Work type



Capability Area

Research and Survey

Senior Vice President (SVP) - Public Affairs and Media Research

Apply now Job no: 495361 Work type: Regular Full-Time Location: Bethesda, MD Capability Area: Public Affairs & Media


NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent research organization with more than 75 years of leadership and experience in data collection, program evaluation, data analysis, and information dissemination, seeks a Senior Vice President (SVP) to lead its Public Affairs and Media research department. This is an exceptional opportunity for a seasoned senior manager and expert in public affairs and media research to join NORC’s executive team and to lead the build out of a dynamic and diversified research practice.

The new Public Affairs and Media Research SVP will assume leadership of a growing portfolio of work, anchored by the successful Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, a partnership between NORC and The Associated Press that aims to bring the best of social science research and journalism together to inform policy makers and the public about the most important issues of the day.  The AP-NORC partnership also includes NORC’s ongoing role in providing the data and statistical engine behind AP VoteCast, the innovative new solution for election research.  The department’s portfolio of work also includes the Media Insight Project, a partnership of NORC, AP and the American Press Institute with the objective of conducting high-quality, innovative research meant to inform the news industry and the public about various important issues facing journalism and the news business.  We have a rapidly growing public affairs research practice that provides services for clients seeking to achieve impact through public dissemination of research results through the media.  We also provide private strategic research aimed at tracking public sentiment about key issues and helping our clients develop communications and messaging strategies.

Headquartered in Chicago’s downtown Loop, NORC has additional major offices at the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus and in the greater Washington, DC area, as well as five smaller satellite offices in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Boston, Wichita, and San Francisco. The organization houses a diverse portfolio of subject matter expertise with strong technical capabilities in acquiring and transforming data of all types into knowledge, thereby enabling critical decision-making in public policy, program management, business, and society at large—NORC is currently divided into seven other core research departments: Economics, Justice, and Society; Health Care Evaluation; Health Care Programs; Public Health; Health Sciences; International Programs; and Education and Child Development.

This is a tremendous opportunity for an exceptional individual to join the leadership team of a nationally renowned organization and to build a successful unit to new heights of excellence and achievement. The position requires an individual with vision, proven leadership skills, extensive management experience, and a deep understanding of health care research. While no one candidate will embody all of the traits noted below, the successful candidate will bring many of the following professional and personal qualities to this important role.


NORC’s public affairs and media research team is a unique group of professionals who come from the worlds of social science research and journalism.  We have extensive experience developing research projects that are intended for public release.  Our partnerships with some of the largest and most important media and journalism organizations allow us to bring unique capabilities to our projects and clients.  We have recently been expanding our product offerings to do more consulting and strategic research to clients.  We are also leveraging our unique insights into the media world to bring our own approaches to the world of media audience research with a specialization in research for the news industry.  Our staff includes both seasoned media executives and bright, young professionals drawn from a range of social science disciplines and from the world of journalism.


  • An advanced degree in political science, social psychology, economics, psychology, public policy, public health, survey research, or other related field, or equivalent professional experience
  • At least 15 years of post-degree public affairs and/or media research experience
  • Recognition as an expert in public affairs or media research, as evidenced by supporting publications, experience in managing a polling unit in a major news organization, substantial presentations before industry groups, expertise in managing large-scale complex public affairs or media research projects, and other accomplishments
  • The ability to contribute as a member of the organization’s senior management team
  • Demonstrated survey research expertise and experience leading large and small  surveys
  • Expertise in public opinion polling for media, with a deep understanding of pre-election polling and election data products and services
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate research findings to a wide variety of audiences including to the general public through the media, as well as to journalists, executives, policymakers and other key audiences
  • Experience running an editorial operation that produces text, visualization, video, social media and interactive media content
  • Deep connections to major public affairs and media clients such as news organizations, public relations firms, corporate communications departments of major corporations, foundations, audience research departments of major media companies, and other similar organizations
  • Demonstrated skill as a leader and demonstrated success in mentoring staff and building teams
  • Strong management skills leading professional staff on large interdisciplinary project teams; extensive experience working with subject matter experts
  • A successful record of marketing high-caliber research initiatives (or similar projects) to media organizations, corporations, foundations, and other large funding organizations
  • Prior and proven experience with planning and executing strategic business development activities and proposal writing that has resulted in research funding awards
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated skill as a leader and mentor in developing staff and building teams
  • A management style that is engaged and inclusive, empowering others to succeed
  • Proven ability to recruit, develop, and retain highly talented staff


  • An organized individual who can create and manage systematic processes that will support a well-run department
  • An analytical thinker possessing the ability to understand, interpret, and process sophisticated qualitative and quantitative information
  • An individual who has the ability to work within and manage a team-oriented environment, consisting of a multidisciplinary and diverse group of professional staff
  • A willingness to invest considerable time and energy in getting to know the staff, affiliated researchers, and their work
  • A broker and facilitator who can work through multiple agendas, determining what is best for individual team members and the group as a whole
  • A leader and consensus builder who recognizes organizational and personal barriers in order to build bridges and design effective solutions
  • A mature individual who is driven and determined
  • An executive who is a strategic thinker, but also enjoys the details
  • An energetic and performance-driven individual who will pursue excellence in evaluating the research being performed by the team
  • An individual with impeccable integrity whose personal and professional values are consistent with NORC’s high standards and profound mission
  • A person who has a sense of humor, is a supportive colleague, and enjoys a fun and open work environment

NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, our teams have conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with us to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.


For over 75 years, NORC has evolved in many ways, moving the needle with research methods, technical applications and groundbreaking research findings. But our tradition of excellence, passion for innovation, and commitment to collegiality have remained constant components of who we are as a brand, and who each of us is as a member of the NORC team. With world-class benefits, a business casual environment, and an emphasis on continuous learning, NORC is a place where people join for the stellar research and analysis work for which we’re known, and stay for the relationships they form with their colleagues who take pride in the impact their work is making on a global scale.


NORC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce. NORC evaluates qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other legally- protected characteristics.


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