Assistant Director – Survey Research Center

How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.


The Survey Research Center (SRC) within the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan seeks an innovative administrative and financial leader to serve as Assistant Director.

The SRC is the largest of the five research centers housed in the Institute for Social Research. The mission of the Survey Research Center (SRC) is the creation of new social scientific knowledge, often through large scale primary data collections and analysis. SRC is an organization of approximately 80 research faculty, 70 affiliated faculty, 350 professional, administrative, graduate student research assistants, and research fellows. There are also over 500 temporary and contingent employees including field staff throughout the country, and for special studies, outside the U.S. The Center also manages two educational programs, the Michigan Program in Survey and Data Science (MPSDS) and the SRC Summer Institute. SRC contains a large data collection unit, Survey Research Operations (SRO) that assembles and manages project teams as needed by research volume. SRC houses over a dozen research programs that engage in the design and management of primary data collection, research, dissemination, teaching, and outreach. The annual operating revenues of SRC are in excess of $82 million. Its revenue derives principally from external research grants and contracts. SRC also receives revenues from its endowments and quasi-endowments.

SRC extends great autonomy to the individual research programs. The director’s office manages or oversees the following at the center level: center-level annual operating budget; financial and administrative policies; faculty hiring, mentoring, and promotions; staff hiring, development, and support; allocation of research staff space and support of facilities; forecasting of future financial health; coordination with the Institute; and the development of strategic options for the Center. The decision making process relies on the active participation of research faculty and professional staff committees, collaboration with projects, building of consensus over time, and active communication.


The Assistant Director supports strategic planning efforts and continuous improvement of the financial, administrative, human resource, research support, and facility activities of the Survey Research Center that support, improve, or advance the scientific research agenda. In this role, you will:

Oversee and direct the activities of the director’s office and its staff. Partner, support, and liaise with key administrators in research programs and support units. Maintain administrative structures and networks to facilitate decision-making. Facilitate reasonable information sharing regarding the Center’s mission and objectives. Develop and maintain documentation of key administrative and governance decisions. Collaborate with the Institute and other research centers in areas of mutual concern. Serve on Institute and University campus committees as requested.

Lead continuous improvement efforts, including enhanced tools, best practices, processes, and procedures. Oversee the submission of Center research proposals and related activities. Plan and direct all funds financial management. Recommend allocations or strategies for Center investments to be encumbered for future obligations or initiatives necessary to support the research enterprise. Participate with Institute administrative leadership to ensure application of financial and administrative best practices, policies, and procedures.

Advise the director, faculty, and Senior Staff Advisory Committee on key strategic financial and operational issues facing the Center. Assist the director in developing strategic and tactical plans related to the administrative management of the Center, survey operations processes, and information technology goals. Represent the director and Center to Institute leadership, University officials, external organizations, and funding agencies. Participate with the director in setting the agenda and executing decisions of the Senior Staff Advisory Committee and faculty. Act as the responsible Center representative in the absence of the director.

Provide oversight and continuous improvement efforts over the human resource activities of the Center. Plan and direct human resource activities for staff (employment, reclassification, compensation strategies, employee relations, training, and development). Oversee the management of regular, temporary, and contingent employee compensation and multi-state employment regulations. Assist the director in research faculty recruitment, equitable salary setting, and promotion review activities. Assist the research faculty in appointment issues and management of research professional staff.

Plan and direct Center facility operations. Manage space allocations for the research programs and Survey Research Operations unit. Participate in Institute planning for renovations, expansion, configuration, and utilization.

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in business administration, public administration, related field, or bachelor’s degree with equivalent experience and proven record in administration or finance in a research, nonprofit, or related organization. Master’s degree preferred.
  • Considerable expertise in all funds financial management, budgeting, and projections.
  • Considerable skills at integrating financial, human resource, administrative, and compliance considerations as they bear on sponsored research and primary data collection or other comparable, complex organization.
  • Working knowledge of funding agency policies, practices, and procedures.
  • Demonstrated competencies in the use of quantitative methods for the identification and solution of operational, financial, and administrative problems.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with the ability to mentor, supervise, and interact with a diverse workforce.
  • Extensive experience in resource management (recruiting, mentoring, career development, performance administration, budget planning and administration, leadership and team building).
  • 10+ years of supervisory experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to work under pressure and make independent decisions that impact an entire organization; comprehensive assessment of ramifications of such decisions.
  • Commitment to maintaining confidentiality and privacy.
  • Demonstrated ability to productively handle ambiguity and uncertainty in a complex and fast paced environment.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Knowledge of UM research and administrative policies and practices is highly desirable.

Work Locations

This position is on-site at the University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, Survey Research Center in Ann Arbor.

Additional Information

Reporting Relationship:

Direction is received from the Director of the Survey Research Center. Functional and administrative supervision are exercised over supporting managers, directors, supervisors, and staff.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

when eligible, are required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all campuses, including Michigan Medicine. This includes those working remotely and temporary workers. More information on this new policy is available on the U-M Health Response website or the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint websites.