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DiF Program Manager

Are you looking for a fast-moving startup environment where you can help design core aspects of a growing organization? If so, look no further! 

We’re Debate It Forward (DiF), and we were started in 2016 by two UChicago alumni who believe every child should have the chance to build lifelong discourse skills— we utilize debate as a vehicle for teaching the rigorous aspects of civil discourse: well-reasoned argumentation with empathy for opposing views. DiF is a growing organization and is constantly adapting to improve its programming. We’re ready to grow and we need a new Program Manager to help us get there. 

The Role Summary

The Program Manager oversees a debate-centered classroom curriculum deployed at 14 Chicago schools and facilitated by 20-25 college undergraduates. The Program Manager will help manage programmatic operations, school partnerships, and certain strategic initiatives. 

Role Location 

The Program Manager will mostly be working remotely but will have in-person activities 1-2 times a month in the Chicagoland area (typically in Hyde Park). 

Compensation and Benefits

The Program Manager will be paid between $45,000-$50,000 commensurate with experience and with possible bonus opportunities. The Program Manager will have access to health, vision, and dental insurance, 401(k), and two weeks of paid time off.

How to Apply

Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis. Submit your application below (no cover letter required). Email for any questions.


Candidate Profile 

A successful candidate will have an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness and interest in working in a dynamic, fast-paced and growth-oriented organization. The Program Manager will be a key leader in many aspects of the organization, including campus operations, strategic growth and expansion and school partnerships. To be successful in the role, the Program Manager should have the following professional experiences and competencies: 

Must Have Experiences: 

● Bachelor's degree 

● Experience in recruiting, building, and/or managing volunteers or peers 

● Experience with project management 

Nice to Have Experiences: 

● Experience working in a high-paced, tight-deadline environment 

● Experience coaching peers on best practices


Must Have Competencies 

● Performance orientation 

● Strategic thinking 

● Attention to detail 

● Team leader/motivator 

Nice to Have Competencies 

● Communication and influence 

● Entrepreneurial drive 


Key Responsibilities

● School Partnerships 

○ Identify and analyze opportunities for new DIF partner schools; source prospects, pitch, negotiate, and close with interested school partners. 

○ Oversee work before partnership launch; coordinate and collect prerequisites for school contracts (rosters, waivers, surveys, etc.).. 

● Strategic Growth and Expansion 

○ Provide long-range planning for DIF university hub  expansion that is consistent with the DiF model

○ Develop, document and apply innovative approaches, solutions, and techniques to account for lessons learned, hurdles experienced, and 

milestones reached.

○ Act as a liaison between Leadership and the campus by working closely with both parties and communicating feedback and progress. 

● Operational Oversight 

○ Establish and implement goals, objectives, strategic plans, policies, and operating procedures; monitor and evaluate programmatic and operational effectiveness, and effect changes required for improvement. This ranges from creating staff schedules to rewarding strong teaching performance. 

○ Source and recruit college staff through various techniques (databases, e-mail, social media, etc.) including general strategies and university specific 

approaches (e.g. Handshake) 

○ Plan and coordinate professional development opportunities and training for staff, including workshops, meetings, classroom assessment; 

○ Implement coaching sessions and mentorship programs to establish a culture of continuous learning; oversee learning activities, curriculum and 

resources-evaluate the results of learning courses; 

○ Coordinate and plan team bonding activities to ensure positive morale.

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