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Job Summary

This is a summer only position to assist a faculty member with her research on blight removal and demolition planning. The research will help the Genesee County Land Bank (GCLB) utilize resident feedback on prioritizing vacant properties for demolition in the city of Flint. This project has the following objectives:

  1. To analyze GCLB demolition survey data in greater depth than what was already done by the GCLB, to better inform the GCLB’s demolition planning and prioritization processes.
  2. To explore the reasons why residents’ responses to a survey about demolitions likely differed by city ward, which would indicate the factors that affect residents’ demolition preferences.
  3. To broadly disseminate the findings so that that they may be useful to practitioners, urban planners, and policy makers outside of Flint.

Some of this work—particularly the exploration of why there are likely geographic differences—will be done by a research assistant. Given that little data about neighborhood conditions or residents’ sociodemographics exists at the ward level (for data is typically aligned to census boundaries), and given that the GCLB does not have the home locations of its survey participants (just wards and zip codes), it is necessary to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software to deal with boundary issues and unit of analysis problems, and to calculate values on the variables of interest (the potential variables that explain the “why”). Likewise, in the cover letter, candidates should speak to their experience using GIS software and why they are interested in this particular research project.

The selected candidate will work closely with the principal investigator (PI) who is a faculty member in the Political Science department. The research assistant may also consult with the campus GIS Center when or if technical or analytical problems arise. The work on this project will commence as soon as the hiring process is complete, and will end July 30th. The research assistant will work remotely 8-10 hours per week, flexibly scheduled, for a maximum of 80 hours total over the life of the project.  


  • Uses ESRI ArcGIS software to analyze and summarize data that has non-overlapping political boundaries (e.g. census tracts, city wards, zip codes).
  • Communicates with the PI regularly via email, and reports progress weekly or biweekly via Zoom meetings.
  • Provides data files, reports, and/or tables of the analyses to the PI.
  • Consult with staff in the campus GIS Center on analyses that are particularly challenging.

Required Qualifications*

The candidate must demonstrate some experience with ESRI ArcGIS software. At least one course that covers GIS skills is required, but successful completion of the course GIS 453 (or equivalent) is preferred. Knowing how to bring data into ArcGIS from external sources (e.g. U.S. Census Bureau) and calculate values for non-overlapping political boundaries is a plus. However, if necessary, training on these skills will be provided by the PI or the campus GIS Center, so candidates with limited GIS experience are still encouraged to apply.

Work Schedule

8-10 hours per week, flexibly scheduled, from date of hire to July 30th.

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks.  Background checks are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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