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Opening: Director of Community Data and Research Lab

Publication date: 
October, 2019

Position: Director of Community Data and Research Lab
Organization: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Deadline: November 1

Organization Summary

The full-time director of the Community Data and Research Lab (CDRL) oversees a staff of researchers, database experts and web developers to execute a portfolio of projects designed to promote access to data to inform practice. This position requires strong leadership and knowledge of community research and evaluation design, along with a vision of how data can contribute to community well-being. This position reports to the executive director of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (Johnson Center) and is a member of the overall Johnson Center leadership team.

The director of CDRL is responsible for establishing an annual research agenda with partnership organizations and the Johnson Center; implementing this agenda on a rolling basis as new projects emerge; hiring, supervising, and managing staff of CDRL; raising revenue through contracts for service; working closely with outside funders and organizations regarding their applied research needs and the development of technology tools to assist them in their work; developing a clear vision to maintain and improve the appropriate technology infrastructure to support and sustain the work of CDRL; and negotiating data sharing and other contractual agreements for the Johnson Center with partners interested in advancing the work of CDRL.

The CDRL director represents the Johnson Center in the research community nationally, in Michigan, in West Michigan and within the University.
The Johnson Center is committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community. Candidates who have experience working with a diverse range of faculty, staff and students, and who can contribute to the climate of inclusivity are encouraged to apply. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are also encouraged to apply.

Qualifications and Education

  • Masters’ degree plus eight to ten years of experience in social/community-based research OR PhD with three to five years of experience in social/community-based research
  • Deep understanding of the role of data in community decision-making and policy
  • Supervisory experience with demonstrated commitment to staff development
  • Track record of successfully securing grants and research contracts
  • Strong knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research design and data analysis software
  • Basic understanding of database systems and web application development within the context of community information systems.
  • Basic understanding of the IT aspects of data and data governance
  • Demonstrated ability to work with local, regional and statewide philanthropic organizations and nonprofits
  • Demonstrated ability to work in and contribute to a team atmosphere
  • Advanced interpersonal, presentation, and negotiation skills
  • An understanding of, and interest in advocating for, both equity and data-driven decision-making

Responsibilities - Essential Functions

  • Serving as a member of the Johnson Center leadership team to collaboratively develop and steward the Center’s programs and resources
  • Leading strategic, sustainability, and long-term planning for CDRL
  • Providing guidance for development of action plans for implementation of projects
  • Selecting, hiring, and supervising staff of CDRL
  • Developing and managing the CDRL budget toward program and Johnson Center self-sufficiency
  • Developing and maintaining partnerships with key local, state, and national organizations including contracted services and data sharing agreements
  • Travelling as needed to carry out responsibilities (local and overnight travel)
  • Collaborating with other units within the Johnson Center and the greater university community.

Responsibilities - Non-Essential Functions

  • Occasionally teaching and/or guest lecturing at GVSU
  • Teaching professional development workshops / classes


    A full benefits package is offered. Salary is commensurate with experience.


    Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy/College of Community and Public Service.


    Apply online at and select "Apply now". Please include a cover letter and resume. The online application will allow you to attach these documents electronically. On the application, you will be required to provide names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses for three professional references. If you have questions or need assistance, call Human Resources at 616-331-2215.

    PDF icon CDRL_Director_position.pdf263.36 KB