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Program Officer-Chinese Language Programs, Critical Language Scholarship Program 2023

Job Details

Washington DC - Washington, DC
Full Time



The CLS Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend eight weeks abroad studying one of fifteen critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. By prioritizing inclusion and access, the CLS Program ensures that the next generation of America’s global leaders reflects its diversity.


The Program Officer position reports to the CLS Program Manager and is responsible for program administration and logistics, communication with program participants and partnering institutions in Taiwan providing Chinese immersion language programs and in China providing Chinese virtual language programs. The Program Officer will also remotely manage a team of Resident Directors. In addition, the Program Officer will work with a team of regional Program Officers to analyze program successes and challenges and work on projects to implement changes and improvements across program sites. The Program Officer will also work on select recruitment activities and monitoring selection panels during the application season, both in coordination with the larger CLS team.


The position will require close attention to detail, the ability to handle multiple tasks and work independently, and a readiness to communicate with diverse groups of people. While organizational skills and administrative experience will be an important plus for any candidate, an extensive understanding of academic culture for study abroad programs is also important. Some travel will be required.


The position is based in DC.



  • Assist in the administration of institutional partner agreements and budgets;
  • Coordinate with overseas partners on program components;
  • Assist in writing and preparation of reports and grant proposals for funding agencies;
  • Respond to participant requests and inquiries;
  • Oversee and direct visa processing;
  • Prepare and distribute program materials and handbooks;
  • Organize and participate in pre-departure orientations for outbound groups;
  • Coordinate recruitment of short-term Resident Director staff positions;
  • Advise and provide training to on-site Resident Directors;
  • Manage weekly conference calls with on-site Resident Directors and maintain daily email correspondence, as needed;
  • Arrange overseas travel and logistics for outbound groups;
  • On call in summer to respond to emergencies--may involve limited unscheduled work hours;
  • Contribute to team projects for the development and revision of program materials on a regular basis;
  • Process check requests, prepare invoices and track program payments and expenses; 
  • Assist in program recruitment, outreach, and selection efforts;
  • Facilitate ongoing communications with program alumni;
  • Assist in organizing teacher-training workshops;
  • Additional duties as assigned.



  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English;
  • Experience in study abroad, international education, federally funded programs for cultural exchange, or familiarity with the field of second language acquisition;
  • Experience working with data and spreadsheets;
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail;
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills;
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities quickly and effectively;
  • Ability to work independently while contributing to an overall team effort;
  • Proven effectiveness in a cross-cultural work environment; and
  • Effective interpersonal skills.



  • Bachelor’s degree preferred, but not required;
  • Proficiency in Mandarin Chinese preferred, but not required;
  • Experience mentoring or advising students preferred;
  • Supervisory experience preferred;
  • Familiarity with American higher education;
  • Experience using social media for a professional purpose;
  • Expert knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, particularly Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel.


Position contingent upon funding



American Councils is committed to taking affirmative steps to enhance employment opportunities for minorities, women, veterans, and people with disabilities, and strives to ensure that meaningful employment and promotional opportunities are maintained for everyone. American Councils’ commitment to equal employment opportunity is based not only on federal requirements, but also on a longstanding commitment to maintaining a diverse workforce reflective of the communities in which we operate.



The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information.