In 2017, the California Community Colleges committed to the philosophy to “always design and decide with the student in mind.” Shortly after, the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office secured philanthropic funding to create the Student Centered Design Lab, the nation’s first lab dedicated to improving the community college student experience.
The Research Specialist will join the Student Centered Design Lab, a small but growing team housed in the Foundation’s Incubation Unit. The Student Centered Design Lab team applies design thinking, user experience (UX) frameworks, and market research methodologies to increase students’ access to and success within higher education.
This new role will be in charge of implementing research projects focused on improving technology platforms, communications campaigns, and public policy initiatives. Working closely with a variety of internal and external stakeholders, the Student Centered Design Lab team helps bring student voices into design and decision-making processes across the nation’s largest and most diverse system of higher education. The California Community Colleges currently serve more than 2.1 million students across 116 colleges.
Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities
• Translate complex concepts and project, system, and technical requirements into strategic, user-friendly, and intuitive solutions through the creation of personas, user journey maps, sketches, and low-fidelity wireframes, and more.
• Assist in driving the implementation of user experience methodologies and frameworks that articulate the product value proposition and inform product roadmaps.
• Monitor developments within the broader industry and professional community considering implications in light of product roadmaps.
• Support research planning, lead project implementation, and lead evaluation of formative and summative research, including product usability and product performance to identify student expectations, unmet needs, and gaps in the current experience.
• Articulate research findings and recommendations to diverse stakeholders at all levels, including business, technology, and project teams.
• Leverage user insights to define requirements needed to drive functional specifications and technical requirements.
• Make informed recommendations by interpreting business and product performance metrics, including website traffic through Google Analytics, and underlying drivers.
• Assist in defining longer term Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the Lab.
• Willingness to learn and collaboratively adhere to existing font, color, imagery style, and other brand standards and co-lead the development of Lab style.
• Proactively help the team identify and troubleshoot existing and potential UI/UX issues within existing or new projects, including adherence to WCAG 2.1 Level AA accessibility guidelines.
• Drive collaboration and help facilitate design-thinking conversations with cross-functional teams and stakeholders to move ideas through a project funnel from ideation through deployment as the initiative’s champion and owner.
• Assist in maintaining team alignment and awareness of design activities, timelines, and priorities among project leaders, peers and relevant department and cross-functional stakeholders.
• Participate in design sprints and design critiques that encourage team alignment and innovation.
• Facilitate meetings with clients and partners to effectively implement projects.
• Manage multiple projects simultaneously, ensuring project artifacts are complete, current, and retained appropriately.
• Ensure all work products are delivered on time and to the highest standard of quality.
• Assist in creating, sustaining, and optimizing operational practices and procedures to drive team efficiencies.
• Emulate and participate in a culture of shared leadership and promote organizational values.
• Build and cultivate relationships internally and externally where appropriate, act as organizational brand ambassador as needed and provide business development support and input where there is opportunity.
• Contribute to team effort by completing other projects and tasks as assigned.