IES Abroad
  • Academics
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • Full Time

Status: Full-time, exempt
Schedule: 37.5 hours p/wk, M-F, 8.30a.m. 4.30p.m, with a 30 minute lunch break.  This position includes occasional evening and weekend work and travel based on seasonal business needs/position requirements
Reports to: Vice President and Deputy Director of Academic Programs
Direct reports: 4-6 overseas study Center Directors
Start date: ASAP
Location: Chicago, IL

About us:

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 8,000 study abroad students every year.

From our headquarters in Chicago to our 140+ study abroad programs in 85 global locations worldwide, we create authentic global education and life-affirming cultural experiences. We work at IES Abroad because we believe that every student should have the opportunity to go abroad - especially in a fun, safe, and superior academic and cultural environment.

We believe so strongly in the power of our program, that we actively recruit students from diverse populations and provide more than $4 million in scholarships year after year. We are proud that our students are as diverse and exciting as the countries we study.

We're not ashamed to admit, we're a little bit obsessed with study abroad.

Summary of position:

The Program Dean maintains line management responsibility for a portfolio of international study centers and is responsible and accountable for overall program quality and supervision of the budget manager at each of these centers. In this capacity, the Program Dean oversees the development of a strategic plan for the study centers and assesses the performance of the on-site Center Director towards measurable annual goals. IES Abroad assesses program quality through a variety of methods including outside review committees, site visits by the Program Dean and other IES Abroad staff, student evaluations, reports from colleagues at US sending institutions, and focus groups. The Program Dean chairs a committee of colleagues from other departments who work with the centers under management to ensure effective communication and collaboration. As an integral member of the Academic Programs Department, the Program Dean works closely with colleagues to develop policies and to implement new projects that advance the IES Abroad mission.  Program Deans will be evaluated on the basis of meeting quantitative and qualitative measures of performance in the various areas of responsibility.

Essential job responsibilities & duties:

Strategic Planning

  • Develop and implement strategic plans for a portfolio of international study centers
  • Organize periodic on-site program reviews of each center under management
  • In close collaboration with the Marketing Department, position centers to meet enrollment targets
  • Under the direction of the Executive Vice President of Academic Programs and Vice President & Deputy Director of Academic Programs, develop proposals for new areas of curricular focus at the study centers
  • Collaborate with the Academic Programs Department and other departments, as necessary, to revise or develop comprehensive policies and procedures that improve quality across the IES Abroad global portfolio of study centers. The Program Dean is responsible for ensuring new or revised policies are implemented at the Center(s).

Program Management

  • Responsible for hiring, termination and disciplinary decisions regarding overseas staff with the approval of the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, and in consultation the VP & Deputy Director of Academic Programs and the Director of Human Resources.
  • Set measurable goals with all direct reports, including Center Directors, and conduct/complete performance evaluations annually and as-needed (e.g., required day reviews, or as part of performance improvement plans)
  • Ensure that the quality standards as defined in the IES MAP Series are fully met (in all areas including, but not limited to, academics, student affairs, housing, administration, human resources, facilities, and crisis management)
  • Supervise and oversee the development of the Center budgets and hold Center Directors accountable for meeting budget and forecast targets each year; Program Deans will ultimately be responsible and accountable for the Centers' budgets, costs and financial performance, including without limitation meeting target margins
  • Coordinate communication among other departments and the study centers
  • Meet regularly with colleagues in other departments and apprise them on developments at the study centers
  • In close coordination with the Customized Programs Department, supervise the implementation of customized programs and budgets
  • Conduct regular trainings with the Center Director and overseas staff
  • Review and revise enrollment and marketing materials
  • Review student evaluations and assist with implementation of measures to improve future evaluations
  • Review admissions decisions upon request by the Recruitment and Advising Department
  • Bear responsibility for their Centers' costs, budget management, meeting margin targets, student evaluations, staffing levels, and competitiveness; and, bearing responsibility for holding Center staff accountable in these important areas while documenting and following up on any performance issues in writing
  • Update Human Resources regarding Center staff management issues and changes
  • Provide written input to Executive Team for pricing at each Center under management based on the Center's cost and knowledge of the market and attend pricing meetings; final pricing decisions will be made by the Executive Team

