The Manager of Civic Learning Initiatives leads educational strategies to foster student learning, participation, and impact in civic life. This position serves as lead instructor and program manager for the Civic Scholars Program, leads experiential learning and place-based immersions in the St. Louis community, and manages civic education and dialogue programs on campus.
The Gephardt Institute envisions that Washington University students will graduate with the knowledge, skills, and commitment to lifelong engaged citizenship. The Manager of Civic Learning serves as a student educator, facilitator, and mentor by advancing civic learning and place-based learning; teaching civic leadership and ethical community engagement skills; and bringing community knowledge and civic leaders to the forefront.
This position applies the institute’s theory of change, data-informed strategies, and leading practices in civic learning and community engagement, with attention to initiatives that foster both student learning and community impact. While not solely focused on St. Louis, this position plays a key role in advancing the Gephardt Institute’s contributions to the St. Louis Initiative, a university strategic plan priority to be Washington University in St. Louis, for St. Louis, and with St. Louis.
This position requires a strong commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This position also requires a strong commitment to non-partisanship and to engagement of all Washington University students regardless of their political positions.
Primary Duties & Responsibilities
Serves as lead instructor and program manager for the Civic Scholars Program, with curriculum guidance and oversight of the Associate Director for Civic Engagement. The Civic Scholars Program provides a rigorous, in-depth curriculum for undergraduate students with an interest and passion for civic leadership. The program supports up to forty students at a time (twenty juniors and twenty seniors), and includes four semesters of coursework, a Civic Summer stipend, mentorship, retreats, and multi-day immersion trips.
- Teaches two sections of Civic Scholars courses each semester alongside an adjunct instructor. Fosters student understanding of the wide range of perspectives on civic issues and strategies for addressing them, and maintains a nonpartisan teaching lens.
- Leads program management of Civic Scholars events, trips, and guest speakers/trainers, including but not limited to overnight retreats, multi-day immersion trips to locations such as Washington DC and the St. Louis metropolitan region, and special events.
- Fosters individual and cohort development through community building, dialogue facilitation, and mentoring. Handles sensitive issues that emerge for students such as facilitating relationship conflicts, problem-solving emergent challenges, or negotiating adjustments to plans based on students’ personal challenges or performance.
- Collaborates with Associate Director for Civic Engagement to continually update course syllabi and develop curricula for immersions and other educational/engagement strategies to meet student learning objectives, respond to the evolving civic landscape, and bring community knowledge and civic leaders to the forefront.
- Identifies opportunities for continuous improvement through attention to leading practices in civic engagement and civic leadership education; alignment with evolving best practices at the Gephardt Institute; collaboration on and review of program evaluation.
- Collaborates with Gephardt Institute staff on student recruitment, application review, interviews, and selection.
- Supports fundraising and stewardship efforts, including proposal writing, donor and prospective donor engagement, reporting, and development of external communication pieces.
Designs, plans, and leads experiential learning initiatives and place-based immersions in St. Louis, with strategic guidance and oversight of the Associate Director for Community Engagement and in collaboration with the Community Engagement Manager, including Engage STL, St. Louis Fellows neighborhood immersions and community events, special events, and other immersive experiences. Responsibilities include:
- Creates and curates educational experiences that uplift community voices; multiple perspectives and narratives; the assets, opportunities, challenges, and complexity of the St. Louis region; Gephardt Institute values; and a broad range of strategies and industries that contribute to the progress and vitality of the St. Louis region.
- Collaborates with Community Engagement Manager to lead program management, including arrangements with community partners, event logistics, etc.
- Identifies best practices in student civic learning, community engagement, and experiential learning, and develops resources and training curricula to advance Gephardt Institute experiential learning initiatives.
- Builds connections with civic and community leaders from nonprofits, government, civic organizations, social enterprise, and business that are pursuing civic change efforts and can serve as co-educators through guest speaking, training, tours, and related efforts.
- Manages civic learning and dialogue events such as Civic Café, The Longest Table, and emergent strategies as part of the Engage Democracy Initiative, a university-wide effort to equip all undergraduate and graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and commitment to actively participate in the process of democracy.
- Oversees planning, implementation, and continuous improvement of a specific portfolio of strategies for fostering student civic learning and civic dialogue that may including recurring events and emergent strategies.
- Supervises one or more graduate assistants who hold primary responsibility for designing and executing events.
- Identifies opportunities for continuous improvement through attention to leading practices in civic learning and dialogue, and collaboration on and review of event evaluations.
- Collaborates with Engage Democracy team (professional and student staff) and volunteers on development, implementation, and continuous improvement of civic education and engagement strategies across the Gephardt Institute.
Serves as one of the Co-Facilitators for the St. Louis Fellows Program to foster student civic learning through cohort-based discussions and mentorship, in support of the Community Engagement Manager who leads the program. Through the St. Louis Fellows Program, undergraduate students dedicate a summer to immersing themselves in St. Louis by contributing substantially to the region through full-time nonprofit or civic internships and engaging in an experiential curriculum to understand St. Louis’ culture, history, politics, challenges, and opportunities. Responsibilities include:
- Co-facilitates small group discussion and learning within the St. Louis Fellows Program alongside Community Engagement Manager and/or other Co-Facilitators. This includes participation in the overnight retreat and all campus-based and experiential learning modules during late spring and summer. At these times, advises St. Louis Fellows on best practices in ethical community engagement; supports skill development for communication and cultivating mutually beneficial community partnerships; provides guidance on project, partnership, and civic identity development; challenges students to consider the complexities and multiple perspectives of an issue; provides opportunities for Fellows to reflect on equity and inclusion; and advises on ways to respond to conflict.
