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Open Positions

Assistant Director, First Scholars® Initiatives Center for First-generation Student Success®

Note: two positions available. 


First Scholars® provides colleges and universities with evidence-based approaches for supporting first-generation students through holistic development across each aspect of the college experience from entry through completion and beyond. Currently in development, First Scholars® serves as the signature architecture for a comprehensive set of scaling approaches offered by the Center for First-generation Student Success®. The assistant director is responsible for supporting the development and implementation of the First Scholars® Solutions and Frameworks structures and documents. 

The assistant director will play a pivotal role in assisting with the development of key programmatic and systemic support structures that are vital to the execution of the reimagined approach to First Scholars®. This individual will assist with the day-to-day management of both institutional and external partner relationships, communications, and data analysis and reporting. The assistant director will work in close partnership with the Center’s associate and senior directors as well as NASPA leadership to execute the implementation of First Scholars® strategic plans. 

Reports To: Associate Director, First Scholars® Initiatives, Center for First-generation Student Success 

Supervises: Upon hiring, this position will not have supervisory responsibilities. 


Specific Responsibilities of the Position

The assistant director of First Scholars® Initiatives will support:  

Solutions and Frameworks Development:

  • Partner with the associate director in the development of the Center’s signature programming series, First Scholars®, and support institutional partners toward achieving strategic scaling goals; 
  • Directly assist in the content and design development and copy-editing of all First Scholars® Solutions and Frameworks externally-facing documents, materials, and products; and
  • Support and collaborate with external process evaluation, data/learning, and proof of concept partners or other stakeholders and partners.

Project Management:

  • Support all facets of engagement with First Scholars® network institution relationship management to include, but not limited to, strategic and follow-up communication, programmatic updates, training, data analysis and reporting, recommendation creation and implementation;
  • Assist the associate director with the implementation of Expert Guidance offerings for First Scholars® programming to include development of review tools, feedback reports, and future recruitment structures and training;
  • Provide excellent internal and external customer service and support; and
  • Establish an identification system for advancing institutional partners along the First Scholars® Solutions and Frameworks as appropriate.

Communication and Marketing:

  • Partner with the associate director to strategize planning around marketing, prospect identification and recruitment of institutions ideally suited for First Scholars® engagement;
  • Promote recruitment and marketing of First Scholars® Solutions and Frameworks across social media platforms and at conferences, workshops, and planned events;
  • Collaborate in developing and updating the external presence of First Scholars® programs on the Center website; 
  • Establishing a communication approach for prompt responses to inquiries about the program;
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to market First Scholars® to a variety of institutional types; and
  • Represent First Scholars® at NASPA and external events, conference presentations, publications, and other outlets.


  • Participate in the review of literature and research related, but not limited to, trends in retention and graduation for first-generation students, effective delivery methods, and evidence-based approaches from the programmatic level to systemic institutional change; and
  • Utilize findings from reviews of scholarly literature, books, published reports, landscape analyses, consultation with experts in the field, and additional resources to contribute to the building of Solutions and Frameworks supporting guidance. 

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Participate in departmental, division, and organizational strategic planning, meetings, and projects; and 
  • Support Center and NASPA tasks, projects, professional development, and engagement as deemed appropriate.


Required Qualifications

  • A Master’s degree is required with experience in higher education or student affairs with three (3) or more years of relevant experience working with or in support of first-generation student populations; 
  • A commitment to first-generation student success through personal experience, research interests, and/or practice; 
  • Experience with programmatic and curriculum development, programmatic evaluation and assessment, and program development and implementation within a higher education setting; 
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of student development, engagement, and learning theory in practice;
  • Strong interpersonal, critical thinking, and presentation skills coupled with the ability to manage competing priorities in a fast-paced environment;
  • An entrepreneurial spirit to realize the scaling potential of First Scholars®; 
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, with stakeholders and leaders at various levels; and
  • Proficiency in the use of Google suite, Learning Management Systems, Qualtrics, and video conferencing software. 

Ideal candidates for this position will possess experiences in the following areas: 

Project Management and Program Development Experience

  • Experience providing consultation and guidance to leadership and practitioners within the higher education space and across institutional types;
  • Demonstrated project management experience, preferably in grant-funded, nonprofit, or higher education setting, including demonstrated ability to work independently maintaining keen attention to detail while under time constraints and coordinating multiple projects; and,
  • Workshop experience and facilitation skills, including the ability to independently design and conduct training programs for leadership, faculty, and staff at post-secondary institutions.

Research and Data Analytics Experience

  • Knowledge of measurement, data analysis, research design, and survey methodologies of both a qualitative and quantitative nature; and,
  • Demonstrate experience producing tools and reports from multiple types of data and the ability to communicate research findings to a variety of populations within the higher education space.

