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Job ID: 202730

Research Associate Program and Policy Analyst (39132)
Northern Illinois University

Date Posted Jan. 4, 2023
Title Research Associate Program and Policy Analyst (39132)
University Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL, United States
Department Education Systems Center
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Research Scientist/Associate
  • Education - General


The Center for Early Learning Funding Equity (CELFE) was established to develop and promote research- and data-informed strategies to transform funding of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programs for children ages 0-5. Housed in Northern Illinois University’s Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development (OERD), CELFE works in collaboration with academic, data and research partners across the NIU system through the Research and Data Collaborative (RDC).

CELFE began its work focused primarily on Illinois’ ECEC system, in which our Director, Theresa Hawley, Ph.D. has spent almost 30 years in as a researcher, advocate, and government systems change leader – working to improve ECEC polices with children and families at the center. Now, CELFE is building on that experience and the passion for systems-change held by the diverse and skilled team of five (and growing) to focus more deeply on the funding adequacy and equity of the ECEC system. The scope and reach of CELFE is expanding to include all states and municipalities interested in transformation. CELFE is currently engaged in projects with Massachusetts and Colorado and Illinois.

CELFE is in start-up mode and has the need to quickly scale-up our internal capacity to meet the growing need of states and clients interested in understanding how to transition their own ECEC systems through an equity lens, with children and families remaining at the center. As such, we are hiring a Program and Policy Analyst to support current projects and those under development.

Position Summary

This position includes a hybrid set of responsibilities to include support of the overall work of the center, with a specific role to support the Executive Director with project development, workflow management and preparation of products, including research papers, public presentations, and project plans. The second half of the position is a dedicated to policy analysis, project support and contributing to the communication of philosophy, research and data findings, and the important role of effective programs on children’s development.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Coordinate projects and help the ED meet deliverables and deadlines, including calendar and meeting management, client communication and more
  • Fluency in project management platforms/technology, including Asana, MS Teams, etc.
  • Contribute to the ‘ideation’ of innovative and transformative ECEC policy and funding strategies to support children ages 0-5 and their families
  • Capture and develop project and product ideas, including writing outlines for papers, sketching out and managing project plans, ensuring deliverables are met, and ensuring appropriate stakeholders are engaged
  • Support the coordination and integration of CELFE work-streams to align with and support the mission, vision, values and help to realize the business goals of CELFE
  • Policy and background research to support project and product development, including web-based and academic research
  • Track and maintain (for CELFE) new/emerging research relevant to the work of CELFE to use in blog posts, link to through CELFE’s website and/or inspire potential partnerships and complementary projects
  • Work closely with the Communications Manager in the development of papers, policy briefs and PowerPoint presentations to meet client expectations and further the work of CELFE
  • Support the Deputy Director in grant writing and meeting deliverables, including reporting and data collection.
  • Help develop, support, and promote the work of CELFE as opportunities arise and are needed

Minimum Required Qualifications (Civil Service)
Specialty Factors (Civil Service)
Preferred Qualifications (Civil Service)
Minimum Required Qualifications (SPS)

1. Bachelor’s Degree (Master’s Degree preferred) in social science, education, public policy, or related field, with basic coursework in research methods and analysis
2. Minimum 3-5 years of work experience, preferably in education-related field

Additional Requirements (SPS)

1. Strong commitment to equity
2. Passion for early childhood education and care with children and families at the center
3. Comfortable with a start-up environment and flexibility to adapt to uncertainty and changes in work priorities
4. Willingness to ask questions, learn from others and share ideas and talents with your colleagues
5. Can manage multiple projects simultaneously and meet client-driven deadlines and needs
6. Ability and willingness to travel for in-person meetings, attend and present at conferences and/or client-related meetings

Preferred Qualifications (SPS)

1. Ability to manipulate, translate and communicate data to inform and support ECEC policy and program development/innovations
2. An understanding of ECEC policy and programs; including federal and state funding structures and mechanisms
3. Interest in and demonstrated ability to write policy memos and briefs, project outlines and summaries, and other products that help
manage and communicate the ideas and work of CELFE
4. General (high) comfort level with using technology-based platforms for project management, basic research and data analysis,
communication and presentation of information.
5. Knowledge of public policy, ECEC systems and programs, publicly funded program structures, and data analysis/analytics
6. Strong project management experience and skills
7. Meeting planning and facilitation skills, interest, and comfort with presenting work publicly, to a variety of audiences
8. Problem-solver with strong initiative to keep work moving; helping to establish clarity of goals and purpose if it doesn’t already exist
9. Good communicator in person as well as in a virtual work environment.
10. Bilingual Spanish/English a plus
11.Willingness to support fundraising, activities, including proposal and reporting development

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Contact Information

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