Director of Public Issues

Johns Hopkins University

Website Johns Hopkins University

The Director of Public Issues reports to the President of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) and collaborates with other senior staff by helping to link COFHE’s research agenda and policies to topical issues of concern for member campuses. The Director maintains close working relationships with appropriate personnel on member campuses in support of their efforts to speak publicly about selective higher education. The Director of Public Issues also advises the COFHE Board of Directors on issues pertaining to media attention to higher education, student aid policy, and federal legislative interest in undergraduate education.

COFHE founded in 1971, is an institutionally supported organization of 35 independent, nonprofit colleges and universities that provides research and sponsors membership meetings on how selective, private colleges and universities can advance their commitments to providing exceptional educational opportunities for highly talented students as well as to following best practices in fiscal management. COFHE has offices at two of its member campuses: MIT and Johns Hopkins University. This position works in the Washington, D.C. office (housed in Johns Hopkins University space).

COFHE has a perspective that is unique compared to other associations with respect to its members’ specific concerns about issues of need-based aid, costs of undergraduate education, tax policy, accreditation, value of a college degree, affordability for students, student debt, and assessment.

COFHE is committed to providing support to its member schools’ senior officers as they take public roles to articulate distinctive messages about highly selective private higher education; there is an unaddressed need for a more coordinated effort to link factual and analytic results to topical issues that represents an important role to be played by this office within COFHE.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Support the Public Issues Committee (PIC) and actively develop its agenda in cooperation with the Chair and COFHE’s president, including planning a productive program for the annual Public Issues Seminar.
  • Convene the government relations and public relations officers of COFHE to target public policy topics not specifically addressed by other DC organizations, which are of high interest and importance to COFHE institutions.
  • Staff the biennial meeting of COFHE’s financial aid officers, ensuring highlights within the meeting plans for presentation of COFHE research findings, PIC topics relevant to aid directors, and the broader COFHE agenda.
  • Develop a personal network of contacts in Washington, DC and COFHE institutions, which will assist COFHE in the timely identification of policy issues and the development of core messages, while also supporting the advocacy efforts of individual COFHE schools.
  • Work with financial aid directors and with public affairs officers, advising and consulting on aid policy developments and on communications about COFHE-related issues.
  • Discern what information might be useful for the DC legislative and policy arenas in order to facilitate more productive connections with COFHE and campus officers.
  • Increase and strengthen COFHE’s organizational visibility in DC with other associations, while retaining a low profile and non-lobbying stance.
  • Find appropriate ways to connect COFHE data with topical issues in the media (e.g., soliciting information from targeted COFHE Breaks or other summary research from COFHE researchers—sensitive data will remain background only and for institutional use, but some topics can benefit from public release of summary data).
  • Strategically anticipate upcoming needs for members’ policy positions and legislative or administration engagement by collecting research results, convening discussion groups, and determining strategy for engagement.
  • Find ways consistently to make COFHE’s Public Issues Officer an engaged participant in articulating the issues and context of elite independent higher education
  • Inform COFHE staff in public issues topics.
  • Participate with research team in development of Value Visual Aids for member schools.
  • Contribute to communications efforts with the membership.


  • Bachelor’s degree required. Advanced degree in communications, law, policy study, or higher education preferred.
  • A minimum of five years related experience; experience in the selective, national sector of higher education preferred.

Classified Title: Director Government Affairs
Working Title: Director of Public Issues
Role/Level/Range: ATP/04/PI
Starting Salary Range: Commensurate with Experience
Employee group: Full Time
Schedule: M-F/8:30am-5:00pm
Exempt Status: Exempt
Location: 01-DC:District of Columbia
Department name: 10000943-COFHE
Personnel area: SAIS

The successful candidate(s) for this position will be subject to a pre-employment background check.

If you are interested in applying for employment with The Johns Hopkins University and require special assistance or accommodation during any part of the pre-employment process, please contact the HR Business Services Office at For TTY users, call via Maryland Relay or dial 711.

The following additional provisions may apply depending on which campus you will work. Your recruiter will advise accordingly.

During the Influenza (“the flu”) season, as a condition of employment, The Johns Hopkins Institutions require all employees who provide ongoing services to patients or work in patient care or clinical care areas to have an annual influenza vaccination or possess an approved medical or religious exception. Failure to meet this requirement may result in termination of employment.

The pre-employment physical for positions in clinical areas, laboratories, working with research subjects, or involving community contact requires documentation of immune status against Rubella (German measles), Rubeola (Measles), Mumps, Varicella (chickenpox), Hepatitis B and documentation of having received the Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccination. This may include documentation of having two (2) MMR vaccines; two (2) Varicella vaccines; or antibody status to these diseases from laboratory testing. Blood tests for immunities to these diseases are ordinarily included in the pre-employment physical exam except for those employees who provide results of blood tests or immunization documentation from their own health care providers. Any vaccinations required for these diseases will be given at no cost in our Occupational Health office.

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