Director of Regional Policy

The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute is the primary applied research and public service arm of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Its mission is to meet the community research and technical support needs of the state’s urban and developing areas. A primary geographic focus of the Institute’s activities is the Charlotte Region, the 14 county area surrounding the City of Charlotte, the largest city in the Carolinas.

Job summary:
The Director of Regional Policy is responsible for developing, maintaining and coordinating a program of regional policy research and analysis for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, with a particular focus on the intersection of transportation policy and other regional planning issues, such as land use, economic development, environmental management, and housing. This position brings together the work of several of the institute’s past programs (including its former Center for Transportation Policy Studies, the Land Use and Environmental Planning Division, and its Economic Research unit) to a create a new unit addressing the interconnectivity of regional planning issues for the greater Charlotte region.

The position combines research, analysis, and outreach to establish the institute as a primary strategic partner and go-to resource for stakeholders seeking to understand how best to integrate local and regional policy decisions for a more sustainable and resilient future for the Charlotte region, including how regional planning issues related to the social and economic well-being of its residents. The person in this position will work closely with the institute’s research leadership team to pursue research opportunities that inform regional policy and coordinate a robust outreach strategy for engaging the public.

Responsibilities:
Policy Research & Analysis (Expected 50% of Position Effort)
• The Director of Regional Policy is expected to guide and engage in regional policy research and analysis in collaboration with the Institute’s research leadership team, including pursuit of funding opportunities that engage the institute’s research staff and university faculty in research that informs regional policy issues
• The Director of Regional Policy is expected to bring a distinguished record of research in at least one of several regional planning-related fields, including but not limited to transportation policy, land use, economic development, environmental management, and housing. The person will be expected to leverage this research expertise into an ongoing program of research focused on regional systems of sustainability, with a priority placed on research that is interdisciplinary in nature, and which fosters collaborative partnerships with faculty in related policy fields
• The Director of Regional Policy will work closely with the institute’s Director and the research leadership team to identify research projects to address regional planning issues that also take advantage of the varied skills and expertise of the institute’s core research team, including technical skills (such as data analysis, mapping & visualization, survey research, etc.) and topical expertise (such as demographics, housing analysis, and economic data)
• The Director of Regional Policy provides senior leadership to the Regional Indicators data resource, including its relaunch, the ongoing incorporation of new and relevant data, ensuring its relevance and use in the region, and coordinating updates and maintenance with the Director of Research Analytics
• The person in this position is engaged in project conceptualization, proposal writing, compliance with research protocols, project and staff management, conducting research, and report writing
• The person in this position will develop and oversee a team of policy research analysts around regional planning issues. Initially, the position will oversee only one analyst (in school transportation planning), but over time will work with the institute’s director to identify funding to establish additional analyst positions in other policy fields, including transportation, the economy, the environment, land use, and housing
• The person in this position plays a prominent role in the dissemination of research findings and with the Director of Community & Research Engagement, will help coordinate the dissemination of policy research findings to practitioners, the media and the general public, and will seek collaborative partnerships to advance regional strategies for sustainability-related challenges, such as the coordination of transportation and land use decisions, the development of economic renewal strategies, and environmental stewardship
• The Director of Regional Policy will stay informed of the literature and best practices related to sustainability and regional planning at the local, state and national levels, and will prioritize research that has universal applications to advance scholarship in a broad range of academic disciplines related to sustainability and regional planning
Regional Policy Relationships (Expected 20% of Position Effort)
• The Director of Regional Policy will serve as a primary liaison between the institute and regional policy stakeholders, in coordination with the Director and the Director of Community & Research Engagement
• The person in this position will develop and maintain close relationships with practitioners in fields associated with regional planning, including but not limited to transportation policy, land use, economic development, environmental management, and housing. This includes close relationships with other regional partners, including regional planning organizations, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, and the various councils of government that serve the Charlotte region Through these relationships, the person will stay current on regional trends and emerging issues related to planning policy, and identify opportunities for collaborative work around regional sustainability
• The person in this position will be available as a resource for regional policy stakeholders, including policy makers, the media and others looking to understand sustainability issues within a regional context
• The Director of Regional Policy will work closely with the Director of Community & Research Engagement to identify topics and content for inclusion in the institutes live and online engagement activities, including the annual Schul Forum Series. She/he will be expected to be a regular contributor of articles to the institute’s online communications, and help identify “guest writers” on sustainability topics of interest to the Charlotte region
• The person in this position will establish and maintain close relationships with other university entities focusing on sustainability issues, including: the PhD in Public Policy program; the transportation programs affiliated with the Lee College of Engineering; the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate at the Belk College of Business; the interdisciplinary INSS sustainability collaborative; the Center for Applied GIS; and various urban and regional planning programs
affiliated with the university’s colleges and departments (Arts + Architecture, Geography & Earth Sciences, etc.)
UNC Charlotte Urban Institute Administration/Operations (Expected 15% of Position Effort)
• The Director of Regional Policy is a member of the institute’s senior leadership team. This team facilitates the institute’s long-term goals and program emphasis through the development of periodic, 5-year strategic plans, along with the team’s oversight of the annual planning and budgeting process that assure the alignment of the institute’s day-to-day activities with those long-term goals
• The person in this position is expected to attend regular meetings of the senior leadership team, and to contribute to annual budgeting and performance reports
• The person will also represent the institute as needed on key university committees and task forces on an ad hoc basis (however, the position is not currently assigned to any standing university committees and/or boards as an expectation of duties)
• As a supervisor, the individual is required to fulfill all obligations regarding personnel management, including hiring, terminating, training and disciplining (see the section below). This includes ensuring that all annual performance reviews are completed in a thorough and timely manner and that there is consistent and clear communication concerning institute and university policies
Other Constituent Relations (Expected 15% of Position Effort)
In addition to developing and maintaining strong regional partnerships related to policy issues, the Director of Regional Policy is also expected to assist with other constituent relations activities. The position will be called upon occasionally as an ambassador for the institute’s work in meetings with the University’s administration, the institute’s advisory board, major donors, and key stakeholders. This role may include the giving of presentations, the preparation of materials, and participation in social/networking events.

Education and experience:
• A graduate degree in a public policy-related field, such as transportation policy, public administration, city & regional planning, housing and real estate, environmental management, etc., and at least seven years of experience in developing and implementing research and service projects is required
• Experience must include a track record of successful public policy research projects, particularly quantitative research, as well as project management experience, interdisciplinary collaboration, and leadership ability
• The employee must have the ability to develop project plans; organize and carry out projects within budget and time constraints; supervise and coordinate project staff; prepare reports; speak effectively in public and express ideas clearly in writing; maintain good interpersonal relationships with diverse groups of people; and exercise judgment and discretion in applying and interpreting policies and procedures
• The person in the position must demonstrate a commitment to teamwork and consensus-building
• This job involves a considerable amount of contact with other institutes professional staff, UNC Charlotte faculty and administrative staff, students, public and private sector agency staff, and the general public. The person in this job must have superb interpersonal skills (including oral and written communication) and be able to communicate with both technical and non-technical personnel. This job is highly visible to the University and the general public

Knowledge, skills and experience
• A terminal degree in a public policy-related field, such as transportation policy, public administration, city & regional planning, housing and real estate, environmental management, etc., is preferred
• Other preferred education, knowledge, skills and experience include: Previous experience in a university environment; familiarity with local and/or state nonprofit organizations and government agencies; proposal writing, and post-award management; demonstrated abilities in organizational planning and strategy development; a demonstrated ability to partner and lead through influence, across organizational lines