The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) is a national non-profit based in Washington D.C. and Oakland, California. We are a trusted source of research, design, and advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and equity in higher education. We conduct and disseminate research, build diverse coalitions, develop policy solutions and advocate for their adoption nationally, in California, and in Michigan.

Our programmatic work spans college access, affordability, and success, particularly for historically marginalized students. Our program work aims to strengthen student financial aid, increase federal support for public higher education, simplify the student loan repayment system, and expand evidence-based comprehensive college support strategies that improve student success. We also seek to ensure colleges are held appropriately accountable for student outcomes, and that students have the information they need to make informed decisions about where to go to college and how to pay for it.

We nurture close relationships with policymakers, providing specific recommendations and help them navigate legal, budgetary, and political hurdles. We build momentum for new policies by building diverse coalitions of advocates and constituents and by driving media coverage. We pride ourselves on the impact of our work and are known for our reliable research, carefully designed policy recommendations, and partnerships with policymakers, community organizations, and advocates.

For more information, please visit the website: www.ticas.org

Job purpose

The Director of Policy and Advocacy will develop and implement TICAS’s policy and advocacy strategy on behalf of students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, and other historically marginalized students in Michigan. As the most senior team member in the state, this position will be responsible for leading Michigan policy development and advocacy efforts and for expanding and maintaining strong relationships with other policy, advocacy, and community groups.

The Director will manage a team, currently one member, a Program Associate, based in Michigan. The Director also will develop and advance policies that improve college affordability, accountability, and success statewide, including by influencing executive, legislative and regulatory policy processes through research and analysis.

The position will also represent TICAS in meetings with state executive and legislative branch policymakers, state experts and advocates, and philanthropic partners.  Guiding the professional development of the Program Associate in Michigan will also be a critical component of the position.

As a member of TICAS’ Management Team, the Director will also contribute to the overall culture of the organization, help deepen the organization’s partnerships and alliances, seek alignment across new and existing program areas, and support fundraising efforts.

Note: TICAS does not have a physical office base in Michigan, hence the position is fully remote. There will be an expectation of travel to other TICAS offices up to six times per year.

Key duties and responsibilities

  • Lead the development of TICAS’ policy agenda, priorities, and objectives for the state of Michigan through legislative, regulatory, and other means.  
  • Build strong relationships with a variety of lawmakers with different perspectives and interests by providing trusted, reliable and independent information and research. 
  • Analyze and make recommendations on policy proposals, including those from legislative, regulatory and administrative branches as well as other organizations.  
  • Contribute research, analysis, and writing to reports, issue briefs, blog posts, fact sheets, and letters.   
  • Clearly communicates TICAS research and policy recommendations to policymakers, journalists, researchers, and advocates in the state. 
  • Develop strategies to further embed partnerships with organizations in the state, and oversee the cultivation of coalitions.  
  • Effectively communicate with organizations with different priorities from TICAS. 
  • Cultivate in-state coalitions of organizations with shared interests, develop strategic alliances, and partnerships to maximize TICAS’ effectiveness and advance our body of work. 
  • As TICAS’s most senior representative in the state, participate in meetings and on conference calls with state policymakers, researchers, and advocates.  
  • Represent TICAS in press interviews, public speaking engagements, testimony, conferences, and meetings. 
  • Support the organization in fundraising for the state, working closely with the executive team and TICAS’s Development Officer. This includes building relationships with funders, developing proposals, and communicating the impact of TICAS successes. 
  • Manage the work and professional development of the Program Associate, including setting annual goals, providing frequent feedback and supporting their professional growth.  
  • Other duties as assigned. 

Skills and Qualifications

  • Must have a minimum of three years senior leadership in a related field or discipline. 
  • Strong written and verbal communication and organizational skills. 
  • Strong management skills and dedication to supporting staff. 
  • Ability to exercise good and sound judgment. 
  • Excellent at working in a team and independently. 
  • Can balance both short- and longer-term priorities. 
  • Exceptional attention to detail and commitment to continuous improvement. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

TICAS is committed to sustaining a diverse community with a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and encouraging to all. TICAS fosters a culture of inclusion that celebrates and cultivates diversity along multiple dimensions, including race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, culture, and experience.

TICAS strongly encourages applicants from diverse and historically underrepresented backgrounds to apply.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Compensation: commensurate with experience; excellent benefits

Location: Michigan

Reports To: Senior Director 

FLSA Status: Full-time/Exempt 

Application process: Candidates should submit a brief cover letter (no more than one page) and resume to: Patricia Balana, careers@ticas.org.

In your cover letter (no more than one page), please include:

  • Why you are passionate about TICAS’ mission
  • How you believe you are the right fit for this position

Please include two professional references.