Senior Director, Higher Education Research & Data Analytics

The Education Trust seeks a Director of Higher Education Research and Data Analytics who is entrepreneurial and forward-thinking, to play a key role in advancing the organization’s mission of promoting high academic achievement for at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college—and closing gaps between low-income and students of color and their more advantaged peers. We work alongside parents, educators, policymakers, and community and business leaders across the country in transforming schools and colleges into institutions that serve all students well. Lessons learned in these efforts together with unflinching data analyses shape our state and national policy agendas at both the Federal and State levels.

The Director of Higher Education Research and Data Analytics leads an ambitious, innovative effort directed at advancing the opportunity and equity agenda at colleges and universities. The Director oversees staff, works collaboratively with the Director of Higher Education Policy, and reports to the Vice President for Higher Education. The Director also collaborates with staff in the organization’s Division of P-12 Policy and Practice, the Division of Partnerships and Engagement, and the Division of Communication.

Major Responsibilities

The Director of Higher Education Research and Data Analytics manages and carries out the organization’s higher education research and analytical work, supports the policy work through data modeling and thought partnership and supervises a team of researchers, analysts, and consultants. The Director is responsible for:

  • Articulating the Education Trust’s overall higher education research agenda; researching, documenting, and calling attention to patterns and trends in college access, accountability, affordability, and success (e.g. quality, completion, earnings, and employment) with a focus on low-income students and students of color;
  • Designing and building new, innovative tools and processes for making current and evolving metrics meaningful and actionable to support Ed Trust’s Federal and State policy work; and advocating for better use of equity-focused data and metrics in higher education decision-making at all levels;
  • Generating and publishing original research and analysis (in the form of reports, briefs, op-eds, blogs, etc.) that advance the organization’s mission of improving educational opportunity and outcomes for low-income and students of color.
  • Managing a team of analysts plus paid contractors; managing College Results Online, a public-access Web database that facilitates performance comparisons across similar institutions of higher education; and expanding it into new areas;
  • Presenting data, findings, and recommendations to Federal and State policymakers, higher education practitioners, state partners, members of the media and others;
  • In partnership with the Vice President of Higher Education , support the Education Trust’s efforts to leverage research and data in developing and analyzing Federal and State policy proposals on key higher education issues, particularly in relation to the use of data and metrics related to institutional improvement and accountability;
  • Support the organization’s efforts to package and disseminate research and data to the media and policymakers in order to advocate for Federal and State policies and practices that close gaps in higher education by working collaboratively with the Division of Partnerships and Engagement;
  • Identifying and/or constructing key indicators or metrics for assessing institutions of higher education commitment to equitable on access, accountability, affordability, and success;
  • Mining data to identify institutions of higher education or entities (e.g. states, systems of higher education) that are performing well or making significant progress relative to national trends in access, accountability, affordability, and success, particularly for low income students and students of color;
  • Working as a liaison with other organizations on our research and metrics work and cultivating a network of senior level researchers and practitioners who are leading experts on access, affordability, and success issues to inform our work and the work of others;
  • Working collaboratively with the Division of P-12 Policy and Research to make readiness for college, career, and civic participation the primary mission of high schools.
  • Participating in the design of policy and practice initiatives that facilitate the transition between P-12 and higher education, including advocating for inter-operability of data systems to support the seamless reporting of transition outcomes.
  • Develop and grow an expanding network of potential funders for current research needs and future research projects,
  • Collaborating with Education Trust personnel and partner organizations in developing and writing grant proposals for new and existing projects.

Qualifications and Experience

  • 5+ years’ experience in higher education research; extensive experience with education datasets;
  • Strong analytical, research, and communications skills, with an emphasis on quantitative analysis and interpretation and presentation of quantitative data to lay audiences;
  • The ability to manage staff and prioritize competing demands in a changing, highly collaborative environment;
  • Masters or Ph.D. degree in public policy, education policy, statistics, or related field;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and a desire to work as part of a team as well as a desire to interact with members of the broader higher education community;
  • Expertise using Excel, Access, and PowerPoint; SAS or SPSS experience a plus;
  • Strong follow-through skills and attention to detail, especially under deadline pressures;
  • A passionate commitment to expanding opportunities for low-income students and students of color, and a belief that higher education could do a much better job in serving these students.

Personal Characteristics

  • Passion for improving the educational experiences and outcomes for low-income students and students of color, and an unwavering belief that these students could be much more successful if institutions better served them;
  • Self-starter mentality and the ability to work independently;
  • A demonstrated commitment to excellence;
  • Healthy respect for colleagues and ability to work collaboratively with others within the higher education team and across the organization;
  • Goal-oriented, project-oriented, and results-oriented;
  • Desire to be part of an intellectually rich and action-oriented work environment;
  • Strong sense of honor and integrity; and
  • A warm, personal style with a good sense of humor.


Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. The Education Trust offers a comprehensive benefits package.

Please provide a cover letter and resume to be considered for this position. You must combine your cover letter and resume into one document and upload that document. Our application system will not allow you to upload more than one file.

The Education Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in all facets of the organization’s work.