The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) is a postsecondary education consulting organization that unlocks data and evidence to help states, systems, and institutions design policies and practices to meet their goals. Since 1969, we’ve been engaging higher education leaders and state and system-level policy makers, providing the insights and intelligence they need to create and sustain successful higher education institutions and systems.
About the Position
Successful NCHEMS Research Associates are critical thinkers that bring data and evidence to bear on some of the most pressing challenges facing higher education systems and institutions today. They juggle multiple projects simultaneously and efficiently, possess data management skills, have good familiarity with analytical tools that support effective data analysis and visualization, and use both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. NCHEMS Research Associates are team players willing to roll up their sleeves and work shoulder-to-shoulder with their colleagues and are ready to learn in a fast-paced and changing work environment. They approach problems with creativity, an awareness of the realities of the public policy process, and an eagerness to deeply understand the unique contextual features that will affect the suitability of possible solutions. The Research Associate is responsible for conducting detailed, data-driven analyses and contributing to effective project management in support of NCHEMS’ mission. Drawing on a wide range of skills, the Research Associate collects, manages, analyzes, and presents quantitative and qualitative data to a diverse group of stakeholders and partners. Depending on their strengths and interests, they may represent the organization to external audiences. This position does not have supervisory responsibilities.
While NCHEMS operates in a hybrid environment working a few days a week in the office (based in Boulder, CO) and the other days working from home, we will consider fully remote candidates on a case-by-case basis.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Gather, interpret, and analyze quantitative data from a diverse array of datasets, including publicly available data sources, as well as other data that NCHEMS may obtain in the course of its work (e.g., state-level unit-record datasets).
Ensure the highest standard for data quality, integrity, and security in all aspects of data-related work.
Thoroughly document methods for data sourcing, management, and analysis, in narrative format and in well-annotated code.
Conduct qualitative research and analysis (e.g., survey development and administration, facilitation of focus groups, interviews, and production of case studies), and prepare and review deliverables for qualitative research projects.
Effectively leverage analytical tools such as Excel, SPSS, Stata, and/or R to collect and analyze large scale datasets.
Provide effective project management and, as appropriate, leadership for large and small scale projects, spanning from several weeks to multiple years, to ensure projects stay on timeline and within budget.
Develop interactive tools and visual representations of data suitable for high-level decision-makers to use in evaluating policy options.
Write policy briefs and reports and assist with the preparation of presentations to project sponsors.
Advance NCHEMS’s work and presence in the field by building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships and working successfully with a diverse group of external partners.
Execute presentations that effectively convey complex quantitative and qualitative information and are appropriately tailored to the audience.
Maintain knowledge and awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion related to the organization’s work with external partners and to the organization’s internal work environment.
Perform other duties as needed.
Job Qualifications and Experience
A master's degree in a field relevant to higher education policy or equivalent, and four to ten years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Strong quantitative and data analysis skills, or the willingness to continue to build on and develop existing data analysis skills, (e.g., expertise in working with multiple, disparate, and large data sources) and/or high-level qualitative research and analysis skills (e.g., expertise in creating surveys and compiling survey data, leading focus groups, and producing case studies) to generate information and insights into a wide variety of higher education policy issues.
Knowledge of higher education policy issues, such as access, equity, affordability, finance, college completion, and workforce outcomes.
Advanced ability to manage and query datasets, and to analyze and interpret results, using software tools appropriate to the project.
Advanced familiarity with higher education data sets and nationally available databases, including: NCES IPEDS, U.S. Census Bureau/American Community Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Advanced skill in composing insightful and data-driven visualizations to communicate findings effectively to a wide variety of policymakers and non-technical audiences.
Excellent written and oral communication skills.
Strong project management skills, ability to work on and prioritize multiple concurrent projects, and to effectively collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.
Ability to travel approximately 10% of the time and attend off-site meetings as needed.