Senior Research Scientist

WGU Indiana

United States

October 12, 2021


If you're passionate about building a better future for individuals, communities, and our country—and you're committed to working hard to play your part in building that future—consider WGU as the next step in your career.

Driven by a mission to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs, WGU is also committed to being a great place to work for a diverse workforce of student-focused professionals. The university has pioneered a new way to learn in the 21st century, one that has received praise from academic, industry, government, and media leaders. Whatever your role, working for WGU gives you a part to play in helping students graduate, creating a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.

Job Profile Summary:

The Senior Research Scientist plays a critical role in WGU's culture of data driven continuous improvement and progress towards personalizing the experience for each student to optimize their outcomes. The Senior Research Scientist will help WGU achieve our equitable access and attainment goals and improve outcomes underrepresented populations by facilitating a deepening understanding of drivers that influence outcomes and the impact different experiences have on individual learners. Research projects may cover faculty interventions, curriculum, policies or other student experiences.

The Senior Research Scientist is expected to coordinate efforts among multiple research projects to ensure effective execution of the full life cycle of each study, including conceptualization of ideas, research design, primary data collection, accessing databases to obtain the data, data wrangling, performing the most appropriate quantitative and qualitative analysis and communicating the results through reports and presentations for internal and external audiences. The successful candidate is an effective research scientist, writer, and research project manager with a passion for helping to close the achievement gap. An ideal candidate is also a continuous learner, working to improve their scientific tool kit to have a transformative impact on WGU and beyond.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

  • Plans and executes research projects through design, data collection, analysis, and dissemination.
  • Helps clients and research analysts determine appropriate research methods including implementations studies, qualitative research, secondary data- analysis, quasi-experimental studies, and randomized controlled trials.
  • Coordinates schedules and resources across multiple projects and teams.
  • Employs project management strategies and systems (such as Gannt visualizations and SmartSheets) to plan, track, and report on a portfolio of research and data visualization projects.
  • Develops process improvement strategies and solutions to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the research team.
  • Produces high-quality, client facing reports, infographics, and presentations.
  • Represents WGU by presenting at relevant conferences, authoring manuscripts, and producing other scholarly contributions.
  • Develops and maintains a collaborative relationship with all appropriate internal and external stakeholders.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.
  • Knowledge, Skill and Abilities:

  • Deep knowledge of a field such as learning science, behavioral science, behavioral economics, education psychology, or related field.
  • Deep knowledge of WGU's educational model and instructional strategies.
  • Expert ability to independently define and conduct original scientific research.
  • Deep experience with rimary research methods.
  • Proven ability to lead research projects including resource, schedule management, compliance and reporting.
  • Excellent written, oral, presentation, and interpersonal skills.
  • Exceptional ability to communicate research results and key ideas to lay and scholarly audiences.
  • The ability to be a subject matter expert to provide thought leadership in the field.
  • Thrives by working collaboratively and creatively in a fast-paced environment.
  • Strong attention to detail and exemplifies pride and ownership over the quality of our learning experience.
  • Ability to foster strong relationships within the team and external stakeholders
  • Competencies:

    Organizational or Student Impact:

  • Follows technical/ business processes; helps support change when necessary.
  • Executes complex, specialized technical projects/assignments.
  • Responsible for major or many components in the area of expertise.
  • Limit errors to prevent impact to client operations, costs, or schedules.
  • Problem Solving & Decision Making:

  • Individual meets department and personal goals with little direction/ supervision.
  • Leads key technical projects, programs and may facilitate leadership and development of technical teams.
  • Drives project methods, techniques, and procedures.
  • Communication & Influence:

  • Communicates with parties within and outside of the university (e.g., customers, vendors, etc.)
  • Works to influence parties within and outside of the job function at an operational level regarding policies, procedures, and practices.
  • Leadership & Talent Management:

  • Responsible for providing guidance, coaching, and training to other employees within the technical area.
  • Responsible for managing significant/complex technical projects at this level, involving delegation of work and review of work products.
  • Job Qualifications:

    Minimum Qualifications:

  • Subject matter expert in the area of responsibility or has extensive knowledge of several technical areas.
  • Typically requires a technical university degree or equivalent experience.
  • 5 years of prior relevant experience.
  • Advanced degrees (Master's or PhD) may be required for certain disciplines and reduce the experience requirement by 2-4 years.
  • Department Specific Minimum Qualifications:

  • Master's degree in related field
  • 5+ years leading research initiatives in learning science, behavioral economics, education psychology or related field
  • Preferred Qualifications:

  • PhD in related field
  • Strong consideration given to candidates sharing a body of large-scale research outputs
  • As an equal opportunity employer, WGU recognizes that our strength lies in our people. We are committed to diversity.

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