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Senior Program Officer, Digital Holistic Student Supports

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Customer Service, Operations
Multiple locations
Posted on Thursday, November 2, 2023

The Foundation

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Founded on a simple premise: people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. We believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve. We provide an exceptional benefits package to employees and their families which include comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with no premiums, generous paid time off, paid family leave, foundation-paid retirement contribution, regional holidays, and opportunities to engage in several employee communities. As a workplace, we’re committed to creating an environment for you to thrive both personally and professionally.

The Team

The foundation’s U.S. Program works to expand access to life-changing opportunities. That’s why our focus in education is ensuring that all students – especially Black, Indigenous, and Latino students, and students from low-income backgrounds – have an opportunity to earn a degree or certificate that prepares them for a successful career and fulfilling life. Our Postsecondary Success strategy seeks to support transformation in colleges and universities to ensure that many more students obtain quality, affordable credentials that offer value and lead to economic mobility.

Your Role

Reporting to the Deputy Director, Digital Holistic Student Supports, this Senior Program Officer will craft and implement a strategic approach to growing the availability and adoption of products and tools that engage students and administrators with data, information, and guidance to support equitable student success. You will work with internal and external collaborators and partners to fund the development and implementation of “digital front door” (DFD) technology fit for purpose in higher education. The goals of this portfolio are to help students have a more seamless experience, support advising practitioners to shift from reactive to proactive guidance and provide higher education administrators insights to empower effective resource provision. You will support the product management and go-to-market strategy for student-, advisor-, and administrator-facing tools with AI-integrations as well as portfolio management of core investments (grants and contracts) and partnerships to drive impact. As part of this responsibility, you will collaborate across a highly interconnected team in managing external relationships and investment outcomes to achieve the foundation’s desired impact and provide R&D insights summaries and updates to foundation leadership.

What You’ll Do

  • Develop, modify, and implement UI/UX components of the Digital Holistic Student Supports (DHSS) portfolio with an emphasis on open-source software.
  • Lead and manage a robust R&D learning agenda to produce groundbreaking innovation insights, track formative learning findings, and synthesize insights to advise decision making.
  • Oversee and advise on the development of the tools, including providing input and guidance for the technical decisions using modern web development stacks to ensure the tools align with our strategy.
  • Carry out market measurement research to track and understand market opportunities and challenges, synthesizing research outputs into product development implications.
  • Align development efforts with other critical initiatives using your experience with agile development methodologies like Scrum or Agile.
  • Collaborate with team members on the alignment of investment strategies and activities to ensure collective success.
  • Nurture, grow, and sustain high-impact relationships with key partners, grantees, and other collaborators, including senior executive leaders at higher education institutions, technology providers, and participating grantee organizations.
  • Monitor and identify key investment risks and develop proactive mitigation strategies to ensure success of the strategic goals.
  • Undertake market analysis and develop recommendations required for effective, multi-year strategic grant making and investment approaches.
  • Provide written analysis and presentations and summaries on key topics for leadership and external partner audiences.
  • Provide guidance, consultation and support to grantees and external and internal collaborators to achieve desired impact of grants, including coordinating and conducting site visits when appropriate.
  • Manage internal processes and portfolio progress while ensuring appropriate documentation, grant budgeting, and reporting.

Your Experience

Education Background

  • A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field or equivalent demonstrated product and technical experience is required.

Student Success Technology Markets and Products

  • Deep knowledge of postsecondary advising and student support tech markets (both from a supply and demand perspective) with a focus on addressing R&D and market failures in serving our focus student populations.
  • 5+ years of experience bringing web application development with PHP, front-end JavaScript frameworks, and cloud-based data back-ends to market, preferably in education.
  • Experience with technical architecture design, code reviews, and planning sprints
  • Experience from an ed-tech organization or ed-tech service provider (ideally with P&L responsibility) spanning strategy development, innovation lifecycle, and product management.
  • Proficiency with emerging AI solutions in ed tech, including development lifecycle.
  • Experience with open-source products and open-source communities/foundations; proficiency with open-source licensing options and trade-offs.
  • Demonstrated dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion in product development and marketing.

Strategy Development and Execution

  • Experience developing strategies, determining investment approaches, and implementing and leading project management.
  • Demonstrated commitment to building a strategy that expands opportunity for all higher education students with an emphasis on Black, Latino, Indigenous and students from low-income backgrounds.
  • Experience planning, organizing, and prioritizing work in a fast-paced environment with multiple and competing demands, which requires ability to see the critical path, measure and mitigate risk, and make trade-offs.


  • Experience and passion for collaborating with team members with a diverse set of backgrounds, approaches, and beliefs to pursue a complex, interdependent strategy.
  • Collaborate effectively within a complex organization and with a diverse set of external collaborators; facilitate cross-sector partnerships where they may not have previously existed.


  • Thoughtfully communicate complex information and data in written and oral formats; synthesize large volumes of information into clear recommendations and decisions; and advocate and communicate effectively with a broad and diverse audience.

*Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

The typical salary range for this role is $149,800 to $278,700 USD. The exact offer will be determined by a variety of factors such as the candidate’s individual skills, qualifications, and experience relative to the requirements of the role.


Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Candidate Accommodations

If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request here.

Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We strive for a global and cultural workplace that supports ever greater diversity, equity, and inclusion — of voices, ideas, and approaches — and we support this diversity through all our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.