Apply Now Clicking "Apply Now" opens the link in a new window.

Job Summary

The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy invites applications for our Events and Outreach Manager position.  The events and outreach manager is a member of our Communications and Outreach department and serves as the staff lead on the planning, execution, and hosting of the school’s public events and visits from distinguished policymakers.

The Communications and Outreach Department is responsible for advancing the Ford School’s visibility and reputation with prospective students, alumni, academic and policy communities, and other audiences. Supporting our educational mission and the University’s broader community engagement mission, the communications team serves as the lead host for the Policy Talks @ the Ford School event series. Through our Policy Talks series, which is considered to be among the premier lecture series at the University of Michigan, we welcome some of the world's top policymakers to address a variety of compelling topics and engage with our community through public lectures, student discussions, and other activities.


The Ford School is one of the nation’s foremost policy schools, housed at one of the world’s great public universities. We lead research that illuminates public policy challenges and opportunities. We prepare future policy leaders and analysts for dynamic careers in the public and private sectors here in the U.S. and around the world. We work with policymakers to inform and improve local, state, national, and international policies. We foster dialogue and understanding about the most pressing policy challenges and opportunities of today.

The Ford School has earned a reputation for academic rigor and excellence; a strong and growing commitment to diversity; and a collegial, welcoming, and stimulating interdisciplinary community.  We are housed in Joan and Sanford Weill Hall, a celebrated facility in the heart of the University of Michigan’s central campus in Ann Arbor. To learn more about the Ford School’s mission and activities—including our academic programs and research —please visit  


Plan, manage, and execute the Ford School’s major public and ceremonial events (12-20 per year including: Policy Talks @ the Ford School, student commencement and student project showcase).  This will include:

-  Meeting regularly with the dean, the director of communications and other senior staff, faculty members, and students to support the strategic planning for an annual speaker and visitor slate that is diverse across a number of dimensions. Maintain list of potential speakers for future follow-up based on school’s strategic objectives.

-  Effectively and professionally communicating and collaborating with colleagues to execute seamless speaker/guest visits; assist the department director and dean with executive communications for public events (including Dean’s invitations, remarks, correspondence with speakers, and post-visit follow-up); maintain positive relationships with vendors; and exercise discretion and judgment in carrying out duties.

-  In consultation with faculty, staff, students, and others, propose and refine a custom agenda for each visit that maximizes the impact of the opportunity across a number of dimensions.

-  Developing a marketing and advertising strategy for each visit, in consultation with members of the communications team.

-  Manage events budgets across a number of funds, adhering to University policies and donor restrictions as appropriate. Includes annual and per-event planning, reporting, and stewardship.

-  Provide coordination and leadership for other Ford School professional and technical staff around itinerary management, organization of ancillary meetings and meals with the speakers, event set-up and clean-up, day-of event responsibilities, as well as follow-up activities as needed.  

-  Provide training and leadership to the Ford School’s other event planners and student org leaders who host events; manage the Ford School’s internal event planning calendar; oversee other units’ and research centers’ event postings and calendar listings on the Ford School’s public website; act as liaison between the university community and the Ford School; and develop, collect, and analyze event data in support of improving the outcomes and efficiency for the public lecture series.

Manage the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence Program.  Under general direction from the dean and director of communications & outreach, propose potential invitees; draft and pursue invitations; and act as primary onsite liaison for Policymakers-in-Residence, assisting with travel and lodging arrangements, public event support, and navigating the Ford School and broader campus networks.

Functionally supervise Communications & Outreach administrative assistant and supervise work-study events assistant on the full range of event planning tasks and logistics, including event location/site selection and management, catering, advertising, coordination of audio/visual or other technical support, transportation, communication, event clean-up, PCard reconciliation, travel reimbursements, non-PO vouchers, and budget reconciliation.

Other duties as assigned, which may include: copy editing, event-related writing, and other support for the school’s communications platforms.

Required Qualifications*

Bachelor’s degree and at least two years of varied event planning or other closely related experience.

Demonstrated interest and experience in the public policy arena.

Very strong organizational skills and attention to detail along with a demonstrated ability to work independently.

Demonstrated ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects at once in a fast-paced environment.

Excellent interpersonal, writing and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate professionally and effectively with the public, high-profile visitors, faculty, and external units.

Strong technical skills and demonstrated ability to learn new technological and social media tools.

Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite (including Access).

Must have deep dedication to customer service, quality management, and a collaborative, team approach to work, along with excellent judgment in working with internal and external constituents.

Desired Qualifications*

Master’s in Public Policy, International Relations, or related degree area.

Demonstrated understanding and usage of social media and other emerging communications platforms.

Supervisory experience.

Experience working with budget, and managing within allocated resources.

Marketing and/or public relations experience, including some combination of experience working with design and production professionals and/or media.

Knowledge and experience working with Adobe Creative Suite.

Experience with University of Michigan policies and procedures, including purchasing card policies and reconciliation procedures.


U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.