The Colorado Department of Higher Education Chief Data and Research Officer

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (DHE) invites applications for the position of Chief Data and Research Officer. This position leads and directs DHE’s research, data collection and analysis, reports, and other data and research related projects.  As the senior research and information management officer, the position provides leadership to the department’s research initiatives, data collection and compliance procedures. The Chief Data and Research Officer provides supervisory support to a professional staff (8 FTE) comprised of technologists, developers, data experts, and research officers and coordinates the preparation and submission of state-level reports related to postsecondary enrollment, attainment and performance.

Key Responsibilities include: 

  • Oversee the data and technology team and the collection, storage, analysis, and dissemination of statistics and other information related to postsecondary education in Colorado.
  • Oversee the timely collection and revision of Student Unit Records Data System (SURDS) SURDS files from the Colorado public institutions required to comply with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE), state and federal reporting mandates.
  • Oversee the generation of reports which support research and policy development for DHE, CCHE, and postsecondary education and advise DHE staff on research design and data use to support policy initiatives.
  • Ensure that accuracy and integrity of the information, data and reports generated from the SURDS collection process and adhere to FERPA and state laws regarding student right to privacy mandates.
  • Lead efforts of the Department to use our data to shape policies and tell the stories that drive the CCHE Master Plan goals
  • Oversee compliance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965‘ Title IV & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, by directing the submission of data to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) and to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
  • Oversee the coordination of the SURDS system and NCES/IPEDS systems for CCHE and the State of Colorado.
  • Oversee the communication to staff at public institutions on SURDS and IPEDS related issues.
  • Serve as primary liaison regarding all data matters with other state and federal agencies as well as other external partners.
  • Serve as primary representative for data related external meetings and committees including the Government Data Advisory Board and the Education Data Subcommittee.
  • Chair the Data Advisory Group (DAG).
  • Conduct data collection, data analysis and research related to the state’s higher education accountability system.
  • Assist with development of policy options through collecting, analyzing, and reporting of relevant data; mining existing data for a variety of uses. Areas may include student transfer, retention and completion; learning outcomes; employer satisfaction; longitudinal research on student outcomes.
  • Design and implement research studies and work with external constituencies to collect pertinent data and develop appropriate analysis techniques.
  • Administer other projects related to analysis and development of programs as well as regulatory and audit functions performed by the agency.

Requirements include:

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

The Chief Data and Research Officer must possess: a broad understanding of research and statistics relevant to higher education; a combination of organizational and research skills; demonstrated experience in working in a team environment of mutual respect and collaboration; strong problem-solving skills in analyzing data from multiple perspectives and in a variety of combinations; the ability to operate effectively in a variety of politically sensitive settings. Must be able to deliver quality outcomes under demanding (and multiple) time pressures. Essential knowledge, background, competency and skills for the position include the following:

  • Experience  with statistical analysis software;  statistical techniques, descriptive and inferential, quantitative and qualitative;
  • General knowledge of quantitative skills applicable to research in postsecondary education, including the ability to apply statistical techniques to data as appropriate and evaluate data validity against established standards;
  • Understanding of higher education processes, variables, and data;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Demonstrated report writing experience;
  • Advanced knowledge of database design and development techniques, including data mining;
  • General knowledge of higher education legislation and policy at the federal and state levels

Minimum Qualifications:

Education:  Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master’s degree in Higher Education, Public Administration, Statistics or related field.  Doctor of Philosophy in a related field is preferred.

Experience: Minimum of seven (7) years of experience in education research and information management required.  Experience working with higher education systems, public governing boards, and managing professional staff strongly preferred.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of public boards, state agencies, and government budget processes
  • Advanced statistical techniques
  • Demonstrated ability to work with a wide variety of stakeholders – board members, campus personnel, legislators, and the general public.
  • Knowledge of postsecondary education policy and policy trends
  • Knowledge of state and federal privacy laws and rules, federal data reporting requirements, and related regulatory activities

Requirements:  Valid Colorado state driver’s license.  Infrequent travel requiring occasional overnight stays.  Criminal background check.

Salary Range:  $100,000 - $110,000 Annually

Please submit cover letter, resume, and list of three references to:
Department of Higher Education
Cynthia Langan
1560 Broadway, #1600
Denver, CO 80202

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For priority consideration please submit requested materials by Friday, January 13, 2017.

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