Legislative Fellow

Transparency
Produce evidence-based analysis about legislation

Advanced position

Legislative Fellows produce evidence-based analysis of proposed campus policy, formulate original policy suggestions that are submitted to the Senate, and serve as in-house consultants of the Senate environment.

 

The incumbent must have a demonstrated expertise in Student Government, shown by an appropriate accumulation of any of the following experience, including but not limited to: Tenure as a Senator, Cabinet member, or executive member of an agency or bureau. The Fellowship is designed to develop research skills related to public policy, and immerse the incumbent in project management experience through authoring original reports in the form of Policy Memos to be presented orally to Senate Committees. The incumbent also assists staff on a wide variety of Senate issues that affect the student body. This is not an entry-level position.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Composing in-depth policy evaluations and impact assessments,

  • Attending Committee meetings and orally delivering policy memos to Senators,

  • Working with internal leadership to identify and inform campus issues.

 

Necessary Characteristics

  • Strong writing and critical thinking skills

  • Commitment to evidence-based policy analysis

  • Knowledgeable of current campus issues and student government procedure

Legislative Analyst

Transparency
Produce policy briefs for proposed legislation

Legislative Analysts maintain the Legislation Tracker and supply it with fact-based analysis on proposed legislation. The Analyst gathers, evaluates, and analyzes information relevant to proposed legislation, and composes Policy Briefs to explain and contextualize legislation to the student body. Upon direction, the incumbent is responsible for observing and evaluating debate on legislation, either through attending Committee meetings or reading recorded meeting minutes.

 

Primary Responsibilities

  • Tracking bills and resolutions through the legislative process and recording their progress in the Senate Database,

  • Preparing briefing summaries of legislation, 

  • When needed, attending Committee and Senate meetings related to specific legislation,

  • Facilitating communication with Senators regarding their voting records and sponsored legislation, especially that of nuanced debate and/or minority support,

  • Assisting Legislative Fellows in developing Policy Memos.

 

Necessary Characteristics

  • Familiarity with SGA legislative systems

  • Effective written and oral communication skills

  • Ability to perform multiple tasks accurately and efficiently under time constraints

Legislative Database Editor

Transparency
Maintain the Legislation Database with bill progress and voting records

Legislative Database Editors maintain the administrative records that comprise the Senate Legislation Tracker. This position gives the incumbent firsthand experience with the legislative process of the Student Senate, and experience maintaining an accurate database of legislative records. On a weekly basis, Editors scrape information from Senate voting logs and committee minutes and update the status of legislation.

 

Primary Responsibilities

  • Creating data entries for new legislation and Senators

  • Recording voting records of Senators in committees and on the Senate floor

  • Following the process of legislation through committees and general floor votes

  • Accessing and archiving digital records of legislation and minutes

 

Necessary Characteristics

  • Accuracy and attention to detail in data entry

  • Willingness to become familiar with basic Senate procedure


Week-to-week Tasks

  • Weekly (and at the direction of leadership) checking the SGA senate website to find & enter new legislation, and update progress on current ones in committee minutes

  • When voting records are posted to the senate website, recording those votes in the database

Policy Analyst

Accountability
Objectively evaluate and recommend policies

Policy Analysts are responsible for gathering information about proposed, ongoing, and completed campus policies and composing fact-based analyses on those policies. The incumbent will communicate with Executive Branch officials to gather up-to-date information. They will work as part of a team to reach the highest standard possible of evidence-based policy analysis. Critical thinking and decision making skills are necessary in the subjective aspects of the position, namely, authoring constructive criticism of policy execution.

 

Primary Responsibilities

  • Providing accurate, timely analysis of proposed and completed campus policy

  • Communicating with Executive Branch officials regarding specific policies

  • Monitor and analyze evolving campus issues

  • Furnishing the Initiative Tracker Database in these specific ways:

    • Metrics - Assigning objective metrics to which policy execution will be evaluated

    • Grade - Assigning a letter grade to the execution of a policy

    • Grade Explanation - Justifying why a specific grade was given for an initiative

    • Recommended Improvements - Steps that the administration should take to achieve an “A” grade, or other further recommended improvements 

Necessary Characteristics

  • Strong writing and critical thinking abilities

  • Commitment to fact-based evaluation, even in areas of subjective judgement

Fact-Checker

Accountability
Investigate claims and produce fact-based background on issues

Fact-checkers are persistent, resourceful individuals who aren’t afraid to ask tough questions to Student Government officials. They initiate contact with elected and appointed officials and follow-up on those contacts in search of the truth. They value integrity of data and uphold the Center’s mission in seeking out strong evidence to base analysis on. The ideal candidate keeps careful notes of conversations with government members and reports to Program Analysts or other researchers who are depending on the fact-checker’s information.

