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Policy Associate Job Description

Job Title: Policy Associate
Location: Washington, DC
Reports to: Vice President for policy
FLSA Status: Exempt

SUMMARY: The Policy Associate reports to the VP for Policy and works closely with the Senior Policy Analyst, and other AAU staff as appropriate to support AAU’s policy agenda, to conduct research and analysis, and to assist with AAU’s federal relations and advocacy activities. The Policy Associate will be responsible for assisting with specific policy projects, preparing written products on a variety of topics, and working with policy staff to advance major AAU initiatives and advocacy objectives. The Policy Associate will be responsible for managing the policy department’s social media and website content. They will also assist in collecting, compiling and analyzing data, and conducting and analyzing surveys on an as needed basis and under the direct supervision of the Senior Policy Analyst.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned to meet business needs.

  • Conducts research and analysis to assist in carrying out both policy staff and self-initiated projects.
  • Drafts, conducts research for, and helps develop content for AAU one-pagers, talking points, issue briefs, related charts and visuals, infographics, and presentations to be used with selected internal or external audiences to advance AAU policy and/or federal relations activities.
  • Assists in the developing, proof-reading, fact-checking and reviewing documents, presentations, and data analysis on behalf of the policy department.
  • Assists AAU policy staff in the development and implementation of major new policy initiatives and planning and coordinating policy related workshops and meetings.
  • Ensures policy staffs’ website content is current. Drafts and edits content and makes suggestions for resources and related information. Works with the EA for Policy to post policy staff website content in partnership with the AAU Public Affairs department.
  • Manages the creation of policy department’s social media content including message development, content review, and editing in partnership with the AAU Public Affairs department. Ensures content is timely, relevant, and that it supports the policy department’s initiatives, issues, and projects. Enters policy staffs’ content into editorial calendar and participates in Public Affairs department’s meetings as needed.
  • Works with the Vice President for Policy, the Policy Executive Assistant and external staff to support ongoing activities and programing for the Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy Coalition (ESEP).
  • Takes independent initiative and actively and fully participates in helping to develop the policy department’s yearly goals and objectives in support of AAU’s priorities.
  • Researches grant opportunities, evaluates grant proposal requirements, prepares first drafts of grant proposals, and coordinates submission of proposal as directed by supervisor.
  • Prepares drafts and contributes to reports, white papers, letters, comments, testimony, graphics and other AAU documents and products.
  • Attends and reports on briefings, hearings, coalition meetings and conference calls as needed.
  • Identifies best practices to bundle and promote the economic impact of research and research universities.
  • Develops and maintains professional relationships with staff and experts in other organizations.
  • Attends AAU Constituent meetings as needed.
  • Tracks, reports on, and analyzes various legislative and regulatory actions.
  • Under the direction of the Senior Policy Analyst:
    • Gathers data and information and assists in the analysis process; works with AAU senior staff to identify trends and relationships of relevance to AAU.
    • Collects, aggregates, and synthesizes data across databases, information sources, survey responses, and other data sources.
    • Assists in writing, coordinating, and administering AAU surveys.
    • Conducts quality assurance on data and analysis by reviewing the source and methods.
    • Assists in the developing, formatting, and preparation of reports, charts, and/or graphs for varying documents and written and oral presentations for both internal and external audiences.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Must demonstrate strong writing and editing skills and convey information on complex issues both verbally and in writing using data and reasoning, and possess the ability to speak in formal and informal settings.
  • Demonstrate strong attention to details and data accuracy.
  • Must be able to work independently and must have the ability to exercise discretion and independent judgment regarding matters of significance.
  • Ability to perform well under pressure, be able to manage competing demands, be proactive, show resourcefulness, and adapt well to changing circumstances.
  • Be a self-starter as well as a team-oriented individual with strong interpersonal skills and a positive, professional attitude.
  • Be able to manage many projects, often at the same time, through their entire life cycle in collaboration with several internal and external team members.
  • Possess an ability to effectively establish and maintain working relationships with peers and constituents at all levels of the association.
  • Be able to communicate effectively with staff as well as AAU member university officials and external parties.
  • Work with integrity and be reliable; look for ways to improve and monitor own work to ensure quality; meet deadlines; follow AAU's policies and procedures; and ensure that work responsibilities are covered when absent.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skill in a variety of computer software applications such as Microsoft Office 2010 (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook, Calendar,) content management systems, social media platforms, Adobe Creative Suite, and survey tools. Experience with HTML, SPSS and use of other computing packages, such as Tableau, is preferred.
  • Experience analyzing data collected through web-based systems and surveys.

Education and/or Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required (additional graduate training is preferred); two to five years of relevant experience; experience and/or interest in science higher education policy required.
  • One to three years of specialized, hands-on experience in using Excel, SPSS or other analytical tools to conduct data analysis.


SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY. This position has no supervisory responsibilities. However, the Policy Associate is expected to coordinate efforts with key personnel within the policy department and the Association to achieve the position’s purpose.

WORK ENVIRONMENT. This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS. This is largely a sedentary role; however, some filing is required. This would require the ability to lift files, open filing cabinets and bend or stand as necessary.

POSITION TYPE. This is a full-time position.

Download a PDF version of the Job Description.