Education Research Director

Research for Action Research director
Location Philadelphia, PA (remote)
Application deadline 1 November 2023
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
Salary Starting at $140,000 annually
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Research For Action (RFA) is currently seeking two Research Directors to establish and oversee two recently restructured and collaborative education research departments. These departments will utilise a diverse array of culturally responsive and community-informed research methodologies in the field of education.

Brief description of organisation

Research for Action (RFA) is an independent, non-profit educational research organization with a mission of using culturally responsive and community-informed research to promote racial equity and social justice. For 30 years, they have conducted research and developed partnerships to strengthen public schools and postsecondary institutions; provided research-based recommendations to policymakers, practitioners and the public at the local, state and national levels; and enriched the civic and community dialogue about public education.

RFA’s portfolio of local and national research, evaluation, and policy studies span critical topics related to advancing equity for students, families, and communities across the education pipeline. Some of their recent and current projects examine teacher diversity and Black teacher retention and attrition, the impact of statewide developmental education reform on community colleges, inequities in educational opportunity for minoritized K-12 students across the nation, the implications of new high school graduation requirements on district-wide outcomes, the rollout and impact of College Promise Programs, the implementation of an anti-violence community program, and the impact of COVID on Head Start and Early Head Start workforce stability. A focus on and commitment to community engagement is a defining component of RFA’s research enterprise. Our Community Engagement division hosted its first Teach-In in April 2022.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Build RFA’s capacity to conduct and deliver rigorous and culturally responsive education research that stands to serve students, partner communities, and the field in advancing racial equity and social justice through systems change.
  • Build and develop a strong and cohesive research team in the remote environment, using equitable and human-centered management practices, and serve as team members’ trusted advocate and liaison with senior management.
  • Provide direct supervision to associate-level researchers, and guidance and support to all team members, supervisors, and project teams within the department (presently, departments include 8-12 multi-method researchers and a portfolio of 10-15 projects).
  • Mentor, supervise, coach, and provide feedback to develop staff and supervisees using a supportive and collaborative approach and two-way feedback.
  • Promote a culture of high performance, accountability, transparency, fairness, and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to equity and RFA’s mission.
  • Manage RFA’s portfolio of work within the department, including project staffing levels and budgeting to meet organizational objectives. Oversee, direct, and organize the work of the department’s research team.
  • Demonstrate self-reflection of strengths and areas for improvement, address constructive feedback, and work collegially with project directors and team members to identify and engage in opportunities for growth. Strategy, Vision, and Portfolio Development
  • Develop and drive strategies to ensure the department’s portfolio, partnerships, business opportunities, and dissemination efforts advance RFA’s mission to advance racial and social justice in education.
  • Execute and expand RFA’s vision, toolkit, and capacity to pursue, conduct, and disseminate culturally responsive, community-informed, and equitable research and evaluation projects and deliverables.
  • Identify and pursue business opportunities to strategically expand the work and influence of the department through partnership development and response to RFPs.
  • Collaborate with colleagues across the organization to support the development of strategies and approaches that further RFA’s mission externally and internally, including advancing an equitable work culture that promotes staff well-being and thriving. Organizational Leadership
  • Take initiative to proactively and actively identify opportunities and challenges for meeting RFA’s mission internally and externally and propose human centered collaborative solutions.
  • Collaborate effectively with colleagues across the organization, offer and receive constructive feedback, and manage generative conflict.
  • Effectively represent and implement leadership decisions internally.
  • Provide constructive feedback and support across all levels of the organization; build and rebuild trust with and among colleagues.
  • Consistently and reliably implement RFA’s research and administrative practices in a timely, efficient, and thoughtful manner.

Experience and skills

  • Demonstrated passion for RFA’s mission and areas of work.
  • Successful track record of serving in leadership role(s) at non-profit and or/ research organizations.
  • Successful track record of developing a portfolio of applied research projects and securing funding opportunities.
  • Successful track record of research team management that is asset-based and based in human-centered and equitable management practices.
  • Able to delegate and empower team members to exercise agency and creativity, and deploy and grow their own expertise.
  • Experience conducting and overseeing a wide range of high-quality applied education research studies.
  • Ph.D. or advanced degree in the social sciences preferred.
  • Experience with a variety of mixed methods social science research methods and approaches, e.g., exploratory research, emergent design, participatory research methods, developmental evaluation, implementation research, program evaluation, experimental and quasi-experimental methods, and impact and confirmatory analyses.
  • Experience with culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE) and applying critical approaches to research.