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Higher Education System
Strengthening Activity (HESSA)


Duty Station:   Utah

Duty Station:   Islamabad

  • Position Title:       Chief of Party for the Islamabad, Pakistan Project
    Duty Station:         Islamabad, Pakistan
    Starting Date:        As soon as possible


    Job Summary

    The University of Utah led consortium of U.S. institutions is implementing a USAID-funded 5-year project in Pakistan—Higher Education Systems Strengthening Activity (HESSA). The other two implementing partners include the University of Alabama and the Institute of International Education. The project is in its second year of implementation and is providing technical assistance to sixteen (16) Pakistani public sector universities in strengthening their institutional and technical capacities in a bid to produce employable graduates while fostering improved workforce development. The end date for the project is August 10, 2026. More details about the HESSA project could be found at: https://hessa.utah.edu

    Application Process:

    Please submit your CV along with a cover letter and list of three references which summarizes your relevant qualifications to the University of Utah Application System at https://utah.peopleadmin.com/postings/146467. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.
    This is a grant-funded position that is currently funded through August 2025.


    The Chief of Party (COP) shall be responsible for the overall leadership, management, and implementation of the project in Pakistan and report to home office, as well as directly coordinate and work with the designated USAID Agreement Officer’s Representative (AOR). As head of the Project Management Unit (PMU) in Islamabad, she/he is responsible for supervising project management and implementation on the ground, serving as the principal interlocutor with USAID and the Government of Pakistan (GOP), liaising with the leadership of partner universities, and ensuring that the project meets its stated goals, compliance standards, and reporting requirements. Specifically, the COP will be responsible for the following functions:
    • Oversee day-to-day project management, including supervision and mentoring of PMU staff, procurement of goods and services, implementation of planned work plan, and oversight of monitoring, evaluation and reporting as stipulated under the Cooperative Agreement.
    • Provide strategic and technical leadership to the project planning and implementation, including a comprehensive vision for designing capacity development activities that will improve the performance of HESSA partner universities, and support effective and sustainable collaboration among higher education institutions, industry, government, and other relevant stakeholders.
    • Ensure program activities are implemented on schedule, within budget, and coordinated to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. In this regard, coordinate with the Project Lead at the University of Utah in ensuring budget programming and forecasting, financial management, compliance and subawards management.
    • Provide leadership for programmatic efforts related to the project objectives, activities and outcomes, to support HESSA partner universities to design and deliver high quality higher education programs that are inclusive, relevant, and responsive to market needs,
    • including designing, developing, and delivering capacity development instruments and materials.
    • Seek out opportunities to facilitate partnerships between education service providers, private businesses, and appropriate government agencies to develop and deliver education and training appropriate to employers’ needs.
    • Serve as principal liaison with USAID, and develop strong working relationships with a wide range of key stakeholders, including government officials, higher education regulatory bodies, leadership and faculty of HESSA partner universities, international faculty and experts engaged in delivering the training programs, sub-awards managers, and other relevant stakeholders.
    • Support the integration and promotion of DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility) objectives in all aspects of project planning and implementation and facilitate leadership of HESSA partner universities in adapting DEIA framework at their campuses.
    • Oversee monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of program activities; facilitate learning and improvement across activities and amongst key stakeholders.
    • Represent HESSA publicly and support its organizational development.

    Minimum Qualifications

    The candidate should meet the following minimum set of qualifications to fulfill the diverse technical and managerial requirements of the award:
    • A master’s degree or higher (minimum of eighteen years of education) in Public Policy, Higher Education, Administration, International Development or other relevant field from an internationally recognized or accredited university;
    • Overall, a minimum of ten years of demonstrated professional experience in the successful implementation of higher education human and institutional capacity development programs;
    • Of which, a minimum of five years of international experience leading capacity development programs that involved collaborative design and implementation across multiple institutions;
    • Proven leadership on the administration of similar sized international donor technical assistance projects or higher education institutions with skills in strategic planning, management, supervision, and budgeting;
    • Proven ability to develop and communicate a common vision among diverse partners and ability to lead multi-disciplinary teams; and
    • Evidence of strong communication skills, both interpersonal and written, to fulfill the diverse technical and managerial requirements of the award.


    We are looking for candidates familiar with the functioning of the higher education sector in Pakistan as well as in advanced countries. Preference will be given to candidates with a successful track record of leading donor-funded technical assistance projects (especially USAID-funded projects).
    • Familiarity with Pakistan and/or Asia is strongly preferred; and understanding with the culture, society, and Urdu language will be an advantage.
    • Strong familiarity with Pakistan’s higher education landscape from a range of perspectives (social, political, institutional governance etc.), including at least 3 years of working experience as a faculty or staff with a recognized US university.
    • The incumbent should have the ability to advise the University of Utah led consortium, USAID and other stakeholders on Pakistani developments and issues across a wide range of higher education-related issues and their implications for USAID programs.
    • The selected individuals should have demonstrated experience in:
        1. Managing higher educational development projects in progressively more responsible positions with a minimum of five years of international experience in leading capacity development programs that involved collaborative design and implementation across multiple institutions;
        2. The administration of similar sized international donor technical assistance projects or higher education institutions;
        3. Leading and working with capacity development projects involving establishment of innovative research and education partnerships, advancing institutional governance, and fostering industry-academia linkages, including skills in strategic planning, management, supervision, and budgeting; and
        4. Development and supervision of multi-disciplinary teams, and ability to develop strong working relationships with senior government officials, faculty and administrators of partner education institutions, and members of the media, civil society, and private sector entities.
    • The selected person should have strong: (i) inter-personal and diplomatic skills with experience in managing a diverse group of stakeholders; (ii) representational and organizational skills; and (iii) communication skills, both oral and written, including ability to develop and communicate a common vision among diverse partners.

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