About TICAS

The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) is a national nonprofit based in Oakland, CA, and Washington, D.C. We are a trusted source of research, design, and advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and racial equity in higher education. Our staff combines expertise in research and data, laws and regulations, change management, and the policymaking process.

We nurture close relationships with policymakers, providing specific recommendations and help them navigate legal, budgetary, and political hurdles. We build momentum for new policies by building diverse coalitions of advocates and constituents and by driving media coverage. We pride ourselves on the impact of our work and are known for our reliable research, carefully designed policy recommendations, and partnerships with policymakers and advocates. For more information, please visit the website: www.ticas.org.


Job purpose

TICAS’ research director leads our analytical work to make original contributions to the national debate over higher education policy and to shape and advance student-centered policies nationally and in the states where TICAS works, currently California and Michigan.

We are looking for a team player with impeccable attention to detail, strong quantitative analysis skills and experience, a demonstrated ability to communicate research findings clearly, experience managing internal and external partners, and a commitment to promoting equity in higher education.

The research director will be a key member of TICAS’ management team.

Key duties and responsibilities

  • Design and oversee the implementation of a research agenda relating to affordability, institutional quality, equity, including racial stratification, in higher education, and student success. The research agenda should be prepared to incorporate and expand upon TICAS’ current policy and research work.
  • Oversee TICAS’ research team, including research fellows, participating in the selection of the fellows and managing their portfolios and deliverables.
  • Design and execute research projects relating to equity in higher education, college affordability, institutional accountability, and student success, including overseeing TICAS’ annual report on student debt.
  • Maintain current knowledge of federal, state, institutional, and other data sources.
  • Identify data trends, connect to TICAS mission, policy and research agendas, summarize major takeaways, and suggest implications for policy.
  • Draft clear and persuasive reports, memos, briefs, and fact sheets that align to TICAS research agenda, communicate findings and recommendations, drive media coverage and shape policy debates.
  • Manage projects with multiple components, partners and stakeholders which involve research team staff, and may include staff from across the organization, external fellows, and partners.
  • Procure and manage TICAS’s software and web-based tools necessary to analyze data.
  • Represent TICAS at conference presentations and in media interviews.
  • Other duties, as assigned.

Skills and Qualifications

  • Minimum of master’s degree in relevant field.
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in higher education policy or related field.
  • Strong quantitative research and analysis skills, including demonstrated proficiency in programming and statistical analysis using Stata and Microsoft Excel.
  • Demonstrated experience managing staff.
  • Strong written skills and ability to interpret and communicate complex research concepts in an understandable manner.
  • Comfort working both independently and collaboratively.
  • Can balance both short- and longer-term priorities.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

TICAS is committed to sustaining a diverse community with a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and encouraging to all. TICAS fosters a culture of inclusion that celebrates and cultivates diversity along multiple dimensions, including race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, culture, and experience.

TICAS strongly encourages applicants from diverse and historically underrepresented backgrounds to apply.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience; excellent benefits

Application process:

Candidates should submit a brief cover letter (no more than one page) and resume to:

Patricia Balana, pbalana@ticas.org .

In your cover letter (no more than one page), please include:

  • Why you are passionate about TICAS’ mission
  • How you believe you are the right fit for this position

Please include two professional references.