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Strategic Research Fellow

University of North Carolina System Office
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Commensurate with qualifications
Posted Date
Oct 25, 2022

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Strategic Research Fellow

About the Opportunity
The primary goal of the UNC System Strategic Research Fellow is to leverage analytical expertise and rich institutional data to inform the UNC System’s efforts to achieve strategic plan goals in access, affordability, student success, and economic impact. The position will be housed in the Division of Strategy and Policy and will report to the Director of Data Analysis and Research. The research conducted by the Fellow will be guided by and informed by a steering committee of senior leaders across the UNC System Office. Research methods will vary by project, but may include descriptive statistics, data visualization, quasi-experimental and experimental designs, and other social science statistical methods.

The Strategic Research Fellow will work with UNC System Office staff and other partners to conduct research on topics identified by the steering committee, including examining trends in and drivers of access, student success, affordability, and equity across the System and at individual universities. Analyses will also assess the impacts of policy changes and initiatives at the System level and project the impacts of potential policy changes on students. Most data will be drawn from the UNC Student Data Mart, which houses student unit record data from all 17 UNC institutions. The Fellow may have to incorporate outside data sources to supplement the System’s current data.

This is a two-year limited position, and the Fellow will be expected to live in the greater Research Triangle area during their fellowship. The UNC System Office is currently located in Chapel Hill, but will be relocating to downtown Raleigh, NC no later than January 1, 2023. The Fellow will have the opportunity to publish results of different research projects conditional on System Office review. In addition, the Fellow will have the opportunity to spend part of their time conducting their own research using System Office data, if research is shared with System Office staff. The position will include funding to present research at least once per year at a relevant conference of the Fellow’s choosing. In the second year of the position, an additional Research Fellow will be hired, and the incumbent will assist in training the new scholar.

This position may be eligible for a hybrid work arrangement, consistent with System Office policy. UNC System employees are generally required to reside in North Carolina, within a 2-hour commuting distance of their assigned duty station. 

About the UNC System Office
The UNC System Office includes the offices of the President and other senior administrators of the multi-campus University of North Carolina System. The UNC System is a treasured public institution dedicated to serving the people of North Carolina through world-class teaching, research, and community engagement. Today, nearly 250,000 students are enrolled in our 16 universities across the state and at the NC School of Science and Mathematics. System Office staff is responsible for executing the policies of the UNC Board of Governors and providing University-wide leadership in the areas of academic affairs, business and financial management, long-range planning, student affairs, research, legal affairs, and government relations. The UNC System Office also has administrative oversight of a number of University affiliates, including PBS North Carolina, the North Carolina Arboretum, the NC State Education Assistance Authority, and University of North Carolina Press. 

About the Team
The Strategy and Policy division is charged with enhancing and furthering the UNC System's strategic goals. The division partners with the President and chancellors on System-wide strategic initiatives, is responsible for the institutional performance measurement framework, and serves as a higher-education policy expert to the President, the Board of Governors, and the NC General Assembly. The division also tracks and assesses state and national trends in higher education, and their likely impact on the UNC System, and proactively identifies new initiatives to support System strategies. The division also provides oversight of the University and P12 Partnerships unit as well as the GEAR UP Program.

Minimum Education, Experience, and Skills
Doctoral degree in public policy, education, political science, economics, or a relevant social science discipline. Those pursuing doctoral degrees and on track to complete by August 2023 will also be considered. 

Required Competencies

  • Demonstrated knowledge of and interest in higher education and educational structures, equity, and policy
  • Knowledge of social science research methods and concepts (regression, quasi-experimental methods, data mining, etc.)
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Ability to work both as part of a team and individually while meeting deadlines
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize between multiple projects and deadlines

Preferred Education, Experience, and Skills

  • Experience working on multiple phases of research projects (project and research question formation, data management, analysis, dissemination)
  • Experience with coding in at least one statistical package (SAS, STATA, R, Python, etc.)
  • Experience using educational data and understanding its limitations
  • Experience with large, complex datasets and merging disparate data sources
  • Familiarity with state and national education datasets such as IPEDS, National Student Clearinghouse, and Department of Education surveys
  • Knowledge of higher education trends relating to student success, finance, and equity 

Please apply online at

Classification: Researcher
Appointment Type: Time Limited
Full-Time/Part-Time: Full-Time
Employment Type: EHRA
EHRA Category: Instructional, Research and Information Technology
Location: Chapel Hill, NC USA
Position Number: 20050550
Special Instructions to Applicants: The position remains open until filled, but applications received by November 4, 2022, will be given priority consideration.

Equal Employment Opportunity and Other Information
The UNC System Office (includes PBS NC, NCSEAA, and NC Arboretum) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a protected veteran.
The UNC System Office (includes PBS NC, NCSEAA, and NC Arboretum) is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.
To claim veteran's preference, all eligible persons must indicate their eligibility as requested on the application. A DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, may be required later in the selection process.
The UNC System Office (includes PBS NC, NCSEAA, and NC Arboretum) participates in E-Verify. Federal law requires all employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all persons hired to work in the United States.

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