Northwestern University Program Coordinator in Evanston, Illinois

Job Summary:

Design for America (DFA) is a national network of college students using design innovation for social good. Founded at Northwestern University and currently housed at the Segal Design Institute, the DFA network spans 40+ campuses and grows each year. The DFA Program Coordinator is a key member of the team, leading core services, national programming, and training the next generation of social innovators.

Please Note:

DFA works in an open studio, collaborative environment. The studio can be busy and is often shared with colleagues and students.

Core responsibilities include:

  • Lead and oversee high quality planning and execution for DFA key services, likely including:
  • DFA national studio support system, and support for key segments according to network need and DFA priority
  • DFA new studio launching
  • May also design and build new program areas, according to network segment need and DFA national priority
  • Manage the DFA alumni program, in collaboration with the DFA Alumni Board, including: regional event series, national newsletter, alumni engagement and participation in DFA national programs, contact lists and database, social media communication, etc.
  • Lead and participate in campus visits and workshops to enhance network support
  • Promote and represent DFA by at national panels, conferences, and programs
  • Serve as liaison to faculty and staff across the network; develop and manage relationships with other national design and social innovation organizations
  • Play a key role in the design and delivery of the annual DFA Summit, including DFA Leadership Studio,
  • DFA Alumni Conference and DFA Symposium
  • Enhance and manage DFA national marketing and communications efforts, including social media and
  • coordinating strategic communications across program areas and stakeholders
  • Oversee Program Assistants, Interns, external Consultants and project manages work of department administrative staff on key projects
  • Contribute to DFA strategic planning

Specific Responsibilities:


  • Oversees and manages day to day operations
  • Ensures that program/project mission, values, guidelines, policies & procedures are implemented & maintained.
  • Identifies and develops service improvement opportunities that will better enable program/project to achieve its goals and objectives.

Communication, Outreach & Recruitment

  • Develops coordinated, consistent marketing and brand messages.
  • Creates state-of-the-art website.
  • Incorporates social media and networking into program/project aspects as appropriate.
  • Strengthens partnerships with external resources by defining, promoting and marketing benefits of participation and involvement to the organization.
  • Creates and nurtures relationships with organizations to develop a network of enthusiastic organizations engaged via active participation in the success of program/project.
  • Reviews market trends to recommend future plans to increase revenue, participation, engagement, etc.
  • Pursues opportunities for alumni contact and solicitation


  • Manages programming, educational, student, alumni, workshops, meetings, etc. including speakers, agendas, etc.
  • Manages plans and arranges meetings, workshops, events, etc. designed to exchange information, promote research objectives, and to build internal and external relationships within NU.
  • Manages event details including communication, venues, presenters, travel arrangements, materials, refreshments and technology are arranged and completed in an appropriate and timely manner.

Faculty Support

  • Arranges colloquium & seminar coordination, & faculty travel planning.
  • Supports faculty in development dissemination of curriculum for research and network studio support.
  • Conducts regular virtual meetings with faculty and professional mentors and contributes to onsite and regional faculty and mentor

Program Development

  • Manages program/project curriculum, seminars, presentations, workshops, learning experiences, chat rooms, websites, social networking, etc. based on goals/objectives.
  • Manages academic quality and continued growth and expansion.
  • Identifies & obtains external expertise as needed and works with content experts for current and new programs.
  • Reviews programs/projects to increase efficiencies to support growth.
  • Manages speaker selection, communication, and topic development.
  • Leads program/project updates and improvements.
  • Continually assesses and innovates program/project to achieve educational goals
  • Develops strategy for program/project growth and expansion

Strategic Planning

  • Administers & maintains existing strategic plans.
  • Participates with area/unit senior staff in the conceptualization, development and presentation of materials used in functional operations.

Student Support

  • Manages recruitment, application evaluation, interview, selection and notification of students and participants across the country
  • Supervises virtual student orientation, registration, student life, graduation, etc
  • Resolves administrative issues (RAS forms, stipends, monitors fellowships, etc.)
  • Organizes new student activities.


  • Supervises 1-2 staff &/or provides work direction to interns and project manages other department and national partners.

Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree; OR appropriate combination of education and experience.
  • 1 year program/project administration or other relevant experience.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Competency with word processing, spreadsheet, email, and database software programs. Adobe Creative Suite

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Experience with Design for America.
  • Knowledge of MSOffice, Adobe Creative Cloud, Slack, Social Media (Facebook, Instagram), Website design and management

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Passion for human-centered design innovation, education, and social impact.
  • Ability to engage and encourage critical thinking and action.
  • Ability to travel and work with students, faculty, staff
  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • Demonstrated excellence in project planning and time management.
  • Ability to move projects forward through feedback and facilitation.
  • Strong visual and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work with individuals from diverse fields and backgrounds
  • Collaborative and strategic in problem solving
  • Great attention to detail; finds joy in iteration.
  • Self-starter who requires little oversight schedule and meet deadlines

As per Northwestern University policy, this position requires a criminal background check. Successful applicants will need to submit to a criminal background check prior to employment.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

Regular/Temporary: Regular

Job ID: 33556

Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Job Title: Program Coordinator