 

Primary Responsibilities

  • Working collaboratively with Program Analysts to ensure all published materials are accurate and up to date

  • Frequent communication with Student Government officers, both written and face-to-face

  • Conducting background research for reports being written by Analysts and Fellows

Necessary Characteristics

  • Strong fact-finding and research skills

  • Ability to act in a professional and polite manner while seeking information that may be difficult to obtain

Research Fellow

Research
Author original research reports

Writing sample required

Research Fellows are the primary producers of research at Torchlight. They are responsible for one project at a time, overseen from start to finish. Projects may be requested by interest groups, or proactively initatied at the request of the Director of Research. Projects must contain a quantitative portion, so experience in writing for policy is recommended. Projects can be as complex or simple as the Fellow decides, ranging from simple data gathering and interpretation to advanced statistical methods.


An example of a research project is the Policy Brief authored for the FSU chapter of the NAACP on trends in enrollment by racial group.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Authoring an original research project pertinent to a current campus issue

  • Communicating with student interest groups about their requested research

Necessary Characteristics

  • A strong writing ability, evidenced by a writing sample

  • Ability to abide by deadlines set by the Director of Research or interest groups

Research Assistant

Research
Help Research Fellows conduct their duties

Research Assistants are assigned to Research Fellows and assist them in their work. They may be asked to find data online in databases, journals, and other sources, and download and process that data. They communicate with interest groups about their research requests and asist Fellows in presenting research to them.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Assist Research Fellows in their work
  • Searching for data online
  • Performing data cleaning and entry

Necessary Characteristics

  • Ability to complete work as part of a team, adhering to deadlines set by the Fellow and Director of Research

Webmaster

Operations
Maintain the website and back-end database

The Webmaster will shadow the current Director in order to assume responsibility over the website. The website is built using the Wix platform and familiarity with website building is recommended. Knowledge of HTML or other coding language is not necessary, but a knowledge of design and basic user interface is.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Creating and modifying web pages and structure with an eye for design and ease of end-user usability

  • Communicating with Directors to make necessary changes to the way their projects are displayed

  • Train members in using the back-end database

Necessary Characteristics

  • Willingness to become an expert on website database functions

  • Ability to respond in a timely manner to requests by staff in changing database aspects

Resident Senator

Consulting
As a sitting Senator, provide first-hand accounts of legislative actions

Open to sitting Senators only

Resident Senators are public servants currently carrying out a term as a Senator, who also wish to support the Torchlight Center in a declared and impartial capacity. Resident Senators advise Legislative Fellows and Legislative Analysts of nuance and context that may only be understood from the point of view of a sitting Senator.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Submitting advisory opinions to Legislative Fellows and Analysts to be inputted into the database

  • Communicating to Legislative staff about the details of specific legislation as they pass through the legislative process

Necessary Characteristics

  • Commitment to abide by our Conflict-of-Interest policy and upholding that commitment by providing disclosure of personal or partisan involvement in legislative procedures

Copy Editor

Operations
Uphold our editorial standards

Copy Editors uphold Torchlight's standards of style and grammar in our written output. They work with all members to proof and edit their content before final publication. These will be from short-form blurbs to full policy analyses. Experience or interest in student government is a plus, but not required. The outside perspective without student government experience is also a plus for this position. A demonstrated competency and passion for good, accurate writing is needed.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Proofread text and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors

  • Ensure verification of factual correctness of information, such as dates and statistics

  • Check text for style, readability, and adherence to editorial policies

Necessary Characteristics

  • Writing skills: Copy editors must be able to help staff write clearly and with good logic, and ensure that content has correct punctuation, grammar, and syntax

  • Detail-orientation: A main task of the job is to make written work error-free, and to ensure that it matches the publication's required style

  • Detail-orientation: A main task of the job is to make written work error-free, and to ensure that it matches the publication's required style

  • Interpersonal skills: Good communication and interpersonal skills help editors communicate with tact and encouragement to writers

Logistics Coordinator

Operations
Provide administrative support

The Logistics Coordinator provides vital administrative support to the Branch Directors by setting up meetings after gathering availabilities, facilitating the recruitment & onboarding process, and keeping accurate records of team information. SGA experience is not required, but communication skills and timeliness is. The Logistics Coordinator will leave the position with extensive experience in managing a 20+ person team and overseeing onboardings and trainings.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Facilitating and keeping accurate, up-to-date records on peoples' progress through the interview, onboarding, and training process

  • Setting up properly-detailed Outlook Calendar meetings

  • Accepting applications and communicating with potential members to coordinate their interviews and onboarding process

  • Maintaining the roster of active members and their responsibilities

Necessary Characteristics

  • Attention to detail and the ability to juggle several tasks at once while maintaining the ability to follow-up on communication

  • Communication skills, maintaining professionalism while communicating with potential members