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Research Postdoctoral Fellow, Program for Leadership and Character

Wake Forest University
Winston Salem, NC

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Job Details

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Job Description Summary

The Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University is seeking a creative and committed postdoctoral fellow with expertise in quantitative and qualitative analysis to advance research and evaluation in the undergraduate college. The fellow will work with an interdisciplinary research team conducting innovative and potentially transformative research on cultivating character and leadership among undergraduate students at Wake Forest. The grant-funded postdoctoral fellowship will be for an initial one-year term, with the potential for renewal for two additional years.
Wake Forest University welcomes and encourages diversity and inclusivity and seeks applicants with demonstrated success in working with diverse populations. Wake Forest University is an AA/EO employer and values an inclusive and diverse learning community and campus climate. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Wake Forest University is a private, coeducational institution dedicated to academic excellence in liberal arts, graduate and professional education. Located in Winston-Salem, NC (“The City of Arts and Innovation”), the University is ranked among the top thirty national universities by U.S. News and World Report. The University has a deep institutional commitment to public service and engagement with the world, as indicated by the motto Pro Humanitate (for humanity), which encourages students to develop the qualities of human character needed to serve humanity.

With the aim to educate the whole person, the University has established an innovative Program for Leadership and Character that plans creative programming to help students develop the virtues of character needed to lead in an increasingly complex world. The Program is based on cutting-edge academic research on leadership and character, including research conducted by Wake Forest faculty who are leading experts on the study of character. The Program has established a partnership with the Oxford Character Project and has been profiled as a model for how universities can educate character.

For quick facts about the University, see For more on the Program for Leadership and Character, see

Please provide a cover letter addressed to the members of the search committee identifying your qualifications and motivations for this position (see below), a curriculum vitae, and a research statement (see below). At least three confidential letters of recommendation must be sent via email to [email protected] The position is scheduled to begin on July 1, 2023, though an earlier start date may be possible. Applications arriving by February 15, 2023 will be given priority consideration.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Kate Allman at [email protected]
In the cover letter, please share your experiences and responses to the following:

● While we do not expect candidates to have necessarily worked or conducted research in the substantive area of leadership or character education, we would like you to articulate the nature of your interest in this area of research and in this particular Program. If you have conducted research on leadership and/or character education, please describe it.

● If you have conducted research using exclusively quantitative or qualitative methodologies, please make a case for your attitude towards using both approaches during this project, and how you intend to close any gaps in your methodological expertise (the Program is prepared to provide the successful candidate with support to develop relevant methodological skills);

● Provide examples of high-level organizational, administrative and interpersonal skills;

● Provide examples (if relevant) of coordinating and managing multiple studies simultaneously.

In the Research Statement, please explain your current research and propose and outline some of the measurement and evaluation work you can imagine doing (or would like to do) in your role. Please take into account the goals of the Program from the website and the outlined job functions and required dispositions and skills.

● Please give examples of between 2-4 research studies that you might design for undergraduate settings and outline the measurement and evaluation methods and procedures you would envisage using and any potential pitfalls you could see;

● Talk about how the research experience and skills that you have (and any you would like to develop or be trained in) that would be valuable in measurement and evaluation, particularly within the context of leadership and character education in undergraduate settings.

Job Description

Essential Functions of the Postdoctoral Fellow:

Will report to, and work closely with, the Director of Research and Assessment to design and analyze multiple research studies related to leadership and character development in the undergraduate context;
● Conceptualize innovative and creative ways to measure and evaluate key constructs and facets related to leadership and character

● Conduct a range of quantitative and qualitative analyses;

● Search pertinent scientific literature, as needed;
● Contribute to, and at times lead, the writing and publication of manuscripts (e.g., journal articles, chapters, research and grant reports);

● Present papers at relevant academic conferences;

● Assist with mentoring student research assistants as part of the Leadership and Character Lab.

Required Education, Disposition and Skills:

Ph.D. in a social science field, including but not limited to psychology, human development, education, sociology, or political science;
● Strong and demonstrated analytical skills, with experience using a wide range of both qualitative (e.g.. thematic, grounded) and quantitative methods (e.g. correlational, quasi-experimental, multilevel modeling) in empirical research;
● Excellent writing, research, and communication skills;
● Strong work ethic;
● Capacity for collaboration as part of an active and engaged research team;

  • Close attention to detail and context;

  • Effective time management skills to be involved in multiple ongoing research projects (at different stages in the research process), and the ability to follow through with high work quality and consistency of effort;

  • Openness to being mentored and receiving constructive feedback;

  • Interested and able to learn quickly and independently;

  • Willing to follow direction and eventually take on leadership of research as experience is gained on the job.

