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Research Associate-Fixed Term

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 696527
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Education
Department: Education Policy Center 10014017
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Research/Scientific, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union

Position Summary

The Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) at Michigan State University (MSU) invites applications for a Postdoctoral Research Associate with an interest in education policy implementation research and with expertise in one or more of these areas:

  • Quantitative research methods including working with large administrative data sets, conducting statistical/econometric analysis, particularly quasi-experimental design using panel data in STATA.
  • Survey research methods including instrument development, survey administration, and the design and execution of survey analysis.
  • Qualitative research methods including qualitative data collection and analysis with interviews, classroom observations, and case studies.

Applicants should have an interest in utilizing data collected from multiple large-scale research projects with high motivation to publish in peer-reviewed academic journals as well as in policy-forward outlets.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will need to have completed their doctoral studies or have satisfactorily completed their dissertation defense with minimal revisions needed (that are expected to be completed within three to six months) prior to beginning at EPIC. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will work with Dr. Katharine Strunk and other EPIC affiliated faculty, research associates and researchers on education policy evaluation and analysis. Projects use mixed-methods, qualitative, descriptive, and quasi-experimental econometric approaches.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will need to have completed their doctoral studies or be on track to defend their dissertation prior to beginning at EPIC. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will work with Dr. Katharine Strunk and other EPIC affiliated faculty, research associates and researchers on education policy evaluation and analysis. Projects use mixed-methods, qualitative, descriptive, and quasi-experimental econometric approaches.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will contribute to and, in some cases, lead EPIC research projects. Depending on the Postdoctoral Research Associate’s specific skill set and professional development goals, he/she will work with large-scale state administrative panel data, and/or interview, classroom observation, and/or survey data collected from educators across the state. Current EPIC research projects include studies of patterns and policies related to educator labor markets, school choice and student mobility, school and district turnaround, Michigan’s early literacy law, and innovative instruction in classrooms, schools and districts. In addition to engaging in EPIC research, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will also be asked to work with EPIC’s faculty director to establish their own research agenda within EPIC’s major focus areas.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will work with other EPIC researchers to co-author peer-reviewed publications and reports to state and local partners, and to present research at national conferences. In addition to EPIC projects and pursuing their own research programs, duties for the Postdoctoral Research Associate may include:

  • assisting with oversight of a team of doctoral students;
  • 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.

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 EPIC team is directed by Dr. Katharine Strunk and includes faculty affiliates from MSU and throughout the country, as well as a team of EPIC staff researchers, postdoctoral research associates and doctoral students.

Preference will be given to candidates with strong skills in one or more of the above-listed areas and strong evidence of writing capability. Because EPIC is a collaborative and fast-paced center, 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 at driving improvements in educational outcomes for Michigan students.

The positions, which include benefits, are fixed term annual, 100% time positions beginning August 15, 2021 (although the start date is flexible and we welcome candidates who can start earlier) 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.

Michigan State University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Michigan State University is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Degree


Minimum Requirements

  • A Ph.D. in economics, public policy, education, statistics, measurement, quantitative methods, qualitative methods, social sciences, or another related field;
  • A track record of publication, or evidence of strong potential;
  • Ability to work collaboratively;
  • Interest in pursuing independent and collaborative policy-oriented research in the field of public education; and
  • Expertise in one or more of the following areas:
    • Econometric research methods, particularly quasi-experimental design and panel data methods with significant research experience working in STATA
    • Survey research principles, processes and methods, including survey design and statistical/methodological issues related to survey analysis. This includes understanding the cognitive process underlying respondents’ reactions to survey questions; designing and implementing rigorous, efficient methods for sampling and weighting; and employing advanced techniques for analyzing and interpreting survey and secondary data.
    • Qualitative research methods, particularly case study, interview and classroom observation, and significant research experience coordinating data collection and analysis, developing and revising interview protocols, and developing coding rubrics to be used across interviews, classroom observations, document analysis, etc.

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience to develop a substantial research and publication record and scholarly recognition in the field;
  • Interest in education policy and reform implementation;
  • 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;
  • Experience mentoring early-stage graduate or undergraduate researchers.

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 occur on a rolling basis until the positions are filled.

Special Instructions

Applicants must apply online at: Posting available soon. Questions can be directed to Dr. Katharine Strunk at or Emily Mohr at

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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