Vice President of Research and Practice

Search Institute
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sep 05, 2019
Job Type

For more than 60 years, Search Institute has been a leader and partner for organizations around the world in bridging research and practice to help all young people be and become their best selves. Our research, resources, and expertise help our partners in organizations, schools, and community coalitions solve critical challenges in the lives of young people.

We are embarking on a new strategic plan for 2020, which will create new opportunities for leadership and growth at Search Institute. Both positions are full-time and located at Search institute headquarters in Northeast Minneapolis.

POSITION SUMMARY: The Vice President of Research and Practice guides the team in conducting mixed-methods studies that solve important problems in youth development and education, and in developing improvement partnerships with youth-serving organizations through which the findings from and the resources developed through Search Institute studies are translated into practice. The Vice President of Research and Practice also works with the President and CEO and other leaders in the organization to secure funding to support the organization’s research and practice agenda. In addition, the Vice President of Research and Practice also represents Search Institute outside the organization through participation in conferences, speaking engagements, and outreach to current and prospective funders and partners. 


Research and Practice Leadership

  • Lead the development and implementation of an innovative applied research agenda through which practical resources for supporting and improving the lives of young people are developed, tested and continuously improved
  • Lead multi-year improvement partnerships with youth-serving organizations through which findings from and resources developed through Search Institute’s research are adopted and delivered to improve both service quality and outcomes for young people
  • Continually generate ideas for new research studies and improvement partnerships through ongoing engagement with young people, practitioners, parenting adults, and others who could benefit from and contribute to the work of Search Institute
  • Ensure that Search Institute’s research initiatives consistently achieve high levels of analytic rigor, including but not limited to conducting randomized controlled trials
  • Develop a coherent approach to mixed-methods research that leverages and integrates the strengths of quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Lead an ongoing effort to strategically disseminate Search Institute studies in peer-reviewed journals and in periodicals, on websites, social media, and through other communications channels that are read by practitioners and parents
  • Work with the President and CEO and other senior staff to increase awareness of Search Institute’s research and evidence-informed products and services among leaders of youth-serving organizations
  • Infuse all of Search Institute’s research and practice initiatives with a commitment to equity and helping young people from marginalized communities develop and thrive
  • Represent Search Institute at conferences and serve on relevant external working groups and committees
  • Successfully manage projects, including timelines, budgets, and meeting all deliverables of grants and contracts
  • Other duties as assigned

Management and Supervision

  • Provide strategic oversight for Search Institute’s research and practice functions in a unified Department of Research and Practice.  Support the success of all staff in the department by communicating job expectations, planning, monitoring and appraising job results, coaching, counseling and disciplining employees and enforcing policies, procedures, and productivity standards
  • Create, implement, and continually improve processes and practices that effectively bridge the worlds of research and practice within and beyond the department

Fund Development and Networking

  • Work with the President and CEO and other organizational leaders to write grant and contract proposals to secure financial support for Search Institute’s applied research and improvement partnerships
  • Work with the President and CEO and other organizational leaders to cultivate new funders and partners


Education and Experience:

  • Doctoral degree and demonstrated expertise in a field related to Search Institute’s mission and work, including the social or behavioral sciences, psychology, social work, sociology, education, public health, or a related field
  • At least 10 years of experience conducting and leading major research initiatives, including though not limited to quasi-experimental or experimental studies
  • At least 10 years of experience leading youth-serving organizations or partnerships with youth-serving organizations 
  • At least 10 years of supervisory and management experience in a research and practice environment
  • Experience writing and managing major grants and contracts
  • Record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals and in publications for practitioners
  • A demonstrated record of successful fundraising and grant management

Professional Qualifications Required:

  • Demonstrated expertise in the principles, practices, and ethical conduct of social science research.
  • Demonstrated expertise in working effectively with organizations and systems that serve and seek to improve the lives of young people, especially from marginalized communities
  • Demonstrated expertise in studying and/or facilitating processes through which organizations improve performance and outcomes
  • Demonstrated ability to integrate findings from diverse studies and projects into a coherent and continually updated set of conclusions upon which new studies and projects can be built
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate research findings to multiple audiences in written and verbal forms, including national-level speeches and presentations, peer-reviewed journals, and professional publications.
  • Ability to think creatively, strategically, critically and analytically
  • Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Ability to speak comfortably and confidently in front of various audiences
  • Ability to lead major quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods research studies
  • Ability to lead major improvement partnerships with youth-serving organizations
  • Ability to conceptualize and write major grant and contract proposals
  • Strong and effective leadership and people management skills with the ability to manage disagreement and conflict in forthright and productive ways
  • Ability to develop and manage budgets to achieve organization goals

Ability to pass a criminal background check


Similar jobs

Similar jobs