Preferred Education, Disposition and Skills:

● Knowledge of leadership and/or character development and related constructs

Note: This position profile identifies the key responsibilities and expectations for performance. It cannot encompass all specific job tasks that an employee may be required to perform. Employees are required to follow any other job-related instructions and perform job-related duties as may be reasonably assigned by his/her supervisor.

Additional Job Description

Wake Forest University requires proof of full vaccination with an FDA approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine for all positions posted on or after September 13, 2021. Wake Forest University requires that you provide satisfactory proof of full vaccination status to Human Resources within three days of your hire date. You must also maintain full COVID-19 vaccination status, as classified by the CDC, during your employment at Wake Forest University.

Consistent with federal, state and local law, Wake Forest University will consider accommodations for disability- and religious-based reasons unless providing an accommodation would result in an undue hardship to the University.

If you seek an accommodation from the vaccination requirement for disability- or religious-based reasons, you should contact Human Resources.

New employees who are hired into positions posted prior to September 13, 2021, offers of employment made to new employees prior to that date, and employees for positions at Graylyn Conference Center are generally exempt from the vaccination requirement unless the employee’s position is otherwise subject to a vaccination requirement due to the essential components of the position as described in Policy.

Time Type Requirement

Full timeNote to Applicant:This position profile identifies the key responsibilities and expectations for performance. It cannot encompass all specific job tasks that an employee may be required to perform. Employees are required to follow any other job-related instructions and perform job-related duties as may be reasonably assigned by his/her supervisor.

In order to provide a safe and productive learning and living community, Wake Forest University conducts background investigations and drug screens for all final staff candidates being considered for employment.

Wake Forest seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce while promoting an inclusive work environment committed to excellence in the spirit of Pro Humanitate. In adherence with applicable laws and as provided by University policies, the University prohibits discrimination in its employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability and veteran status and encourages qualified candidates across all group demographics to apply.


Wake Forest University, formed in 1834, has experienced decades of growth and innovation.  WFU is a distinctive university that combines a liberal arts core with graduate and professional schools and innovative research programs.  The University embraces the teacher-scholar ideal, which prizes the personal interaction between students and faculty.  It is a place where exceptional teaching, fundamental research and discovery, and the engagement of faculty and students in the classroom and the laboratory are paramount.

Wake Forest University is a community that seeks the enlightenment and freedom which come through diligent study and learning. Its higher goal, however, is to give life to the University motto "Pro Humanitate," as members translate a passion for knowledge into compassionate service. The community shares a tradition that embraces freedom and integrity and acknowledges the worth of the individual. The heritage, established by the school's founders and nurtured by succeeding generations, promotes a democratic spirit arising from open-mindedness and discourse. Wake Forest fosters compassion and caring for others. Its collective strength and character are derived from the values and distinctive experiences of each individual; therefore, it affirms the richness of human intellect and culture and its contribution to knowledge, faith, reason, and dialogue. Furthermore, it strives toward a society in which good will, respect, and equality prevail. To that end, Wake Forest University rejects hatred and bigotry in any form and promotes justice, honor, and mutual trust.​

The University is comprised of:  the undergraduate college, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Divinity, School of Law, and School of Medicine (located on the Bowman Gray campus with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center) and today enrolls about 4,846 undergraduates and 2,823 students in graduate programs at its principal location, the Reynolda campus.  Students at Wake Forest University enjoy a great deal of access to and interaction with world-class faculty both in and out of the classroom setting with a student-faculty ratio of 11:1.  Wake Forest employs approximately 2,772 full and part-time faculty and staff.

Wake Forest is a collegiate university offering a vibrant, intellectual community with a rich cultural life, an impressive array of facilities, and a strong athletics program competing in the fifteen-team Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).  Since its founding, the university has adopted the motto “pro humanitate,” which is exemplified by a deep institutional commitment to public service and engagement with the world. Wake Forest has a strong commitment to holistic, eight-dimensional well-being for students, faculty and staff as evidenced in the Thrive initiative.

Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest is located in Winston-Salem, NC, a beautiful, mid-sized city centrally located in the Piedmont-Triad region of North Carolina.  Winston-Salem is a family-friendly city with high quality schools, numerous outdoor recreational activities and events, and is known for its vibrant and thriving arts scene.

Winston-Salem residents enjoy close proximity to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains (1.5 hours) and Atlantic beaches (4 hours), a moderate climate with four distinct seasons, a very reasonable cost of living, and an eclectic variety of restaurants, wine bars, and breweries for dining with friends and family.  Winston-Salem offers many of the amenities of a large city but with the sense of community and quality of life of a smaller town (

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