Vice President, Research & Policy Analysis

Washington D.C.
Salary range $150-175k per year + benefits
Mar 08, 2017
Vice President, Research & Policy Analysis
Executive Administration Jobs
Vice Presidents
Jobs Outside Higher Education
Non-Profit Organizations & Associations
Institution Type
Outside Academe

The Vice President of Research & Policy Analysis provides leadership and strategic vision to advance the development and application of data, research, and analyses to support APLU initiatives, priorities, and advocacy. 

The Vice President serves as a senior member of the APLU leadership team and reports directly to the President. The Vice President will develop, implement, and sustain ongoing and new initiatives to strengthen the data and analytic capacity of institutions, contribute to national advocacy for improved national data infrastructure and metrics, and advance the work of campuses to improve student outcomes, close achievement gaps, and increase degree completion.

The Vice President regularly collaborates across APLU offices and provides guidance and management for APLU’s internal data and analytic needs.  The Vice President is expected to be active within the national data policy and student success communities and to collaborate with organizational partners and government agencies. 

The Vice President will also serve as the Executive Director of two national data initiatives – the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) and the Student Achievement Measure (SAM).

The Research & Policy Analysis Office

The Vice President has supervisory responsibilities for the Research & Policy Analysis team:  a Director of Research & Data Policy (currently vacant), a Director of Student Success, Research & Policy, a Data Analytics Manager, and a Staff Associate.

The office regularly provides expertise, research, data collection, and analysis support for initiatives and information needs of other APLU offices and works closely with governmental affairs and public affairs on legislative priorities, promotional campaigns, and media inquiries.

The office supports association operations as part of the membership team and the association management system leadership team.

The Office also conducts research, evaluation, and analyses on topics associated with student access and inclusion, academic progress and completion, and the student experience on campuses.  The Office is a primary contributor to APLU’s work on degree completion, institutional transformation, and policy reform.

The Office manages two national data initiatives – the Voluntary System of Accountability and the Student Achievement Measure.  

·       Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA).  The VSA program is jointly sponsored by APLU and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) created in 2007 as one of the first national efforts to respond to the external demands for colleges and universities to become more transparent and more accountable.  Beginning in mid-2016, the VSA program began to transition from offering one external reporting tool (the College Portrait website) to a broader and more flexible set of tools, data products, and services.  The VSA work is supported through participation dues.

·       Student Achievement Measure (SAM).  SAM is a web-based, national initiative that provides colleges and universities with a tool to report the progress and graduation of significantly more students than the federal graduation rate.  SAM accounts for the progress and completion of transfer students, part-time students, full-time students, and the outcomes of students who enroll in multiple institutions. Over 600 colleges and universities participate in the project.  SAM is currently supported by grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corp.

The Office supports the APLU Council of Student Affairs (CSA) and the Commission on Information Measurement and Analysis (CIMA).

·       The Council on Student Affairs (CSA) is composed of senior student affairs officers and provides forums for the discussion and dissemination of information on issues related to the college student experience: co-curricular opportunities; personal and professional growth; learning, progress, and completion; mental and physical health and wellness; and/or fundamental needs such as housing, financial aid, transportation, and food.

·       The Commission on Information, Measurement, and Analysis (CIMA) is a community of campus leaders committed to advancing the effective and efficient use of data and analytics to guide campus planning and decision making.  CIMA provides opportunities for cross-functional discussions on how to more systematically create and improve the data infrastructure and the strategic analysis capacity on campuses.


The ideal candidate has a record of success in association or campus leadership and a demonstrated ability to thrive in an action-oriented, collaborative environment that emphasizes initiative, entrepreneurship, creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking.  He/she must possess a solid understanding and familiarity with issues, policies, and trends in higher education, including those related to data analytics, national data policy, and student success.  She/he must be a critical, strategic, and innovative thinker, strong relationship-builder and exceptional communicator, with a commitment to diversity and inclusion.


  • A graduate degree in higher education, public policy, social sciences, or related field.
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience serving in a leadership role for a higher education institution, system, association or related non-profit.

·       A deep understanding of the changing landscape for postsecondary education, particularly for public colleges and universities.

  • Demonstrated familiarity with current national policy issues and innovative practices in higher education, especially those related to data policy, analytics, and student success.

·       Ability to think strategically, creatively and with vision to accomplish long-term goals, while implementing immediate projects.

·       Excellent analytical, planning, project management, and organizational skills, including the ability to manage multiple tasks and projects simultaneously to produce high quality results on time.

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including public speaking skills.
  • Ability to synthesize and present complex information and issues in a clear and concise format, targeted to the needs of the audience.
  • The presence and ability to represent the association effectively before foundations, governmental, and partner entities.
  • Political savvy and excellent relationship/influence skills, including a record of developing and promoting collaborations, both internally and externally.
  • A record of success with a collegial, inclusive management style.  Demonstrated ability to establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, and establish priorities.
  • A record of accomplishment in fostering diversity and inclusion.
  • Record of securing grant funding and meeting grant timelines and deliverables within budget.
  • Willingness and ability to travel several times per year.


  • A doctoral degree in higher education, public policy, social sciences, or related field.
  • Record of research and publication in the field of higher education, institutional research, or higher education policy.
  • Experience working in an office of institutional research.
  • Familiarity with the federal legislative process and political environment.
  • Experience working with education-related data sources at the local, state, and/or national level.


APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  With a membership of 235 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement.   Annually, member campuses enroll 4.9 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $43.8 billion in university-based research.


Please send a cover letter and resume along with two writing samples to APLU’s Human Resources Department: with the subject line: “Vice President, Research & Policy Analysis.”

Salary is commensurate with experience.   APLU provides a generous benefits package.  For more information on APLU, please visit

APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

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