Director of Institute of Politics
The University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Posted in Education and Training

This job has expired.

Job Info


Office of the Executive Vice President

About the Department

The Institute of Politics (IOP) was founded in 2013 as a nonpartisan, extracurricular program with the mission of fostering in University of Chicago students a passion for politics and public service, meaningful dialogue and active engagement in democracy. Since its founding, the IOP has offered a home for civil discourse and conversation between students and elected officials, activists, authors, journalists, and other key practitioners in politics and public service. Through a robust internship program, student-led civic engagement groups, and leadership development initiatives, the IOP provides students a variety of pathways to civic engagement and public service. Headquartered in a repurposed house in the heart of the campus, the IOP strives to create a welcoming community for all students, regardless of their academic focus. The house is a thriving hub of activity, where collaboration among staff and students is ingrained and valued. There are four primary programmatic components of the Institute: The Pritzker Fellows Program: The Fellows Program presents an opportunity for political practitioners, policy makers, journalists, and others engaged in politics to be in residence at the University of Chicago. Typically, four to six Fellows will be in residence in the fall, winter and spring quarters of each academic year. Fellows conduct a weekly non-credit seminar, interact with students and faculty, and utilize the resources of the University to pursue projects of their own choosing. IOP's recent fellows have included: Democratic pollster Joel Benenson; The Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon Jr.; former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Republican strategist Sarah Longwell; Republican pollster Neil Newhouse; and Erin Simpson, Director of Technology Policy at the Center for American Progress. The Internship Program: The IOP sponsors a robust, paid internship program which places students in high-level opportunities overseas, in Washington, D.C. and at the state and local levels. The program, which offers internships both in the summer and across the academic year, builds on the University's successful Metcalf Internship Program, and provides students with invaluable hands- on experiences in government, nonprofits, media, and think tanks. Since 2013, IOP has provided more than 2,700 paid internships to University of Chicago students. The internship program works in close conjunction with an effective career development program that includes weekly one-on-one office hours along and workshops where students meet with political leaders and practitioners about their potential career trajectories. The Civic Engagement Program: The IOP's Civic Engagement program enables students to take an active role in solving social and political challenges in their communities during the academic year and develop their leadership skills via student-led programs, workshops and trainings, political exploration treks and special initiatives. These include the nonpartisan UChiVotes voter engagement effort and Bridging the Divide, a public service leadership program that brings urban and rural students together to listen and learn from each other. The Speakers Series: The Speaker Series is a highly visible element of the Institute, hosting nationally and internationally recognized speakers on a wide variety of issues related to the mission of the IOP. Whenever possible, events are designed to provide time for the speaker to interact informally with students as a complement to the larger, more public event. Since 2013, the IOP's speaker series has welcomed more than 1,100 speakers from across the political spectrum, a testament to its non-partisan commitment of elevating public conversation around important contemporary issues. Recent speakers have included former President Barack Obama; Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; Utah Senator Mitt Romney; and author Ta-Nehisi Coates. The IOP is advised by a Board of Advisors consisting of senior professionals from fields related to the IOP's mission.
Job Information

Job Summary:

The Director will build on existing initiatives of the IOP and develop new and innovative opportunities to inspire students to engage in the political process and play an active role in democracy. The Director will shape the direction of the IOP in a way that helps students explore the value of public service, in all its forms, while preparing them to thoughtfully confront complex issues and navigate a polarized and fractious political environment.

While the Director helps set the strategic vision for the IOP and contributes programmatic ideas to realize that vision, the Executive Director carries out the day-to-day management of staff, programs and initiatives. The two maintain a close working relationship.

The Director must be a person of significant and recognizable accomplishment, well known in politics, government, policy or journalism. Given this profile, candidates will likely be actively engaged in other endeavors such as writing or public speaking but must be committed to spending time at the IOP and in deep engagement with students, staff of the IOP, and partners in the University of Chicago community. The Director is the public face of the IOP and their investment in the success and mission of the Institute must be genuine and visible.


  • Provide strategic leadership for the Institute of Politics, by build on existing initiatives and developing new and innovative opportunities to inspire students to engage in the political process and play an active role in democracy.
  • Represent the IOP publicly and build relationships with potential new partners, donors and funders.
  • Work closely and effectively with the Executive Director and staff of the IOP, as well as the Board of Advisors. The Executive Director and staff oversee the day-to-day operations of the Institute, but the Director will work closely with them to inform the strategy and programming.
  • Connect with practitioners across the political spectrum and from diverse orientations and backgrounds and invite them to engage with the IOP as speakers, fellows, employers, mentors and donors. This includes notable individuals who have engaged in public service or politics in a variety of ways including (but not limited to) elected officials, strategists, organizers, activists, diplomats, and journalists.
  • Engage directly with University of Chicago students to inspire them to play an active role in democracy.
  • Serve as an advocate and role model for civil discourse and free expression. The IOP is a forum for the free and respectful expression of ideas, not the promotion of a political party or particular point of view. Freedom of expression is a deeply held value of the University of Chicago.
  • Offer fresh insights on the forces shaping democracy and our political systems and contribute to relevant and future looking programming.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders and build relationships with current and potential partners. Demonstrate curiosity and seek opportunities for collaboration that bring together the strengths of the IOP and the strengths of the community of scholars at the University of Chicago.
  • Build meaningful relationships throughout the city of Chicago, including the South Side community in which the University of Chicago resides.

Additional Requirements

Education, Experience, or Certifications:

  • Bachelor's degree required.
  • Master's or professional degree preferred.

  • 10+ years' experience in politics, government, policy or journalism required.

Technical Knowledge or Skills:
  • Proven ability to build relationships with practitioners engaged in public service or politics in a variety of ways including elected officials, strategists, organizers, activists, diplomats, and journalists.
  • Ability to inspire students by sharing personal experience and in-depth knowledge of political systems.
  • Ability to represent the Institute of Politics and University of Chicago publicly.
  • Ability to identify and build strategic partnerships internal and external to the University of Chicago for potential programming and funding.
  • Excellent public speaking skills.

Required Documents:
  • Resume/CV
  • Cover Letter
  • Reference Contact Information (3)

When applying, the document(s) MUSTbe uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Benefit Eligibility


Requires Compliance with University Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement

Pay Frequency

Pay Range

Depends on Qualifications
Scheduled Weekly Hours


Job is Exempt

Drug Test Required

Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required

Health Screen Required

Posting Date

Remove from Posting On or Before

Posting Statement:

Employees must comply with the University's COVID-19 vaccination requirements. More information about the requirements can be found on the University of Chicago Vaccination GoForward.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

This job has expired.

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