The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation
Remote within the United States (Remote employment is not permitted in Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, or Wyoming)
The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) is a private grant-making Foundation with a U.S. home office in Omaha, Nebraska, and a global office in Kigali, Rwanda. With annual spending in excess of $500 million, it is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. The Foundation has only two main areas of grant making: 1) supporting efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy and access to safe abortion for women in the U.S. and around the world and 2) to enable low-income students in Nebraska to attend and succeed in college. The Foundation currently employs 43 staff across 14 states in the U.S. and 7 staff in Kigali, Rwanda.
STBF is now seeking nominations and applications for a Research & Evaluation Officer (REO). We seek a Research & Evaluation Officer (REO) to help lead technical work in partnership with the College Access and Success (CAS) Program. Reporting to a Senior Research & Evaluation Officer (SREO), the REO is a mid-level project manager who also supports their SREO and collaborates with other team members on technical, administrative, and learning projects. The CAS mission is to provide sustainable, long-term access to higher education opportunities and support to degree completion for at-promise Nebraskans (i.e., students who are low income, many of whom are also first generation college students and students of color). Using an equity lens, the CAS team is focused on creating sustainable institutional change, maximizing the impact of financial aid, and creating evidence to support high-impact practices to reach these goals. The CAS team works with institutional and community partners to achieve these goals.
About the Research & Evaluation Unit
The Research & Evaluation Unit (R&E) includes the Vice President, three Senior Research & Evaluation Officers, three Officers, three Associate Officers, and one Administrative Assistant that supports the Vice President. R&E drives learning across the Foundation by working in partnership with STBF’s three Programs: College Access and Success (CAS), Global Programs, and U.S. Programs. Specifically, R&E enhances the quality and effectiveness of the Foundation’s grantmaking by guiding research and evaluation questions, helping partners think through methodological and analytic approaches, guiding regular assessment of progress towards and achievement of outcomes, and promoting the utilization of measurement and evaluation results. R&E makes the connection between strategy development, outcomes measurement, and evaluation to assess program and organizational effectiveness and to support learning for the Foundation and for the field. Additionally, the R&E team is engaged with the Programs to commission expert external evaluators to assess the potential impact of major areas of grant making. As a part of this effort, the R&E team serves as the technical interface between external evaluators, Programs staff, and grantees. In all partnerships, R&E is committed to creating an environment that is welcoming, and values different perspectives and experiences, mutual input on research and evaluation design, and open discussion regarding the dynamics of the relationship and the best way for everyone to work together. The R&E unit itself does not carry out original research, conduct evaluations of Foundation projects, or publish original research.
The Foundation is intent on safeguarding the values that drive our culture:
• Respect for Donor Intent
• Appetite for Risk and Tolerance for Failure
• Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Humility
• Passion Tempered by Objectivity and Evidence
• Compassion and Love of Humanity
• Honesty and Integrity
• Kindness and Respect
• Shared Accountability
The Research & Evaluation Officer will need to have a genuine understanding of, and appreciation for, the significance of these values and aspirations and how they are operationalized in the work the Foundation undertakes. Finally, the candidate will need to be aligned with the Foundation’s mission, including unambiguous support for individual reproductive freedom.
The Research & Evaluation Officer (REO) will be an integral member of the Foundation’s R&E team. Typical R&E tasks include helping Programs and grantees formulate research questions and hypotheses; providing technical assessments and study design recommendations; and formulating measurement frameworks to support the continuous improvement of program strategies. Because of the technical nature of much of this work, the R&E unit is strongly committed to supporting staff’s ongoing professional development and learning. The responsibilities of a Research & Evaluation Officer include:
The REO will support the SREO and/or themselves lead aspects of project management for research/evaluation projects carried out by external partners, including: monitoring timelines; managing relevant files, including assisting with record retention; reviewing proposals, contracts, study protocols, progress reports, budgets and budget justifications; and preparing materials for and documenting key discussion points from internal and external meetings.
