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Associate Director, New England State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

Department: Policy & Research
Reports to: President
Date: May 2021

General Summary:

This position leads the implementation, management, and oversight of the State Authorization Reciprocity
Agreement (SARA) in the NEBHE region. SARA provides a platform for states within the NEBHE Compact to—upon application and demonstration of certain criteria—enter into reciprocity for the purpose of authorizing individual colleges and universities to provide postsecondary education courses and programs through the Internet or via other distance modalities to students living in other states. This individual directs NEBHE’s engagement with the four regional SARAs—functioning within the other regional interstate contacts—to facilitate reciprocity among willing states within their respective regions. The four regional SARAs are connected through an inter-regional agreement to create a nationwide reciprocity framework, governed by a national coordinating board, NC-SARA.

This is a full-time, benefits-eligible position located at the NEBHE offices in Boston. Salary to commensurate with experience.

Essential Job Functions:

Management, Outreach and Oversight (30%)

  • Plan and convene forums to inform institutions of SARA opportunities, membership, and participation requirements
  • Provide technical assistance to states to meet requirements for SARA membership, including any necessary legislative, regulatory, or structural changes that may be needed
  • Inform staff of the lead state authorizing agency in each state, and their companion state agencies, of the timeline and specific requirements for renewal of state membership and for institutional participation
  • Communicate regularly with directors of other regional compacts to insure consistency of messaging and practice and to explore potential avenues for collaboration
  • Communicate regularly with the national NC-SARA leadership and staff and participate in meetings of the SARA directors group
  • Representation at regional conferences and semi-annual national board meetings, annual State Portal Entity meeting, compact counterpart convenings
  • Work with institutional, state, regional and national partners to identify and address important issues, questions, concerns or other matters of interest
  • Develop, implement, and oversee annual SARA operations, including work plans and budgets
  • Participate in NEBHE Board and committee meetings, as required, to report on SARA-related matters or other pertinent activities

Communications and Data Management (40%)

  • Work with the national SARA staff and consultants and/or Regional Compact President to review and implement processes for collecting, tracking, and reporting data on: 1) state SARA membership*; 2) institutional SARA participation; 3) reviewing invoicing and payment of institutions’ annual fees*; 4) the status of scheduled reviews of state membership
  • Ad hoc institution and state support surrounding policy and best practices
  • Design, collect, track data (including, but not limit to student complaints, membership benefits and quality assurance) identified as a regional priority
  • Support national council in annual data collection enrollment reporting (*Annually, May-June)
  • Develop semi-annual status reports on the SARA implementation process for NEBHE board
  • In conjunction with Regional Compact President, report on matters of SARA operations and governance as needed or as requested by relevant governing or policymaking authorities in the region
  • Oversight of regional SARA content on NEBHE website and regional membership communications (both institution and state level) including webinars and other communications

Regional Steering Committee (10-15%)

  • Assist the NEBHE president in appointing individuals to the regional SARA governing entity and any other relevant advisory groups
  • Plan and convene the Regional Steering Committee semi-annually (at a minimum) for national updates and recommendations of state renewal applications
  • Report on matters of SARA operations and governance as needed or requested
  • Initiate research or data collection based on priorities or requests defined by the SARA State Portal Entities and/or Regional Steering Committee in conjunction with NEBHE President

Other NEBHE Responsibilities (15-20%)

  • Assessment, planning and support of outreach, marketing and/or communications organization wide
  • Support exploration or implementation of related regional technology access initiatives
  • Assist in development, adoption and assessment to ensure continued progress of board priorities and/or related events
  • Assist with NEBHE Board engagement, support and effectiveness strategies

Other Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Promotes and maintains positive relations for NEBHE and SARA
    Performs other related duties as required

Skills/Experience/Training Required:

  • Familiarity with higher education governance and the regulatory environment at the national, state, and local levels, or nonprofit sector; institutional or state-level experience with higher education policymaking or policy analysis in areas related to governance, accreditation, program review, licensure, quality assurance, consumer protection, or other programs advancing student success and access
  • Ability to navigate the political landscape and intersections of higher education institutions, state-level governing or coordinating entities, and state legislatures
  • Knowledge of state authorization, institutional accreditation, program approval, and/or professional licensure processes
  • Understanding of online and distance education delivery systems, modalities, and programs
  • Strong oral and written communication skills and an ability to craft messaging to reach a diverse range of constituents to describe the benefits of reciprocity and NEBHE
  • Proven ability to work independently and to develop programs or initiatives from the ground up
    Ability to develop strong working relationships and networks among policymakers and practitioners in multiple states
  • Strong commitment to the organization’s goals and mission, familiarity with higher education, financial aid and college counseling resources
  • Strong organizational and planning skills
  • Ability to assist with the development of relevant and realistic plans, programs, and goals
  • Ability to recognize organizational priorities and work cooperatively to support their accomplishment
  • Good problem-solving skills and a proactive approach in recommending solutions
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to form strong coalitions with internal and external constituencies and interact effectively with variety of people
  • Detail-oriented and strong computer skills, including working knowledge of Microsoft Office
  • Familiarity with modern office procedures, practices, and equipment
  • Flexibility and ability to handle multiple tasks
  • Ability to travel to meetings and events throughout New England and the U.S.

Required Education and Experience:

Education Requirements: Master’s Degree in Education, Government, Public Policy, Business, or related field preferred
Number of Years’ Experience: three to five years of related experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience
Type of Experience: Higher education, state government, or nonprofit sector; institutional or state-level experience with higher education policymaking or policy analysis in areas related to governance, accreditation, program review, licensure, quality assurance, consumer protection, or other programs advancing student success and access.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

  • Hire, supervise, and evaluate the performance of SARA staff and consultants, as needed

Working Conditions/Physical Demands:

  • Normal office environment, not subject to extremes in temperature, noise, odors, etc.
  • Regularly uses computer keyboard, requiring eye-hand coordination and finger dexterity
  • More than half of time spent in normal office setting
  • Carry, lift boxes of materials when traveling.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to do this job. The above is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and duties required.

How to apply:

A cover letter and resume may be directed to Please include “Associate Director, New England State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement” in the subject line.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

NE HERC Joblink

As part of its mission to tie higher education to the economic well being of New England, NEBHE has partnered with the New England Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (NE HERC) to provide access to recruitment and employment resources to address faculty and staff hiring needs. The mission of the NE HERC, which was founded in 2006, is to advance the efforts of member institutions to recruit and retain outstanding and diverse faculty and staff and to assist dual-career couples. Moreover, together with NEBHE, NE HERC seeks to raise the profile of the higher education industry in New England as an employer of choice for diverse and highly qualified professionals across all disciplines and functions.

With nearly 18,000 registered job-seekers, 3,000 faculty and staff jobs, and 2.5 million unique website visits per year, NE HERC provides the largest higher education job board in New England, as well as a community of 62 member institutions sharing best practices and participating in strategic networking events and an assortment of targeted professional development opportunities every year.

Click here to view other NE HERC Resources.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

NEBHE actively seeks to achieve a diverse workforce. It provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, ancestry, disability status, genetics, protected military or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.