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Senior Research Scholar

Program for Leadership and Character, Wake Forest University

Job category Postdoc or similar / Fixed term
AOS Ethics
AOS categories Ethics
AOC Open
Workload Full time
Vacancies 1
Organization's reference number R0006724
Location Remote work
Organization based in Winston Salem, North Carolina, United States
Job description

** Cover letter required for all positions and optional for facilities, campus services, and hospitality positions unless otherwise specified.

Job Description Summary

The Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University seeks a visionary, collaborative, and committed scholar to be the Senior Research Scholar for the Educating Character Initiative (ECI), a nationwide initiative to equip U.S. colleges and universities to educate character and assess the impact of those efforts. The Senior Research Scholar will work closely with the Director of the Educating Character Initiative to develop and execute the evaluation, assessment, and research strategy for the ECI; manage research integration and evaluation across the various functions of ECI; design and coordinate cross-institutional research among ECI community members; and evaluate the short-term and longitudinal impact of the ECI on educating character in undergraduate institutions. The Senior Research Scholar will also design, execute, and publish empirical studies and reports; provide workshops and presentations to support scholars and practitioners; and offer individual assessment consultations to members of the ECI community. The Senior Research Scholar will supervise one Research Coordinator, two Research Fellows, and any research consultants, postdoctoral fellows, or student research assistants who join the effort. In the process, the Senior Research Scholar will work collaboratively with the ECI Director and Senior Scholar of Character in grantee and community stewardship and nurture a positive and productive team culture in ECI and the broader Program for Leadership and Character by working collaboratively, efficiently, and effectively towards common goals, missions, and visions. Given the scope of the role and the scale of the ECI’s efforts, the position offers a unique and exciting opportunity for a scholar to advance a robust scholarly agenda related to leadership and character development and assessment, contribute new ideas and evidence to the growing field of character education, and extend the impact of a major new initiative to promote character education within U.S. colleges and universities.
We welcome applications from scholars with expertise in the empirical assessment of character, moral education, moral personality, or related topics who have strong methodological experience assessing interventions or evaluating programs. Evidence of mixed-methods (i.e., quantitative and qualitative) empirical research skills is required. Evidence of experience managing research teams, consulting with others to develop research and assessment plans, and coordinating research grants is preferred. Candidates who wish to work remotely will be considered.

To apply, please provide 1) a cover letter detailing your relevant expertise and interest in the position, 2) a curriculum vitae, 3) a one-page statement describing your approach to empirical research and assessment; 4) a scholarly writing sample or published article; and 5) a list of at least three professional references, including at least one current or former supervisor. Applications submitted by April 22, 2024, will receive priority consideration.

Wake Forest University is a private, coeducational institution dedicated to academic excellence in liberal arts, graduate, and professional education. Located in Winston-Salem, NC (“The City of Arts and Innovation”), the University has a deep institutional commitment to public service and engagement with the world, as indicated by the motto Pro Humanitate (for humanity), which encourages students to develop the qualities of human character needed to serve humanity. With the aim to educate the whole person, the University has established an innovative Program for Leadership and Character that plans creative, liberal arts-based programming to help students develop the virtues of character needed to lead in an increasingly complex world. The Program is based on cutting-edge academic research on leadership and character, including research conducted by Wake Forest faculty who are leading experts on the study of character. Since 2020, faculty and staff affiliated with the Program have published 130 publications and made 200 presentations related to leadership and character. The Program has received a $30 million grant to support a national community of colleges and universities through the Educating Character Initiative. For quick facts about the University, see http://www.wfu.edu/visitors/quickfacts.html. For more on the Program for Leadership and Character, see https://leadershipandcharacter.wfu.edu/. For more on the ECI, see https://leadershipandcharacter.wfu.edu/eci/ .


For additional information, please contact Dr. Beth Purvis at [email protected].