Collaborate with the College Access and Success Program
The REO will work with the SREO to manage internal databases, conduct data analyses, and create data visualizations to support evidence-based decision-making within the College Access and Success (CAS) program. They will provide technical assessments and recommendations to the CAS Program related to study design, methodologies, and strategies for applying evidence. And they will critically assess measurement and metrics of program impact and success, guide the compilation and synthesis of program data, and make evidence-based program recommendations.
Leverage External Learnings for Internal Assessment Needs
The REO will oversee research and evaluations carried out by external partners and work with the SREO and colleagues to ensure that these studies meet milestones, and that work products meet the Foundation’s high standards. They will work with the researchers to ensure that proposed methods best answer the research/evaluation questions, and that these studies are responsive to the strategic objectives of the CAS Program. They will work with the SREO and others to track progress towards strategic outcomes and CAS research/evaluation priorities.
The REO will compile information from numerous formal and informal sources (e.g., published academic literature, white papers, organization, and grantee reports, etc.). They will communicate these findings through regular meetings, reports, and one-on-one direct exchanges with CAS Program staff and partners, as well as facilitate discussions to make sense of and apply data to specific programmatic decisions.
Facilitate Relationships with External Partners and Stakeholders
The REO will help foster a collaborative relationship between research and evaluation partners, CAS Program colleagues, and other stakeholders. They will model clear and transparent communication and ensure that the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, are reflected in partner engagement.
Contribute to Teamwide DEIJ Efforts
The REO will contribute meaningfully to R&E team and Foundation-wide dialogue to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Illustrative examples include centering a DEIJ lens in measurement frameworks, supporting diverse pools of potential evaluation partners, and safeguarding equity when assessing potential contractors.
Employment Location: This role can be based in Omaha, NE at our home office location, or remote within the United States – with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and Wyoming. Remote staff are required to attend periodic in-person staff meetings in Omaha, Nebraska.
Compensation: The minimum salary for this role is $148,000. The Foundation also provides comprehensive benefits.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
Values & Approaches
• A commitment to DEIJ values and an ability to engage respectfully with all colleagues and partners, including those from an array of racial/ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, ages, cultures, nationalities, genders, and sexual orientations.
• Professional and personal integrity, and a demonstrated commitment to all Foundation values.
• Strong emotional intelligence, a willingness to think critically and creatively and ask challenging questions; and energetic, with an ability to succeed in a sophisticated, fast-paced environment that requires excellence, collaboration, and teamwork.
• Ability to balance teamwork with an ability to work independently and proactively to accomplish a wide variety of tasks and projects with strong organizational skills.
• Responsiveness to constructive feedback and a willingness to continuously improve.
• A willingness to travel as needed, with an expectation of approximately 5-15%.
• A willingness to support R&E’s work with other program teams when/if needed.
Background and Experience Qualifications
• A doctoral or master’s degree in educational research, psychology, sociology, statistics or a closely related field, with a strong preference for expertise working with applied data management/analysis.
• Five (5) or more years of demonstrated experience designing and conducting relevant research and/or evaluation, including conceptualizing logic models and theories of change informed by scientific literature, and understanding the steps involved in selecting responsive and rigorous methodologies, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting results, and applying lessons learned.
• Excellent quantitative analysis skills, including a deep understanding of the concepts and applications of descriptive and inferential statistics as well as fluency in software packages such as Excel, Stata, SAS, Tableau, and/or R for statistical analyses.
• Familiarity and openness to qualitative research methods. Experience with mixed-methods approaches will be a plus.
• Excellent writing, editing, analytic, and verbal communication skills, including the ability to collect, synthesize, and present an array of information to diverse audiences with myriad perspectives.
Hiring Requirements: As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check and proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses, subject to applicable laws.
How to Apply
This search is being led by Cara Pearsall and Robert Diggs of NPAG. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest, qualifications, and experience supporting research and evaluation efforts in the college access and success space, along with their resume, via NPAG’s website by Friday, May 12, 2023.
Accommodations: If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request to .
We are committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. This includes not only creating a diverse team where everyone feels represented, respected, and included, but also embedding these values across our work and practices. All applicants who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.