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A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Job Summary

The Community Partnerships Manager for optiMize reports to the Director for Social Innovation for the College of LSA. optiMize is an LSA Undergraduate Education unit that leads the College of LSA’s social innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives, as well as several initiatives aimed at creating a more diverse and inclusive campus.

This position leads optiMize’s efforts in community partnerships. Our unit engages with stakeholders across the state, both for the benefit of the Michigan student experience and in service of the public good. To this end, community partnerships initiatives have become a significant portion of all optiMize programming — engaging hundreds of community college students, high school students, and other stakeholders each year across the state of Michigan.

The optiMize Community Partnerships Manager oversees all efforts in this realm as well as managing the program’s grant-funded Transfer Bridges programming. This position will serve as optiMize’s spokesperson and leader in relationships with these partners and a liaison between departments at U-M who are also engaged with partners outside the university. In addition to serving in this capacity, the community partnerships manager has a demonstrated commitment to diversity and equity and promotes optiMize’s mission to foster collaborations and educate the community about these issues.

We are seeking candidates who enjoy working in a fast-paced, evolving area; are comfortable taking action in a growing and changing workplace; and who will actively engage in a dynamic, high-performing team environment. We seek candidates with a commitment to creating access to opportunities for our diverse population of students, and have an interest in and commitment to creating inclusive programs.

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.


Leadership of optiMize Community Partnerships Division (30%) With Director, develop strategic plan and budget for all optiMize Community Partnerships and Programs

  • Lead the implementation of optiMize’s strategic plan for scaling Community Partnerships and Programs to serve 1000+ students annually from all 28 community colleges in Michigan
  • Lead the Community Partnerships team in designing, developing, and implementing all optiMize Community Partnerships and Programs, including optiMize moMentum, aMplify, Transfer Bridge Fellowship, Bold Futures Camp, Campus Innovators Fellowship, and other programs.
  • Assess existing programs and develop new partnerships and programs as opportunities and necessities arise. Develop and create annual reports for foundations and donors on behalf of optiMize community partnerships. Prepare fundraising collateral materials and participate in donor engagement for optiMize Community Partnerships initiatives.
  • Represent optiMize and the University in engagements with community partners and funders. Manage relationships and collaborations with community colleges and other 4-year institutions, including ongoing collaborations with Washtenaw Community College, Henry Ford College, Grand Rapids Community College, Schoolcraft College, Eastern Michigan University, and Wayne State University.
  • Lead entrepreneurship programming for high schoolers in the Southeast Michigan area on behalf of the College of LSA including the Bold Futures summer program, Heroic Futures, and Campus Innovators Program.
  • Share oversight and responsibility, with the Director, for all administrative, operational, and financial matters for the project and liaise with campus and community partners across all colleges and universities - including external university’s campus chapters and program support at community colleges.
  • Creating and develop, with other optiMize staff, an anti-racism curriculum and educational opportunities for student leaders and fellows to support the growth, adjustment, and advocacy for our diverse student population and to foster an inclusive community
  • Steward financial resources and partnerships
  • Develop a model for using student co-curricular communities as a way to encourage and support the College’s goal of sparking an increase in transfer students from community colleges as well as recruiting a diverse student population interested in the liberal arts
  • Create and manage systems for collecting, organizing, and safekeeping participant data

Supervision and Oversight of Program Staff and Volunteers (25%)

  • Hire, train, and supervise all temporary staff in the Community Partnerships division
  • Develop on-boarding and training processes for new and continuing staff

Program communications and engagement (15%)

  • Maintain collaborative relationships and provide day-to-day support for colleges and universities across the state of Michigan participating in optiMize programming
  • Assist in the recruitment of community college and university fellows across the collaborative campuses
  • Develop strategic messaging campaigns around access, equity, justice,inclusion, and community partnerships
  • Hold workshops and events for a range of stakeholders, both at U-M and out in various partner communities

Direct Mentorship of optiMize Student Participants (15%)

  • Provide mentorship to students involved in optiMize community partnerships programs
  • Provide mentorship and support to community college students interested in transferring to U-M
  • Advise and support caseload of diverse undergraduate students in optiMize
  • Orient students to academic programs and university services
  • Mentor student staff working with partner programs at Wayne State, Eastern Michigan and Michigan State as well as any additional interested colleges or universities

Liaison to University Units (10%)

  • Establish effective working relationships with partnering transfer student programming units throughout the university
  • Develop communication plan to share information among optiMize and other units
  • Serve on committees in LSA when requested
  • Represent optiMize locally, state-wide, and nationally
  • Manage optiMize contributions to the Transfer Bridges to the Humanities @ Michigan initiative

Professional Development 5%

  • Attend workshops, trainings, institutes, and conferences related to access and equity in higher education, community colleges, transfer bridges, the profession, and optiMize mission
  • Stay current on research, scholarship, and best practices related to the liberal arts and sciences, higher education, and position specific requirements

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3-5 years of experience in higher education
  • Experience working with programs that serve transfer students or community college students
  • Experience with strategic direction for a unit or program
  • Experience working with external partners
  • Experience managing projects that include a wide range of highly engaged stakeholders and participants
  • Experience managing a budget for a project or program
  • Willingness to regularly work nights and weekends, adopt a flexible working schedule, and travel around the state of Michigan to visit community college partners, comprising 10-25% of monthly working time depending on the needs of the unit.

Desired Qualifications*

  • 5+ years of relevant experience
  • Experience working in a social enterprise, nonprofit, or other social impact-focused organization
  • Experience growing and scaling a program

Additional Information

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitments to serve the diverse people of Michigan, fulfill the College’s Guiding Principles, and sustain the excellence of LSA.  

To learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion visit

To learn more about LSA’s Guiding Principles visit

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 are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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