Program Coordinator, Free Expression and Education

PEN America, a nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic and detail-oriented program coordinator to join our acclaimed free expression and education program. This is a full-time position based in New York.

The program coordinator will support and contribute to the growth of PEN America’s Free Speech Advocacy Institute, a new, multifaceted effort to catalyze a more informed, civic culture through free expression education for the rising generation. Responsibilities will include contributing to organizing educational programs that raise understanding of the intersection of free expression, diversity, and inclusion in U.S. society; helping advance outreach and relationships with educational institutions, including high schools, colleges, and universities; and contributing to PEN America’s advocacy concerning free expression in educational institutions. As part of PEN America’s free expression and education team, the role will provide an opportunity to learn about free expression in the United States and abroad, and contribute to efforts to raise public awareness.

PEN America’s free expression and education program aims to influence the national debate over free speech, with a particular emphasis on advocating for free speech in educational institutions and educating the rising generation. This includes working with schools, colleges, and universities in an effort to ensure robust protections for academic freedom and freedom of speech while advancing diversity, inclusion, and equality; PEN America posits that protecting free speech requires acknowledging and redressing the legacies of inequity in U.S. society. Our program engages in research, advocacy, trainings and workshops, public events, and educational programming, and has developed resources for administrators, students, and faculty, including the PEN America Principles on Campus Free Speech and the PEN America Campus Free Speech Guide. We have also produced two landmark reports on campus speech issues: And Campus for All: Diversity, Inclusion, and Free Speech at U.S. Universities and Chasm in the Classroom: Campus Free Speech in a Divided America.

The ideal candidate will be able to contribute meaningfully to building on this foundation, helping coordinate the efforts of a team advancing an inclusive understanding of free expression among a rising generation of students. The position requires an energized and highly organized work style, attention to detail, a diplomatic disposition, and the ability to work collaboratively and efficiently. The position will report to the director of free expression and education, and is part of PEN America’s broader Free Expression Programs team.


  • Support the work of a dynamic team advancing understanding of free expression among high school and college-aged youth
  • Contribute to the design and development of education programs and advocacy efforts that raise public understanding of issues at the intersection of free speech, diversity, and inclusion
  • Assist with developing educational materials and resources on free speech for youth audiences
  • Manage databases, recordkeeping, expense tracking, and other administrative tasks for the free expression and education team as appropriate
  • Draft content for PEN America’s web and social media, press statements, public communications materials, and other publications as necessary
  • Collaborate with other PEN America staff and programs to coordinate advocacy, public programming, Membership activities, and other organizational initiatives as appropriate
  • Passionately support and advance PEN America’s mission to safeguard free expression in the United States and abroad


  • Demonstrated organizational and project management skills
  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • Ability to problem-solve independently
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy
  • Proofreading and bookkeeping skills
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, and ability to think creatively and collaboratively
  • Formidable work ethic and high energy level
  • Exemplary team player with professional demeanor and ability to work independently
  • Experience with event organizing, public speaking, or social media a plus

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.

This position is contingent on funding.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to [email protected]. Please use “Free Expression and Education Program Coordinator” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Free Expression and Education Program Coordinator – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please.

About PEN America:

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.