AHEAD Director of Research

Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD)

Job Title: Director of Research

The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) is seeking applicants for the role of Director of Research.  The Director of Research provides leadership and vision to advance the development and application of research and data to support AHEAD initiatives, priorities, and membership. AHEAD strives to serve as a hub of research excellence and knowledge translation for the field regarding disability in postsecondary education.
The Director will develop, implement, and sustain ongoing and new initiatives to: 
  • Strengthen the data and analytic capacity of disability resource and affiliated professionals who work to promote access and equity of disabled people within higher education 
  • Support scholarship in the field of postsecondary disability 
  • Advance the work of disability resource offices and their campuses to promote access and equity
The Office regularly provides:
  • Technical assistance in response to research-related inquiries from the field
  • Research and data overviews or summaries for the AHEAD newsletter, community lists, website, social media, or other information sources
  • Data collection and analysis support for information needs of other AHEAD offices 
  • The Office also conducts research, evaluation, and analyses on topics associated with
  • Disability resource and affiliated professionals including for example, professional backgrounds, experiences, education, and demographics
  • Disability resource office program design, evaluation, structures, and practices
  • Institutional structures, policies, and practices related to equitable access for disabled students
Candidates hired for the position will work remotely and may be located anywhere within the United States (U.S.).
Since 1977, AHEAD has offered an unparalleled member experience to disability resource professionals, student affairs personnel, ADA coordinators, diversity officers, AT/IT staff, faculty and other instructional personnel, and colleagues who are invested in creating welcoming higher education experiences for disabled individuals. Informed by its diverse membership, AHEAD
  • delivers exceptional professional development opportunities through conferences, workshops, webinars, publications, and consultation;
  • fosters community and member networking;
  • informs members of emerging issues relevant to disability and higher education in the legislative and regulatory spheres; and
  • disseminates data, promotes research, and furthers evidence-based practice.
  • AHEAD boasts a membership of over 5,500, representing all 50 states and over 10 countries. In addition to its direct memberships, AHEAD has formal partnerships with 37 Regional Affiliates and numerous professional organizations. AHEAD members are actively engaged in service provision, consultation and training, and policy development on their campuses and promote accessibility across the field of higher education and beyond.
  • Support AHEAD’s Strategic Plan in areas related to Knowledge Translation and Research 
  • Oversee and conduct all aspects of AHEAD’s ongoing biennial surveys of the membership and write related reports
  • Conduct selected research projects on topics of high need or interest to the membership and the field. These projects are often done in collaboration with AHEAD members and result in outcomes with implications for practice. A list of recent projects is available on the Research at AHEAD webpage.
  • Monitor the process for reviewing external requests for conducting research with the membership. Support the chair of the Research Review Panel in overseeing all aspects of proposal reviews.
  • Continually maintain and update professional development resources for the membership provided through the online Information Services Portal. 
  • Provide technical assistance in research and data related areas upon request.
  • Distribute AHEAD research through widely available sources such as professional conference presentations, peer reviewed journal articles, and the ERIC clearinghouse.
  • Collaborate with AHEAD colleagues to infuse research and data interests in such areas as professional development, online resources, publications,  conference proposal review/selection and identification of research related sessions
  • Support the annual publication of the AHEAD monograph series
  • Represent AHEAD on research related projects, request, events as needed
  • Support research-based initiatives within the membership including for example, the Research Knowledge and Practice Community
The ideal candidate should be self-motivated enough to work in a virtual environment with limited supervision (autonomous), have an extremely strong inclination for continuous learning (self-development), a strong attention to detail (organized and efficient), a service mindset (seeks to collaborate and to help and support others), and an ability to work in a changing environment (adaptability). A strong commitment to disability equity and inclusion in higher education is a must.
Skills and Experience
  • Completed earned doctoral degree in related field
  • History of conducting and publishing research in areas of equity and inclusion in higher education settings
  • Work experience within a college disability resource office (DRO)
  • Documented experience managing a variety of programs or projects, both new and ongoing.  
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, including the ability to effectively summarize and present research findings in written material for a lay audience
  • Strong skills in designing all facets of a research project to answer questions that inform educational practice. 
  • Experience successfully designing and conducting all aspects of survey research projects including developing survey questionnaires/instruments, supporting participant response rate, analyzing findings, and identifying practical implications of results.
  • Ph.D.
  • Deep understanding of the confluence of disability and higher education as evidenced by scholarly publications and professional presentations
  • History of employment in a leadership role within a disability resource office
  • Experience initiating, designing, developing, and evaluating educational programs or projects within a higher education setting
  • Experience and/or interest in developing mentoring opportunities for supporting research and data use in the field related to postsecondary disability.
  • Experience and/or interest in the application of data and research to further AHEAD initiatives and advocacy related to federal disability policies.
AHEAD’s Commitment to You
AHEAD offers a positive and constructive work environment. We value our employees and want to ensure they are happy and healthy inside of work and out. We offer:
  • Competitive Salary
  • Medical, dental, and vision benefits
  • 401(k) with company matching
  • Generous paid vacation, holiday, personal, and sick leave
  • Flexible work scheduling
As an equal opportunity employer, AHEAD supports a climate of inclusion, respect, access, civility, and equity. AHEAD rejects all forms of intolerance and discriminatory conduct with respect to diversity, specifically: disability, ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity and its expression, marital status, family structure, language, sexual orientation, geographic area, religion, political perspective, age, veteran status, socioeconomic status, and other underrepresented areas.  AHEAD welcomes and encourages applicants whose lived experience or identity will even further broaden its diverse and inclusive staff.
To apply for this position please send (as attachments to one email) a writing sample, your CV, and a cover letter to Stephan J. Smith, Chief Executive Officer, stephan@ahead.org on or by Friday, June 21st, 2024.
Preapplication inquiries are welcomed, and may be directed to Stephan Smith (stephan@ahead.org) or Dr. Sally Scott, incumbent Director of Research, (sally@ahead.org