Postdoctoral Research Position Opening, Summer 2016 Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development Tufts University

Postdoctoral Research Position Opening, Summer 2016


Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development

Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development

Tufts University


The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University seeks a qualified Ph.D.-level researcher for a postdoctoral research position.  The initial appointment will be for one year, with the possibility of extension for an additional 1-2 years or longer depending on available funding.  The position involves work on a new international collaboration involving Compassion International, Tufts University, Boston College and Fuller Theological Seminary.


Project Description


Across the world there are more than one billion children living in persistent and pervasive poverty, with about 400 million living in extreme poverty. Such marginalization creates an often self-fulfilling trap of hopelessness about their chances to thrive or grow into healthy, fulfilled, and responsible adults. Adding to poverty’s cruel attack on generation after generation of human lives, this waste of human capital has pronounced and burgeoning, dire effects on geopolitics, the world’s economic system, and global peace.


                       Compassion’s response: Holistic youth development. The holistic youth development programs of Compassion International (CI) constitute a powerful, evidence-based (Wydick, 2013), ecologically valid, scalable, and sustainable remedy to the global catastrophe represented by the plight of the world’s population of poor children.


                       Compassion’s unique approach. Compassion’s programs integratively and uniquely capitalize on: (1) A strengths-based approach to youth development reflected in the positive youth development (PYD) model, which has been successful in promoting thriving among diverse American youth and is now being adopted in almost two dozen nations in both the global north and the global south; and (2) The documented importance of sustained religious faith as a unique and fundamental asset in the lives of all people and, perhaps especially, youth from the poorest ecological settings.


CI’s integrative model offers over 1.6 million of the world’s poorest children a developmentally and context-sensitive life journey marked by personal fulfillment (health, well-being, faith, and spiritual richness) and responsibility (to self, family, and civil society, and God).


Research plan


Building upon recent independent, peer-reviewed evidence that CI’s programs produce sustained impact in adults (Wydick, 2013), we will uniquely study the longitudinal development of youth involved in CI’s programs in three nations, the first being El Salvador.  The other two will be located in Africa and Asia.  In each nation we will compare the development of CI program participants to youth who are not participating in CI’s programs to identify what works, with what children, in what context, over what time period.


The results of this project will demonstrate how a proven model synthesizing a faith-based approach to youth development — with 15+ years of evidence-based research on the individual and ecological bases of PYD — can be scaled globally to enhance the likelihood that poor youth will become fulfilled and responsible leaders in their nations. The results will catalyze CI’s global efforts, expanding the numbers of youth who thrive.


Job Description


The Institute needs a highly-motivated individual able to work efficiently and productively in a fast-paced, multifaceted research environment.  Based on the various needs of the project, the candidate should be able to work successfully as a team member on some project goals and independently on others.  Flexibility in work hours and availability for travel is essential.


The individual will play a large role in the design and implementation of all aspects of this new study.   This work will involve design, organization, and maintenance of cohort sequential longitudinal data sets.   Although we are seeking a fellow with expertise in quantitative analysis, due to the presence of both quantitative and qualitative aspects of all studies, candidates with backgrounds in mixed methods are desirable. 


This person will serve as the project manager and liaison with the partners in this collaboration.  Much of the data collection will be completed in the participating country by Compassion International.  The Postdoctoral Fellow will coordinate that effort from the Institute office with with CI staff.  The candidate will also supervise staff and students at Tufts and help to coordinate the work of students and staff with research partners.  Excellent organizational skills and strong interpersonal skills including the ability to communicate effectively and in an engaging manner is vital.  The ability to actively participate as a team player, manage details, track participant progress, maintain relationships with collaborators, think creatively, work independently, and meet deadlines is also important in this role.

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:


Development of measures;

Managing the overall logistical tasks of the project including data collection methods, IRB approval and site outreach and communication;

Supervising and mentoring graduate students and research coordinators;

Data management and analysis of large sample multi-method data;

Presentation of research findings at national and international meetings;

Publication of research findings in peer-reviewed journals and special interest publications;

Grant writing and report writing for funders;

Project management in consultation with the PI.




Ph.D. or Ed.D. in a social science field with a focus on adolescent development (psychology, sociology, child development, family studies, education);


Experience using advanced quantitative statistical methods (e.g., confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation models, multi-level models) and/or qualitative methods (e.g., including different software packages, coding procedures, and knowledge of mixed method approaches);

Background in qualitative analysis and mixed-methods research;

Demonstrated interest and commitment to work in youth development;

Enthusiasm for intellectual rigor and engagement;

Excellent writing ability and publication record;

Ability and willingness to work productively in a fast-paced and often demanding environment, with deadlines;

Experience working in a team environment; ability to work both independently and collaboratively;

Good interpersonal skills;

Working knowledge/ability to use different languages (e.g., Spanish) is desirable.


Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  Please send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, 2-3 publications, and the names and contact information of three references to:


Heidi Johnson, Managing Director, Tufts University, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development  More information is available at: