Lead Researcher/Program Specialist, Education Support Initiative

  • Posted on 14 July 2020
  • Worldwide | Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, United States
  • Closing on 28 August 2020
  • Current
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Job Description

Are you passionate about driving programs focused on foreign assistance? Do you want to be part of an organization that offers meaningful assignments and opportunities to expand your skills and expertise? At Dexis, you will experience a corporate culture of inclusiveness, fairness, and trust. You will be given the means and mentorship needed to succeed, and your creativity will be rewarded.

Since its founding, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has had a long history of supporting degree study for students in higher education across many technical sectors.

USAID is seeking to build the capacity of USAID staff and the implementing partner community to design, implement, and manage innovative higher education scholarship programming.

USAID is currently seeking expertise to identify and document best practices, as well as challenges and opportunities, for designing, implementing, and managing innovative long-term degree higher education scholarship programming. The work will cover undergraduate (including post-secondary diploma, associate degree, or equivalent), graduate, and postgraduate degree scholarship programming in public and private higher education institutions in the U.S., in partner countries, and third-country study, with particular emphasis on programs funded by USAID. Other U.S. government funded programming may also be included as relevant, including programming funded by the Department of State, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, as well as other donor agencies.

Best practice, challenges, and opportunities should cover needs assessment and pre-enrollment through program completion, including: recruitment, vetting, selection, placement, orientation, monitoring, communication with scholars and stakeholders, program completion, post-completion, supplementary professional development activities, alumni networking, and other support. The work should be inclusive of all USAID regions and investigate scholarship programming across USAID technical sectors. The work should include considerations for higher education scholarship programs in/for fragile and conflict-affected countries as well as in/for countries with stable governments, with appropriate attention to disability and gender, among other equity and inclusion factors. The work will not include short-term training at or through higher education.

The objectives of this SOW are three-fold:

  1. To identify best practices in designing, implementing, and managing U.S. government -sponsored higher education scholarship programming across sectors and regions;
  2. Identify opportunities, and challenges for improving the quality of USAID-funded higher education scholarship programming at the design and implementation stages;
  3. Inform the design, implementation, and management of future USAID higher education scholarship programming.

One (1) Lead Researcher/Program Specialist will guide efforts and oversee the quality of work and deliverables. One (1) Research Assistant will provide support to the work.


The team, comprised of the Lead Researcher/Program Specialist and Research Assistant, will perform a desk review and analysis of relevant evidence from higher education scholarship programming evaluations, notice of funding opportunities/solicitation documents, and other reports or materials (both USAID and external); conduct interviews with key informants (USG/USAID staff, implementing partners, current/former scholarship recipients); and review post training success stories and accomplishments. An initial annotated bibliography will be provided to the team. The team will synthesize the overall findings of USG-funded (with a focus on USAID) higher education scholarship programs across sectors and regions and develop knowledge products for best practices, challenges, and opportunities that will inform the design, implementation, and management of future USAID scholarship programming in higher education across sectors and regions.

The specific tasks are:

  1. A planning meeting will be held (involving the STTA Team and USAID) at the initiation of this assignment and before the data collection begins. The purpose of the meeting will be to:
    1. Review and clarify any questions on the SOW
    2. Clarify team members’ roles and responsibilities
    3. Review and finalize the assignment timeline
    4. Review and clarify any logistical and administrative procedures for the assignment
    5. Discuss a data collection plan for document review and consultations
    6. Discuss knowledge products
  2. Review and analyze reports, evaluations, and other resources, conduct key informant interviews, and develop a methodology to identify best practices, challenges, and opportunities in order to improve USAID higher education scholarship programming design, implementation, and management. This desk review and interviews will be done with a high-level of support from the Research Assistant.

Production of knowledge products for USAID staff and implementing partners on best practices, challenges, and opportunities to utilize in design, implementation, and management of USAID higher education scholarship programming.


  1. A work plan that outlines specific steps and methodology to be taken in fulfilling the objectives in the SOW, with projected timeline.
  2. USAID envisions no more than 10 brief knowledge products that may take the form of an evidence brief or report, good practice brief, literature review, case study, best practice document, how-to-note, toolkit, and/or a Checklist, Template, or Reference List to fulfill the objectives identified above. Exact products will be discussed at the planning meeting. The audiences for these products should be 1) USAID Technical staff who are designing and managing scholarship activities and 2) USAID Implementing Partners who are designing and implementing these activities. Regardless of final format, the deliverable(s) should include:
    1. Review of current USG-funded, with a focus on USAID funded, higher education scholarship programming in the U.S., in-country, and in third countries and at the undergraduate (including associate degree or equivalent), graduate, and postgraduate levels, that take place across technical sectors and regions.
    2. Knowledge Products that:
      1. Identify best practices for improving the quality of USAID-funded higher education scholarship programs in the U.S., in-country, and in third countries; at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels; across technical areas and regions;
      2. Identify challenges and opportunities for improving design, implementation, and management of higher education scholarship programming;
      3. Inform approaches to strengthen future USAID higher education scholarship programming design, implementation, and management; and
      4. Visuals in large-sized PNG format (400 KB minimum). All visuals (charts, infographics, maps, etc.) created for the knowledge products will be provided to USAID as stand-alone deliverables. Charts should adhere to the data visualization checklist and should utilize the USAID color

Minimum Requirements:

  • Experienced international training/education director/manager, with a Master’s degree in a social science or related field required.
  • Minimum of five (5) years of prior experience working on international higher education/capacity building-training/scholarship/exchange activities required.
  • Experience in the design, implementation, management and/or evaluation of higher education scholarship, exchange, or degree study activities.
  • Excellent writing and editing skills.
  • Ability to use Microsoft Office and Google Suite products is preferred.

About the Organization

Are you looking for a company that offers meaningful program assignments and opportunities to develop professional skills and expertise? At Dexis, staff are empowered to be part of the decision-making process and collaborate with colleagues and management across the company to satisfy our clients. We create transparency in our operations with our clients and employees; and we offer our people opportunities to grow and challenge themselves in meaningful ways. Dexis follows a "find a way or make a way" business directive, and we’re paving the way for innovative management solutions in the global development and security assistance arenas worldwide. As a Dexis employee you will be challenged, empowered, and mentored. That’s how Dexis goes "all in.” How will you?

If you are passionate about this opportunity, submit your application by clicking the apply for this job online button.

Only those applicants who meet the above criteria will be contacted for interview.

Dexis is an equal opportunity employer offering employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, citizenship, physical or mental handicap, or status as a disabled or Vietnam Era veteran of the US Armed Forces.

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