Operations Lead

California, United States
15 Nov 2018
End of advertisement period
15 Jan 2019
Contract Type
Full Time


The Social Problem-Solving Accelerator is a new university-wide initiative at Stanford University. The Accelerator’s goal is to spur cutting-edge social science research that yields new solutions to challenging social and public policy problems.

Although still in the design phase, the Accelerator is envisioned as a platform that will: (a) connect talented researchers and motivated practitioners around concrete problems, (b) house, resource, and support these partnerships, (c) gather evidence to identify potential interventions, (d) launch and evaluate interventions, and (e) scale promising solutions. These partnerships will span substantive areas including poverty and inequality, health and education, criminal justice, the environment, economic opportunity, governance and polarization, and national security. We call these partnerships problem-focused labs, and the university’s aspiration is to build an infrastructure that powers the application of social science to parallel an existing pipeline that drives innovation in industry.

The Accelerator will also play a central role in rethinking how Stanford trains the next generation of researchers and students committed to tackling social and policy problems, whether through the private, social, or public sectors.

Through applied research and new models of undergraduate and graduate education, our ambition is to reimagine the university as an engine for tackling real-world problems using the best data, evidence, and technology.

The Operations Lead, with faculty support, will be responsible for developing an operational plan and managing a set of pilot activities (pilots may include a university-wide grants program, an open competition to identify government and non-profit partners, and an effort to spur curricular innovation). The Operations Lead will work closely with the Accelerator’s faculty co-leaders and the cross-university design team (including faculty from Humanities & Sciences, Law, Business Education, Engineering) in developing the operational plan and end-to-end development and execution of the initial pilot programs. Specific duties include:

  • Inform the long-term strategy and direction for the Social Problem-Solving Accelerator and develop the operational plan
  • Define the pilots, their duration, and their success criteria
  • Conduct best practices research around examples at Stanford and other universities of programs similar to the proposed pilots
  • Drive end-to-end development and execution of initial pilot programs, from launch through evaluation
    • Develop policies and procedures for pilots (e.g. applications procedures, rubrics evaluating grant applications)
    • Launch the pilots and lead all operational and logistical work to keep them on schedule
    • Monitor the pilots and regularly report to stakeholders
    • Perform basic budgeting around the pilots and financial tracking while they are running
  • Draft internal communications and basic marketing materials targeting the Stanford community
  • Manage or help to manage internal (professors, university staff, administrators) and external (foundations, governments, not-for-profits, donors) stakeholders
  • Evaluate the pilots and help to define the future direction and growth of the Accelerator


Lead and manage programs or functions under minimal supervision.


  • Lead the planning and operations for programs or functions that have significant business, regulatory and/or technical challenges requiring subject matter expertise.
  • Evaluate programs or functions, policies and procedures. Identify issues, and develop alternative solutions which may include changes to programs, policies and procedures.
  • Review and analyze trends to advise and develop recommendations to achieve or modify the goals of the program or function.
  • Represent the program or function within the department, unit or school by committing resources and provide information and/or training. Represent the program or function at the university level and/or to external/internal stakeholders and constituencies.
  • Manage and contribute to the development of outreach strategy that may include relationship development, communications and compliance.
  • May develop and/or oversee budgets; manage finances including monitoring, analyzing, forecasting, and reporting.
  • Assess training needs and may develop associated training.
  • May direct and/or supervise staff.

* - Other duties may also be assigned


Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree and five years of relevant experience, or combination of education and relevant experience.
  • Experience with the development, administration, implementation, and evaluation of programs desired. Degree in law, economics, political science, public policy, statistics, engineering, or computer science preferred. 

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrated ability to establish priorities, manage shifting priorities, and handle numerous time-sensitive projects with multiple deadlines.
  • Ability to accomplish goals working through formal and informal channels, with diplomacy and tactfulness.
  • Demonstrated creativity, problem solving, critical analysis, initiative, judgment and, decision-making skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and meet budget goals.
  • Demonstrated solid planning and organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated experience working independently and as part of a team.
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong relevant subject matter knowledge.
  • Ability to direct the work of others, for jobs requiring supervision.
  • Proven ability to work in academic and/or government settings, with a preferred focus on domestic policy issues desired.
  • Strong background in data science, empirical social science, and/or public policy preferred.

Certifications and Licenses:

  • None


  • Constantly perform desk-based computer tasks.
  • Frequently stand/walk, sitting, grasp lightly/fine manipulation.
  • Occasionally use a telephone.
  • Rarely lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh 11-20 pounds.

* - Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.



  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.
  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide, http://adminguide.stanford.edu.


Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. 

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