Director of Institutional Research

Employer Info:

The Pennsylvania State University
Job Name
Director of Institutional Research
Posting Date
Brief Description
The Director of Institutional Research is an integral part of the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research with responsibilities for performing a variety of institutional research functions across the 24 Penn State campuses. The office is seeking highly qualified applicants from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to add value to the team.

Primary responsibilities of the Director include:

Designing and conducting research projects and studies, such as faculty salary and promotion studies; enrollment modeling and forecasting; public- and internal-facing dashboards; post-secondary employment outcomes studies; survey design, administration, and analysis; and grant-related support.

Developing research studies and performing advanced statistical analyses to answer questions focused on the why, how, and what now to better inform senior leaders’ decisions regarding higher education policy.

Designing and producing exceptional written and tabular research reports that are print- and presentation-ready for a variety of audiences, including executive leaders, governing bodies, and external stakeholders.

Providing leadership and supervision for a team of five institutional research associates and analysts; fostering current knowledge of data management, query development, and advanced statistical analysis among team members.

Developing and fostering relationships with data analysts, programmers, academic leaders, and administrative leaders across the 24 Penn State campuses.

Representing the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research on committees, task forces, and university-wide initiatives or discussions.
Job Category
Institutional Research
Job Type
Education Level Required
Location City
University Park, PA 16802, United states
How to Apply
To apply for the position, submit an application, resume, and cover letter on Penn State's Careers website:
Direct Link
Click here for more info
Job Details

Required knowledge, skills, and abilities include:

Higher Education Knowledge
  • An understanding of substantive higher education issues, trends, and structures 
  • Strong enthusiasm for the use of data to promote student, faculty, and staff success in higher education, including a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Advanced knowledge of principles and practices for the development of informative written reports and compelling visualizations within the context of higher education issues
  • Understanding of how institutional research informs decisions pertaining to higher education policy-making
Applied Research and Advanced Analytics Skills
  • Expertise in utilizing relational databases, structured query language (SQL), statistical software (SAS, SPSS, and/or R), enrollment forecasting methods, and data visualization software (Power BI) in response to common institutional research questions.
  • Experience aligning research questions with appropriate statistical models, algorithms, and techniques to move beyond answering questions focused on what happened to answering questions focused on the why, how, and what now.
  • Advanced ability to query databases; manage, manipulate, analyze, and visualize data; and draw inferences from advanced statistical analyses
  • Strong critical and strategic thinking skills essential for responding to complex institutional research questions
Operational Excellence Knowledge and Skills
  • Exceptional deductive and inductive reasoning skills to develop innovative ways to acquire and manage data, improve analysis, and streamline recurring studies for optimal efficiency
  • Ability to develop, evaluate, enhance, and/or implement quality improvement practices, processes, procedures, or policies that have an impact on unit operations
  • Advanced skills in innovation and problem solving to refine established processes and devise new processes and data structures for institutional research
Leadership and Supervision Experience and Skills
  • Portfolio and project management leadership skills to organize, prioritize, and lead the work of institutional research team members
  • Commitment to developing expertise among team members in the research methods and statistical analyses necessary for sound institutional research
  • Ability to foster optimal group dynamics and evaluate employee performance on difficult work assignments and recommend appropriate developmental opportunities
  • Skills in developing and implementing practices that promote a culture that is conducive to effective relationships among diverse teams and audiences
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills; the ability to interact and communicate effectively with university administrators, faculty, and staff
  • Experience collaborating across institutional boundaries to foster relationships and build advocacy for institutional research-related work

This position typically requires a Master's degree or higher plus five years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience in institutional research. A Ph.D. degree with additional years of experience related to institutional research is assessment preferred. Experience using SPSS, SAS, or R for advanced statistical analyses is required.

For full consideration, applicants must include a cover letter and resume in their application materials.

Pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Pennsylvania Act of 1988, Penn State publishes a combined Annual Security and Annual Fire Safety Report (ASR). The ASR includes crime statistics and institutional policies concerning campus security, such as those concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. The ASR is available for review here.

Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies. 

EEO is the Law

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applications without regards to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. If you are unable to use our online application process due to an impairment or disability, please contact 814-865-1473.

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