The Housing Initiative at Penn invites applications for a Senior Director to lead a team including a Research Director, one postdoctoral researcher, three full-time research associates, and four to six graduate student interns conducting empirical research related to housing insecurity, economic precarity, and public assistance. HIP is dedicated to achieving more effective, equitable housing policy at the local, state, and national levels. HIP advances policy through rigorous research, civic partnerships, and honest and inclusive planning processes.

The primary responsibilities of the Senior Director will include identifying new research opportunities and partnerships, leading daily operations, providing policy expertise, supervising staff, managing budgets and internal processes, and interfacing with policymakers, foundations, other scholars, and the wider policy community. Working closely with HIP’s Faculty Director, Vincent Reina, and HIP’s Research Director, Katharine Nelson, the Senior Director will also conduct strategic planning and visioning to guide the selection of policy-relevant projects, build the team’s capacity and expertise, and disseminate HIP’s research to key actors. The ideal applicant will have a background in public policy, research, and/or nonprofit leadership, and excellent strategic thinking, interpersonal, and communication skills.

Essential Functions

Partnership Development:

  • Builds relationships with policymakers, foundations, and other research centers
  • Works directly with municipal and other partners to conceptualize and design large-scale research projects
  • Represents HIP in external settings and helps raise HIP’s visibility, including by serving on panels, organizing research symposia, and appearing on other public platforms
  • Collaborates with staff to develop and coordinate public messaging

Leadership and Management:

  • Provides overall vision and leadership for HIP to achieve its core goals and objectives
  • Monitors housing policy developments to identify emerging issues and opportunities for HIP research
  • Supervises staff, facilitates team meetings, and ensures completion of all deliverables and reporting to funders
  • Monitors and pursues funding opportunities
  • Leads daily operations, including work plans, staffing, and financial management
  • Interfaces with Weitzman School of Design and PennPraxis leadership and administrative staff, with University Office of Research Services, and with other bodies within the University of Pennsylvania as necessary


  • Relevant professional experience, including experience leading a large-scale initiative and managing staff in an academic, nonprofit, or government environment
  • Demonstrated commitment to promoting racial and socioeconomic equity in public policy
  • Policy expertise related to affordable housing, community or economic development, or social welfare
  • Comfort with quantitative research and data analysis
  • Experience building effective relationships with diverse stakeholders, including with policymakers, community-based organizations, researchers, advocates, and philanthropic organizations
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Strong strategic thinking and decision-making skills
  • Graduate degree in public policy, public administration, urban planning, or another relevant field
  • Details:
  • Full-time salaried position
  • Salary commensurate with experience
  • Competitive benefits package via the University of Pennsylvania
  • Option to work remotely but with expectation of periodic travel to Philadelphia; computing equipment, software licenses, etc. will be provided

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and list of three references via Interfolio (link below). Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The posting will remain open until the position is filled. Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

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