University of Waterloo

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Senior Research Specialist

Senior Research Specialist

Requisition ID 
Job Category  
5490 - Assoc VP Academic Programs
Job Status 
Temporary Appointment (Contract)
Hiring Range 
$68,762 - $85,952

More information about this job


Term: 12 months


The primary purpose of the Senior Research Specialist position is to prepare for the implementation phase of the University of Waterloo’s course evaluation project. The position has three interrelated components: planning and executing pilot testing of the University’s proposed cascaded course evaluation instrument; planning and participating in the development of resources to support instructors and administrators in using the new model and interpreting its results; and acting as the conduit to the technical team to define and relay requirements of the software to support the new instrument. This is a major change management initiative for the University, therefore the person in this position will serve as Project Manager for this initiative as well as bring discipline expertise.


Project Management

  • Support the internal project team in the development and implementation of initiatives related to student input to course evaluation
  • Plan and participate in internal project team meetings and synthesize priorities and tasks
  • Develop project scope, budgets, and timelines as required, and manage project constraints and dependencies, ensuring requirements are met without unforeseen, unapproved impacts
  • Secure acceptance and approval of deliverables and milestones from project sponsor
  • Liaise with stakeholders, including representatives from each Faculty and relevant University departments and committees
  • Develop communications to support this change management initiative (e.g., website content, reports, materials for meetings)
  • Provide guidance and direction to project team members (e.g., co-op students, part-time staff)

Evaluation and Research

  • Work with the internal project team to identify objectives and appropriate research methodologies to be used to establish the validity and reliability of the new survey instrument
  • Develop and test data collection instruments and procedures
  • Obtain institutional ethics approval, when appropriate
  • Oversee and engage in the collection of a range of data (e.g., surveys, focus groups, interviews, administrative data) from multiple sources to inform and refine instrument design
  • Develop data analysis plans and conduct qualitative (e.g., thematic) and quantitative (e.g., descriptive, inferential) data analyses
  • Interpret results and create high quality, accurate, timely reports and presentations for relevant University meetings (e.g., Senate) and conferences
  • Determine and conduct appropriate analyses for data generated from student course evaluations, including monitoring response rates

User Resources

  • Work with the internal project team to identify appropriate and effective training and orientation materials to support all user groups with the roll out of the new instrument and interpretation of the results
  • Create the written resources to assist all users and mechanisms to assess their effectiveness


Software Functional Requirements Definition

  • Assist in defining functional requirements of software to support the new instrument, and see that these are relayed to the technical team for review and feedback to the working group


  • Master’s degree in Psychology, Sociology, Education or other relevant discipline; PhD preferred
  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience in designing and executing research and/or evaluation projects, as well as disseminating their results
  • Proficient in quantitative and qualitative research design and analytical research methods
  • Experience managing complex, multi-stakeholder projects that involve change management
  • Working knowledge of the research literature on student evaluations of teaching
  • Close involvement with an institutional course evaluation change management project is a significant asset
  • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis software (e.g., nVivo, SPSS)
  • Intermediate skill with Microsoft Office tools (in particular, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook)
  • Strong communication skills, both orally and in writing, for a broad range of audiences
  • Knowledge of web authoring and content management tools
  • Working knowledge of online systems for course evaluations