Research Assistant: Higher Education Reform

Location: This position can either be based in FIRE’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office or from a remote location.

About FIRE

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonprofit educational foundation devoted to defending free speech, individual liberty, religious freedom, freedom of conscience, legal equality, due process, and academic freedom on our nation’s campuses. Please visit to gain more of a sense of our work and identity.

Working at FIRE

Situated in the Old City section of Philadelphia, next to Independence Hall, FIRE offers a lively working environment where the staff fights an ongoing battle to secure liberty on college campuses across the country. This type of working environment also promotes a culture where the Research Assistant will receive a well-rounded experience that familiarizes the individual not only with FIRE’s activities, but also with the moral and intellectual foundations of FIRE’s work.

Position Description

FIRE is seeking an energetic Research Assistant to engage in in-depth research and writing on the topic of higher education reform. The main research project for this position will be to read books, both popular and scholarly, and reports that have come out over the last several years and then write thorough and concise executive summaries that will be used for internal purposes. The final project will be to help FIRE identify trends and useful information in the growing literature on what is wrong in higher education and how to fix it.

It is envisioned this position will work approximately 30-35 hours per week. Flexible work hours for this position are negotiable. Little to no business travel is anticipated.

The start date for this position is envisioned to be May or June of 2013. A specific date is negotiable. This is a fixed term position. Length of employment is expected to be approximately 10-12 weeks. Continued employment after this fixed term may be an opportunity. This position would be ideal for an undergraduate or graduate student seeking a college internship like experience.


A successful candidate must have a good work ethic, be a self-starter, and have the ability to work independently. Most importantly, the candidate must have an eye for detail and have a drive for perfection when executing job functions. Furthermore, a candidate must be able to demonstrate:


  • Strong research skills including experience using the Internet as a research tool
  • An ability to evaluate studies and data for usefulness and accuracy
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills
  • An ability to work under minimal supervision
  • An ability to complete research projects within an established timeframe
  • Superior computer proficiency including the ability to use Microsoft Office


Candidates should either possess or be pursuing an undergraduate degree from an accredited university. A candidate pursuing graduate work or possessing a graduate degree is a plus. Previous research experience and/or an interest in higher education reform is desired but not required. All candidates must demonstrate knowledge of FIRE’s mission and a willingness to advocate for that mission.

Salary and Compensation

This position will be paid a monthly stipend. The stipend is negotiable depending upon experience and level of education.


Applicants should provide a resume, cover letter, a writing sample preferably demonstrating previous research experience, and at least two professional references. All applications are confidential. Please address applications to Sean Clark; Vice President of Operations.

Applications can be emailed to (preferred) or mailed to:

Attn: Human Resources
601 Walnut St., Suite 510
Philadelphia, PA 19106