The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is the regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of North Carolina’s fishing, hunting, trapping, and boating laws. The Commission’s mission is to conserve North Carolina’s wildlife resources and their habitats and to provide programs and opportunities that allow hunters, anglers, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy wildlife-associated recreation. The Commission employs more than 650 full-time staff across the state and is seeking applicants for a Social Research Specialist III (working title: “Social Scientist”) for our Wildlife Conservation Policy and Analysis Office.
The Office of Conservation Policy and Analysis is responsible for informing, recommending, and developing statewide public policy and regulations for the agency. This office engages agency constituents and the public and seeks to understand their perspectives on the State's natural resources, wildlife management, and agency function. They then use this qualitative and quantitative data to examine current and future agency programs, policies and regulations, to improve the chances of successful outcomes.
The Social Scientist is responsible for:
-Planning and conducting advanced social science and economic research related to wildlife and fish, game lands management and use, license sales, and education efforts to support the agency's program and policy development;
-Implementing advanced methodologies for data collection and statistical analysis of data to meet project objectives; and
-Providing leadership and expert advice on incorporation of conservation social science into natural resources management to better understand issues and priorities and develop and implement more effective policies and actions.
Additional responsibilities of the Social Scientist will include:
-Collaborating with agency biologists and managers to develop research questions and establish integration of social science into decision-making.
-Developing an understanding of all public-facing agency programs and identifying opportunities to evaluate program process, impact, effectiveness, and efficiency.
-Reviewing internal and external social science research proposals for legitimacy and validity – advising on research design and providing recommendations for enhanced efficiency and effectiveness.
-Establishing social science goals and objectives for the agency.
-Providing instruction and guidance to agency staff on research involving human subjects.
-Developing annual research budgets.
-Assisting in preparation of regulatory impact analyses.
-Communicating with a variety of audiences to collect data and report on the use of social science tools, resources, and research to address conservation and wildlife management challenges/questions.
-Applying an inter-agency approach as well as networking and partnering skills to create broad support for data sharing.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities / Competencies
Individual in this position should have:
-Ability to identify the need for social science studies and recommend the appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative method(s) to use when designing a study.
-Advanced knowledge of methods and techniques used in gathering, editing, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting social science information.
-Advanced knowledge of statistical principles and analytical techniques used in collecting, interpreting, and reporting data.
-Experience and ability to independently design and implement quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques and tools, including questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, and participant observation.
-Experience in managing multiple, concurrent projects and or multifaceted/complex projects and programs.
-Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with agency personnel, officials, and the public.
-Ability to facilitate focus groups, conduct interviews, and facilitate meetings.
-Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, through a variety of correspondence including as the ability to diffuse controversy through accurate, thorough, and meaningful communications.
- Ability to prioritize program activities, plan and work independently and collaboratively, and complete projects in an accurate and timely manner.
-Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing to Commission staff, the public, sportsmen groups, and other constituencies.
Management prefers applicants with the following demonstrated characteristics:
-Strong project management, analytical, and problem-solving skills.
-Knowledge and understanding of natural resources and wildlife-associated recreation topics and issues.
-Experience in conducting independent research.
-Data science skills.
-Ability to work independently and in a team setting.