Senior Research Associate II, Butler Institute for Families

Apply now Job no: 493298
Work type: Staff Full-Time
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: Research

Throughout its 75-year history, the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work has administered countless externally funded projects to support children and families. The Butler Institute for Families was founded in 1994, and today, we are nationally recognized for our leadership and collaborative work at the national, state, tribal, and local level in evaluation, research, and technical assistance aimed at improving the quality of child-, youth-, and family-serving systems.

We bring together researchers, practitioners, public and private service system experts, and community members to: engage in program evaluation and research; examine outcomes; and provide technical assistance and training to program administrators, direct service providers, and community leaders. Currently, Butler builds systems capacity across four primary content areas: child welfare, early childhood systems, tribal child welfare, and behavioral health. These content areas operate within a Research-to-Practice framework that promotes the integration of knowledge about what works into practice, and lessons learned from practice into better knowledge for the field. In addition to the benefits offered by the University of Denver (see here for more details:, Butler offers the opportunity to work with a talented team who is dedicated to working with communities in culturally-responsive ways to support program development and service delivery to children, families and communities. We also offer professional development and job growth opportunities, flexible schedules and the opportunity to telework remotely. Butler stands in solidarity against the systemic oppression of persons of color and American Indian/Alaska Native tribes, communities, and individuals. Butler intentionally partners with family and child serving agencies to create healing, positive systemic change, and daily inclusive actions that reflect racial equity.

Position Summary

The Senior Research Associate II position is responsible for leading the evaluation of the Capacity Building Center for Tribes (CBCT) federal multi-year project to support the development and efficacy of tribal child welfare programs across Indian Country. This includes evaluation management, evaluation design, assurance of culturally-responsive research methodologies and data collection and management approaches, statistical and/or qualitative analyses and interpretation, planning research and evaluation studies and framing research/evaluation questions, identifying appropriate instrumentation to address research questions, synthesizing information from diverse data sources, and disseminating materials through reports, publications, and presentations. This position requires experience leading a team in designing and supporting evaluation strategies that incorporate culturally based approaches with American Indians/Alaska Natives, such as story-telling, that support indigenous participation and voice, and tribal sovereignty and data ownership. This position supervises and mentors Research Assistants and/or Research Associates.

Essential Functions

Research and Evaluation Design, Project Management, Data Collection, Statistical Analysis and Interpretation

  • Oversee and manage the evaluation of the Capacity Building Center for Tribes.
  • Coordinate other research and evaluation projects in the child welfare and/or tribal child welfare area, soliciting and incorporating a range of tribal perspectives, where appropriate.
  • Contribute to the development of evaluation plans and framing of research/evaluation questions.
  • Manage day-to-day implementation of team deliverables and communicate implementation progress with external stakeholders and PI/co-investigators.
  • Help develop qualitative and quantitative data collection protocols and measures.
  • Design and conduct interviews and focus groups.
  • Identify qualitative and/or quantitative analysis techniques appropriate for answering research questions.
  • Analyze complex qualitative or quantitative data.
  • Plan data collection and management approaches that are culturally-relevant and responsive.
  • Utilize content expertise to make novel and/or impactful interpretations and conclusions.
  • Coordinate data analysis activities.
  • Identify implementation barriers and work with team to develop strategies and solutions.
  • Oversee appropriate tracking and monitoring of evaluation activities.
  • Use a broad array of research skills, including proficiency in Atlas-ti, SPSS, and other statistical analysis and visualization tools.
  • Plan and organize smaller research projects and major activities on large complex project, identify and initiate response to issues, conceptualize and implement solutions.
  • Make interpretations and conclusions and smoothly translate data and results for varied stakeholders and audiences.


  • Significantly contribute to the writing of evaluation reports, publications, and dissemination materials as co- or lead author/presenter.
  • Generate, disseminate and promote uptake of content-specific knowledge.
  • Develop and present results to tribal audiences, center staff, community partners and providers, and federal funders, and other identified audiences.
  • Generate and implement communication plan to disseminate results.
  • Present findings at conferences or other dissemination events and act as an effective spokesperson representing American Indian/Alaska Native tribal values, culture and perspectives.

Grant Writing and Business Development

  • Assist in identifying funding opportunities in the child welfare and tribal child welfare content areas.
  • Lead screening, planning and preparation of grant proposals.

Other Duties

  • Participate in Butler Institute work groups and committees as identified and/or assigned including those related to GSSW's Culture and Climate Initiative and DUs Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • Attend and participate in DU and Butler-related meetings, trainings, and activities.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • This position supervises assistant and/or associate-level staff, including making recommendations about hiring, advancement, performance improvement, and/or termination of employees.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Ability to learn, reflect, and practice cultural humility with others within Butler and with project partners of diverse cultures and communities.
  • Ability to participate in actions steps with colleagues to move Butler to an anti-racism, multi-cultural organization.
  • Excellent written and oral language skills for report generation, presentations, and grant applications.
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate effectively and diplomatically with a variety of stakeholders using various modes of communication including in person, by phone, over email, by virtual technology, and through written project materials.
  • Deep understanding of child-, youth-, and family-serving systems.
  • Deep understanding of and sensitivity to the historical and contemporary political and social contexts of American Indian/Alaska Native tribes, communities, and individuals, and the ability to interact with stakeholders representing diverse tribal cultures, worldviews, and experiences.
  • Ability to communicate and engage effectively with community and interdisciplinary collaborators and modify communication and engagement styles as required by specific tribal contexts.
  • Ability to analyze and interpret quantitative data; ability to analyze and interpret qualitative data from both a tribal and non-tribal lens.
  • Broad array of qualitative, quantitative, and culturally-aligned research skills including research design, data collection and management, and statistical analysis, including proficiency in SPSS and/or other statistical analysis packages, and proficiency with qualitative data analysis software (e.g., Atlas-ti).
  • Ability to manage and develop relationships with multiple stakeholders, and to demonstrate behaviors consistent with indigenous relationality.
  • Ability to utilize flexible evaluation approaches to meet changing project needs.
  • Ability to draft complex narrative reports and correspondence with minimal guidance.
  • Strong organization and time management skills including ability to multi-task and prioritize competing deadlines and timelines.
  • Ability to tactfully hold project members and leadership colleagues accountable to deadlines.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Strong analytical and solution-building skills.

Required Qualifications

  • Master's degree in social work or other relevant field.
  • Understanding of issues, policies, and practices of child-, youth-, and family-serving systems, as well as those of American Indian/Alaska Native tribes, communities, and families.
  • Experience working in American Indian/Alaska Native tribal or other indigenous communities.
  • 6 years of experience leading program evaluation or social sciences research, including evaluation planning, designing, data collection, data management, and data analysis.
  • Experience leading the design and implementation of quantitative and/or qualitative research or evaluation.
  • Experience leading data collection, data management, data analysis and development of findings for reporting.
  • Experience managing a large research and evaluation project.
  • 2 or more years of experience supervising staff.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in Social Work or other relevant field.
  • Experience writing grant proposals.
  • 4 or more years of experience supervising staff.
  • Experience working with grant funded environments in government, nonprofit, or university settings.
  • Bilingual in English and an American Indian/Alaska Native language.

Work Schedule
Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Evenings and weekends as required. Full time telework/remote work schedule available as an option; fully remote work during COVID-19.

Application Deadline
For best consideration, please submit your application materials by 4:00 p.m. (MST) on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

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

Salary Range
Salary will be determined by the qualifications of the selected candidate balanced with departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information.

Please include the following documents with your application:
1. Resume
2. Cover Letter

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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