About the SDSN

Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2012, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) mobilizes scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem-solving at local, national, and global scales. SDSN aims to accelerate joint learning and help to overcome the compartmentalization of technical and policy work by promoting integrated approaches to the interconnected economic, social, and environmental challenges confronting the world. SDSN works closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, academia, and civil society. The SDSN is hosted by the SDSN Association, a 501(c)3 organization based in New York.

About the SDG Academy

The SDG Academy is the flagship education initiative of the SDSN, with the mandate of creating and curating the best available online educational content on sustainable development and making it available as a global public good. The Academy brings together the world’s foremost experts on sustainable development, from fields as varied as early childhood development, public health, food systems, and macroeconomics – to offer a comprehensive core curriculum around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), equipping the next generation of sustainable development practitioners to take on the complex challenges facing our planet. The SDG Academy is hosted by the SDSN Association, a 501(c)3 organization based in New York.

About the Role

The SDG Academy is seeking a Head of Programs and Partnerships to provide strategic leadership in the ambitious production and expansion plans of the SDG Academy initiative. This role provides a unique opportunity to manage a complex and dynamic portfolio of work, to expand the collection of core and curated educational content on sustainable development, to engage with experts at the top of their field from around the world, and to catalyze a diverse and motivated global student base to take up the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a meaningful and impactful way. A special focus will be on traditionally under-reached student cohorts internationally, recognizing the unique role of technology in connecting disparate communities. The Head of Program and Partnerships will lead the New York office of the SDG Academy, and will play a key role as part of a small team that values proactivity and creative thinking.


Strategic Leadership & Team Management

  • Work with the President, SDSN Association to design and lead a medium-term vision and strategy for the SDG Academy
  • Explore strategic opportunities for expansion and innovation of the SDG Academy programs within the scope of the mission and vision of the initiative
  • Oversee SDG Academy programs and manage processes to evaluate progress towards stated objectives and to plan and backcast key activities in the short- and medium-term
  • Monitor key process and evaluation data points to inform and improve protocols
  • Manage the New York-based SDG Academy team and work effectively in a multi-location, virtual environment with other offices

Partnerships & Relationship Management

  • Explore opportunities for partnership, including financial partnerships, partner courses, executive trainings, NGO or industry-specific courses and trainings, and others
  • Engage with academic institutions and organizations looking to use SDG Academy content
  • Build and execute the strategy around the inclusion of partner courses and other curated materials among SDG Academy offerings
  • Manage relationship with UN partners on matters connected to education and training for sustainable development
  • Liaise internally with relevant colleagues at the SDSN Secretariat on areas of overlap and support, including the SDSN networks and communications teams
  • Manage communication and relationship with technology partners on course platform, including maximizing platform features and revenue opportunities
  • Liaise with production and branding partners as needed
  • Maintain and manage communications with course experts, key strategic partners, and potential partner organizations

Course Production & Other Products

  • Oversee and, in some cases, manage the process of core course production, including syllabus design, pre-production, filming, post-production, course launch, and course reflection and feedback
  • Liaise with content team, production team, technical team, and relevant SDG Academy/SDSN colleagues throughout process
  • Provide substantive and pedagogical feedback on initial syllabus, course scripts, and post-production cuts
  • Oversee the creation and curation of other educational outputs branded through the SDG Academy, including lecture series, webinars, film festivals, toolkit videos, and data visualizations

Financial Management & Fundraising

  • Manage initiative and course budgets and disbursements on a day-to-day basis
  • Generate donor financial and narrative reporting as needed
  • Liaise with finance and administration team on human resources, contracts, invoicing, accounts payable, and reporting
  • Fundraising support as needed


  • Represent SDG Academy and/or SDSN at public-facing events and conferences
  • Some administrative tasks, as mandated by a small team
  • Any additional requests made by SDSN leadership


  • Masters degree in international education, sustainable development or related field is required
  • Professional fluency in English required; fluency in additional language preferred
  • Minimum of 8-12 years of relevant experience required
  • Exceptional writing, drafting, and oral communications skills required
  • Proficiency in online learning technologies and pedagogies strongly preferred
  • Experience with video production and online course development preferred
  • Experience and/or interest in online education and/or sustainable development strongly preferred
  • Adept at learning and navigating new technologies quickly
  • Strong time-management and ability to work in fast-paced environment while managing multiple tasks
  • Ability to work efficiently both independently and collaboratively
  • Proactive and willing to take initiative, leadership skills essential


  • Start Date: TBD (summer 2019)
  • Location: This position will be based in New York City, NY (Please note that candidates must have prior authorization to work in the United States, as we are unable to sponsor visas)
  • Contract Length: This appointment is valid for a period of one year, subject to renewal upon review of work performance
  • Hours: Full time
  • Reporting: This position reports to the President, SDSN Association
  • Salary: The salary for this position is commensurate with experience and includes a generous benefits package
  • Travel: This position may require some domestic and international travel (not to exceed 15% of total time)


Candidates interested in the position should send a resume, a cover letter, and a short writing sample (no longer than 3 pages) to Please include the name of the position in the subject line.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so interested applicants are encouraged to apply early. All applications must be received by April 17, 2019.