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To apply for this position, please submit a resume and cover letter that includes salary requirements as one file.

Job Summary

Help the University of Michigan to reimagine two-way public engagement. Join our team and become a driver of innovation at the world’s great public research university! The Office of Academic Innovation is seeking a creative positive problem solver to support and grow a new strategic campus wide program designed to share and create new knowledge through public dialogue, support public learners in pursuit of knowledge, and influence decision-makers at all levels.

The U-M Public Engagement initiative was launched in October 2017 to reimagine public engagement at the great public research university. The new Public Engagement Specialist, reporting to the Public Engagement Lead, facilitates experimentation at the intersection of public engagement and innovation by:

  • Working with teams within the Office of Academic Innovation as well as faculty to experiment with new models for public engagement
  • Collaborating with community partners to create new opportunities for engagement
  • Building and supporting a faculty community around new approaches to public engagement
  • Scaling proven strategies to increase public engagement

This new position is an opportunity to work with other members of the public engagement community at University of Michigan and within the Office of Academic Innovation to design new opportunities for two-way engagement with public constituencies and learners. The person in this role will have a unique opportunity to help position U-M as the global leader in public engagement as part of our university’s commitment to academic excellence, inclusion, and innovation.


You are an intellectually curious, creative problem solver as well as an active listener that can synthesize what you hear into a digestible framework. You enjoy taking an ill-structured problem, right-sizing it, and building skills or relationships to answer that problem. You are very comfortable facilitating discussions amongst diverse groups of all sizes. You are thoughtful about what makes an experience engaging for different communities. You have an entrepreneurial and collaborative approach to your work and a passion for higher education. You pursue context relentlessly.

You thrive in an environment where new opportunities and questions pop up in unexpected places and you get to work on a team trying to answer those questions as they take shape. You’re comfortable with experimentation and making data-driven decisions. You take tremendous pride in your work and have a strong service-orientation. You value feedback and participating in a feedback culture. You take a user-centered approach to the design of new programs and products. In order to meet the needs of diverse stakeholders, you think impractically before layering in constraints. You love learning, believe in the value of higher education to society, and are intensely passionate about creating connections between the publics of U-M and its scholars.


The Office of Academic Innovation is a strategic priority for the University of Michigan. Through curricular innovation, leadership in learning analytics and personalization at scale, AI aims to shape the future of learning and redefine public residential education at a 21st century research university by unlocking new opportunities for the U-M community and learners around the world.

Our preferred future includes:

  • An open model for pre-college learning and preparation that broadens access and enhances participation
  • A personalized, rigorous, and inclusive model for residential learning grounded in learning analytics and experimentation
  • A flexible and networked model for global and lifelong learning that embraces the evolution of a more permeable university
  • A participatory and inclusive model for public engagement that accelerates bilateral knowledge construction and sharing

As we reimagine the global public research university and create a culture of innovation in learning, we value:

  • boldness and humility
  • creativity and process
  • risk taking and tradition
  • personalization and scale
  • openness

For more information, please visit our website: Academic Innovation.

Note: This is a three-year, term-limited appointment with the possibility of renewal.


  • Partner with the Public Engagement Lead at the Office of Academic Innovation and other Academic Innovation team members to develop a participatory and inclusive model for public engagement.
  • Partner with other public engagement team members to highlight or establish working frameworks and definitions for different approaches to engagement, including drawing upon scholarly literature and/or working group reports.
  • Help to develop and maintain a local and national landscape of public engagement efforts.
  • Work with faculty to design and develop new projects and experiments to reimagine public engagement.
  • Explore and define routes to inspire and support more scholars at all levels to become publicly engaged.
  • Support the development of a community across campus to accelerate knowledge sharing, experimentation and prototyping of new public engagement initiatives.
  • Coordinate a range of public engagement projects and new communities of practice.
  • Track Academic Innovation’s public engagement activities and collaborate with the public engagement team to create metrics to demonstrate our impact.
  • Work in collaboration with senior leaders at the Office of Academic Innovation and with representatives from across U-M’s schools and colleges and the Office of the President, the Provost’s Office, Academic Affairs and the Offices of Research and Government Relations to support the exploration, design, and implementation of new activities to expand faculty led public engagement.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s Degree, ideally in the arts, humanities or social sciences
  • A history of tackling big projects with positive results
  • Demonstrated initiative, independent judgment, diplomacy, and service-oriented attitude
  • Demonstrated organizational, interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills
  • Excellent team and communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Excellent analytic and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work well in a multicultural and collaborative environment
  • A “no task too big or too small” attitude
  • Skill in promoting diversity and inclusion and bringing an equity focus to our work

Desired Qualifications*

  • Master’s degree preferred

Additional Information

Excellent benefits are available, for details, see

Position receives 24 days of vacation a year, and 15 days of sick leave a year with provisions for extended benefits, as well as opportunities for professional development and travel. TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments retirement options available.

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third-party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  This job may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

Decision Making Process

Applications will be reviewed as received throughout the posting period and continue until the position is filled.  This posting may be removed from the UM Jobs board and filled any time after the minimum posting period (one week) has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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