Research Associate I, Therapeutic Human-Animal Interventions

Apply now Job no: 493621
Work type: Staff Full-Time
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: 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.

Position Summary

The Research Associate I for Therapeutic Human-Animal Interaction (THAI) will be an integral member of the IHAC Research program and is responsible for overseeing project management including data collection, managing internal project teams, helping supervise Research Fellow(s), overseeing research assistants, and may mentor graduate student interns. The Research Associate I is also responsible for giving input on grant proposals, contributing to study design, statistical analysis and interpretation, participating in qualitative analysis and interpretation, and helping to write manuscript and conference abstracts for research projects. This person may assist with designing new studies aimed at using behavior observation methods to measure youth outcomes related to animal-assisted interactions. The Research Associate I engages as a collaborative partner with the Principal Investigator, Co-Investigators, Senior Research Associates, Research Associates, Research Fellows, external agencies, and community stakeholders to implement research activities.

This is a full-time position that is currently funded for three years (July 2021 through June 2024) with the possibility of an extension depending upon performance and funding. This position includes travel, as needed, to implement research and disseminate findings. This position could be structured as a remote position, provided the Research Associate I is readily available for meetings by Zoom during regular business hours (Monday Friday, 9AM 5PM Mountain Time). Our remote team members may be asked to travel to be in-person for special events (e.g., conferences, trainings, annual meetings, public events).

The Research Associate I reports directly to the Research Associate II, with additional supervision from the Senior Research Associate(s) and Director of Research of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection. The Research Associate I is considered a staff member of IHAC and may be asked to join meetings, events and other institute-based activities. Individuals with a graduate degree in the social or physical sciences or comparable experience who plan to pursue a career in academic scholarship, research, or program evaluation 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.

Essential Functions

Project Management

  • Independently manages day-to-day tasks for research projects.
  • Supports communication with multiple stakeholders.
  • Establishes data collection and management timelines and ensures timelines are met.
  • Identifies project-wide issues, then proposes and implements solutions.

Project Design 

  • May design surveys and interview/focus group protocols.
  • May assist with the design of quantitative or qualitative research or evaluation studies.
  • May help frame research questions.
  • May assist with development of qualitative and quantitative data collection protocols and methodologies.

Data Collection, Management, and Analysis

  • Oversees implementation of data collection and management activities.
  • Conducts data collection.
  • Oversee with database design and management.
  • Use statistical packages and visualization tools, such as in SPSS, Observer XT, Dedoose.
  • May make initial interpretations of data and conclusions.

Reporting and Publications

  • Contributes to reports, publications, and dissemination as a co-author or co-presenter.
  • Able to translate study findings to different stakeholders and audiences.


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


  • May assist in identifying and writing grant proposals.

Supervision & Hiring

  • Supervises research assistant-level staff, including making recommendations about hiring, advancement, performance improvement, and/or termination of supervisees.
  • May supervise Research Fellows.
  • May supervise graduate student interns.
  • May participate in hiring and/or termination of Research Fellows, graduate student interns, Research Assistants, and Research Associates.

Other Responsibilities

  • Attend and participate in DU and IHAC-related meetings, public events, and trainings.
  • Provide evaluation and research support in other areas within the research team.
  • May consult within IHAC on selected research-to-practice or curriculum development.
  • Provide general support such as generating meeting minutes, making logistical arrangements, and other administrative duties as needed.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Broad array of research skills, including qualitative and/or quantitative methods, statistical analysis, and interpretation.
  • 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.

Required Qualifications

  • Graduate degree in the social or physical sciences (MA, MS, MSW, PhD) or equivalent combination of education and work experience.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Work experience in related fields (e.g. animal sheltering or animal control outreach services, community organizing, human service case management, public health administration, environmental health and safety).
  • Three or more years of experience in research or evaluation of interventions including participating in the implementation of quantitative and/or qualitative research or evaluation studies and ability to lead components of these studies.
  • One year of experience in project management, including supervising and/or coordinating the work of teams, providing strategy and support to leadership, and managing time effectively.
  • Prior experience conducting systematic behavior observations in research settings.
  • Quantitative analysis skills including propensity score matching and survival analysis.
  • Proficiency in one or more additional languages (beyond English), with particular interest in Spanish.
  • Strong understanding of inferential statistics and/ or qualitative analysis techniques.
  • Intermediate to advanced user of Excel, SPSS, and Dedoose or comparable software.
  • 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).
  • 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. - 4:30 p.m.

Application Deadline
For best consideration, please submit your application materials by April 30, 2021.

Special Instructions
Candidates must apply online through to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted. For more information about this position, including an opportunity to speak with current IHAC Research Staff, please direct inquiries to Research Associate Professor Kevin Morris at

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

Salary Range
The salary range for this position is $50,000 - $55,000.

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. Cover Letter
  3. Three professional references including their names and contact information
  4. Writing sample (e.g., a paper that you wrote for a graduate-level class, peer-reviewed journal article, or a job-related report that you prepared) OR written responses to each of the following questions, not to exceed 2 pages per question (1-inch margins, double-spaced, Times New Roman, size 12 font):
    • How have your previous academic and/or professional experiences prepared you for contributing to an interdisciplinary research team that uses qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches?
    • What are your professional goals? How would this Research Associate I position 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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