Associate Director/Director of Research, Higher Education Policy

Reports to: Senior Director, Higher Education
Staff reporting to this position: Higher Education Policy staff
Department: Education
Position classification: Exempt, full time
Minimum compensation: $77,000/$92,000


American Progress has an immediate opening for an Associate Director or Director of Research on its Higher Education Policy team. The team is devoted to advancing progressive and equitable higher education policy priorities. The Associate Director/Director of Research for Higher Education Policy will conceptualize and lead entire bodies of the Higher Education Policy team’s research agenda; lead the design and execution of quantitative and qualitative analyses; contribute to policy analyses and recommendations; and collaborate with other teams within and outside American Progress’ Education department.

The successful candidate will be driven by American Progress’ mission “to improve the lives of all Americans through bold, progressive ideas as well as strong leadership and concerted action, with the aim of not only changing the conversation, but changing the country.” They will join a dynamic team of colleagues to assist in strengthening the Higher Education Policy team’s policy work and supporting American Progress’ five crosscutting priorities:

  • Strengthening health and ending the pandemic
  • Building an economy for all
  • Tackling climate change and environmental injustice
  • Advancing racial equity and justice
  • Restoring social trust and strengthening democracy


  • Conceptualize and execute on entire bodies of the Higher Education Policy team’s research agenda, including anticipating the team’s research needs; defining a methodology for meeting these needs; laying out a timeline for completing the work; and driving the work forward.
  • Support the team’s research agenda, including managing and expanding the team’s use of datasets in its research and ensuring that the team’s research projects are executed to the highest standard.
  • Research, write, and edit policy reports, analyses, fact sheets, columns, interactive graphics, and other materials on a wide range of topics relating to higher education policy.
  • Manage a range of writing projects, including through delegation to other team staff and partnering with outside consultants.
  • Manage several staff members, including interns.
  • Coordinate with colleagues across American Progress, including as a key member of the Education department research team, on crosscutting issues such as racial equity, accountability, building an inclusive economy, and public health.
  • Represent American Progress in various settings, including meetings with academics, researchers, advocates, media, conferences, and panel discussions.
  • Serve as an on-the-record spokesperson on higher education issues for American Progress, including in print, radio, TV, and digital media.
  • Track research and policy developments and coordinate with the Senior Director for Higher Education in directing American Progress’s strategic responses as appropriate, including rapid-response communications, technical assistance, and authoring or commissioning original research, analyses, and policy proposals.
  • Contribute to other American Progress initiatives as appropriate, including identifying crosscutting issues and projects.

Requirements and qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Graduate degree is preferred.
  • Experience in higher education research, public policy, and/or relevant government experience is preferred.
  • Advanced quantitative skills are preferred, including the ability to oversee others’ data analysis with Stata, SPSS, SAS, R, or similar programs to conduct high-quality data analysis.
  • Demonstrated ability to synthesize complex ideas and findings in oral and written communication.
  • Ability to prioritize, multitask, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to initiate and engage in creative approaches to advancing policy.
  • Experience analyzing federal and state government data.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work as part of a team.
  • Commitment to American Progress’ mission and goals.

American Progress offers a full and competitive benefit package. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. This position is not represented by a union. The Associate Director position has a starting salary of $77,000, and the Director position has a starting salary of $92,000.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the levels of community spread and adjust plans as needed for in-office work. Any changes to our current hybrid work policy will be communicated at the time of hire. Updates will be posted on American Progress’ Jobs page.

Apply Now

This announcement will remain posted until the position is filled. No phone calls, please.

Please note that only those individuals whose qualifications match the current needs of this position will be considered applicants and will receive responses from American Progress.

Thank you for your interest in American Progress.

Additional information

American Progress operates two separate nonprofit organizations to maximize the progressive agenda: the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “American Progress.” The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) tax-exempt research and educational institute. It undertakes research, public education and a limited amount of lobbying. The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization dedicated to achieving progress through action. It works to transform progressive ideas into policy through rapid-response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing, political advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders. The organizations share office space and employees.

American Progress is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity is more than a commitment at American Progress—it is the foundation of what we do. American Progress recruits, employs, trains, compensates, and promotes regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, and all the other characteristics that make us unique.

For more information on the Center for American Progress, please go to For more information on the Center for American Progress Action Fund, please go to