Preschool Development Grant Research Specialist - Special Education - 17383

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The Department of Special Education at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater is seeking a Preschool Development Grant Research Specialist (Research Program Manager I).

This will be a 100% fixed term appointment and reappointment for subsequent terms is dependent upon needs of the position, grant funding and external forces.


The research specialist will implement research activities as part of the Preschool Development Grant (PDG) evaluation project. A primary responsibility of the person in this position will be to carry out day-to-day activities as part of a comprehensive needs assessment that is being conducted as part of the PDG evaluation project. The purpose of the comprehensive needs assessment is to develop a better understanding of Wisconsin’s birth to five early care and education system which includes child care, Head Start, pre-K, early intervention, and early childhood special education. The person in this position will play a key role in developing the needs assessment and will carry out these activities under the direction of the principal investigator (PI), the PDG project manager, and project faculty.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in education, social sciences, or a related field
  • Understanding of social science research and evaluation methods
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
Desired Characteristics:
  • Experience conducting interviews or focus groups
  • Experience analyzing qualitative and/or quantitative data
  • Experience using data analysis software (e.g., SPSS, NVivo)
  • Experience writing reports or manuscripts for publication
  • Expertise or interest in early childhood education, families of children with special needs, and/or dual language learners
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks as part of a complex project
  • Willingness to travel within the state of Wisconsin to conduct research activities, participate in meetings, and present evaluation results
  • Willingness to travel outside the state 1-2 times per year for professional conferences
  • Willingness and ability to be an active participant in following applicable safety rules and regulations including necessary training and drills
  • Ability to interact respectfully with people from diverse socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds

40%   A. Collaborate with the PI, project manager and other project personnel to carry out activities to inform the PDG comprehensive needs assessment
  1. Work closely with the PDG project manager to ensure needs assessment activities are carried out in a timely manner according to the project plan.
  2. Collaborate with staff at multiple agencies throughout the state to gather data from existing reports and other information sources.
  3. Conduct searches using internet search engines and library databases to identify existing reports that can inform the comprehensive needs assessment.
  4. Read and analyze these reports and information sources to identify data and other information that should be included in the comprehensive needs assessment report.
  5. Input data and other information into the comprehensive needs assessment report or other project documents as directed.
  6. Meet regularly with the PI, project manager and other project personnel to provide updates on needs assessment activities and to problem solve any challenges in gathering information for the project.
40%   B. Collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data for comprehensive needs assessment
  1. Conduct interviews and/or focus groups with families, program staff, and community members using established protocols.
  2. Assist in transcribing and analyzing interview and focus group data.
  3. Analyze quantitative data sets using statistical analysis software (e.g., SPSS).
  4. Collaborate with graduate and undergraduate students on the research team in completing data transcription and data analysis activities.
  5. Complete all required Institutional Review Board (IRB) training (e.g., CITI training) and other assigned trainings prior to conducting research.
20%   C. Conduct literature reviews, prepare reports and publications, and assist with the dissemination of project results
  1. Conduct literature reviews as requested by the PI and project staff.
  2. Assist in the development of research briefs and reports of evaluation results.
  3. Assist in the development of manuscripts for publication in scholarly journals.
  4. Assist in the development of presentations for disseminating results at meetings and professional conferences.
  5. Attend conferences, grant meetings, and other professional development activities.
  6. Assist in presenting findings at professional conferences and meetings.

Founded in 1868, UW–Whitewater is one of eleven comprehensive universities in a public higher education system that also includes two doctoral institutions and a statewide Extension. In the fall of 2018, as a result of the University of Wisconsin System’s restructuring of the state’s 13 two-year campuses formerly known as UW Colleges, UW–Rock County began operating as a branch campus of UW–Whitewater under the new name of University of Wisconsin–Whitewater at Rock County. Together, these campuses form a preeminent academic institution driven by the pursuit of knowledge, powered by a spirit of innovation, and focused on transforming lives. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Main Campus and Rock County Campus are located conveniently near Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago, and thus offers the advantage of beautiful small-town environments with easy access to the cultural and commercial opportunities of major metropolitan areas.

