Analysis and Planning Consultant (Research Associate)
Penn State University
The Research Associate is an integral member of the Office of Planning and Assessment, with a focus on institutional research and strategic planning. The Associate is responsible for research and analysis in support of the University’s strategic planning and decision-making activities. The qualified candidate must have a strong understanding of the complexities of data management, extraction, and analysis techniques. The Associate will be responsible for translating student, faculty, and staff data into clear, usable, actionable information. The primary responsibilities of the Research Associate generally fall into one of the four areas of effort: 1) extraction and manipulation of data from various data sources, 2) knowledge discovery through analysis of data, 3) visualization and communication of information derived from data to a broad range of campus stakeholders, and 4) support for the University’s strategic planning process. Essential Functions: The Research Associate’s responsibilities include acquiring and maintaining a deep understanding of University data and how its integration and analysis can inform decision-making; and applying best practices to working with databases, tables and extracts. The Research Associate will work collaboratively with various University offices to ensure data integrity by developing a deep understanding of University data. The Associate will work with complex data sets, merge current with historical records, and use database query tools to extract data. The Associate will use statistical and analytical software and data discovery tools to identify trends and patterns. The Associate will design, develop, and test predictive models using a variety of data mining and advanced statistical analysis techniques. The Research Associate will create reports that interpret, make meaning of data, and contextualize the results for a variety of audiences to use in institutional decision making. The Associate will facilitate the development of strategic plans, goals, and performance metrics, which may include the merging of disparate internal and external data sets (e.g., student, faculty, facilities, and financial data). The Associate will collaborate with various internal clients (e.g., department heads, deans, directors) to understand their information needs and develop innovative, effective solutions. The Associate will use data visualization and reporting tools to display and summarize data, trends, and patterns. The Associate will compare consistency of data against other data sources and establish automated procedures for analysis and reporting. The Associate will be responsible for maintaining detailed and accurate documentation of all projects. Qualifications: Master’s degree in Higher Education, Educational Psychology, Statistics, Computer Science, Informatics, Educational Research, MIS, Social Science, or related field with three or more years of experience or PhD degree with one or more years of experience in an academic or industry-related setting analyzing and synthesizing complex data sets to produce highly readable, informative reports, and presentations. Required skills and abilities include: expertise utilizing statistical tools, forecasting methods, data mining algorithms, and data visualization software; exceptional deductive and inductive reasoning skills; being a creative thinker who proposes innovative ways to look at problems using data mining; advanced knowledge of Access, SPSS, R, SAS, Power BI, Tableau, MS Excel, Python, and/or relevant software for extracting, managing, manipulating, aggregating, analyzing, mining, visualizing, and reporting data; demonstrated experience with SQL; experience in statistical analysis and modeling techniques - including probability and statistical models, forecasting techniques, time series and trend analysis, regression, analysis of variance and multivariate analysis, factor analysis, hypothesis testing, etc.; the ability to conceptualize, document, and communicate complex data processes to end users; self-motivation with a strong orientation towards customer service and the ability to explain sophisticated technical concepts to all levels of colleagues; experience in the higher education domain, or a strong enthusiasm to learn about higher education; demonstrated ability using data visualization software and tools to create visualizations for presentations and reports; the ability to clearly communicate and accurately present methodology and results of analyses to various technical and non-technical internal audiences using a variety of visual, written and/or verbal formats; and excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills including a customer service orientation and the ability to interact and communicate effectively with University faculty and staff. Preferred skills and abilities: experience working with Oracle BI (OBIEE), PeopleSoft Campus Solutions (or other student information/ERP system), Oracle PL/SQL and Access SQL. This job will be filled as a level 4, or level 5, depending upon the successful candidate's competencies, education, and experience. Typically requires a Master's degree or higher plus three years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience for a level 4. Additional experience and/or education and competencies are required for higher level jobs.
These salary bands have been established to provide salary guidelines for staff positions.