Serves as an essential member of the Gephardt Institute team.
- Contributes to initiatives, meetings, and events of the Gephardt Institute, including donor cultivation and stewardship, developing strategy and vision for initiatives, planning processes, grant/proposal applications and reporting, student outreach, campus partner and community partner engagement, special projects, and special events.
- Collaborates with program staff, Operations, Marketing & Communications, and relevant stakeholders to coordinate planning, implementation, evaluation, and continuous improvement of all Gephardt Institute programs and services
- Performs other duties as assigned.
- This position requires the ability and willingness to work morning, evening, and weekend hours for events, immersion trips, special projects, and deadlines in service to students and the institutes’ mission.
- Ability to travel to on-and off-campus locations for meetings and events throughout campus, the St. Louis community, Missouri, Illinois, and periodically to other cities/states.
- Ability to lift and move office furniture and event supplies.
- Master’s degree in Urban Studies/Planning, Social Work, Non-Profit Management, Public Policy, Public Administration, Student Affairs, Higher Education, or a related field.
- Three or more years of full-time professional experience that includes civic education or civic engagement work as well as educational initiatives with adolescents or young adults.
- Substantive knowledge and passion for civic engagement, community engagement, civic learning, civic dialogue, community development, community partnerships, social change, and/or related areas.
- Substantive experience with or knowledge of multiple forms of civic engagement, such as non-profit leadership political engagement, social services, K-12 education, community development, public service, philanthropy, community organizing, social justice, advocacy, international service, etc.
- Teaching, training, and/or intergroup dialogue facilitation experience with adolescents, college students, or recent college graduates and demonstrated ability to facilitate deep learning and dialogue within a highly diverse, intellectual, and passionate student body.
- Demonstrated experience with educational program design and program/project management.
- Demonstrated ability to work in a non-partisan environment. Commitment to maintaining a non-partisan and inclusive approach to all educational, programming, outreach, and communication strategies.
- Excellent organizational, planning, problem-solving, and project management, and event planning skills. Strong time management, attention to detail, ability to manage multiple priorities, and ability to forecast and plan work while maintaining a landscape view of priorities, values, and vision.
- Strong relationship management skills, with capacity to handle challenging internal and external dilemmas or support students, community partners, and colleagues through them.
- Experience and sensitivity in developing programming and communications for – and interacting with – a racially, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse range of stakeholders.
- Commitment to continuous learning and teaching about cultural humility, equity, responsible engagement with marginalized communities, and complex civic issues.
- Excellent interpersonal and written/verbal communication skills, including with diverse populations and for different mediums and programming environments. Energy, vision, initiative, creativity, empathy, humility, tolerance for ambiguity, ability to embrace and navigate change, sound judgment, diplomacy, tact, and sense of humor.
- Enthusiasm and ability to work in a dynamic, highly collaborative environment with multiple functions, audiences, and priorities.
- Demonstrated ability to lead from a middle management position.
- Ability to function both independently and collaboratively in a dynamic, highly collaborative environment with multiple functions, audiences, and priorities.
- Commitment to the Gephardt Institute’s values of Inquiry, Empathy, Collaboration, Integrity, Equity, and Action.
- Ability and willingness to work evening and weekend hours for events, immersion trips, special projects, and deadlines in service to students and the institute’s mission.
About Washington University in St. Louis
About the Gephardt Institute
The Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement’s mission is to foster a vibrant culture of civic engagement across Washington University, realized by engaged citizens, scholarship, and partnerships that advance the collective good. Through both academic and co-curricular initiatives, the institute educates students for lifelong engaged citizenship, catalyzes partnerships that respond to community needs and priorities, and infuses civic engagement throughout the Washington University experience.
As a university-wide interdisciplinary initiative, the Gephardt Institute serves all academic schools, university departments, undergraduate students, and graduate students, reporting to the Provost. The institute is non-partisan and proactively seeks to support and include diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and ideologies, with a strong attention to equity.
The Gephardt Institute team is comprised of individuals who are mission-driven, values-focused, dynamic, collaborative, visionary, and passionate about the role of civic engagement in a thriving democracy. The institute upholds the values of inquiry, empathy, collaboration, integrity, equity, and action. The staff focuses on four primary audiences: undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, community organizations in the St. Louis region, and alumni and donors.
Since the institute’s founding in 2005 by Congressman Dick Gephardt, the professional staff size has grown from two to thirteen, with eight or more part-time, short-term, and adjunct positions and 10-20 paid interns/fellows from undergraduate and graduate programs. The institute recently relocated to the historic Stix House as its sole occupant. The institute offers a broad range of programs and services to the Washington University community and to partners in the St. Louis region, such as the Civic Scholars Program; Engage Democracy; new student engagement; and Civic Engagement Fund grants for community partnerships.
To learn more about the Gephardt Institute and our strategic plan, please visit https://gephardtinstitute.wustl.edu/about/jobs-and-internships/.