Assistant Vice President for Research

Washington D.C.
Mar 12, 2021
Jobs Outside Higher Education
Non-Profit Organizations & Associations
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Other Organizations

The American Council on Education (ACE) is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, our strength lies in our diverse membership of more than 1,700 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in America and abroad. ACE is working toward a vision of a vibrant democratic society that relies on postsecondary education to expand knowledge, equity, and social progress. ACE demonstrates its core values of inclusion, excellence, innovation, collaboration, and impact in the work we do and how we serve our members.

Reporting to the Vice President, Chief Learning and Innovation Officer, the Assistant Vice President for Research will be a significant contributor to the success of ACE. They will develop and manage a research agenda to help advance the quality of work produced in ACE’s thought leadership areas: equity-minded leadership, institutional transformation, and student success. The leader will maintain longstanding industry benchmarking research studies, use data analysis as a basis for storytelling that frames vital issues in the contemporaneous public dialogue on higher education public policy and practice, and glean insights from the analysis to inform the development of professional learning programs. The Assistant Vice President will be resourceful in cultivating and sustaining funding for all research initiatives. While leading a team of five research professionals and a rotating cohort of research fellows, the Assistant Vice President will maintain an approximate $1.1MM operating budget.

The Assistant Vice President will bring advanced knowledge and expertise in higher education leadership, public policy, student success, internationalization and global engagement, research design, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. The Assistant Vice President will also have extensive experience conducting research in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education.

The Assistant Vice President will contribute to defining the strategic direction of ACE and collaborate with senior leadership within the Learning and Engagement Division and across the Council to understand member needs. The Assistant Vice President will meet business objectives and produce key results.


Essential Job Duties or Tasks:

  • Develop and lead the Research team’s work portfolio and talent. Oversee and manage the team and the production of research products intended for higher education leaders and public policy audiences. Supervise the research directors and other staff as assigned. Contribute to the training and professional development of research staff.
  • Sponsor studies and analyses that inform our public policy initiatives and that explore questions that arise within the public policy arena.
  • Lead and contribute to the design and execution of major research studies, policy/practice briefs, conceptual papers, and surveys of college and university leaders.
  • Identify and form partnerships with external collaborators including campus leaders and practitioners, public policy makers, faculty members, other researchers, and funding partners, on jointly produced and commissioned work that supports ACE members and educate higher education stakeholders.
  • In collaboration with the Advancement team, build a financially sustainable research platform through strategic acquisition and deployment of funding, and active participation in the cultivation and stewardship of partners, supporters, and donors.
  • Conduct and/or manage research support to other ACE units and respond to time-sensitive and highly visible higher education public policy data inquiries from stakeholders.
  • Lead collaborations with ACE colleagues to adapt research and survey findings into products and services that equip chief and other executives with the knowledge and tools needed to inform public policy, practice, and decision-making to improve student success and other institutional goals. Ensure products align with ACE’s blended learning model for professional learning.
  • Play a lead role in facilitating collaborations with other ACE units on intersecting areas of work, including on research studies, professional learning activities, public policy briefs, and institutional transformation labs that advance the organization’s strategic commitments.
  • Provide strategic counsel and support to senior ACE leadership.
  • Effectively manage multiple projects simultaneously, including the development of project timelines, deliverables, and areas of immediate and long-term action.
  • Represent ACE at external meetings and conferences.


Education/Experience/Specialized Knowledge and Competency Requirements:


  • Terminal degree in higher education, higher education policy, or related field (or equivalent experience.)
  • Evidence of a deep commitment to student success, particularly among low income, first generation students of color and other traditionally marginalized groups.
  • Experience managing multi-year projects, resources, and teams.
  • 10 years of research experience in higher education.

Strongly Preferred:

  • Demonstrated ability to produce thought leadership at the intersection of public policy and institutional practice in higher education.
  • Strong knowledge of federal and other national higher education databases.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct analysis using quantitative and qualitative software tools.
  • Evidence of strong writing and communication skills.

*To be considered please submit your resume and cover letter during the application process.*

***Please note that the American Council on Education is currently in a remote status, and the interview process will be conducted remotely.  Our status is subject to change based on guidance surrounding COVID-19.  During this time period,  you may experience a slower response time to your inquiry for a job opportunity. We appreciate your patience as we adjust to these dynamic circumstances.***

 The American Council on Education is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, disability, matriculation, genetic information, credit information or protected veteran status.

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