Senior Technical Advisor- MERL, Education

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Overview

Background:

Creative Associates International is a dynamic, fast-growing global development firm that specializes in education, economic growth, governance and post-crisis stabilization. Based in Washington, D.C., Creative has a field presence in more than 25 countries with a strong client portfolio that includes the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department, among others. Since its founding in 1977, Creative has earned a solid reputation among its clients and is well-regarded by competitors and partners alike.

Position Summary:

Creative seeks a Education Sector Specialist, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) Senior Technical Advisor (STA) to provide technical expertise and leadership in monitoring, evaluation and research for large multi-year international development efforts in the education sector and include a focus on learning outcomes, including early grade reading, early grade math, socio-emotional learning and teacher performance in both conflict and post-conflict settings. Work will include establishing MERL systems to monitor progress, measure achievement of results and assess impact, to respond to client requirements, provide empirical evidence of best practice, and expand the knowledge base. This position will strengthen organizational and staff capacity to design and implement fidelity of implementation, performance, and impact evaluation strategies for the review of the Education Division and its projects.

Key elements of this role include providing oversight of capacity building, programmatic and managerial efforts as a subject matter expertise champion in the Education Sector MERL as well as tailoring and adapting in-depth technical thought leadership from a senior technical advisory role or senior field research role to overall strategy and work plans. This also includes monitoring market trends and business opportunities in his/her technical area, developing and implementing innovative and state-of-the-art programmatic solutions, writing technical components of proposals, and working with COPs and DCOPs to advance organizational learning in the technical area. Work assignments also include resolving issues to assure successful technical programs, and leading technical representation of MERL approaches and practices in the field, HQ, and with strategic partners and clients. As a leader on the HQ team, the Senior Technical Advisor is a seasoned networker supporting aspects of technical program capture and implementation, and may have staff management responsibilities to direct and manage staff. The STA travels internationally to perform many of the responsibilities of the role.

Reporting & Supervision:

The STA reports to a Senior Director, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning.

The STA may supervise Technical Advisors, Technical Directors, and/or (Sr.) and Technical Managers.

NOTE: Different company initiatives require different levels of technical management leadership skills based on their strategic importance, complexity, specificity, scope, and geographic location. Creative formally sanctions, and reserves the right to modify, the skill and position level(s) needed for each initiative.

Expected Outcomes:

Leadership

Provides superior technical leadership guidance and management support. Leads expert level contributions to programming, business development and resources in a specific technical area that leads to successfully implemented field programs. Provides technical area leadership to the programmatic division that helps position Creative as a thought leader and expert implementer by clients in the technical area. Ensures field perspectives and client strategy are reflected in technical activities on all projects.

Technical Leadership

Positions Creative as a leader with expert level research and contributions to technical resources, serving as a subject matter expert helping to expand the company’s portfolio in a specific technical area. Leads the representation of the company in managing client relations and in positioning and expanding the company’s technical depth. Brings field expertise into discussions on corporate strategy in a specific technical area, assuring that cross-cutting themes relative that technical area are included in each geographical area and sector strategy. Facilitates leadership in emerging themes in the technical area, enabling staff to access the latest technical policy and best practice materials.

New Business Development

Positions Creative as a top implementer in a specific technical area by actively leading capture activities and contributing technical expertise on new business development efforts and writing strong, winning proposals. Key leader in annual work planning at the global and country level in identifying bid opportunities in the technical area. STAs bring an entrepreneurial spirit, seizing opportunities in the local marketplace, creating and nurturing opportunities for new business generation, and visibly represents the company with stakeholders. Plans and executes new business pursuits with technical insight and intellectual curiosity.

Learning & Adaptation

Contributes significantly to Creative’s visibility and excellence in the specific technical area by actively participating in external networks and communities of practice, providing short-term technical assistance to field programs and leading capacity building efforts locally. Develops and cultivates networks of technical and functional experts to access for learning and adaptation across the business. Improves technical and operational capacity through implementation of best practices, promoting all avenues of peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. This position will also support project efforts to design sound data collection techniques, sampling methodologies, and Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) activities to measure program outcomes, test theories of change, and ensure functioning feedback loops for adaptive management.

Staff Management**

STAs tangibly support Technical Advisors, Technical Directors and Technical Managers technically and professionally; their professional objectives and personal needs are well understood, as are those of COPs in the field. Staff management responsibilities may include direct supervision of Technical Management staff which would include meaningful, constructive and timely performance assessments.

