Principal Evaluation Associate



Department:  Center for Research Evaluation (10000915)
Employee Designation:  Regular Full-time (Benefits Eligible)

Note for Current UM Employees

Current employees must apply internally via connectU >

Position Description

The Center for Research Evaluation is an independent evaluation center housed at the University of Mississippi. We work with communities, universities and other mission-focused organizations to lead meaningful evaluations that enhance the impact of their work.  We are recruiting a full-time Principal Evaluation Associate to help lead a portfolio focused on evaluation in K-12 Education in Mississippi, the United States, and internationally. 


The Principal Evaluation Associate will develop and lead a program of creative, meaningful evaluation research in their specific content area (i.e., K-12 Education). They will be charged with leading and building out their relevant unit, serving as Principal Investigator on content-relevant evaluations and supervising/supporting the Graduate Assistants, Project Coordinators, Evaluation Associates and Senior Evaluation Associates who serve on their team. The Principal Evaluation Associate will also have responsibilities for business development, with the long-term goal that the Principal Evaluation Associate will lead a self-sustaining unit. 


Our Ideal Candidate
We are looking for a Principal Evaluation Associate who is entrepreneurial, creative and eager to make an impact in Mississippi. We’re also looking for someone with outstanding skills in quantitative and qualitative research/evaluation methodologies and has multiple years of experience with a wide range of evaluation approaches in K-12 Education.  We’re also looking for a creative, analytical thinker who can critically analyze an evaluation context and match client needs to evaluation methods, while finding innovative ways to answer important questions in unique circumstances. Our ideal candidate is also actively involved in the professional evaluation field (i.e., the American Evaluation Association, local affiliates, regional associations or other communities of practice).

As an organization we want to make evaluation as easy as possible for our clients. So, we’re looking for a Principal Evaluation Associate who has the people skills to build strong and trusting relationships; who can talk about evaluation findings to nontechnical audiences; and can also create simple reports that translate complex data into meaningful insights for busy clients. At CERE, our mission is to support meaningful social change, so we are looking for candidates who can facilitate data-informed conversations in support of that goal.    


Our Principal Evaluation Associates may serve as the Principal Investigator on 10+ evaluation projects at any given time, so should be someone who thrives in a fast-pace environment and enjoys managing multiple projects at one time.  We especially seek candidates with diverse experiences and backgrounds—and who have experience in, and are interested in contributing to evaluations that explore issues of diversity and inclusion.

Minimum Qualifications

  1. Possession of a terminal degree in an appropriate field (e.g., Ph.D. or Ed.D in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Technology, Measurement, Evaluation, Psychology, etc.). 
  2. The attainment of national reputation for successful research relating to K-12 Education as evidenced by authorship of one or more published books or numerous refereed articles in leading journals, collaborations with national researchers/evaluators and/or the receipt of funding in support of research or evaluation projects. 
  3. Demonstrated ability to lead a research/evaluation group. 
  4. Demonstrated experience leading K-12 Education evaluation for paying clients.
  5. Demonstrated ability to attract research/evaluation funding necessary to support a team of evaluators. 
  6. Demonstrated ability in evaluation-related budget development and/or budget management experience. 
  7. Demonstrated ability to design strategic plans for a program of evaluation research within K-12 Education. 
  8. Demonstrated ability to network locally, nationally and internationally in support of marketing and promotion efforts. 
  9. Demonstrated ability to independently lead high-quality evaluations that are practically useful for clients and/or community groups.
  10. Demonstrated ability to independently build and maintain strong, trusting relationships with evaluation clients and community organizations/members. Our center works with federal and state agencies, philanthropies and non-profits, institutes of higher education and faculty on our campus to lead evaluation activities to support improvement, adaptation and learning; the ideal candidate will be skilled in building relationships with clients from a number of these backgrounds. 


Job responsibilities
Principal Evaluation Associates independently lead evaluation teams who deliver high-quality, technically sound and useful evaluations for our clients. The primary purpose of the Principal Evaluation Associate role is to develop and run programs of evaluation research within a specific content area (e.g., K-12 Education). Principal Evaluation Associates are also responsible for attracting research/evaluation funding to support their teams.

a.   Designs strategic plans for a program of evaluation research within the Principal’s content area 
b.   Networks locally, across the state, nationally and internationally to build CERE’s profile and establish relationships that support the Principal’s program of work 
c.   Responds to requests for proposals, leads grant applications as the Principal Investigator to establish a successful evaluation research program 
d.   Manages a team of Evaluation Associates, Senior Evaluation Associates and Graduate Assistants 
e.   Designs high-quality, innovative and creative evaluations that help organizations achieve positive change 
f.    Acts as a thought leader within the field of evaluation, regularly contributing to evaluation research on topics related to the Principal’s content area of expertise
g.   Contributes to the development of new evaluation methods and practices 


Building Evaluation Capacity 
a.    Builds evaluation capacity across the state by leading evaluation workshops and other capacity-building efforts


This is an Oxford, Mississippi-based position. 


Successful candidates will also be expected to travel (typically throughout the United States or Mississippi) approximately 10-20% of the time.

Application Procedures

If you’d like to join our team, please send us your resume along with a cover letter that describes how and why you think this role might be a good fit for you; what you would bring to this role; a sample of your work (e.g., an evaluation report that you have been the primary author on) and what you would like to learn during your time in role. 


For additional information and to apply, please go to You can also read more about our center at Questions may be directed to Dr. Sarah Mason, search committee chair, at


Interview Requirements: Any candidate who is called for an interview must notify the Department of Equal Opportunity/Regulatory Compliance in writing of any reasonable accommodation needed prior to the date of the interview.

Background Check Statement

The University of Mississippi is committed to providing a safe campus community. UM conducts background investigations for applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include a criminal history record check, and when appropriate, a financial (credit) report or driving history check.

EEO Statement

The University of Mississippi provides equal opportunity in any employment practice, education program, or education activity to all qualified persons. The University complies with all applicable laws regarding equal opportunity and affirmative action and does not unlawfully discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment based upon race, color, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, citizenship, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information.

Nearest Major Market: Oxford Mississippi