Job Information

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Director of Public Policy Research in Charlotte, North Carolina

Position Number: 007595

Department: Urban Research & Community Engagement

Employment Type: Permanent - Full-time

Months Per Year: 12

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The Director of Public Policy Research leads a program of applied public policy research and analysis for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, with a particular focus on the policies relating to key arenas that determine a good quality of life for all of the region’s residents including housing, the economy, transportation, education, the environment, health and mental health, civic engagement, and public safety. The position specifically focuses on the intersection of policy and planning with residents’ social and economic well-being.

The position directs and conducts public policy research, guides the strategic use of the Institute’s data assets for policy purposes, and builds relationships with public policy constituents to identify and meet applied research needs. It combines research, analysis, and outreach to establish the institute as a primary non-partisan, strategic partner, and go-to resource for stakeholders seeking to understand how to best identify and integrate effective local and regional policy decisions that facilitate quality of life in the Charlotte region. The person in this position works with the Executive Director, research leadership at the institute, leadership at urbanCORE, and the Charlotte Regional Data Trust’s board of directors (the advisory group for the Urban Institute) to identify and implement strategic policy research initiatives that engage the Institute and Data Trust’s current and emerging data assets and proactively address pressing local and regional needs.

Minimum Experience / Education:

  • A graduate degree in a public policy-related field, such as public policy, public administration, political science, city & regional planning, housing, transportation planning, public health, environmental management, macro social work, etc., and at least seven years of experience in developing and implementing research and service projects is required.

  • A distinguished record of research and policy analysis in at least one of the key quality of life arenas: housing, transportation, education, the environment, the economy, health and mental health, civic engagement, and public safety.

  • Experience must include a track record of successful non-partisan public policy research projects, particularly quantitative or mixed-methods research with established competency in one or more analytic tools.

  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement project plans and organize and carry out projects within budget and time constraints.

  • Experience supervising and coordinating project staff; prepare reports; and exercise judgment and discretion in applying and interpreting policies and procedures.

  • The person in the position must demonstrate a commitment to teamwork and consensus-building among colleagues and stakeholders and demonstrate the ability to effectively engage with diverse stakeholders, many who have competing interests.

  • The person in the position must demonstrate strong cultural awareness and sensitivity and particular attention to those who historically have not benefited from policy decisions and implementation, including individuals and groups from urban and rural spaces who have not historically benefited from the economic prosperity of the Charlotte region.

  • The person in this job must have superb leadership and interpersonal skills (including oral and written communication) and be able to communicate with both technical and non-technical colleagues, collaborators, and audiences. The person must speak effectively in public and express ideas clearly in writing in order to present research findings effectively for a non-technical audience.

  • The person in this position must demonstrate the ability to maintain good interpersonal relationships with diverse groups of people, as well as facilitate dialogue around complex issues. This job involves a considerable amount of contact with other institute professional staff, UNC Charlotte faculty and administrative staff, students, public and private sector agency staff, and the general public. This job is highly visible to the University and the general public and requires the capacity to thoughtfully and effectively navigate the opportunities and challenges that arise in serving such a diverse group of constituents.

Preferred Education Skills and Experience:

  • A terminal degree (PhD) in a public policy-related field is preferred or a master’s degree and 10 years or more in a policy-related position.

  • Research experience that addresses the intersection between one or more of the arenas and expertise around urban and regional planning in one or more of the arenas.

  • Advanced analytic expertise in GIS and statistical software packages ( STATA , R, etc.)

  • Previous experience in a university environment.

  • A track record of robust relationships and familiarity with local and/or state nonprofit organizations and government agencies, particularly in Carolinas and the Charlotte region.

  • Proposal writing and post-award management experience.