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Internal Application: Director of Research - Joan Ganz Cooney Center

Joan Ganz Cooney Center | New York, NY | Full Time

Job Description

Sesame Workshop is looking to hire a Director of Research - Joan Ganz Cooney Center.  The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop seeks a dynamic Director of Research to oversee a wide variety of functions. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Research will be responsible for spearheading different aspects of field and applied research, as well as related projects, fundraising, convenings, and partnerships. Experience designing and overseeing studies in a university, nonprofit, or industry setting is preferred.  


The ideal candidate loves shaping and conducting research as well as developing practical guidance and hands-on workshops to ensure the research makes a difference. The candidate will have deep interest and expertise in the design of children’s learning media, various actors involved, and the journals, platforms, and conferences where relevant ideas are shared. They are excited about helping to bridge the knowledge base on how children learn with new innovations and technologies. They are a community builder who prioritizes collaboration. They think strategically about what is needed for research to be useful, relevant, and accessible.



  • Define research themes that align with the JGCC mission and key priority areas
  • Develop and scale engagement of children and families in research
  • Design and implement studies in partnership with members of JGCC’s academic network and partner organizations
  • Write and present JGCC research including articles for peer-reviewed publications, white papers and other thought leadership pieces that are accessible to a broad audience; create briefs for JGCC target audiences including designers, developers, policymakers, funders, etc.
  • Design and conduct literature reviews, produce analytic notes and memos, and write up findings for academic and general audiences
  • Write conference proposals and present research at national and international conferences
  • Provide editorial guidance on research-related JGCC publications
  • Oversee the JGCC’s networks and knowledge systems, e.g., for tracking literature and conferences, reference databases, and article repositories
  • Design and oversee research convenings with partner academics and organizations
  • Recruit and manage research staff including fellows, interns, and project-based personnel
  • Co-lead internal and external talent development initiatives
  • Identify funding opportunities and participate in the development of grant proposals from public and private sources



  • 5 years of experience conducting research with children and/or families
  • PhD, master’s degree, or equivalent experience in human-centered design, child development, communication, education, learning sciences, or related field
  • Expertise in a variety of qualitative research methods and frameworks, such as ethnographies, contextual inquiries, diary studies, personas, user journeys, card sorting, and usability studies
  • Proficiency with quantitative research methods, including surveys and statistical analysis
  • Deep interest and expertise with children's media, digital equity, and/or child development
  • Experience in a university or academic research organization conducting similar tasks
  • Extremely detail-orienteda and demonstrates initiative
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Strong understanding of and comfort with technology
  • Experience successfully leading user (UX) research projects, e.g., at a consumer-focused product company is a plus
  • Spanish language skills are a plus



Named after Sesame Workshop’s Co-founder, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center is an independent research and innovation lab that focuses on the challenges of educating children in a rapidly changing media landscape. We conduct original research on emerging education technologies and collaborate with educators and media producers to put this research into action. We’re a small, tightly knit team that embraces creativity as a core value. We look at every opportunity as a chance to build the organization we want to work for, and we invite you to join us.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Minorities/Females/Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity