Director of Research and Evaluation - Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH)
1. BASIC FUNCTIONS
The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) is a non-partisan research and policy partnership between academics, policy and decision makers, service providers and people with lived experience of homelessness. Led by Dr. Stephen Gaetz, President & CEO, the COH works in collaboration with partners to conduct and mobilize research designed to have an impact on solutions to homelessness. The COH evolved out of a 2008 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funded project called the Canadian Homelessness Research Network and is housed at York University.
To bridge the gap between research, policy and practice, the COH goes beyond the mandate of a traditional research institute. Through Hub Solutions — a COH social enterprise — we support agencies, communities and policy makers, to improve their capacity to end homelessness. Our philosophy is simple: through research, evaluation and communications, we can develop evidence-based solutions and together, solve homelessness.
What is Hub Solutions?
Our mandate is twofold. First, we seek to build the research, evaluation and design capacity of our partners, with the intention of improving our collective responses to homelessness. Second, income generated from Hub Solutions fee-for-service work, is reinvested into the COH to support research, innovation, policy recommendations and knowledge mobilization.
The Director of Research & Evaluation is responsible for planning, oversight, coordination and implementation of all research and evaluation activities of the COH’s social enterprise, Hub Solutions. Specific areas of responsibility include project development and implementation, business development, supervision of staff and promotion of the COH and its objectives. The Director of Research & Evaluation also provides support to the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab, including data analysis and report writing. The breadth of academic publication possibilities is exciting.
The Director of Research & Evaluation works closely with COH staff, including the President & CEO, the Chief Operating Officer, the Research & Evaluation Officers, the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab Research Assistants, and the communications team. The role also involves liaising with regional and national partner organizations, government representatives and bureaucrats, faculty members and staff at York University and other faculties/universities, as well as people with lived experience of homelessness.
2. MAJOR DUTIES
A. Operational Planning and Leadership
1. Work with the Chief Operating Officer in the implementation of the business plan for Hub Solutions.
2. Act as an advisor to the Chief Operating Officer on aspects of the COH’s research and evaluation activities, including the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab.
3. Take on a strong leadership role within the COH team, contributing to the building of a cohesive and motivated team that works in an environment that is flexible, adaptable and open to continuous change.
4. Act as a spokesperson for the COH and enhance its national and international reputation and profile.
B. Project Development and Management
1. Work with the Chief Operating Officer to secure funding to accomplish the COH’s goals and objectives.
2. Monitor calls for proposals and other opportunities to obtain funding for research and evaluation projects.
3. Respond to requests for proposals.
4. Oversee the planning and implementation of Hub Solutions and support planning and implementation of Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab projects.
5. Prepare project plans and budgets under the guidance of the Chief Operating Officer.
6. Develop project proposals, including work plans and budgets, for potential clients.
7. Work effectively with project stakeholders to develop a deep understanding of issues, create strategies for change, and work alongside stakeholders and the COH to develop those solutions.
8. Maintain awareness of best practices pertaining to program development and community-based research and evaluation.
9. Monitor project progress, ensuring that implementation is in harmony with the project/program specific plans, and report regularly on all activities.
10. Provide advice, assistance and direction to regional, topical and pan-Canadian evaluation and research projects.
11. Initiate, develop and maintain effective consultative and collaborative relationships and partnerships with internal and external stakeholders.
C. Research and Evaluation Activities
1. Supervise data collection and data analysis of Hub Solutions projects. Conduct data collection and data analysis, as necessary.
2. Support the development of surveys and interview protocols for Hub Solutions projects.
3. Support the submission of ethics applications for Hub Solutions projects.
4. Support the writing of technical and plain language reports for Hub Solutions and Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab projects.
5. Mobilize data and research from Hub Solutions projects and Making the Shift Demonstration Lab through academic publications.
D. Human Resources Planning and Management
1. Determine staffing requirements for research and evaluation projects.
2. Undertake day-to-day supervision of project staff, in consultation with the Chief Operating Officer, including approving vacation/time off and work schedules, coordinating workflow, monitoring progress and reviewing completed work.
3. Establish a positive, healthy and safe work environment in accordance with all appropriate legislation and regulations.
4. Recruit, interview and select staff that have the right technical and personal abilities to help further the evaluation team’s objectives.
5. Ensure that project staff receive an orientation to the COH and that appropriate training is provided.
6. Coach and mentor staff as appropriate to improve performance.
7. Discipline staff, in consultation with the Chief Operating Officer, as necessary.
Current staff complement under the Director of Research & Evaluation’s direction:
- Two Research & Evaluation Officers (Hub Solutions)
- Three Research Assistants (Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab)
- Undergraduate Research Assistants
- May include Post-Doctoral Fellows
E. Communications and Public Liaison
1. Establish good working relationships and collaborative arrangements with partners, funders, community groups, government representatives and other stakeholders to help achieve the goals of the COH.
