Smart Museum: Academic Engagement Research Associate

Opportunity Description:

The Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry at the Smart Museum of Art seeks an undergraduate to support the center’s new and ongoing dynamic programs. The mission of the Feitler Center is to promote and support teaching and learning with the Smart Museum’s collections and exhibitions, across the University of Chicago’s fields and disciplines. Working closely with the Academic Engagement Coordinator, the Associate will assist with a number of academic programs and events connected with the museum. This will include benchmarking, best practices research, and academic research on program design, program evaluation, audience analysis, and audience engagement.


Learning outcomes: knowledge or skills gained from the research experience:  Gain experience in applied organizational research to specifically address organizational challenges (akin to management consulting experience in the field of change management) as well as evaluate, develop, and test audience engagement instruments and approaches to programming to meet audience needs.


Opportunity term/commitment: This opportunity will begin in Fall 2020 with the potential for a continuation during Winter and Spring 2021; undergraduate researchers should anticipate giving approximately 10 hours/week of time to this opportunity; given the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that most of the associate’s work will be done remotely (if things change and in-person/on-site work is required during the associate’s tenure, this will be discussed and worked out with the student based on their location, availability, and comfort with such work)

Additional notes: All Smart Undergraduate Research Associates will be expected to participate in the 2021 University of Chicago Undergraduate Research Symposium during the Spring Quarter and the annual research scholars curriculum organized by the College Center for Research & Fellowships. The selected student will receive more information from the College about these expectations separately.

Primary Responsibilities: 

The Associate will conduct research related to programming at a university art museum geared toward university audiences such as university students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The Associate will also analyze the Smart Museum’s academic audience(s) with the opportunity to develop and test audience engagement instruments and/or writing a research paper outlining recommendations for improving academic engagement. Additional activities may include attending meetings, improving or building surveys or questionnaires, conducting interviews, and supporting programs.

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

Strong analytical and writing skills. Some coursework in qualitative and/or quantitative research methods.

Open to all majors, although this opportunity may best serve students in the fields of Museum Studies/Art History, Business/Nonprofit Administration, Education, or Social Sciences.

Preferred Skills: 

Familiarity with program planning and facilitation and experience designing and conducting surveys or interviews would be helpful. Familiarity with university entities is also helpful. An interest in art museums and/or higher education administration are preferred.

Application Process: 

Email the following in *one* pdf. document to with the subject “Academic Engagement URA Application”:

  • 350-word statement of interest in the research opportunity (this is not a cover letter but should detail why you are interested in the research experience, what particular research skills you may bring, what you hope to learn and how this may impact your future studies and/or research in the field);

  • Current curriculum vitae (academically focused resume) with the names and contact details of two references; and,
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript.

Application Deadline: 

Thursday, October 22, 2020
For more information on this opportunity, please contact:
Affiliated Research Institutes (Optional): 

Smart Museum of Art