Director of Applied Research

Washington D.C.
Jul 13, 2017
Director of Applied Research
Institution Type
Other Organizations

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to promoting access to and success in higher education for all students, with a special focus on underserved student populations. Based in Washington, D.C., IHEP develops innovative policy- and practice-oriented research to guide policymakers and education leaders, who develop high-impact policies that will address our nation’s most pressing education challenges.


The applied research team is looking for a thought partner to help launch our degree reclamation project, as described below.  Although launching this project will be the main priority during the first 6-12 months, this person will also support the applied research team with effective project management and supervision, including responsibility for content and logistic development, management of timeline and activities, communications with project participants, and budget management.

Responsibilities specific to degree reclamation efforts:

  • Help lead IHEP’s degree reclamation efforts and refine the design of the program, including: 
    • Building relationships with intermediary organizations, including state higher education authorities, advocates for minority serving institutions, associations of independent higher education institutions, and community groups to participate and recruit individual institutions to the effort.
    • Designing an effective online learning and training program to scale degree reclamation work.
    • Monitoring and analyzing developments in state reverse transfer, credit articulation, data-sharing policies and advocacy efforts, and any discoveries from the research project team, and propose new research in response to these events. 
    • Collaborating with the degree reclamation project research team to design and execute learning experiences for practitioners in the field.
    • Managing day-to-day logistics of these efforts, including but not limited to general project management, ongoing communication with participants; content and logistic development; and budget management.

Responsibilities in support of the applied research team:

  • Direct various projects that work with federal, state, local, and institutional stakeholders to apply evidence-based research in order to change institutional and state policies to improve underserved student outcomes. 
  • Develop reports, briefs, concept papers, PowerPoint presentations, memos, and other content to disseminate research and analysis to key policy- and practice-audiences. Written products may include ghostwriting testimonies or other public statements for senior leadership.  
  • Build and maintain strong relationships with federal, state, local, and institutional stakeholders to ensure that IHEP’s research is well informed and can be applicable to various practitioner contexts.  
  • Monitor and analyze developments in postsecondary education issues in the media, including the implementation of state and federal laws. Respond rapidly to time-sensitive requests from media, policymakers, and partner organizations around these topics. Help IHEP strategize responses, organizational positions, and counter-proposals, as appropriate. 
  • Engage in effective project management and supervision across the entire applied research portfolio, which includes responsibility for content and logistic development, budget management, etc.  This position will also supervise research analysts and consultants.
  • Collaborate with and assist other departments and staff as required.  
  • Other duties, as requested.  


  • Practical experience with institutional administration and student data management (i.e., university registrar and institutional research) and/or state data systems and higher education agency functions. Familiarity with reverse transfer and other strategies that encourage degree completion among underserved student populations.
  • A bachelor’s degree in an education or policy-related field with at least five to seven years of related work experience. An advanced degree in an education or policy-related field with at least three to five years related work experience is highly preferred. 
  • Experience managing others in a team environment. 
  • Knowledge and experience with both quantitative and qualitative research required. Experience with postsecondary datasets such as IPEDS, BPS, and NPSAS, the grade-cohort longitudinal studies (e.g. ELS-02 from NCES), and National Student Clearinghouse reports highly preferred.
  • Ability to travel occasionally.


  • Excellent verbal, interpersonal, and written communication skills.  
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to follow through and push projects to completion.  
  • Success leading/championing projects with the ability to remain flexible and adaptable to changing priorities.  
  • Strong analytical, critical and strategic thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
  • A good sense of humor.


Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. This position is based in Washington, D.C., and will include occasional travel. IHEP offers a comprehensive benefits package. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample (no more than five pages, sections from a longer paper are fine) and apply here.


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