Job Description

Essential Functions: 

  • Lead the development and refinement of a strategic research framework and implementation plans for the ECI in collaboration with the ECI Director and Senior Scholar of Character.
  • Lead all research, measurement, and evaluation at the ECI, including evaluation of the ECI’s effectiveness in stewardship, grant making, community development, and programming as well as cross-institutional research to assess the impact of character education within and across undergraduate institutions.
  • Supervise, mentor, and support the work of two ECI Research Fellows and the ECI Research Coordinator, as well as any research consultants, postdoctoral fellows, or student research assistants who join the effort.
  • Develop a clear project management timeline with measurable outputs and clear outcomes.
  • Organize and facilitate workshops and webinars on research and assessment strategies, scales, and practices to support ECI community members, in collaboration with the ECI Director and Senior Scholar of Character.
  • Assist with the evaluation of grant applications and provide guidance, feedback, and direction to applicants on their research and assessment plans.
  • Provide individualized consultations and guidance to help them develop their research and assessment plans.
  • Prepare research reports and manuscripts for publication and lead the dissemination of research findings in the form of journal articles, popular press publications, and seminar and conference presentations.
  • Work collaboratively with the research team of the Program for Leadership and Character and ECI community members to source, share, and develop a resource-base and evidence-base for programming and assessment strategies, scales, and tools.
  • Assist with the organizations of conferences and convenings to support research and assessment efforts, advance the field of character education, and bring together scholars and practitioners to share their needs and approaches in educating character in undergraduate institutions.
  • Apply for and manage research grants to carry out additional research studies for the ECI and ECI community and/or to extend the duration and impact of ongoing studies as appropriate.

Required Education, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

  • PhD. in a social science discipline (including but not limited to psychology, education, human development, or sociology), and 3 years of experience with research, assessment, and/or program evaluation, or the equivalent level of education and experience.
  • Expertise in empirical research and assessment, preferably related to character, character education, moral education, moral personality, or related topics.
  • Strong and demonstrated quantitative and qualitative research skills and a track record of academic publication.
  • Expertise in mixed-method research design, assessment planning, and data analysis.
  • Exceptional written, oral, and visual communication skills.
  • Excellent organizational, administrative, and interpersonal skills, with accuracy and attention to detail. 
  • Familiarity with institutional review board (IRB) policies and procedures.
  • Ability to use qualitative analysis software (e.g., NVivo) and statistical software (e.g., SAS, SPSS, STATA, or R) to analyze and report data.
  • Demonstrated commitment to fostering diverse, equitable, and inclusive working and learning environments.
  • At least 1 year of experience managing team members.
  • Experience planning and managing complex projects and budgets.
  • Experience leading research projects and engaging diverse stakeholders.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with people across multiple institutions, disciplines, and skill sets.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills, including the ability to juggle competing demands, work efficiently, and deliver high quality work while adhering to deadlines.
  • Commitment to supporting the ethical and intellectual development of students. 
  • Good character, sound judgment, and a strong work ethic. 
  • Demonstrated ability to:
    • Design, manage, and coordinate multiple research studies simultaneously.
    • Develop and advance an ambitious research agenda.
    • Publish rigorous academic research in respected journals and publications. 
    • Initiate projects and work independently with minimal supervision.
    • Collaborate with program staff, postdoctoral fellows, and research assistants to successfully conduct, analyze, and disseminate co-authored research. 
    • Collect, analyze, and manage complex datasets. 
    • Develop short- and long-term research and assessment goals.
    • Set priorities and effectively manage time and resources. 
    • Exercise discretion and keep sensitive information confidential.
    • Positively influence colleagues and develop collaborative relationships with a wide range of people. 
  • Willingness to learn more about leadership and character development and apply that knowledge to inform program design, implementation, and assessment.  
  • Knowledge and understanding of academic cultures, rules, and regulations.
  • Openness to feedback and a commitment to personal and professional growth. 
  • Ability to represent the Program and University in a professional manner. 
  • Ability to work occasional weekend or evening hours as needed.

Preferred Education, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

  • Strong capacity for strategic and systems thinking.
  • Strong interest in designing strategic frameworks and integrating work teams.
  • High levels of initiative and demonstrated ability to solve problems creatively.


  • Reports to the ECI Director.
  • Responsible for own work. 
  • Supervisory responsibilities.
How to apply
Application type Online
Web address to apply https://wfu.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/Staff_Care...
Deadline for full consideration: January 5, 2024, 12:00am EST

(applications under review)

Hard deadline No deadline specified (applications considered on an ongoing basis)
Web address for more information https://leadershipandcharacter.wfu.edu/jobs/
Contact name Dr. Beth Purvis
Contact email
Time created April 12, 2024, 6:29pm UTC
Scheduled expiry date October 8, 2024, 7:40pm EST
Last updated April 12, 2024, 6:29pm UTC
Last update notification There are no notifications for this ad.
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Priority will be given to applications received by May 1, 2024, but additional applicants will be considered.