Executive Director, Data Driven Social Science Initiative

Job description

Requisition # 2018-9669
Department Woodrow Wilson School
Category Information Technology
Full-Time / Part-Time Full-Time
Application Deadline


Reporting to the Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School and working closely with deans, chairs, faculty, and senior administrators within Princeton's social sciences, the executive director will take a leading role in the development and deployment of Princeton University's Data Driven Social Sciences Initiative (DDSS). The executive director will serve as the public face of the DDSS in building a durable, sustainable, state-of-the-art infrastructure—including processes, policies, guidelines, administrative and legal support, secure data repositories, etc.—to encourage and support the use of data in academic and scholarly research at Princeton.

The executive director will launch and lead the initiative, identifying challenges, garnering information and resources, and developing a strategic framework for future planning. The executive director will collaborate with a wide range of campus partners—including faculty in the social sciences, the offices of the Provost, Dean for Research, Information Technology, General Counsel, Finance and Treasury—to articulate and expand the initiative's vision, long-term goals, short-term objectives, and measurements for success.


Specific Duties Include:

  • Develop, maintain, and advance a strategic agenda for the initiative.
  • Canvas the national and international academic environments for specific institutional models that Princeton should emulate or avoid; remain abreast of trends in data-centric research in higher education.
  • Widely solicit Princeton's social sciences faculty to develop a set of case studies that illustrate the challenges faced when working with data, outlining a) how faculty currently use data, b) what problems are encountered, c) what work-around solutions have been developed, and d) what an ideal solution might look like.
  • Identify area-specific challenges in terms of data acquisition, analysis, curation, sharing, searching, storage, transfer, querying and develop.
  • Identify and address process-bottlenecks in the acquisition, analysis, sharing, storage, and transfer of data sets.
  • Identify specific infrastructure needs for supporting social science field experiments.
  • Design and implement a communications strategy (website, e-newsletter, coffee hours, etc.) to engage social science faculty and university partners.
  • Communicate directly with government agencies, corporations, and non-profits to aid faculty and researchers in the establishment of data-sharing agreements; together with the office of the Dean for Research, office of General Counsel, and Procurement department, streamline and facilitate the support needs related to these processes.
  • Form partnerships with other institutions, associations, and groups to ensure that Princeton is actively employing best-practices with data stewardship and governance.
  • Advise on technology and security requirements for the use of data sets on campus.
  • Proactively identify opportunities for the University to effectively use data, where applications could be of interest to social science scholars.
  • Serve as an internal consultant to faculty in the social sciences who are interested in expanding the use of data in their research.


Essential Qualifications:

A PhD in a pertinent field strongly preferred.

At least ten years of relevant and progressively responsible work experience is required.

Enterprising, resourceful, and highly entrepreneurial work style; ability to actively expand the scope of an initiative like the DDSS.

Demonstrated expertise in founding and managing start-up organizations within academic settings, particularly those that support faculty research and related enterprises.

Demonstrated familiarity with the goals, nature, and process of academic, data-driven research, especially using data relevant to the social sciences.

Demonstrated understanding of data systems and related information technology, data structures, and issues around data stewardship, governance, and security.

Experience acquiring, securing, and managing data sets in the support of academic research.

Excellent interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills; ability to work productively and efficiently in a dynamic environment with a high degree of ambiguity and limited structure; ability to interact and function in a cross-disciplinary academic environment.

Proven ability to work independently and achieve goals; strong personal initiative; highly self-motivated; active listening skills to develop and maintain relationships and build trust and credibility with a diverse set of stakeholders.

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience at Princeton University or another Tier 1 research institution strongly preferred.

Experience leading strategic planning exercises and developing strategic frameworks.

Experience acquiring, securing, and managing data sets in the support of academic research.

Experience with producing academic research using a range of data sets.

Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. EEO IS THE LAW

Salary Grade

ADM, 080

Standard Weekly Hours


Eligible for Overtime


Benefits Eligible


Essential Services Personnel (see policy for detail)


Physical Capacity Exam Required


Valid Driver's License Required


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Job No:
Posted: 2/2/2019
Application Due: 4/3/2019
Work Type: