Program Design Specialist

TITLE: Program Design Specialist

REPORTS TO: Director of Program Design and Engagement

LOCATION: Chalmers Center Office

PREPARED BY: Russ Debenport / Mark Bowers

EFFECTIVE DATE: June 11th, 2018

POSITION SUMMARY: Reporting to the Director of Program Design and Engagement, the Program Design Specialist serves as a technical learning expert to the Programs team. A content creator across a variety of modes, this role is responsible for designing and producing consistent, integrated programs according to best practices and Chalmers’ principles that achieve impact in the lives of people who are poor. This position creates and continuously adapts program designs and content that equip the church around the world to walk alongside people who are poor. Keeping the user experience central, this position designs and implements experiences that bring Chalmers’ ideas to life in local church communities.


  • Commit to pray and advocate for the poor and the church in light of the mission of the Chalmers Center
  • Coordinate the program design process to ensure that new and existing programs provide the intended stakeholder experience, outcomes and training effectiveness
  • Develop new learning designs and curriculum, both for online and live use, that achieve programmatic outcomes
  • Apply Chalmers’ design principles on poverty alleviation to print, live, and online curriculum and contexts
  • Integrate Monitoring & Evaluation collection methods and feedback into the program stakeholder experience in a developmental way
  • In partnership with the Director of Design and Engagement, continually adapt programs based on stakeholder feedback and advancements in best practices
  • Continually learn and share new programmatic thinking and innovation for better programmatic outcomes
  • Design online and print course content on poverty alleviation using best practices of adult learning
  • Collaborate with experts and organizations in relevant poverty alleviation fields to test and develop curriculum and content. Engage with other organizations in a way that honors the dignity of people in poverty and builds the Chalmers brand
  • On occasion, collaborate across the organization to create small content pieces for mass market use (i.e. marketing and communications team, foundational principles and practices team)


  • Commitment to the Vision & Mission of the Chalmers Center.
  • Adherence to the Lausanne Covenant, a statement of Christian belief.
  • Uses a humble listening approach when working with the church
  • Acts courageously to overcome obstacles and remains hopeful for people in poverty
  • Depends on the Holy Spirit and seeks God’s guidance when making decisions
  • Creative thinker, problem-solver, driven learner, and self-starter
  • Strong attention to detail and timely management of tasks/execution
  • In-depth knowledge and experience in adult learning, content/curriculum development, and user experience design (UX)
  • Significant cross-cultural experience and intercultural sensitivity
  • Portfolio of experience demonstrating best practices in using technology for training and curriculum development across a variety of modes (online, print, video, etc.)
  • Fluency in the principles and practices of holistic ministry, ABCD, CCD, and/or biblical integration
  • Skilled at knowledge gathering and synthesis of information to create learning content
  • Bachelor’s degree required and 5+ years of experience in the areas of program development, curriculum and training, community development or related fields
  • Ability to travel up to 5%

Role Narrative
Developed By: Mark Bowers

Dear Candidate and Future Colleague,

The Chalmers Center is looking for a design specialist to join our Programs team. Could this be you?

Let me tell you where we are. When Helping Hurts came out in 2009.  As we approach a decade since the release of this paradigm-shifting book, we’re on the lookout for a content creator who is wired with the technical knowledge and problem-solving nature to assist us in equipping churches and partners at the next level.

On the Programs team, we are builders. We build holistic economic development programs that churches can use—in the US and around the world—to walk relationally with people who are poor. We accomplish this through partnering with others (often through church-equipping organizations and training-of-trainer networks), with the aim that they’ll fully own and operationalize our content and curriculum.  An organization that is fluid like Chalmers lives in tension. We’re good at forming new ideas and calling the church toward innovative solutions to poverty alleviation. However, it can be a challenging environment to maintain those innovations long-term. We seek to hold these two realities in balance—an innovation mindset and program sustainability.

It’s a large task, and we’re a small team. As we build, I need someone who can help us to leverage our brand, platform and unique content to create maximum accessibility for the church and our partners—especially in this digital world now encompassing much of the globe.  I’m looking for someone with these traits:

  • Content creation. You don’t need to Google “instructional design”—it was already on your resume. You’re a natural at putting together usable learning materials.  From assessments and essays to handouts or eLearning quizzes, you’re a whizz at creating and synthesizing information--no matter the mode. Even better, you’ve had some experience doing this in the world of church, anti-poverty work, and/or holistic ministry.
  • Design thinking. You can see the whole picture when it comes to the user experience of a training program. Whether it’s forming a new idea or reimagining a flagship program, you’re not just admin support—you are a creative who also thinks about learning outcomes, monitoring and evaluation…the whole program enchilada. Using the feedback we gather, you see clear ways to improve the program for users.
  • Technical learning savvy. You are more techy than I am when it comes to online learning and configuration; you’ve run in this space and have a portfolio to back it up. You might not be an expert in code, but you’re not intimidated by the challenge of learning how plugins fit into our online learning platform or how we can better use video for educational purposes.
  • Problem solver. You’re a self-starter when it comes to solving our problems. You don’t hold a research PhD, but your natural curiosity leads you to discover new programmatic thinking. You’re innovative and always on the lookout for new best practices—yet your adoption of them is judicious. You’re a visionary for the work, but you’re systematic, terse, and pragmatic in implementation.

Could this be a fit—both for us, and for you? If you believe you have the right wiring and experience for this role, please submit a resume, along with a sample of your work to Put your last name and job title in the subject line (For example: Smith/Program Design Specialist.) As you send over your portfolio, think of this as starting the interview process. We’re the customer; keep our user experience central.  Show us how you’ve created content for learning across a variety of modes. Make it so easy for us to engage with what the variety of content you've created that we’re left with no question, but: wow, can you make things like that for us?

I look forward to connecting with you!

J. Mark Bowers
Director of Design & Engagement