Job DescriptionWho we are
The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country's legal systems. We are an "inside" lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements-including advocacy, grassroots, and grassroots organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.
Vera has a staff of almost 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity-both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people's educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.Who you are:
The Associate Director of Research for the Redefining Public Safety team will lead research and support development of a multi-year research agenda in support of our goals to narrow the scope of policing and strengthen investments in a robust civilian public safety ecosystem and infrastructure, in areas including violence intervention, neighborhood safety, and crisis response programs.
The Associate Director of Research is the research lead for Vera's Redefining Public Safety team. They work in close partnership with the Director of Redefining Public Safety and other associate directors, working toward ambitious change. ADRs are heavily involved in developing and overseeing initiative strategies that draw upon the range of research expertise and capacity that exists within Vera's multi-disciplinary, multi-method research department. Staff in this role have strategic "big-picture" perspectives as core participants in developing theories of change and program plans. They will typically oversee staff working across a range of methodologies and multiple projects or studies and should be comfortable with both hands-on research and management work, both in their own areas of methodological expertise and others. They should have experience leading and managing collaborative and participatory action research with individuals and groups directly impacted by the criminal legal system and/or other systems. ADRs should have fluency in advocacy and communications strategies and work with other staff to support evidence-based messaging and policy in support of big goals. Associate directors of research ensure Vera's core values infuse our research, including leading efforts to ensure Vera's race, equity and inclusion priorities are a core aspect of Vera's research, including in methodological approaches, publications, hiring and staffing, and external and internal research communications.
The Associate Director of Research reports directly to the Director of Redefining Public Safety, with "dotted line" reporting to one of the institute's two research directors. They will supervise a small team of researchers and manage partnerships with external researchers. In this role, you will:
- Research leadership
- Develop, manage, and oversee all aspects of Vera's Redefining Public Safety research, in partnership with the Director of Redefining Public Safety and Vera's research leadership
- Support the development and implementation of Redefining Public Safety's theory of change and measurement, evaluation, and learning metrics, including participating in mapping a longer-term research agenda in support of the team's work
- Support annual planning and budget development, in partnership with the Director of Redefining Public Safety
- Develop research proposals in support of fundraising, in partnership with the Director of Redefining Public Safety
- Develop and present IRB applications and ensure that research is conducted to the highest ethical standards, serving as Principal Investigator on research projects and working closely with Vera's IRB and Legal Department
- Cultivate and manage partnerships, deliberately engaging individuals and groups directly impacted by policing and the criminal legal system in shaping Vera's research, including through collaborative and participatory action research methods
- Research design and analysis
- Develop, manage, and oversee quantitative and qualitative research activities
- Lead and support the use of collaborative and participatory action research with individuals and groups directly impacted by policing and the criminal legal system in both quantitative and qualitative research activities
- Write up/presentation of research
- Author and oversee development, writing, and editing of research publications and evidence-based messaging and products in support of Redefining Public Safety's goals and theory of change, including deploying research and evidence in support of rapid response work
- Act as an internal and external spokesperson, presenting research findings to a range of audiences (external partners, funders, media)
- Supervise all research work on Redefining Public Safety team, including external consultants and partners
- Supervise, support, and mentor fellows, senior research associates, associates, analysts, and/or interns on the Redefining Public Safety team
- Develop staffing plans and lead recruitment and hiring for Redefining Public Safety researchers
- Internal collaboration and support
What qualifications do you need?Required:
- Partner with advocacy and communications staff to develop coordinated strategies that leverage research, including through evidence-based messaging and materials
- Work with the research leadership team to ensure that Redefining Public Safety researchers receive appropriate support and to help advance a broader body of work connecting the criminal legal and immigration systems in support of Vera's reform efforts.
- The ADR will be an experienced researcher, manager, mentor, and project leader with advanced research design, analytic, and project leadership skills.
- Advanced graduate training, Ph.D., or equivalent and 6+ years of work experience, or equivalent applied experience over 8+ years; or relevant work or educational background and lived experience as a person directly impacted by the criminal legal system.
- The ADR will be a subject matter expert, with substantial management experience, advanced methodological skills, strong research communication skills, and experience building and leading a research team.
- Commitment to antiracism and equity is required.
- Experience leading and managing collaborative and participatory action research is required.
- Advanced quantitative research skills are preferred; hands-on experience with survey methods, accessing and analyzing administrative data (especially large governmental and open data of multiple storage types), basic understanding of general statistical modeling and significance testing (such as basic predictive analyses, generalized linear modeling and Bayesian frameworks)
- Advanced qualitative research skills are preferred; hands-on experience with qualitative data collection (interviews, focus groups, and other techniques), qualitative data coding and analysis
- Working knowledge of behavioral science and behavioral economics (core concepts, research, and applications thereof)
List of required software applications:
- Subject matter expertise in criminal legal system reform, policing reform, and/or areas related to redefining public safety (e.g. public health, community development, violence prevention and intervention, homelessness services, social work).
- Lived experience as a person directly impacted by the criminal legal system
- Experience partnering with advocacy and strategic communications professionals, and working with local, reform-minded government stakeholders is a plus.
- Strong preference for experience conducting statistical analysis in R or Python and/or ability to quickly get up to speed in R based on experience working in similar statistical software packages
- Experience or ability to quickly learn GitHub for code review preferred
- Experience in working with dashboards or embedded embeds, through the use of software such as Tableau or Power BI or through collaboration with a development team
- Strong preference for experience using Dedoose, NVivo, Atlas.ti or other qualitative analysis software
Applications may also be faxed to:
ATTN: Human Resources / Associate Director of Research, Redefining Public Safety
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.
Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.
For more information about Vera, please visit www.vera.org
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