2. Serve as the primary contact/resource for the research and evaluation activities of Hub Solutions.
3. Respond to media requests pertaining to research and evaluation projects, as appropriate.
4. Establish and maintain liaison with the COH’s external key contacts, including partner universities, partner NGOs, institutes, governmental and non-governmental agencies, the private sector and involved individuals. This includes representing the President & CEO, Chief Operating Officer and the COH at strategically important meetings inside and outside the University.
5. Establish and maintain liaison with key internal contacts within the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Office of Research Ethics, the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, the Office of Research Services, Research Accounting, the Knowledge Mobilization Unit, and the York Foundation. Liaise with YU Organized Research Units, as required.
F. Knowledge Mobilization
1. Distill research into plain language documents that are easily accessible to a non-academic audience.
2. Prepare content for publication, based on research conducted by the research and evaluation team, including book chapters, reports, toolkits, case studies, blog posts, executive summaries, policy and media relations documents, etc.
3. Mobilize data and research from Hub Solutions projects and Making the Shift Demonstration Lab through academic publications.
4. Provide input on knowledge mobilization plans developed by the communications team, including identifying key messages from the research to support the creation of social media content and other outputs
G. Financial Planning and Management
1. Prepare comprehensive budgets and projections for research and evaluation projects in accordance with specific guidelines and requirements of York and external funding agencies.
H. Other responsibilities as delegated by the Director of Operations
1. Carry out other responsibilities as assigned by and agreed with the Chief Operating Officer and CEO.
A. Educational Requirements
PhD degree required (or equivalent), with specialization in qualitative and quantitative methods and analysis.
B. Experience Requirements
5+ years of recent related experience (preferably in an academic or NGO environment). Graduate research experience required, as is familiarity with homelessness and social justice issues.
C. Skills and Competencies
- Strong understanding of community-based research and evaluation methods including logic model development, process evaluations, and outcome evaluations.
- Strong knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methods and analysis including survey creation and administration.
- Knowledge of leadership and management principles as they relate to non-profit organizations and educational institutions.
- Knowledge of project management principles.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills are essential; public relations skills; excellent organizational, planning, coordination and analytical skills.
- Strong computer skills, including data analysis software, word processing, spreadsheets (Excel) and web-based applications.
- Competence in both official languages (French and English) an asset.
The Director of Research & Evaluation should demonstrate competence in the following areas:
- Adaptability: Demonstrate a willingness to be flexible, versatile and/or tolerant in a changing work environment while maintaining effectiveness and efficiency.
- Behave Ethically: Understand ethical behaviour and business practices and ensure that own behaviour and the behaviour of others is consistent with these standards and aligns with the values of the COH.
- Build Relationships: Establish and maintain positive working relationships with others, both internally and externally, to achieve the goals of the COH.
- Communicate Effectively: Speak, listen and write in a clear, thorough and timely manner using appropriate and effective communication tools and techniques.
- Creativity/Innovation: Develop new and unique ways to improve operations of the COH and to create new opportunities.
- Focus on Stakeholder Needs: Anticipate, understand, and respond to the needs of internal and external stakeholders to meet or exceed their expectations within the organizational parameters.
- Foster Teamwork: Work cooperatively and effectively with others to set goals, resolve problems, and make decisions that enhance organizational effectiveness.
- Lead: Positively influence others to achieve results that are in the best interest of the COH.
- Make Decisions: Assess situations to determine the importance, urgency and risks, and make clear decisions which are timely and in the best interests of the COH.
- Organize: Set priorities, develop a work schedule, monitor progress towards goals, and track details, data, information and activities.
- Plan: Determine strategies to move the COH evaluation team forward, set goals, create and implement actions plans, and evaluate the process and results.
- Solve Problems: Assess problem situations to identify causes, gather and process relevant information, generate possible solutions, and make recommendations and/or resolve the problem.
- Think Strategically: Assesses options and actions based on trends and conditions in the environment, and the vision and values of the COH.
Our Commitment to a Diverse Culture & Reconciliation
Authentic Reconciliation benefits everyone; we believe in a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. We ensure equal opportunity for all applicants and encourage people of all visible minorities, including Indigenous applicants, and those of any religion, sex, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression to apply for our job opportunities.
4. APPLICATION PROCESS
Applicants should submit an up-to-date resume, a letter of interest, their top three publications (published or in press), a plain language writing sample, and up to three references by email to the COH’s Chief Operating Officer, Allyson Marsolais (firstname.lastname@example.org).