Communication and Marketing Experience

  • Outstanding communication skills with an emphasis on written communication in a variety of mediums including analytical and research-based products with the ability to convey complex concepts in a clear, concise, and logical manner; and,
  • Familiarity with disseminating material in social media outlets.
Program Assistant, Center for First-generation Student Success®

The program assistant will provide programmatic and administrative support to the daily operations, professional development offerings, and online presence of the Center for First-generation Student Success®. The program assistant will engage with direct Center staff as well as a broad set of NASPA colleagues in a fast-paced environment to offer evidence-based guidance and solutions to higher education institutions seeking to advance the success of first-generation students. The program assistant will support key Center programmatic offerings, identify content for the Center’s online scholarly literature and media archives, develop new website content and event pages, provide social media strategy and management, and engage in the development of general marketing and communication needs. The program assistant will assist with front line of customer service for the Center through oversight of the official email accounts, responding to inquiries regarding products and services, and managing emerging program contacts.

Reports To: Assistant Director, Center for First-generation Student Success


Specific Responsibilities of the Position

The program assistant will support:

First Forward: a national recognition program acknowledging higher education institutions for their commitment to first-generation student success.

  • Manage annual recruitment and application intake; 
  • Organize and execute timely email communication and marketing needs;
  • Support the execution of virtual informational and follow-up meetings;
  • Update website; create social content to elevate messaging across Center social platforms; 
  • Design and update visual graphics and supporting content; and
  • Collect and track institution program requirements.

First-Generation College Celebration: a national celebration of the first-generation college student and graduate identity and accomplishments, typically celebrated on November 8.

  • Support the year-round plan and execution to grow national engagement for the First-Generation College Celebration;
  • Assist with the application, selection, and fiscal management of the First-Generation College Celebration Grant Opportunity;
  • Update the First-Generation College Celebration website, manage institution highlights, and create original social content promoting across Center social platforms; and
  • Design and update visual graphics and supporting content.

First Scholars®: the Center’s signature approach for scaling first-generation success 

  • Support Center staff with general administrative and programming tasks including: 
  • Schedule meetings, create agendas, and provide meeting minutes;
  • Develop marketing materials and collateral; 
  • Contribute to website development and management of product sales and troubleshooting; 
  • Contract execution, invoice payment, and general accounting tasks; 
  • Travel planning for site visits and speaking engagements; and 
  • Plan meeting logistics for First ScholarsⓇ Network events. 

Center Online Learning: virtual events (live and recorded) covering strategies, evidence-based practices, and approaches to advance the success of first-generation students.

  • Review literature and research topics to propose as future offerings;
  • Collect necessary information to support creating the accompanying websites, registration page, and virtual hosting platform;
  • Correspond with practitioners, schedule necessary meetings and calendar placeholders, as well as collect presentation materials and supplemental documents;
  • Support social promotion, messaging to increase awareness and registration, and setup paid campaign ads;
  • Design and update visual graphics and supporting content; and
  • Provide outstanding customer service to those participating in events.

Administrative Support

  • Assist in the execution of conferences, workshops, events, live briefings, and other services, both NASPA and external Center engagements:
  • Support conference logistics; review of programs, selection, and scheduling; travel; packing and shipment of supplies, and expense reconciliation.
  • Create and schedule social content as well as design visual content.
  • Design and edit program materials (i.e. invitations, images, templates, lists, announcements, slide decks).
  • Assist with Center inventory and manage the shipment of supplies to internal and external events;
  • Liaise with NASPA staff for promotion, production, and printing needs;
  • Support Center social strategy and website management:
  • Investigate web-based resources for emerging media and scholarly literature to populate the Center’s online archives;
  • Support the development of original Center website content to include blogs, interviews, and profiles and to provide review and formatting;
  • Advance the Center social media strategy with the goal of increasing followership, traffic to Center website, and engagement opportunities with the Center;
  • Create Center related visuals to accompany social content;
  • Grow and schedule weekly content for the Center’s social media accounts, as well as review daily content and identify engagement opportunities.
  • Support execution of Center newsletter and audience growth;  
  • Provide excellent internal and external customer service and support.
  • Participate in departmental, divisions, and organizational strategic planning, meetings, and projects, as well as responsibilities required of all NASPA staff. 



  • Bachelor’s Degree Required.
  • Strong knowledge of MS Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, and Google Drive.
  • Ability to work effectively via videoconference and remote communication channels.
  • Demonstrate effective writing, communication, and project management skills.
  • Strong organizational skills, with the ability to establish priorities, manage multiple demands and projects, and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to take initiative, use sound judgment, resolve problems diplomatically and discreetly, and work effectively, independently, and cooperatively with all levels of staff and constituents.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills with the ability to build relationships inside and outside the organization with stakeholders, customers, and colleagues.
  • Flexible, with the ability to multi-task and frequently adjust to changing priorities and timelines in a fast-paced working environment. Ability to work under tight deadlines with short turnarounds.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, listen carefully, communicate and advocate effectively in a complex matrix organization.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in higher education settings and a general understanding of first-generation student experiences.
  • Experience with Content Management System (CMS), desired experience with Far Cry, and website development and proficiency in managing social media platforms and executing strategy.
  • Experience with graphic design for web, video, and audio editing skills, as well as experience with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
  • Ability to learn new technology systems (Nimble, Qualtrics, Learning Management System, etc.)