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Director of Research & Evaluation

John G Shedd Aquarium
Chicago, United States Posted: March 29, 2024

SUMMARY: The Director of Research and Evaluation will lead a strategy for organizational research and evaluation of aquarium experiences, including exhibits, informal science learning and conservation engagement taking place on-site, in communities, and online.

  • Reporting to the Vice President of Learning & Community, the Director of Research and Evaluation will support data-informed planning and decision-making, providing data support and insights and demonstrating expertise and skills specific to social science research, impact evaluation, data analytics, and technical writing.
  • Work may include evaluation of program design, learning and engagement impacts on individuals, and broader community outcomes.
  • Evaluation efforts will incorporate a lens of diversity, equity, access, and inclusion aligned with Shedd’s goal to nurture a sense of belonging among guests and participants.
  • Working extensively and in close collaboration with multiple departments, the Director of Research and Evaluation plans and executes projects and initiatives following the needs of the organization, managing the intake process, and working closely with leadership to assess and prioritize projects to meet institutional and programmatic needs and priorities.
  • The director will lead staff, volunteers, and contracted support to ensure best practices, high-quality data and analysis, and effective communication of Shedd’s research and evaluation efforts.
  • include the following. Other duties may be assigned.
  • To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. 
  • The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. 
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
Demonstrates leadership following Shedd’s vision, mission, and values
  • Works with senior leadership in the Marketing & Experience division to identify research and evaluation priorities for the organization, providing oversight in the collaborative development of key research questions for Shedd’s Centennial Commitment, Environmental Education Access Initiative, DEAI efforts, and other strategic initiatives
  • Leads the design and methodology, implementation, and utilization of research and evaluation for Shedd experiences and exhibits
  • Helps to further a culture of evaluation at Shedd, refining and championing performance measurement and monitoring, empowering and supporting teams to use data to better understand and improve their work
  • Works collaboratively to design strategies and provide support for data utilization to inform program management, and program improvement, and to report on organizational and departmental outcomes while maintaining ethical data practices
  • Guides key stakeholders in the research and evaluation process, assisting in identifying key questions, and methods, completing qualitative and quantitative data analysis, and using results for continuous improvement.
  • Works collaboratively with leadership in establishing benchmarks, key performance indicators, dashboards, and other metrics and performance measures
  • Builds new and strengthens existing partnerships with local, national, and international research and evaluation partners to advance knowledge for Shedd and the field
  • Leverages resources and supports senior leadership in assessing opportunities to create a body of informal science learning research
  • Collaborates with Development to identify and secure funding to support research initiatives
  • Designs and administers surveys and other data collection instruments; collects and analyzes data; and prepares narratives and statistical reports
  • Manages evaluation projects from start to finish, including budget creation and management, identifying funding, maintaining timelines, developing project roles, and assessing project success.
  • Oversees the Museum’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) in reviewing all internal and external research studies to ensure the protection of human subjects per Federal guidelines
  • Supervises a Research & Evaluation coordinator and additional seasonal staff, volunteers, contractors, and/or partners to advance department and organization goals.
  • Develop departmental goals, objectives, deliverables, and budget.
  • Prepares competitive submissions to professional conferences and journals.
  • Participates in aquarium-wide and interdepartmental teams, projects, or meetings as needed.
  • Fulfill other duties as required.
  • To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.
  • The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
  • Ph.D. degree preferred; equivalent in research and evaluation-related field including, psychology, education, learning sciences, or related field, or at least 8 years of related experience
  • Minimum 5 years acting in a management role in a learning, cultural, or conservation organization, including budget responsibility and direct supervision of staff
  • Experience conducting social science research and outcome-based evaluation studies using both qualitative and quantitative methods; familiarity with marketing metrics
  • Knowledge of diverse evaluation methods appropriate for the field of informal learning, including both established methodologies and unique approaches to measuring outcomes and impact
  • Experience evaluating projects using a lens of DEAIJ (diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion, and justice)
  • History of leveraging resources to create a body of informal science research; experience managing federal grants preferred
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required
  • Comfort with computer-based data management and analysis platforms (for example SPSS, R, Dedoose, Survey Monkey.); working knowledge of spreadsheet and database software
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail and accuracy required
  • Ability to work independently, as well as cooperatively with Shedd staff, guests, and program participants
  • Experience reviewing academic literature and seeking information on current trends.
  • Experience presenting to and soliciting feedback from colleagues through professional conferences
  • Experience writing articles for publication in peer-reviewed and other journals
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, organizational, problem-solving, and time management skills
  • Competency with Microsoft Office programs and statistical programs like SPSS
  • The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
This person may be exposed to:
  • Low noise
  • Moderate Noise
  • We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply.
  • Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.
  • If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).

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