The Partners for Network Improvement (PNI) group at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center is looking for a talented Research Associate to join their rapidly expanding team! Co-directed by Jennifer Iriti, Jennifer Russell, and Jennifer Sherer, PNI provides expertise, design, analytics, evaluation and research for networks for educational improvement. This Research Associate position will be dedicated to a new National Science Foundation-funded Alliance—the STEM Pathways for Underrepresented Students to HigherEd Network (STEM PUSH Network). This national network will be composed of precollege STEM programs (PCSPs), STEM and culturally responsive pedagogy experts, college admissions professionals and higher education representatives. The team will build both a powerful collaborative improvement space using the networked improvement community (NIC) model and a “next generation” accreditation model that will serve as a mechanism for communicating the power of precollege programs to undergraduate admissions offices.  Combined, this NIC + accreditation will change the university admissions review system by providing an evidence-based, equitable alternative to the current culturally biased, standardized test score-based system. In addition, the data infrastructure built through this collaborative will provide an unprecedented opportunity to advance scholarship in the fields of NIC design and development, efficacy of STEM precollege programs and effective practices for broadening participation in undergraduate studies. At the end of five years, this project will transform ten urban ecosystems into communities where underrepresented students have increased access from STEM precollege programs to undergraduate STEM degrees.

The Research Associate position is a 2-year, full-time non-tenured appointment beginning on or about November 15, 2019 to help design the network participation structures, knowledge management systems, and integration of various aspects of the overall national collaborative. Salary will be commensurate with experience. Although the initial appointment is for two years, the Research Associate will be considered for ongoing employment should additional funding for PNI projects become available that are a good fit in terms of expertise and skill sets.

The Research Associate will:

  • Work collaboratively and inclusively with a diverse team to create systems change in STEM college admissions to reduce underrepresentation
  • Assist in the design and implementation of participation structures for about 20 STEM precollege program leaders from 4 urban STEM ecosystems (NYC, Pgh, Chicago, and the Bay Area)
  • Assist in the design, construction and operation of a NIC knowledge management system and network health data infrastructure
  • Design, collect, and analyze qualitative data on network operation and health
  • Design, collect, and analyze surveys of network participants and higher education stakeholders
  • Support the early consolidation of network learning
  • Participate in the integration of the NIC component of the Alliance with a PCSP accreditation component
  • Co-design twice annual network face-to-face convenings and occasionally present learnings and lead professional growth experiences for participants
  • Support the network team and STEM precollege program leaders’ understanding of improvement science, NICs, and quality standards for broadening participation in STEM
  • Present network learnings to broad set of stakeholders including our national funder and professional conferences (including those in STEM fields, broadening participation, and improvement science)


  • Professional interest in equitable access to and broadening participation in STEM postsecondary education
  • Doctoral degree in education, evaluation, learning sciences, or related field
  • Experience with networked improvement communities (NICs) and improvement science (IS), including familiarity with the emergent literature base on NICs and IS in education
  • Background in knowledge management systems within NICs preferred
  • Background in STEM fields preferred
  • Research/data collection skills including
  • Data collection design and administration (e.g., interviews, focus groups, document analysis, survey design), familiarity with Qualtrics a plus
  • Qualitative data analysis
  • Basic quantitative data analyses (e.g., descriptive statistics)
  • Familiarity and fluency with Google Drive
  • Ability to travel 3-4 times per year to National STEM Ecosystem convenings, our partner sites in four urban ecosystems, and/or professional conferences
  • Location in Pittsburgh preferred

Submit cover letter, curriculum vita, and work sample to Dr. Jennifer Iriti at 801C LRDC, 3939 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 or  In order to ensure full consideration, applications must be received by 10/07/19.

The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and values equality of opportunity, human dignity and diversity. EEO/AA/M/F/Vets/Disabled