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Postdoctoral Researcher in Computational Social Science

Job Details

Wesleyan University, founded in 1831, is a diverse, energetic liberal arts community where critical thinking and practical idealism go hand in hand.

Position Details

The Wesleyan Media Project ( WMP ), in collaboration with Wesleyan University’s Quantitative Analysis Center ( QAC ) and the Collaborative on Media and Messaging ( COMM ) for Health and Social Policy team at Wesleyan University, is seeking a postdoctoral researcher in computational social science to join us at the forefront of advancing real-time analyses of political and health-related audiovisual and textual messages using computational methods. WMP leverages large-scale advertising and media messaging datasets applying theory and methods from political science, behavioral and communication science, computer science, data science and machine learning. Successful candidates will work on an NSF -funded project on digital advertising led by Dr. Erika Franklin Fowler (Political Science) and Dr. Sebastian Zimmeck (Computer Science) and on Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded projects tracking and analyzing messaging relevant to health and racial equity led by Dr. Fowler and Dr. Steven Moore (Political Science).
This fellowship position is for a one-year appointment beginning July 1, 2024 with the possibility of an additional second year contingent upon funding and performance.

The fellow will work closely with the PIs, WMP’s Program Manager, and QAC faculty and staff on the analysis of textual, visual, and video-based political and health messages from a variety of sources (political/insurance TV ads, digital/social/online ads, television news, etc.) and will be involved in collaborative publications on an interdisciplinary program to analyze the volume, content, and effect of media messaging on television and online in electoral and health policy contexts. As a fellow, the successful candidate will engage in original research, test and evaluate algorithms and have the opportunity to present and publish their work. The position will also contribute broadly both to computational analysis in the QAC and in the social sciences at Wesleyan by working with undergraduate students engaged in the lab’s research projects and by offering courses in the Quantitative Analysis Center. The teaching load is one course per year plus lab supervision. We strongly encourage applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds, including those from groups that have been underrepresented in academia.
Minimum Qualifications

Individuals with a PhD in computer science, data science, political science, in quantitative social science fields or a cognate discipline including network science or machine learning are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to candidates with expertise and experience in topic modeling, AI, statistical natural language processing / text mining and analysis of audiovisual materials (including sound, images and video).
Special Instructions To Applicants

A complete application includes a (1) cover letter, (2) curriculum vitae, (3) writing sample, (4) statement of current research, and (5) teaching statement. In the cover letter, applicants should describe how they will embrace the college’s commitment to fostering an inclusive community, as well as their experience working with individuals from historically marginalized or underserved groups. You will also be asked to provide the email addresses of three referees from whom we will obtain confidential letters of recommendation.
Additional Information

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please contact Erika Franklin Fowler at or phone 860-685-3407 if you have questions about the application process.

Note for Interfolio users:
We gladly accept letters of recommendation from Interfolio. From your Interfolio account, please use the “web delivery” method to upload your letters directly to our online application.

For further instructions, look here:

Wesleyan University, located in Middletown, Connecticut, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, age, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, marital status, ancestry, present or past history of mental disorder, learning disability or physical disability, political belief, veteran status, sexual orientation, genetic information or non-position-related criminal record. We welcome applications from women and historically underrepresented minority groups. Inquiries regarding Title IX, Section 504 or any other non-discrimination policies should be directed to Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Title IX and ADA/504 Coordinator. Wesleyan University complies with the Clery Act and maintains records of campus crime statistics and security policies. Copies of Wesleyan University?s Clery Act Report are available on request and online at


Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University, founded in 1831, is a diverse, energetic liberal arts community where critical thinking and practical idealism go hand in hand. 

Our student body of approximately 3,000 undergraduate and 200 graduate students is housed on a beautiful 316-acre historic New England campus that offers the comfort of an intimate and collaborative learning environment supported by renowned faculty, cutting-edge facilities, and unique research opportunities.

With our distinctive scholar-teacher culture, creative programming, and commitment to interdisciplinary learning, Wesleyan challenges students to explore new ideas and change the world. Our graduates go on to lead and innovate in a wide variety of industries, including government, business, entertainment, and science.

At Wesleyan, we are all educators. We welcome your interest in Wesleyan's diverse, energetic community of employees who, by their creativity, innovative thinking, and generosity of spirit, help make Wesleyan a great place to work. In this energetic and inclusive community, our talented faculty and staff foster a liberal arts educational experience characterized by boldness, rigor, and practical idealism. Genuinely open-minded, intellectually curious, and mission-driven, our employees invest their impressive talents in fulfilling careers.

Wesleyan offers a broad range of growth and wellness opportunities—comprehensive health benefitsfitness incentives, generous paid time offretirement plansflexible work schedules, and educational benefits, including free employee access to Wesleyan’s Graduate Liberal Studies program and undergraduate tuition reimbursement for dependents of eligible employees. Benefits-at-a-Glance

Campus life affords employees countless opportunities to experience general-interest, academic, artistic, and athletic events. Our location in scenic central Connecticut provides easy access to Boston, New York, and the many other exciting and culturally rich destinations of New England. Few workplaces are like Wesleyan, and we welcome your interest in learning more about us.

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