Responsibilities

Primary Responsibilities:

The MERL ED Senior Technical Advisor is expected to support project monitoring, evaluation and research needs. Project specific roles and responsibilities to be fulfilled are tailored to each project, but will include the following activities:

Lead the development of project PMEP plans and support their implementation in the field; Lead and/or support (as required) the implementation of learner assessment (baselines, midlines, end lines) from design, training, data collection, analysis, reporting and application of results, including policy briefs; Lead the development and support implementation of project LEMA/LQAS efforts; Lead internal fidelity of implementation and data quality monitoring for assigned education projects; Support the professional development of local stakeholder (including Ministry of Education officials) in advancing their M&E and research plans, data analysis capacity and data use in planning to improve quality of education; Assist in the development of community engagement evaluations; Provide quality control support of project M&E, research and student assessment deliverables submitted by partners prior to submission to the client; Assist in the development and implementation of community engagement evaluations; Lead and/or support (as appropriate) project research plan development, implementation analysis, reporting and report dissemination, with emphasis on research that informs policy and cost efficient and effective programming; Lead and/or support (as appropriate) the design and implementation of risk assessments as required by the client for projects being implemented in conflict areas; Support the application of the ICAT self-assessment with local stakeholders and the related stakeholder development of action plans addressing capacity gaps identified through the assessments; Revise School and Center Safety Standards (S/CSS) and associated training packages. Support the full institutionalization of Creative’s global indicators and the Monitoring and Evaluation Database for Adaptive Learning (MEDAL), by assisting projects in adopting and fully utilizing MEDAL to streamline M&E data and enhance CLA across the company; Provide specific mentoring guidance during project startup, initial implementation, baseline, mid-term, final evaluations and close-out periods of the project cycle, as well as annual assessment to report on outcome level indicators; Conduct internal data quality audits of project MEL systems; Support the selection and recruitment of project-level and field-based M&E Managers and consultants for proposals and ongoing projects; Collaborate with the Knowledge Management team to integrate learning into M&E while collecting lessons learned to inform future program design and implementation as well as contribute to the dissemination and use of lessons learned within the international partner organizations community. The MERL ED Senior Technical Advisor is expected to support new business development activities, which will include support to both capture efforts and to proposal development for active bids. Business development support will include:

Support the development of theories of change that underpin proposal project approaches and designs; Lead the development of required results frameworks, PMEPs, proposed research plans, and other such documents required as part of proposal submissions package; Engage in the design process identifying viable approaches, activities, results and measures; Draft complexity aware AMELP approaches that report on activity progress and captures situational knowledge significant to successful implementation. The MERL ED Senior Technical Advisor, is expected to support the Education Divisions broader MERL aims that include:

Build the knowledge and capacity of education field M&E and research teams through project related support; Contribute to the Education Divisions presence in the professional community as thought leaders in monitoring, evaluation and research, including those specific to conflict environments; Support the development of a division research plan that engages multiple projects around core research questions for the benefit of Creative, it’s Clients, and the advancement of the international education field. Qualifications Minimum Skills & Qualifications

MA. in Education or closely related field with focus on education, Ph.D. preferred; Minimum of 15 years of demonstrated experience in the design of monitoring and evaluation systems of education projects, with experience including projects in crisis and conflict-affected environments; Minimum of five years of field experience implementing M&E system for large USG Education funded projects; Current knowledge of research centered on education, including early grade reading and education in conflict and crisis, that includes both qualitative and quantitative methods and procedures and measures for assessing progress on pertinent issues; Experience in leading innovative, state-of-the-art programmatic solutions in MERL, in establishing technical networks, local partner relationships, and leading technical experts; Demonstrated sophisticated knowledge and experience in measuring educational (learning) outcomes, including knowledge, skills, dispositions, behaviors, competencies, using common constructs, such as self-efficacy, collective efficacy, self-regulation, metacognitive awareness, GRIT, that might be correlated with performance changes, such as in a student’s ability to read; Demonstrated extensive experience in data collection; statistical analysis; and reporting; including experience with computer-based statistical packages and databases (Epi Info, ACCESS, SPSS, ATLAS; NVivo, MAXQDA; SAS, etc.); Demonstrated knowledge in employing implementation science and quality assurance (e.g. LQAS) to measure critical variables, such as fidelity of implementation, dosage, receptivity, etc. that may impact the size of the effect of project and program interventions; Experience working with international donors, as well as counterparts and beneficiaries (e.g., international and local NGOs and government representatives); Knowledge of M&E approach of other, non-US donor or Agencies); and Good understanding of gender, environmental, and working with special needs issues in development. Excellent writing and communication skills; Ability to establish priorities and meet deadlines and to initiate and implement activities with minimal oversight and supervision; Strong leadership, interpersonal, communication, problem-solving, and team-work skills; Proficiency in spoken and written English; The ability and willingness to travel internationally and in crisis and conflict-affected areas; Comprehensive knowledge of Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, MS Project, etc.). Desired Skills and Qualifications

Ph.D. or other terminal degree in a technical area; Proficiency in a language other than English. PI155859244

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