Acara seeks graduate student assistant (programs coordinator)

Acara is hiring a GRA to coordinate the new programs Acara is launching for graduate and professional students. Acara is hiring! Interested in the following position? If so please apply at for Job Opening ID 326959. Position is open until filled. Any questions about the position can be directed to

The Acara Graduate Programs Coordinator manages Acara co-curricular programs that serve graduate and professional students, as well as administration and communications for Acara courses for graduate students. Acara is a program of the Institute on the Environment in partnership with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and exists to support students in learning the skills they need to successfully design and pilot initiatives, organizations and/or ventures that seek to address a social or environmental problem.

This position will report to Megan Voorhees, Acara Co-Director and will primarily work out of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. This position is for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019, with the potential to be extended to Summer 2019, Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.

In 2018-2019, the Graduate Programs Coordinator will primarily work on designing, marketing and managing these programs and courses:

The Acara Changemakers Lab, a new co-curricular program for graduate and professional students that meets monthly from October to April.

Acara’s partnership with the School of Architecture in developing the UMN’s involvement in the national network called the “Resilience through Innovation in Sustainable Energy” that is currently focused on renewable energy transition in Puerto Rico. This partnership includes a new course called ARCH5250: Global Convergence Laboratory-a January course that will include two weeks in Puerto Rico in January 2019 as well as a May term course in which Puerto Rican students will visit MN.

Workshops and events for graduate students, including a “Design for Good” Workshop Series and Acara’s annual competition called the Acara Challenge.

Programming and coaching support for Acara Innovation Fellows.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

50% Program Management:
  • In partnership with other Acara staff, the Acara Faculty Advisory Board and student leaders, design and implement interdisciplinary programs and curricular programs to meet the needs of graduate and professional students from across the University. Tasks will include:
  • Recruit students including campus-wide marketing, coordinating selection committees, etc.
  • Coordinate program events, including reserving rooms, marketing and communications, food, identifying event speakers, etc.
  • Manage budgeting, expenditures, and reimbursements related to any graduate programs
  • Design and implement program evaluation and data collection systems.
  • Design mechanisms for graduate/professional students to advise Acara on the design of new or improved programming, including recruiting students to serve on Acara’s Student Leadership Board.
  • Work with other Acara staff to develop and implement new courses and co-curricular programs.
20% Communications
  • Coordinate Acara communication and marketing strategy implementation for graduate programs in collaboration with Acara staff, communication team, graphic designer, and printing services.
  • Direct Acara’s online presence including website, social media and Linked In with support from Acara Program Associates.
  • Build relationships with key students, staff, faculty, and professionals to strengthen Acara’s network and recruitment efforts at the University of Minnesota.
  • Contribute to the development of a database of all Acara contacts through Salesforce.
10% Other:
  • Represent Acara at various meetings, conferences, and other events as needed. This may includes travel (domestically and internationally).
  • Participate in collaborations, initiatives, meetings, research and activities at the University of Minnesota, especially at the Institute on the Environment as they relate to this position.
  • Professional development

Required Qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • Current registered University of Minnesota graduate or professional student with a demonstrated interest in social innovation, sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, changemaking, and/or social justice education.
  • Excellent organizational ability required, as well as evidence of successful teamwork and project management.
  • Highly effective written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong capacity to work independently in a context of continuously evolving tasks and responsibilities.
  • Eagerness to work collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, and community members to facilitate program design, development and administration.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Prior experience studying and/or working in related fields (social innovation, sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, changemaking, and/or social justice education).
  • Experience in educational settings including teaching and/or student advising.
  • Experience in designing, implementing and evaluating programs.
  • Experience in marketing and communications.
  • Ability to seamlessly shift from specific detail-oriented work to high-level strategic thinking and programming.
  • Preference will be given to students who have at least four semesters left before graduation and students who bring diverse backgrounds and/or perspectives.
Working Conditions: The majority of the work in this position is performed in a general office setting. IonE offices and meeting spaces are accessible and the building has accessible gendered restrooms on-site. Non-gendered restrooms are accessible through the tunnel system but would not be considered convenient for regular daily use.

About the Department

The Institute on the Environment (IonE) seeks to lead the way toward a future in which people and the environment prosper together. IonE is accelerating the transition to this future by supporting breakthrough research across disciplines, developing the next generation of local and global leaders and building transformative partnerships across the state, region and globe. IonE prides itself on not being academia as usual. At IonE, we go out of our way to collaborate with external partners while bringing different academic fields of expertise together within the University and seeking diverse voices — all with an eye towards being responsive, agile and entrepreneurial in the face of a changing world. For more information about IonE, see

How To Apply

Student positions are a form of financial support while pursuing an education at the University of Minnesota.

Applications must be submitted online. To be considered for this position, please click the Apply button and follow the instructions. You will have the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Activities" page and uploading documents there.

***If you have any barriers/obstacles to application, please contact IONE@UMN.EDU***

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission. The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

IonE is an ally and we strive to create and foster an inclusive and diverse environment.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. To learn more about diversity at the U:

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