Program Associate

ACLS Mission and Overview

Formed a century ago, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a nonprofit federation of 79 scholarly organizations.  As the leading representative of American scholarship in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, ACLS upholds the core principle that knowledge is a public good. In supporting its member organizations, ACLS utilizes its $170 million endowment and $36 million annual operating budget to expand the forms, content, and flow of scholarly knowledge because we value diversity of identity and experience.  We collaborate with institutions, associations, and individuals to strengthen the evolving infrastructure for scholarship.  In all aspects of our work, ACLS is committed to principles and practices in support of racial and social justice.

ACLS’s strategic plan outlines four strategic priorities: encouraging scholars and scholarship responsive to diverse audiences; strengthening relationships among our core constituencies within the academy and our partners beyond the academy; lifting the public profile of humanistic knowledge; and empowering staff and partners to work responsibly and inclusively.

Overview of Department

The President’s Office is comprised of the President, Executive Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff, the Director of Governance and Society Relations, Events and Office Coordinator, Senior Program Officer for Higher Education Initiatives, and Program Associate. As ACLS enters its second century and higher education institutions are facing a critical moment in their responses to racial inequity, the leadership aims to enhance ACLS’s unique role at the intersection of its constituencies (particularly the 79 learned societies, the diverse community of emerging scholars embarking on careers inside and outside the academy, and humanistic researchers working around the world) to influence, lead, and support initiatives addressing these challenges.

Job Summary

The program associate supports the Senior Program Officer in the President’s Office and is responsible for the administration, operation, and implementation of strategic initiatives that will enhance ACLS’s ability to serve our constituencies the advancement of scholarship in new directions, with a focus on advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and social and racial justice. This role provides administrative support for the day-to-day operations and coordination of ACLS’s current and future systems change initiatives. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: facilitating the planning and coordination of activities and events connected with these programs, serving as the first point of contact with program participants, supporting outreach and network-building opportunities, and facilitating the research and development of new programming.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Engage with and support participants in ACLS’s systems change initiatives
  • Carry out administrative duties, including managing program inboxes, responding to general telephone and email inquiries, conducting notetaking for convenings, and greeting program-related visitors
  • Produce materials for use during virtual and in-person convenings, panels and workshops
  • Assist events staff with planning and managing logistics for workshops, including staffing meetings on- and off-site
  • Assist with maintaining the accuracy, functionality, and integrity of program-related database records and ACLS web-based portals, including those associated with applications, reviewers, and participant record-keeping
  • Manage and process payments and reimbursements for grantees, participants, and program vendors in collaboration with the finance office
  • Communicate with applicants, reviewers, participants, and grantees e.g., to track candidate nominations and reviewer invitations, gather interim reports, and troubleshoot basic technical difficulties with web portals
  • Proofread and contribute to the drafting of website materials, and compile information to be included in reports to funders and grant applications
  • Coordinate activities with other ACLS departments as necessary, including collaborating with web and information systems on technical projects and with communications on outreach
  • Compile lists of fellows and reviewers and other program-related information for ACLS’s annual meeting, reports to the board, etc., on an ad hoc basis


  • Bachelor’s degree in a field of the humanities or related social sciences
  • Previous work experience in an administrative capacity or office environment
  • Superior organizational skills with exceptional attention to detail
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize assignments in a deadline-driven environment
  • Problem-solving skills demonstrating flexibility and initiative
  • Strong interpersonal skills and facility for working both collaboratively and independently
  • Willingness to ask questions, try new tasks, and learn skills on the job
  • Reliability, humility, and a willingness to pitch in when necessary
  • Proficiency in MS Office, particularly Word and Excel
  • Must be willing and able to travel to multi-day events within the US 6-8 times a year, and to staff infrequent after-hour and weekend events
  • An interest in the humanities, philanthropy, and higher education
  • Experience with databases and event planning preferred

Office policies and salary

  • ACLS is operating on a mostly remote schedule, but will require in-person presence in our office in Manhattan up to 2-3 times per month, with advance notice. Staff are expected to be available during ACLS’s normal hours of operation, from 9am-5pm ET.
  • Candidates will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated (including booster) against COVID-19 upon commencing employment. Reasonable accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis for exemptions to this requirement in accordance with applicable law.
  • Salary range: $45,000 - $55,000


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