Work type



Capability Area

Research and Survey

Senior Vice President – Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences

Apply now Job no: 495653 Work type: Regular Full-Time Location: Bethesda, MD Capability Area: Statistics & Methodology


As a member of the NORC senior management team, the Senior Vice President, Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences (SVP/Methods) works to advance NORC’s mission and goals and contributes to the company’s strategy and operational management. The SVP/Methods oversees, develops, and grows NORC’s research activities and methodological capabilities in the areas such as the quantitative social sciences, advanced analytic methods, survey methodology, and data science, leading to reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions.

Along with the Statistics and Data Science Department, the new Methods Department provides the scientific foundation for NORC’s business with respect to the design of its research projects, analysis of data, and the interpretation and dissemination of findings. These departments enable NORC to develop and use the most effective methodological solutions along the continuum from the well-established to the emergent. This is an exciting opportunity for an incoming SVP/Methods to chart NORC’s future course in expanding its capabilities as opportunities emerge while building on NORC’s deep expertise in survey research and program evaluation, and its rapidly growing capabilities in the fields of analytics, data science, visualization, and data linkage.

Many of NORC’s projects and proposals, while being led by one of its research departments, require expertise and staff assistance from multiple departments. The SVP/Methods works with a highly cooperative group of SVPs of the other departments, as well as with other senior leaders in the company, to ensure success through cross-departmental collaboration. The SVP has profit and loss responsibility for the Methods department and manages a team that spans NORC’s offices in Bethesda and Chicago as well as off-site employees across the U.S. This includes a talented and growing team of 30 professionals including data scientists, economists, geographers, sociologists, and survey methodologists.

NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent non-profit research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to support key strategies and decision-making of leading organizations and businesses. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies on critical issues, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and upheld the highest standards of scientific integrity and quality. Today, clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge - NORC’s key substantive areas are Economics, Justice, and Society; Education and Child Development; Health and well-being; International Programs; and Public Affairs and Media.

Headquartered in Chicago’s downtown Loop, NORC has additional major offices at the University’s Hyde Park campus and in the greater Washington, DC area and three smaller satellite offices in Boston, Atlanta, and Sacramento.

NORC has been a pioneer in data collection, management, analysis, and dissemination, a proud contributor to creating essential knowledge and advancing social science research and methods. Its success derives directly from its unique character as a scientifically rigorous research institution that is closely affiliated with the University of Chicago, an inventive and entrepreneurial center of excellence, and a soundly run business. Looking to the future, NORC leadership is committed to continuing this success, to achieving a greater mix of high quality and important projects along the full spectrum of research, and to diversifying further its activities.

Due to current COVID-19 safety measures, employees who can work from home, are required to do so.  Once it is safe to resume standard practices of commuter travel and social interaction per government guidelines, we expect employees to maintain an office presence as required by projects needs and department leadership.


The Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences (‘Methods’) Department provides expertise on state-of-the-art methodologies that lead to insights about our society and inform decision making. Quantitative social scientists and data scientists provide expertise in methods to advance research in areas such as social science, program evaluation, and policy analysis. Examples include causal inference methods applied to data from randomized experiments or gathered from observational sources, natural language processing, network methods, and spatial modeling. Research methodologists provide expertise in using existing and emerging data sources of importance for NORC projects; harnessing novel data sources and technologies to improve data gathering; assessing and improving data quality; understanding the cognitive processes informing the user experience for survey respondents; designing instruments for multiple modes; and developing and testing novel techniques to enhance recruitment and retention of study participants. The Methods Department collaborates with all NORC subject matter departments and works closely with the Statistics and Data Science Department on areas of synergy and intersection.

  • Oversee, manage and lead all aspects of the Methods department including staff management and development; strategic partnerships; finance and operations; and business development efforts led by the department as well as collaborations with other NORC departments
  • Within the current NORC Strategic Plan, work with departmental staff to refine and implement the department’s long term vision and strategy
  • Collaborate with the NORC senior management team in meeting NORC-wide Strategic Plan goals
  • Strengthen cross-project and cross-department collaboration and partnering among all levels of staff
  • Establish the new Methods Department’s positioning internally and externally in research methodology and advanced quantitative social sciences. Strengthen and expand NORC’s capabilities in the use of emerging data sources and technologies for data gathering, processing, and analysis; and develop and apply advanced analytic methods that lead to insights in NORC’s key substantive research areas
  • Further grow the Methods research team’s capabilities through further development of current staff and strategic recruitment of new professionals
  • Build a cohesive team-oriented and transparent culture across geographically dispersed staff and foster an environment that promotes personal growth and professional development
  • Serve as a visible thought leader and methodological expert to further NORC’s mission and enhance the organization’s brand and prominence
  • Pursue own research agenda, through collaboration or leadership of projects and proposals, especially for topics of strategic importance
  • Regular travel to Chicago or Bethesda depending on location of position
  • Ph.D. in demography, economics, psychology, social sciences, sociology, policy analysis, survey methodology, epidemiology, biostatistics, or other relevant disciplines, or equivalent experience, is preferred
  • A future-oriented and innovative thinker who is developing leading edge solutions for analyzing different types of data
  • Reputation for excellence as a leader within a research methodology or analytic field evidenced by substantial publications, presentations to governmental organizations, industry groups, or academia, or other relevant and visible thought leadership activities
  • Strong commitment to fostering and building cross-disciplinary collaborations
  • Experience in building and advancing sound research methodologies for complex multidisciplinary research programs with multiple constituencies
  • Adept at responding to and winning large-scale projects through a competitive bidding process. Experience with business development under multiple types of mechanisms and with different types of clients are strengths
  • Exemplary communications skills and relationship building abilities, with willingness to engage internal and external stakeholders through multiple channels. Combines empathy, listening, and learning capabilities. A strong collaborator who actively seeks and incorporates feedback from staff of all levels
  • Strong leadership skills grounded in integrity and character and clarity of thought. A forthright view on business practices and financial management. Ensures business practices align with NORC’s values, maintains a sense of honesty, trust, transparency, and candor
  • Demonstrated experience as a proactive decision-maker who produces superb outcomes through effective management, mentoring, and retention of staff and business processes. Plans, budgets, tracks and evaluates performance, provides clear direction, sets high standards of excellence, rewards people based on performance and resolves performance issues respectfully and effectively

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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