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Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Swarthmore College

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Institutional & Business Affairs, Auxiliary Services
Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Job Details

Job no: 495215
Work type: Full Time
Location: Swarthmore
Categories: Staff, Salary (Exempt)

Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore has a strong institutional commitment to inclusive excellence and nondiscrimination in its educational program and employment practices and encourages candidates who will further advance the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive community. As one of the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning, Swarthmore College is global in outlook and draws students from around the nation and world. The 425‐acre campus is a designated arboretum, complete with gardens, rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails in the Crum Woods.

Who We Are:

The Eugene M. Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility facilitates Swarthmore College’s commitment to intellectual rigor, ethical engagement, and social responsibility by connecting the curriculum, campus, and communities, including proximate communities of Chester and Philadelphia; more distant community partners around the country and globe; and the community of scholars and practitioners who share knowledge and best practices regarding ethical action and civic engagement. The Lang Center connects the College’s curricular excellence with engagement in all of those communities using an approach that we identify as Engaged Scholarship.

The opportunity:

The post-doctoral research fellow will work with Daniel Laurison, Associate Professor of Sociology, to set up and run a new social science research lab, tentatively called the Class, Inequality, and American Democracy Lab. The lab is part of Swarthmore College’s Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and includes undergraduate students, graduate student researchers from other institutions, and community-based researchers. Our main stream of research is on economic and racial inequalities in political engagement and participation in the US; we are currently wrapping up and analyzing interviews with over 250 poor/low-income/working-class people from across the state of Pennsylvania, and from all major racial groups. Other current and future projects include an analysis of the career trajectories and demographics of American national-level campaign professionals, an examination of the places and conditions where political engagement and participation are highest among lower-income/working-class people, and a project looking at how the race of a city’s mayor matters for voting rates among that city’s residents. The Lab will also expand to include other Swarthmore faculty. The ideal candidate will have extensive experience in low-income/working-class communities, research interests in political sociology and racial and class inequalities, and a commitment to producing research that can speak to both scholarly and public audiences. The position is for up to three years, contingent on satisfactory review, and is in-person at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA (near Philadelphia). Start date is flexible, September 2023 – January 2024.

Essential Responsibilities

  • Contribute to ongoing and new research projects related to class and racial inequality in American democracy (60%). Specifically:
  • Participate in the analysis of in-depth interviews with poor and working-class Pennsylvanians.
  • Manage the process of collecting feedback from interviewees about our findings
  • Collaborate on developing and implementing future projects related to the Lab’s themes.
  • Contribute to both scholarly and public-facing writing about our findings.
  • Work on your own ongoing projects.
  • Work with Lab Director Daniel Laurison to manage all aspects of the new Class, Inequality, and American Democracy Lab (30%), including:
  • Supervise and support undergraduate and graduate students, and community-based researchers.
  • Coordinate speaker series/brown-bag lunches and other lab events.
  • Other tasks as needed.
  • Work on grant proposals to support the ongoing operation of the Lab (10%).
  • Supervisory Responsibilities

    • Shared responsibility for supervising part-time (undergraduate & graduate) student researchers
    • Shared responsibility for supervising part-time community-based researchers

    Who you are:

    • Excellent writing, research and communication skills.
    • Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills.
    • Demonstrated ability to:
    • Work independently with minimal supervision.
    • Set priorities and effectively manage time and resources.
    • Be a constructive and cooperative member of a team.
    • Positively influence colleagues and develop collaborative relationships with a wide range of people, including people outside academia.

    What you bring:

    Required Qualifications

    • PhD in sociology or related field, completed or expected by January 2024
    • Experience in conducting research (qualitative and/or quantitative) related to class and/or racial inequality and/or political engagement and participation.

    Preferred Qualifications

    • A track record of scholarly publication and/or public-facing writing
    • Experience participating in or managing collaborative research projects
    • Connection to/experience with low-income/working class communities
    • An interest specifically in class inequalities in political participation/engagement
    • Experience with or interest in community-engaged research (or related)
    • Skills in social network analysis and/or advanced quantitative methods, especially using R

    What You Will Get:

    You’ll work at one of the world's most renowned liberal arts Colleges, with incredible benefits, a stunning 420-acre campus and collaborative work environment. Come join a team of passionate, creative people who work hard and have fun supporting the College students, faculty, and staff.

    If you are excited about this role, we want to hear from you! For full consideration, submit applications including a writing sample, resume, and cover letter with pay expectations.

    Review the Swarthmore Benefits Guidebook, we offer benefit plans starting at zero cost! Upon benefit eligibility, the College contributes 10% of an employee’s salary to their retirement account. Employees are 100% vested in their accounts on the date participation begins.

    Paid Time Off (Staff)

    Holiday Schedule

    Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

    Advertised: Jul 14 2023 Eastern Daylight Time
    Applications close: Open until filled


    Swarthmore College, a highly selective college of liberal arts and engineering, has supported thinkers and doers for more than 150 years. Since 1864, it has lifted students to their full intellectual and personal potential so they can apply their knowledge with meaning and purpose.Swarthmore college main

    Located 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia in the borough of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Swarthmore has been co-educational since its founding by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Our Quaker founders believed in the practical application of knowledge for the common good. While Swarthmore is no longer a religious institution, these Quaker roots anchor and inform how Swatties learn and work. 

    The College offers two degrees: the B.A. in the arts and sciences and the B.S. in engineering. With a student/faculty ratio of 8:1, Swarthmore ensures that its students have close and meaningful contact with their professors.

    Swarthmore’s alumni body is small (about 20,000 living alumni) but distinguished. Five Swarthmore graduates have won the Nobel Prize; Swarthmore is also among the top five highest producers of doctorate recipients in the humanities, life sciences, and all sciences combined, with 20 percent of Swarthmore graduates going on to earn a doctorate degree. Some prominent Swarthmore alumni are acclaimed artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby ‘04, novelist Jonathan Franzen ’81, Ashesi University founder Patrick Awuah ’89, Chris Van Hollen ’83, U.S. Senator from Maryland, fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra ’05, and noted sociologist Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot '66.Swarthmore college main

    As of June 30, 2016, the College has an endowment of approximately $1.7 billion. Swarthmore's robust financial aid program ensures the College’s commitment to providing access to an exceptional liberal arts education for all qualified students without regard to their ability to pay and allows the College to meet each admitted student's demonstrated financial need. With one of the most generous financial aid programs in the country, Swarthmore awards aid -- without loans -- to more than half of its students.

    True to its Quaker heritage, Swarthmore maintains a commitment to service and the common good. Students find support for service projects through the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and in the nearby communities of Chester and Philadelphia and around the world. In addition, Swarthmore is one of 10 charter members of Project Pericles, which supports students who propose and implement projects to identify issues and advance solutions.

    Swarthmore's residential campus features more than 425 wooded acres, including rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails which are maintained by staff horticulturists as the nationally registered Scott Arboretum.

    Swarthmore College, a highly selective liberal arts college located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, has supported thinkers and doers for more than 150 years. Swarthmore has a strong institutional commitment to excellence through diversity in its educational program and employment practices and actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world.

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