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A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Job Summary

The Office of Budget and Planning which directly supports the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs is seeking an innovative thinker and intellectually curious Research Area Specialist Senior/Lead to join our dynamic and fast-paced Institutional Research team.  This position will assist leadership in making strategic, data-informed decisions by transforming data into information through statistical analysis, verification, and visual, contextual reporting of university data in areas such as tuition, student enrollment and admissions, student outcomes, faculty and human resources, budget and finances.   Must have experience in research design, data collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of results to leadership. 

Through an understanding of university data and how its integration and analysis can inform decision-making, the Research Area Specialist Senior/Lead will analyze, interpret, and verify research results to assist in the development of policy recommendations. The selected candidate will effectively provide, summarize and present data from internal and external sources and interpretation of that data to leadership

The candidate will have a passion for discovering solutions hidden in large data sets and for working with stakeholders to improve business outcomes.  If you flourish in a fast-paced environment and thrive in making value out of data, then you will be a great fit with our team.


  • Respond and manage requests for information and studies from leadership in a timely manner.  Be able to determine the appropriate sources of data and then adeptly obtain and synthesize results into talking points.  Ensure accurate statistical analysis and policy interpretation. Be able to offer reasonable alternatives when necessary.
  • Assist the office and data stewards in improving data quality through a variety of techniques and methods such as audit reports, identification of derived data elements to include in data warehouses to improve the report writer experience, and advocacy for new or improved business practices of data collection.
  • Direct and manage various state and federal reporting responsibilities which may include HEIDI and IPEDS.  
  • Provide data and analyses related to state relations including performance metrics and appropriations bills. Prepare draft responses to questions and queries on state related issues.
  • Analyze complex data sets using research methods, quantitative and qualitative analyses, and statistical techniques to provide management information to administrators with a focus on HR data.
  • Establish standards and business processes for reporting including template design, visualization, data models, query libraries, and data dictionaries appropriate to support Institutional Research and the budget, planning and management functions of the university.  Develop new mechanisms to provide a broad base of information and develop standard and ad hoc reports in response to reporting needs of the office.
  • Remain current on trends that affect higher education and assist the Associate Director and Executive Director on the appropriate responses
  • Develop and maintain relationships with organizations within the university and outside that are conducting education research and evaluation

Required Qualifications*

  • Masters degree or Bachelors degree in a relevant field including social science, business administration, or policy analysis
  • Prior professional experience in an Office of Institutional Research or comparable office in higher education or industry
  • Outstanding communication and presentation skills and a keen understanding of how research can inform decision making
  • Strong experience using a variety of data mining/data analysis methods
  • Experience in quantitative and mixed methods research
  • Extremely detail oriented with the ability to recognize and investigate data anomalies; exceptional analytical, conceptual, and problem-solving abilities
  • Competence in query language and working with complex data warehouses
  • Sound organizational skills and the ability to successfully multi-task
  • Proven writing/technical graphic ability to create copy that is well written and can be readily understood by various audiences
  • Competence in interpreting and representing numeric data, in manipulating data representations (graphical, tabular, etc.), and in translating data into concise summary documents with key points highlighted
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal skills with proven ability to coordinate and work effectively with numerous units and staff at various levels
  • Proficiency in statistical software, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word and publishing software

Desired Qualifications*

PhD; experience working in higher education with some knowledge of UM structure, policies, procedures and institutional data warehouse.

Underfill Statement

This position may be underfilled at the senior level classification depending on the qualifications of the selected candidate.

Additional Information

The Office of Budget and Planning seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitments to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to fulfill the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan, and to sustain the excellence of the University.  To learn more about our diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan, visit:

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.