The Warhawk family — led by caring faculty and staff — is devoted to student success within a broad range of academic programs. UW-Whitewater has a special mission within the UW System to serve students with disabilities and, as such, embraces the principles of universal design and is one of the most accessible campuses in the state. The campuses have more than 200 student organizations and UW-Whitewater is a Division III NCAA university. UW-Whitewater is committed to seeking and sustaining a culturally and ethnically diverse campus environment, building a diverse faculty and staff with expertise and interest in serving students with diverse needs, backgrounds, ethnicities, abilities and other distinct characteristics in respectful, sensitive and understanding ways. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, and actively seeks and encourages applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and veterans.


The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is part of the 13-campus University of Wisconsin System (https://www.wisconsin.edu).

Wisconsin Statute 19.36(7)(b) provides that applicants may indicate in writing that their identity should be kept confidential. In response to a public records request, the University will not reveal the identities of applicants who request confidentiality in writing, except that the identity of the successful final candidate will be released. See Wisconsin Statute 19.36(7)(a).

Per Regent Policy Document 20-19, University of Wisconsin System Criminal Background Check Policy and UW System Administrative Policy 1275 Recruitment Policies, UW-Whitewater requires criminal background checks as a contingency to employment. A criminal background check will be conducted prior to an offer of employment. All final candidates must be asked, prior to hire, whether they have been found to have engaged in, are currently under investigation for, or left employment during an active investigation in which they were accused of sexual violence or sexual harassment. When obtaining employment reference checks, these same sexual violence or sexual harassment questions must also be asked.

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater requires that all employees be active participants in following applicable safety rules and regulations including necessary training and drills.

For UW-Whitewater Campus safety information and crime statistics/annual Security Report, see http://www.uww.edu/asfr. If you would like a paper copy of the report please contact the UW-Whitewater Police at 262-472-4660.

To learn more about UW-Whitewater's competitive benefits packages go to our: ALEX webpage, which is our interactive benefits decision support tool.


UW-Whitewater embraces AAC&U’s LEAP principles (http://www.uww.edu/leap) and emphasizes student, staff and faculty participation in High-Impact Practices (https://www.aacu.org/resources/high-impact-practices). The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (http://www.uww.edu/orsp) provides support for faculty scholarly and creative activities as well as other opportunities to apply for reassigned time and/or other resources to support research activities. UW-Whitewater faculty and staff also have access to technology transfer and research resources provided by WiSys (https://www.wisys.org).


University of Wisconsin-Whitewater does not offer H-1B or other work authorization visa sponsorship for this position. Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the United States at the time of hire and maintain work authorization throughout the employment term. If you have questions regarding this, please contact Human Resources.

The University of Wisconsin System is engaged in a Title and Total Compensation (TTC) project to redesign job titles and compensation structures. As a result of the TTC project, official job titles on current job postings is targeted to be implemented mid-2021. Job duties and responsibilities will remain the same. For more information please visit: https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/title-and-total-compensation-study/

The University of Wisconsin - Whitewater has the authority to implement temporary workforce reduction and cost saving measures to address financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 Crisis, consistent with Wisconsin law and Board of Regents, UW System, and UW-Whitewater policy and procedure.


Applications received by August 1, 2021 are ensured full consideration and this position will remain open until filled. The most qualified applicants will be invited to participate in the next step of the selection process.

If you have questions regarding this recruitment or if you are unable to complete the application online due to a disability or system problem, please contact us at (262) 472-1072 or hrstudent@uww.edu

For questions regarding this position, please contact:
Naomi Rahn
Assistant Professor


Only complete application packages will be considered. This includes online submission of the following documents:
  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • Name and contact information for three professional references
This Job ID is 17383.

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