Academic Supervision

  • Oversee the general development of the curriculum and other program components at the centers under management to establish and maintain competitive advantage
  • Supervise the creation of new courses and review syllabi for approval by the IES Abroad Curriculum Committee
  • Supervise Center Directors on IES Abroad academic policies and procedures including, but not limited to, grading, academic honesty, attendance, incomplete grades, late withdrawal, reduction of course load, and audits
  • Review student grade appeals, make recommendations, and forward to the Center Directors for action
  • Approve final versions of IES Abroad transcripts

Institutional Relations and Outreach

  • Participate in the IES Abroad Annual Conference
  • Develop professional relationships with key sending institutions at each of the centers under management
  • When requested, represent IES Abroad at study abroad fairs and at campus visits
  • Coordinate with the AVP of Institutional Relations and coordinate site visits to the centers by US college and university representatives
  • Lead periodic familiarization trips to the centers under management

Student Affairs and Crisis Management

  • Supervise the implementation of IES Abroad Student Affairs policies at the centers under management including, but not limited to, orientation, housing, field trips, and crisis response
  • Stay apprised of health and safety issues at the centers and coordinate with the Student Affairs Department in Chicago and the staff at the IES centers to ensure rapid and effective response
  • When requested, coordinate with the IES Abroad Threat Assessment Team and Crisis Management Team in emergency situations
  • In rotation with other colleagues, carry the IES Abroad emergency phone

Special Projects

  • Serve on company-wide committees and task forces as assigned
  • Assume responsibility for special projects as assigned

Professional Development

  • Stay apprised of important developments in the field of international education
  • Develop a plan for professional development and submit to the AVP of Academic Programs and the AVP of Human Resources for review
  • Participate actively in professional organizations by presenting at panels at organizational conferences and participating on committees.


  • Program Deans will be evaluated on the basis of their performance of the job duties listed above and for meeting quantitative and qualitative measures of performance in their various areas of responsibility. Annual raises for Program Deans will be based upon and commensurate with their level of performance as determined during the annual performance review.

Experience & Qualifications/Skills:

The successful candidate will hold an advanced degree in a relevant administrative field or academic discipline. The successful candidate will possess a minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible management experience (manager, director, department head, etc.) and will demonstrate a broad knowledge of US higher education, proven ability as a team player, and excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Relevant international experience (professional and/or higher education-based) and/or fluency in a second language (that is pertinent to the supervised regions) is highly desired.

Skills Required

  • Proven managerial skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Proven success at managing complex budgets and overseeing staff
  • User-level computer skills including Microsoft Office and a general understanding of databases
  • Experience working with people from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds
  • Knowledge of US systems of higher education and the study abroad and international education markets in the U.S. and in the regions where the centers they oversee are located.
  • Broad understanding of the disciplines in the curricula of IES Abroad Centers.
  • Excellent communication skills in English
  • Fluency (oral and written) in one or more of IES Abroad's languages of instruction
  • Professional working experience in (or with) study abroad programs in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and/or Latin America preferred
  • Demonstrated abilities to manage personnel and budgets

Education Licenses and/or Certifications etc.:

Ph.D. preferred, Masters-level degree required

Physical demands:

  • Ability to remain in a seated position for the majority of the day (between 70% -100% of work time) in a workstation
  • Ability to work for extended and continuous periods operating a computer, phone and other office equipment i.e., a calculator, copier, and computer printer (between 70% -100% of work time)

Working conditions/Environment:

  • This position may also work occasional evenings and weekends based on seasonal business needs/position requirements.
  • Due to the open plan environment, this workspace may experience varying noise levels. 
  • This position may include domestic and international travel (approximately 1-2 domestic trips and 1 international trip per year)

Fiscal responsibilities:

  • Responsible for following IES Abroad policies regarding any purchases and/or travel, if required, made via company credit card as well as processing expense reports in a timely and accurate manner


This job description reflects management's assignment of essential functions; and nothing in this herein restricts management's right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. The duties above are not to be considered a complete list of duties and responsibilities assigned to this position.

Application Deadline: 

Open until position is filled.

No phone calls or emailed status inquiries accepted.

How to Apply:

All applicants should submit an application including cover letter, resume, at least 2 writing samples and salary requirements by clicking 'Apply Now' at the right hand side of this page.

Please visit for more information about working at IES Abroad.

Equal Opportunity Employment:

IES Abroad is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all qualified candidates. We strive to treat people with respect; fully utilizing employee's abilities and promoting workforce diversity.

We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability, age, national origin, citizenship, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation or genetic information or veteran status and/or any other status protected by applicable laws.

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