Research Associate, Higher Education Policy (Term)

Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee
Sep 16, 2020
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution


Research Associate, Higher Education Policy (Term) - (2000883)

The Research Associate in Higher Education Policy is an integral member of the executive communications function supporting the Chancellor and other leadership. The position will have a dual reporting structure, with a primary reporting line to the Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations and a secondary reporting line to the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Chancellor.

The Research Associate in Policy will be responsible for conducting extensive research on issues impacting higher education policy and producing position papers and briefings resulting from thorough research and analysis. Research conducted by the Associate will be used to inform executive-level decision making, communication strategy, and messaging. For 25% of their time, the Research Associate will pursue research and/or acquire additional training in their chosen fields and areas.

Please note that applicants must submit a vita, writing sample, and a cover letter describing your experience and interest in this role. 

Please note, a term-limited position for two years. Although a position may exist for a specified or indefinite period, staff who accept term positions are not guaranteed employment for the entire period; they are employed for indefinite periods within the limit of the appointment. There are no guarantees of continued employment, either within the term or when the term ends. 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conducts extensive research on issues impacting higher education policy as assigned by the Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations, the Chief of Staff to the Chancellor, and/or identified by the Research Associate.
  • Analyze important and current issues around higher education policy nationally and internationally and provide thoughtful and unique analysis to leadership.
  • Produces position papers, as well as other written materials, on issues impacting higher education policy.
  • Advises leadership on issues related to the research conducted.
  • Collaborates with the Division of Communications to ensure that content and messaging reflects research findings.
  • Participates in the development of executive communication.


  • A Master's degree in a related field is required. A Ph.D. is preferred.
  • At least three years of comparable experience.
  • Demonstrated ability and evidence of outstanding research skills are necessary.
  • Demonstrated evidence of excellent writing skills and the ability to prepare research reports are necessary.
  • The ability to understand the current issues and challenges facing higher education is necessary.
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise judgment and think strategically is necessary.
  • Strong interpersonal and excellent communication and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituents are necessary. 
  • Experience of working with qualitative and quantitative data and the ability to present data effectively are necessary.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.

Please apply online at

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.


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