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Chief Program Officer (CPO)

The Chief Program Officer (CPO) is responsible for overseeing the implementation, operations, and evaluation of all programming at the Science Center. They lead, manage, and coordinate the work of multiple program areas, each led by senior professionals, and are responsible for ensuring successful cross-coordination between program areas and with other departments.

The CPO collaborates closely with the CEO and members of the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) to set program strategy, evaluate program scalability, and ensure that Science Center programming is advancing the vision and mission of the Science Center while being at the forefront of innovation in Philadelphia and beyond. The CPO plays a pivotal role in shaping the organization's mission, vision, and impact, ensuring that programs align with the organization's goals and objectives.

The CPO has internal contacts with the entire staff and external contact with clients, partners and vendors. This position has access to sensitive UCSC information and is expected to handle such information with integrity and professionalism. This position is expected to represent the Science Center in a professional manner. The CPO will report directly to the CEO and will manage the leaders of Science Center programs. This position will participate in department activities as necessary.

Submit resume and complete application

Essential Functions

  • Work in collaboration with the CEO and the ELT to develop and execute a comprehensive program strategy that aligns with the organization's mission and strategic plan, fostering innovation and growth.
  • Embed principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion within all the Science Center’s programmatic offerings consistent with the Science Center’s values.
  • Ensure programs are aligned and coordinated and barriers to collaboration are reduced to ensure consistency and produce results.
  • Oversee the implementation of new programs consistent with the Science Center’s strategic and operating plans, ensuring they are scalable and sustainable.
  • Possess a deep understanding of the programs, positions, strategies, and goals across all program areas and effectively serve as a representative and spokesperson for the organization.
  • In conjunction with the leadership team, establish annual program, departmental and staff goals, metrics, and objectives and track results against these goals.
  • Monitor and evaluate program activities on a regular basis.
  • Build and manage a highly effective and cohesive program team that delivers quality programming consistent with the Science Center’s strategic and operating plans.
  • Monitor team performance and carry out supervisory responsibilities, including assigning and directing work, evaluating performance, and delivering timely and constructive feedback in accordance with policies and applicable laws.
  • Provide leadership to the heads of program areas in assessing programmatic priorities, projects, and activities and their feasibility and priority in attaining the organization’s mission and vision.
  • Work closely with the Finance department to budget and monitor programmatic operations to ensure sound fiscal and system management.
  • Work closely with the finance department to ensure compliance with grant administration protocols and procedures.
  • Oversee the budget development process for departments under the CPO’s supervision and maintain a high level of fiscal responsibility.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Attend relevant workshops or join professional industry groups as necessary to maintain professional knowledge and licensure.
  • Adhere to Science Center's security guidelines and ensures the appropriate handling of sensitive information.
  • Facilitate and attend relevant staff meetings to promote communication and execution of goals.
  • Complete special projects specific to the function of the department or as needed for the department, or as directed by Science Center management.
  • Other duties as assigned within the scope of position expectations.

Experience, Education, and Licensure

Minimum Experience
  • 10 years of progressive leadership experience in program management, including at least 3 years in a senior management role.
Minimum Education
  • A Bachelor's degree in a relevant field is required; a Master's degree in a related field is highly preferred.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Proven ability to develop and implement strategic program plans that drive organizational goals and impact.
  • Strong leadership and team-building skills with experience in managing and motivating diverse teams.
  • Demonstrated experience in budgeting, financial management, and resource allocation within a nonprofit or similar organization is a plus.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to engage effectively with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Proven ability to be an effective and valued member of a team of executives, working toward a shared vision and mission.
  • Strong understanding of economic development principles around entrepreneurship, innovation and talent.
Judgement and Problem-Solving
  • Makes decisions that are sound, accurate, timely and supported by the reasoning and inclusion of others. Effectively balances individual needs and those of the organization in decision-making. Understands the impact of communication and decisions on the larger system.
  • Identifies opportunities and issues, proactively acts and follows through on work activities to resolve or capitalize on them. Thinks strategically and anticipates needs of the organization. Leads with initiatives and ideas, gathers support from others to meet common goals.
Develops Self and Others:
  • Fosters a climate for the learning and development of self and others. Is self-aware of strengths and limitations. Seeks support for limitations and leads from areas of strength. Actively plans for the development of others to perform and contribute to the organization by providing opportunities to learn through both formal and informal methods. Develops and manages the departmental function to meaningfully contribute to the organization's overall growth.
Embodies Science Center Values:
  • Unity: Promotes one Science Center, united and guided by our mission.
  • Open Communication: We make space in our work for people to be seen and heard while expanding our empathy and mutual respect of each other’s boundaries, experiences, and person.
  • Integrity: Creates an environment of trust and integrity. We are honest and ethical in everything we do.
  • Impact: Works to make a meaningful and measurable difference in the lives of others.
  • Equity & Inclusion: Fosters an environment that embraces the strength in the diversity of our team and our community.
  • Innovation in Action: Committed to continuous learning and open to new ideas that drive positive change.

About the Science Center

The University City Science Center is Philadelphia’s premier catalyst of entrepreneurial activity, healthcare innovation, and economic growth. Established in 1963, the nonprofit has been recognized by The Brookings Institution as a best-in-class investor, mentor, and economic development partner for young technology companies. Working alongside industry partners and leading research and academic institutions across the globe, the Science Center has supported over 1,000 early-stage companies. Today, the organization advances healthcare innovation from idea to the marketplace through startup support services, allocating capital, gathering the innovation community, and building inclusive STEM pathways for Philadelphia youth and adults. For more information visit or follow us at @UCScienceCenter.

submit resume and complete application