and Justice (WCSJ) at Duke Law School. The Director will use diverse approaches to address a broad range of issues to improve criminal legal and behavioral health outcomes for impacted persons. The individual in this role will work with a broad range of stakeholders (e.g., exonerated, and impacted people, public defender and district attorney’s offices, community-based organizations, law enforcement, etc.) to promote WCSJ’s priorities and goals. The Policy Director is a senior position that will report to the Executive Director and work in close collaboration with WCSJ staff, faculty, post-docs, and students.

This is not a lobbyist position. Given strict lobbying state and federal laws, this position will not lobby for changes to existing law on behalf of WCSJ without first consulting with and coordinating any advocacy efforts with Duke State Relations and Duke University Government Relations.

Work Performed

• Develop overarching vision for WCSJ’s public policy program to achieve strategic policy goals.
• Develop and execute plan to build trusted relationships with stakeholders by providing clear, persuasive, fact-based analysis, and resources.
• Identify opportunities for broad support on WCSJ issues.
• Research policy questions and advise Executive Director in identifying policy options and solutions
• Collaborate on grant management and donor stewardship.

Policy Change
• Produce academic policy briefs and prepare academic reports, testimony, memos, op-eds, and other materials based on analysis and synthesis of research, data, and other information.
• Track and analyze relevant legislation.
• Develop messaging, in partnership with Communications Specialist and other WCSJ staff, to spark interest in the need for criminal justice and behavioral health reforms.
• Work alongside allied organizations and individuals (to include Duke’s separate state and federal government relations offices)
• Facilitate and/or represent WCSJ at symposia, trainings, legislative hearings, and task forces (solely expressing the views of WCSJ and not Duke University)
• Provide partners with advice and support on policy issues; and
• Together with WCSJ staff, create platforms for generating authentic input from people with direct experience with the systems and policies we seek to change.

Relationship Building
• Develop strong and trusting relationships with local, state, and national advocates, and key stakeholders.
• Cultivate champions for reform among criminal justice stakeholders; and
• Support organizational participation in specified coalitions and/or task forces.

Required Qualifications

Work requires communications, analytical and organizational skills generally acquired through completion of a bachelor's degree program.

Work requires the ability to plan and administer programs and direct program activities within a specific functional area, generally acquired through four years of related experience OR ANY OTHER EQUIVALENT COMBINATION OF RELEVANT EDUCATION AND/OR


Skills and Abilities
- Excellent leadership skills; vision, initiative, and ability to design and implement policy strategies utilizing a broad range of tactics.
- Skills and motivation to interact effectively with a wide variety of people of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds and political views, including WCSJ Advisory Board, impacted persons, local advocates, politicians, and other criminal justice stakeholders including district attorneys’ and public defenders’ offices.
- Excellent writing and communication skills.
- Proven ability to work collaboratively as an integral part of a multi-disciplinary team.
- Sound judgment, a high level of personal and professional confidence and strong interpersonal, diplomatic and communication skills.
- Social and political savvy and ability to juggle multiple tasks.
- Passion for WCSJ’s mission and commitment to criminal justice and behavioral health reform, as well as to race and other forms of equity, both internally in our organization and externally.
- Established deep understanding of the state legislative process.
- Capacity to translate technical, legal issues into lay terms; and
- Ability to travel occasionally.

Preferred Education and Experience
An advanced degree in policy or law. A minimum of two to three years of direct advocacy experience, with a preference given to individuals with experience working in state legislatures and/or in criminal justice or social justice. Experience working with a broad range of community, organizational, and governmental stakeholders. Experience building, leading and/or motivating the productive work of coalitions. Experience navigating the legislative process.

Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.


Read our Diversity Profile History

Duke University was created in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke as a memorial to his father, Washington Duke. The Dukes, a Durham family that built a worldwide financial empire in the manufacture of tobacco products and developed electricity production in the Carolinas, long had been interested in Trinity College. Trinity traced its roots to 1838 in nearby Randolph County when local Methodist and Quaker communities opened Union Institute. The school, then named Trinity College, moved to Durham in 1892, where Benjamin Newton Duke served as a primary benefactor and link with the Duke family until his death in 1929. In December 1924, the provisions of indenture by Benjamin’s brother, James B. Duke, created the family philanthropic foundation, The Duke Endowment, which provided for the expansion of Trinity College into Duke University.Duke Campus

As a result of the Duke gift, Trinity underwent both physical and academic expansion. The original Durham campus became known as East Campus when it was rebuilt in stately Georgian architecture. West Campus, Gothic in style and dominated by the soaring 210-foot tower of Duke Chapel, opened in 1930. East Campus served as home of the Woman's College of Duke University until 1972, when the men's and women's undergraduate colleges merged. Both men and women undergraduates now enroll in either the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering. In 1995, East Campus became the home for all first-year students.

Duke maintains a historic affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

Home of the Blue Devils, Duke University has about 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world.

Mission Statement

Duke Science"James B. Duke's founding Indenture of Duke University directed the members of the University to 'provide real leadership in the educational world' by choosing individuals of 'outstanding character, ability, and vision' to serve as its officers, trustees and faculty; by carefully selecting students of 'character, determination and application;' and by pursuing those areas of teaching and scholarship that would 'most help to develop our resources, increase our wisdom, and promote human happiness.'

“To these ends, the mission of Duke University is to provide a superior liberal education to undergraduate students, attending not only to their intellectual growth but also to their development as adults committed to high ethical standards and full participation as leaders in their communities; to prepare future members of the learned professions for lives of skilled and ethical service by providing excellent graduate and professional education; to advance the frontiers of knowledge and contribute boldly to the international community of scholarship; to promote an intellectual environment built on a commitment to free and open inquiry; to help those who suffer, cure disease, and promote health, through sophisticated medical research and thoughtful patient care; to provide wide ranging educational opportunities, on and beyond our campuses, for traditional students, active professionals and life-long learners using the power of information technologies; and to promote a deep appreciation for the range of human difference and potential, a sense of the obligations and rewards of citizenship, and a commitment to learning, freedom and truth.Duke Meeting

 “By pursuing these objectives with vision and integrity, Duke University seeks to engage the mind, elevate the spirit, and stimulate the best effort of all who are associated with the University; to contribute in diverse ways to the local community, the state, the nation and the world; and to attain and maintain a place of real leadership in all that we do.”

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