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Research Associate-Fixed Term

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 561797
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Education
Department: Education Policy Center 10014017
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Full Time (90-100%), Fixed Term Academic Staff, Education/Training, Non-Union

Position Summary

The Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) at Michigan State University (MSU) is seeking a post-doctoral research associate who is skilled in qualitative research methods focusing on education policy or program implementation and has an expertise in or interest in developing an expertise in innovative instructional reforms.

EPIC is a policy lab located within the College of Education at Michigan State University. EPIC partners with state and school district leaders to produce rigorous and objective multi-method research with consequence that strengthens evidence-based decision-making for practice and policy in Michigan, with implications for historically disadvantaged students throughout the country. 

The postdoctoral research associate will join the EPIC team to work on one or more externally-funded EPIC research projects. The EPIC team includes Drs. Katharine Strunk and Josh Cowen (EPIC co-directors), EPIC staff researchers, several other postdoctoral associates and doctoral students.

The postdoctoral research associate should have deep experience leading qualitative data collection and analysis to study the implementation and efficacy of policies, programs and interventions. In particular, we are seeking a research associate with expertise in developing, conducting, coding and analyzing interviews, case studies and classroom observations.

The primary project on which the postdoctoral research associate will work is an externally-funded study of the implementation, evolution and efficacy of an instructional reform (competency based education) pilot taking place in seven Michigan school districts. This postdoctoral research associate will also be asked to work with EPIC co-directors to establish their own research agenda within EPIC’s other major focus areas. Current EPIC research projects include studies of patterns and policies related to educator labor markets, school choice and student mobility,  school and district turnaround, and innovative instruction in classrooms, schools and districts.

In addition to pursuing their own research programs, duties for the postdoctoral research associate may include:

  • providing leadership on the design of a study to understand school- and district-level implementation of an instructional reform in seven Michigan school districts;
  • leading qualitative data collection and analysis (e.g., interviews, case studies and observations), which will require in-state travel;
  • recruiting participants and case study sites for qualitative research across the state of Michigan;
  • developing and revising interview protocols;
  • developing observation rubrics to assess reform-oriented instruction;
  • developing coding rubrics to be applied across qualitative data, including interviews, observations, documents, etc.
  • coordinating qualitative data collection activities;
  • assisting with oversight of a team of doctoral student research associates;
  • assisting with the developing and writing of manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals; and
  • participating in the academic life of the center and the college.

The postdoctoral research associate will join a large team of doctoral student, postdoctoral and staff researchers at EPIC. We are seeking a person who is excited to be a member of a dynamic and motivated group, and who is driven by a desire to produce both rigorous and policy-relevant research aimed a driving improvements for Michigan students.

The positions, which include benefits, are fixed term annual, 100% time position beginning June 1, 2019 (although the start date is flexible) with the potential for one or two additional year renewals in the College of Education. We anticipate that the postdoctoral research associate will stay with EPIC for at least two years.

Required Degree


Minimum Requirements

  • A Ph.D. in education, public policy, implementation science or another related field;
  • A track record of publication, or evidence of strong potential;
  • Expertise with qualitative research methods, particularly case study, interview and classroom observation;
  • Ability to work collaboratively;
  • Interest in pursuing independent and collaborative policy-oriented research in the field of public education.

Desired Qualifications

  • expertise in curriculum and instruction;
  • interest in reform implementation;
  • familiarity with the literature on personalized learning and innovative instructional reforms;
  • experience with survey design and analysis;
  • experience working on large-scale team-based projects;
  • excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication;
  • strong organizational skills and experience coordinating data collection and analysis activities across a large team.

Required Application Materials

Interested candidates should send: 1) a letter of application stating qualifications for and reasons for interest in this position; 2) current curriculum vitae; 3) a writing sample (publication or draft manuscript); and 4) the names and contact information for three references. Review of applications will begin on April 1, 2019. We will review applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled.


Special Instructions



Review of Applications Begins On


MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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