The Challenges and Rewards of Service: Job Satisfaction among Public Affairs Program Directors

Most public affairs programs have some form of director, but we do not know the full scope of the program director’s role. This article thus asks, What tasks and duties does a program director perform? What aspects of the role are most satisfying to those performing it? What aspects of the role present challenges? Based on survey data, we conclude that female program directors are more likely to engage with advisory boards, while males are typically more satisfied in their role. Those currently in the position are less likely than former directors to work on financial aid. There also appear to be differences in how program size relates to the tasks and duties of the program director, to compensation, and to maintenance of a research agenda. Finally, we draw lessons for prospective program directors and for chairs and deans who have influence on how this role is structured.