Research Fellowship, Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Apply now Job no: 493505
Work type: Postdoc / Research / Fellow
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: Postdoc / Fellow, Research

The Institute for Human-Animal Connection is a specialized program within the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver which intentionally elevates the value of the living world and the interrelationship and health of people, other animals, and the environment. This is accomplished through social science-informed education, applied knowledge, research and advocacy, with an ethical regard for all species. Focusing on three core areas of Therapeutic Human-Animal Interventions, Animals in Communities and One Health, IHAC operationalizes its mission through innovation in education, research and advocacy.

A two-year position as an Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC) Research Fellow is available to a recent graduate or anticipated 2021 graduate of a Master of Social Work (MSW) program. The overall goal of this position is to provide the Research Fellow with robust training in social science research with a focus on the Human-Animal-Environment Interaction field, in preparation for a career in research.

Position Summary

The IHAC Research Fellow will be an integral member of the IHAC research program at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, supervised by the Institute’s Director of Research with direct reporting to the IHAC Research Associates. An emphasis will be placed on creating academic products including funding proposals, peer-reviewed journal articles, conference abstracts, and other publications to formally communicate research findings and build the Fellow’s professional portfolio. After two years, the IHAC Research Fellow will be prepared for doctoral programs and/or research within academic, non-profit, or for-profit environments.

The fellowship will be structured over two years to emphasize the development of strong research skills, strategies, and ethics. The primary focus of this fellowship will be on participating in the development and implementation of research focusing on the impacts of nature-based interventions on youth development.

MSW graduates who plan to pursue a career in social science research or program evaluation, specifically those who are interested in contributing to understanding the impacts of the intersections between people, other animals, and the environment, are encouraged to apply. We are especially interested in considering applications from members of underrepresented groups, first generation college graduates, or those who work on topics related to these issues. The IHAC Research Fellow will receive a full-time salary with access to University of Denver benefits. Preference will be given to University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work graduates and to applicants with a history of demonstrated interest in research, project management, and human-animal-environment interactions.

Essential Functions

Project Management

  • Supports day-to-day project management of research projects.
  • Responsible for day-to-day management of fellow research project by year 2.
  • Supports the research associate(s) in managing studies with multiple stakeholders and tasks.
  • Participates in discussions of the overall research study.
  • May help plan and organize components of research projects.
  • May identify project-wide issues and proposes processes to respond with solutions.

Project Design

  • Engage in learning about the design process for quantitative or qualitative research or evaluation studies.
  • May help frame research questions.
  • May help design surveys and interview/focus group protocols.
  • May assist in developing data collection methodologies and protocols.

Data Collection & Management

  • Supports implementation of data collection and management activities.
  • Helps monitor data collection and management timelines.
  • May participate in determining the validity of data.
  • May participate in data collection.


  • May assist in translating data to different stakeholders.
  • May make initial interpretations and conclusions.

Reporting and Publications

  • Significantly contributes to and sometimes leads reports, publications, and dissemination as a co-author or co-presenter.


  • Communicates with community and interdisciplinary collaborators, as well as graduate research assistants.
  • May act as spokesperson on research matters with sponsors.


  • Engages in learning around identifying and writing grant proposals.

Management and Supervision

  • Supervise research assistant-level staff, including making recommendations about hiring, advancement, performance improvement, and/or termination of supervisees.
  • May participate in hiring and/or termination of Research Fellows and Research Associates.
  • This position will supervise Graduate students and Work-Study students.

Project-Based Responsibilities

  • One specific area of focus will include working closely with an IHAC Research Associate to manage a team of up to 15 research assistants tasked with coding behavioral observation from videos using specific coding manuals. This may involve selection or creation of a coding manual, refinement and operationalization of codes to ensure applicability to the setting, and using Observer XT software. They will also be responsible for training coders to apply the coding manual with a high level of reliability, continuous evaluation of inter rater reliability (IRR), and ongoing team task management to ensure that weekly progress aligns with overall project goals.

Other Responsibilities

  • Attend and participate in DU and IHAC-related meetings, public events, trainings, and activities.
  • Provide evaluation and research support in other areas within the research team upon request.
  • Consult within IHAC on selected research-to-practice or curriculum development needs.
  • Provide general support upon request such as generating meeting minutes, making logistical arrangements, attending and participating in internal and external meetings, and other administrative duties as needed.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Ability to establish timelines and support project team members to meet those timelines.
  • Ability to learn a broad array of research skills, such as proficiency in R, SPSS, and other statistical packages and visualization tools.
  • Ability to resolve routine problems using existing guidelines and processes.
  • Ability to make independent decisions and or/recommendations when necessary.
  • Ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to research, investigate, analyze, reconcile and evaluate data. 
  • Capability to develop excellent writing skills and quality presentation abilities.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including ability to communicate effectively with colleagues and with research and evaluation. participants, sponsors, supervisees, and university staff.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong MS Office skills, including Excel.
  • Strong understanding of inferential statistics and/ or qualitative analysis techniques.
  • Demonstrated skills and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including the ability to approach work with diverse communities with respect and humility, as a listener and learner. This might include lived experience, volunteer, education, or work experience with historically excluded populations (e.g., low-income families, people of color, individuals with disabilities, ageing adults).

Required Qualifications

  • MSW degree or Spring 2021 anticipated MSW degree.
  • At least one year of experience in evaluation of interventions and/or research in the social sciences.
  • Strong academic performance (3.25 GPA or higher in their graduate coursework).
  • At least one year of experience in project management, including providing strategy and support to leadership, supporting team members, and managing time effectively.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Preference for University of Denver graduates.
  • Prior experience conducting systematic behavior observations.
  • At least one year experience coordinating the work of a team or in a supervisory role.
  • Fluency in English and proficiency in one or more additional languages, with particular interest in Spanish.
  • Intermediate to advanced user of Excel, SPSS, and Dedoose or comparable software.
  • Experience translating research findings into practice with multiple audiences using a variety of techniques. This could include facilitation of training, public-facing reports, peer-reviewed manuscripts, conference presentations, or public speaking.

Work Schedule
Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Application Deadline
For best consideration, please submit your application materials by 4:00 p.m. (MST) on April 15, 2021. Position responsibilities begin July 1, 2021.

Special Instructions
Candidates must apply online through to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted.

Salary Grade Number
The salary grade for the position is 8.

Salary Range
The salary for this position is $50,000.

The University of Denver has provided a compensation range that represents its good faith estimate of what the University may pay for the position at the time of posting. The University may ultimately pay more or less than the posted compensation range. The salary offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information, but not based on a candidate’s sex or any other protected status.

The University of Denver offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO pass. The University of Denver is a private institution that empowers students who want to make a difference. Learn more about the University of Denver.

Please include the following documents with your application:

  1. Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  2. Academic (official or unofficial) transcript from MSW work or most recent program of study.
  3. Provide professional references and include their name and contact information.
  4. Written responses to each of the following questions (combine the two responses into one document), not to exceed 2 pages per question (1-inch margins, double-spaced, Times New Roman, size 12 font):
    • How have your previous academic and professional experiences prepared you for a career in social science research focused on human-animal interactions?
    • What are your professional goals? How would this IHAC Research Fellowship contribute to your attaining these goals?

The University of Denver is committed to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and staff. We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, military/ veteran status or any other status protected by law.

All offers of employment are based upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

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