Posted: May 28, 2024

ROI Strategic Research Fellow

Application Deadline: N/A

ROI Strategic Research Fellow


About the Opportunity

The primary goal of the ROI Strategic Research Fellow is to leverage analytical expertise and rich postsecondary and wage data to inform the UNC System's efforts to measure and improve the value of degree programs and pathways across the System. 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, econometric models, quasi experimental and experimental designs, and other social science statistical methods.


The ROI Research Fellow will work with UNC System Office staff and other partners to conduct research and examine policy questions emerging from the System's efforts to measure the ROI associated with particular degree and credential programs, including: analyses of variation in outcomes across programs, institutions, and student demographics; development and refinement of potential ROI metrics; and efforts to identify the impact of changes to practice and policy on student success in the labor market. Specifically, this fellow will leverage newly acquired unit record wage and employment data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce to link postsecondary pathways through the UNC System to post enrollment and post graduation outcomes, including developing approaches to measure the return on investment associated with particular pathways in the System. This work will include everything from data management (data joining and cleaning) to descriptive analysis to metric development to econometric research. The strongest candidates will have experience working with longitudinal education data and unit record wage and employment data.


This is a two-year grant-funded position, and the Fellow will be expected to live in the greater Research Triangle area during their fellowship. The UNC System Office is located in downtown Raleigh, and the position will have a hybrid work arrangement where the individual will be expected to work in the office on average three days a week. The Fellow will have the opportunity to publish results of research projects conditional on System Office review. The position will include funding to present research at least once per year at a relevant conference of the Fellow's choosing. Specific duties include:


Data management and analysis


  • Collect, manipulate, merge, and manage unit-record data from the UNC System’s Student Datamart (postsecondary pathways) and the NC Department of Commerce (wages and employment)
  • Conduct descriptive, correlational, causal, and econometric research
  • Perform basic and complex social science statistical analyses
  • Develop data visualizations to inform decision-making


Project management


  • Planning data gathering and analysis
  • Manage timelines and deliverables for multiple projects
  • Assist with IRB research applications and data security agreements if required
  • Work with research partners within the UNC System Office and constituent institutions to execute on research projects


Presentations & Publications/Dissemination of results


  • Drafting memos, presentations, briefs, and research papers
  • Assist in creating web-based resources such as dashboards
  • Present findings to a variety of audiences


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, higher education, or a relevant social science discipline OR master’s degree in relevant discipline with research experience using record-level wage data.


Required Competencies

  • Experience working with unit record wage data from state or federal sources strongly preferred • Experience with labor market outcome research strongly preferred • Demonstrated knowledge of economic and social science research methods and concepts (regression, econometrics, 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 such as STATA (preferred), or SAS, R, Python, etc.) • Experience using educational data and understanding its limitations • Experience with large, complex datasets and merging disparate data sources • Knowledge of research and trends in the measurement and analysis of student success during (academic performance, retention, persistence, graduation) and after college attendance (labor market outcomes)


Special Instructions to applicants: The position remains open until filled, but applications received by June 12, 2024 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.


Human Resources Contact Information

Applicants needing assistance with the application process are asked to contact: [email protected].


To Apply, visit: