Careers at UMass Amherst

Senior Research Manager, ARPE

Apply now Job no: 511323
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: UMDI - Research & Evaluation
Union: PSU
Categories: Sponsored Programs, Grants and Contracts, Research

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

The University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) is a public service, outreach, and economic development unit of the University of Massachusetts, providing government, business, and non-profit organizations with effective solutions in the areas of research, organizational development, training, and technical assistance through its 9 distinct business units. UMDI has a budget of approximately $23 million per year and employs approximately 130 full-time professional employees, and 50 part-time, seasonal, and graduate student employees.

The University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) Applied Research and Program Evaluation (ARPE) group partners with organizations across multiple sectors to develop and implement utilization-focused studies that address public health, human services, and educational policies and initiatives. Our philosophy reflects a rigorous but practical orientation, believing that research is most meaningful when findings can be applied to public benefit. We also believe that evaluative work is a key driver in advancing equity and strive to utilize culturally responsive and equitable evaluation practices in all of our work. To this end, we are actively working to engage a diverse team of researchers that is reflective of the communities served by the programs we study.

Senior Research Managers work with the unit director and other members of the unit management team (Senior Research Managers and Research Managers) to design studies, develop project scopes, budgets and project work plans. They are responsible for ensuring that the overall quality of work produced on their projects is professional and consistent with UMDI standards. In addition, they foster collaborative relationships with clients, provide ongoing supervision and mentoring to project staff, engage in business development, and support efforts to improve overall organizational capacity.

Senior Research Managers are expected to possess a solid foundation in research methods, strong verbal and written communication skills, analytical skills, and the ability to independently manage projects and effectively lead a research team. Senior Research Managers will have demonstrated experience developing and implementing research projects, making significant contributions to business development, supervising and mentoring staff, and developing and fostering strong client relationships.


Essential Functions

The essential functions of the Senior Research Manager include, but are not limited to the following:

Project Management

  • Conceptualize and develop sound research plans to meet client needs.
  • Work with the business unit director to develop and monitor effort analyses, budgets, and staffing plans to ensure that projects are resourced to ensure high quality service delivery.
  • Work with the unit Finance and Administration manager to develop contracts, amendments, and project renewals.
  • Supervise and work with project teams to:
    • Conduct background research required to enable project planning and implementation.
    • Develop task-based project timelines and monitor project implementation.
    • Develop and implement sound data collection protocols 
    • Manage and analyze data using mixed-methods research approaches, including both qualitative and quantitative research designs, as needed by clients.
    • Develop clear and concise narrative and visual summaries of study findings.
    • Synthesize within and across data sources to surface higher order findings and generate new insight for clients.
    • Prepare and present high quality project deliverables, including written analytical reports with clearly stated conclusions and recommendations, as appropriate.
  • Develop and implement quality assurance protocols.
  • Disseminate findings to a wider audience via publications, conference presentations, etc., as budgets and clients allow.

Client Relations

  • Facilitate meetings with clients, funders, and other project stakeholders.
  • Develop strong, collaborative working relationships with clients and respond to requests in a positive and proactive manner.
  • Provide ongoing project status reports and interim findings as required.
  • Manage client expectations and ensure that responsiveness is balanced with appropriate management of project scope and budget.
  • Surface and work through issues in client relations in consultation with the business unit director, as necessary.
  • Provide technical assistance and capacity building support to clients and their organizations, particularly in regard to understanding and utilizing research findings.
  • Explore opportunities for continued, expanded, or new projects.

Business Development

  • Proactively communicate the capabilities of UMDI to potential and existing clients.
  • Identify business development opportunities.
  • Evaluate, vet, and participate in decision making regarding development opportunities.
  • Lead efforts to develop new business – working with clients to frame new research projects, writing proposals, and developing scopes of work and corresponding budgets.

Staff Supervision and Mentoring

  • Facilitate internal meetings.
  • Provide ongoing mentoring and supervision to staff.
  • Participate in hiring of new staff as requested by the business unit director.
  • Conduct annual performance reviews and provide ongoing feedback relative to staff capabilities and annual goals.
  • Foster a work environment that values collaboration, cooperation, and respect for all staff and their contributions to the business unit and UMDI.


Other Functions

  • Represent UMDI at events such as conferences and convenings.
  • Participate in UMDI initiatives to improve work efficiency, office operations, professional development, etc.
  • Provide technical assistance and share expertise with UMDI colleagues.
  • Other business unit duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Master’s degree in Education, Sociology, Public Health, Public Policy, Psychology or related social science disciplines and at least five years of relevant professional research and management experience OR Bachelor’s degree in Education, Sociology, Public Health, Public Policy, Psychology or related social science disciplines and at least ten years of relevant professional research and management experience.
  • Solid foundation in research methods, strong analytical skills.
  • Proficiency with common business software applications such as Microsoft Office.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated experience in:
    • managing research projects and teams
    • supervising and mentoring staff
    • working successfully with clients and funders
    • writing successful research proposals and/or leading other business development efforts
  • Strong professional network of colleagues, clients, and collaborators.
  • Substantive experience using quantitative (SPSS, Stata, R, or SAS) or qualitative data analysis software (NVivo or ATLAS.ti).


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Doctoral degree in Education, Sociology, Public Health, Public Policy, Psychology or related social science disciplines.
  • Proficiency with advanced quantitative analysis methods such as multi-level modeling, time series analysis, item response theory analysis, propensity score matching/weighting.
  • Leadership experience in a public, private, or non-profit research team.
  • Spanish language proficiency including the ability to effectively conduct business and facilitate data collection activities in Spanish.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Multiple hours in a stationary position while using office equipment and computers.
  • Environment is a busy, collegial office area resulting in multiple interruptions and requests for assistance.
  • Must have the flexibility to travel within Massachusetts on an as-needed basis and occasionally outside of the Commonwealth to attend meetings, and/or conduct field-based data collection.
  • Ability to move and transport items up to 20 pounds from one location to another.
  • The physical/mental demands and work environment factors described above are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.


Additional Details

  • This position may be initially supported through non-sponsored funding and will be transitioned to being funded primarily (e.g. 80%) through sponsored funds (grants & contracts) within a year. At such time, this position will be contingent upon the continued receipt of financially supporting grants and/or contracts.
  • No relocation assistance provided.
  • This is a full time benefited position.
  • Applicants who are not authorized to work in the U.S. will not be considered.
  • This position can be located in Hadley, Boston, or Shrewsbury, MA.


Work Schedule

Standard full-time work schedule consisting of five, eight-hour days and 40 hours each workweek.  Work performed in addition to the regular work hours may be necessary, and may require a change in availability at specific times, to accommodate for variations in work demands. UMDI offers flexible work arrangements, including hybrid work schedules.


Salary Information

Level 30

Exempt Salary Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with your application, please submit a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three professional references. The position will remain open until filled. Please also provide 1-3 work products that demonstrate your skills/abilities in relation to the following:

  • Synthesize data to surface findings.
  • Develop clear visual data summaries such as tables, graphs, and charts.
  • Develop clear and concise narrative summaries of data.
  • Prepare and present high quality project deliverables, including written analytical reports with clearly stated conclusions and recommendations.
  • Disseminate findings to a wider audience via publications, presentations, etc.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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