Director of Policy Research

Policy Research
Drive Torchlight's efforts in policy research

The Director of Policy Research at Torchlight delegates and oversees the completion of evidence-based, original research. They supervise and support the Research Request Officer in their delegation of the completion of research requests, and support the Policy Assessment Officer and State Senate Legislative Officer in their duties. 

While the Student Policy branch focuses on policy within the FSU environment, the Policy Research branch focuses on policy from the State and Federal legislatures, so some familiarity with those bodies is preferred. The Director of Policy Research approves all projects under their branch and maintains adherence to the Center's mission, values, and operating procedures. They are responsible for communicating with FSU's Office of Institutional Research to acquire data, and serve as a subject matter expert in the formation, writing, and editing of outputs. They may also choose to take on higher-level research projects of their own, setting the standards of expectations for all members. 

Expected initial tasks for this position are learning Torchlight's standard operating procedures alongside their three Officers. Torchlight also maintains a knowledge base of research methods and techniques which the Director of Policy Research would preferably contribute to writing and revising once settled in. 

This individual must possess experience engaging in undergraduate research, and preferably experience leading or cooperating with others in completing their research. To fulfill these responsibilities, this individual must be able to find the solutions to research problems, manage the delegation of multiple projects, and work under time-sensitive deadlines. The expected time commitment for this position is 8-12

Primary Responsibilities

  • Delegating and approving completed tasks to and from the Research Request Officer, State Senate Legislative Officer, and Policy Assessment Officer

  • Using strong discretion to guide research along organizational values, mission, and operating procedures

  • Serving as a resource on policy research and assessment for members

  • Serving as one of four voting members on the Executive Board

Necessary Characteristics

  • Discretion in approving and modifying project proposals to adhere to our mission, values, and operating guidelines

  • Experience in undergraduate research and project management

  • Knowledge of research methods and ability to judge research quality and how to improve the quality of writing for all policy audiences

Accountability Officer

Student Policy
Uphold the our commitment to accountability.

The Accountability Officer increases the transparency and clarity of the Student Government Association and FSU administration. Primarily, this officer will work to improve transparency of the Student Government Executive Branch by making its powers, decisions, finances and overall impact more accessible and clearly explaining the impact decisions will have on the student body. Examples of responsibilities will include tracking the success of initiatives, recording relevant student calls to action, and producing an annual summary report on the progress of FSU initiatives. 

This individual needs to be comfortable with both qualitative and quantitative research, have experience with Power BI, Microsoft Excel, or other formal data visualization software, possess an ability to manage small teams, and feel comfortable delegating tasks. In order to best fulfill the obligations of this position, the officer should be a skilled writer, have an ability to explain things in a clear and concisely, possess an understanding of/experience with Florida State University leadership, and be able to form professional networking relationships with others.


  • SGA Executive Branch and FSU administrative environment, structure, and organizational hierarchy

  • Microsoft Office suite and collaboration tools

  • Torchlight operating procedures and output definitions


  • Interpersonal skills in delegating and following up on tasks among a small team

  • Editing the work of a small team for style, conciseness, and adherence to organizational procedures


  • Strong discretion in deciding whether policy and policy processes should be covered, balancing limited human resources

  • Strong discretion in delegating and approving checks on factual information and judgement of the completion of policy promises

  • Forming and maintaining professional relationships with stakeholders within FSU administration

Web Officer

Maintain our most important platform using databases and dynamic webpage design.

The Web Officer is responsible for maintaining Torchlight’s website. This officer will be expected to update the website regularly, train members on how to navigate the website, and work with other members to constantly improve functionality and design. 

This individual needs to be comfortable working independently, adapting to the needs of the organization, have a knowledge of Wix or a similar web design software, and be comfortable integrating data visualization tools into web design. In order to best fulfill the obligations of this position, the officer should have past experience in website management, computer programming, design, or another related field.


  • Website and user interface design principles

  • Experience with Wix preferred

  • Experience with simple relational databases preferred


  • Strong computer competency skills

  • Assessing user engagement using Google Analytics and the built-in Wix analytics platform


  • Ability to work with multiple stakeholders within Torchlight to implement their desired ideas in a user-friendly and accessible way

  • Eye for design and user interface, including meeting accessibility guidelines

Legislative Analyst

Student Policy
Tracks Student Senate Legislation and assesses its impact

Reads, breaks down, and tracks Student Senate Legislation and assesses the impact it will have on FSU students, in addition to providing updates to the Senate on relevant Torchlight projects. Less than 5 hours per week.

Brief Writer

Student Policy
Track changes to FSU administrative policy

Track changes to FSU administrative policy, and simplify them into digestible articles for students. Less than 5 hours per week.

Research Fellow

Policy Research
Oversees research projects

Oversees research projects related to campus issues. Less than 5 hours per week.

Policy Analyst

Policy Research
Gathers information on campus policies composes fact-based analyses

Gathers information about proposed, ongoing, and completed campus policies and composes fact-based analyses on those policies impact, resource usage, and other relevant metrics. Less than 5 hours per week.

Legislative Analyst

Policy Research
Tracks State Senate Legislation and assesses its impact

Reads, breaks down, and tracks State Senate Legislation and assesses the impact legislation will have on FSU students. Less than 5 hours of work per week.

Database Editor

Student Policy
Updates all Torchlight databases as needed

Updates the SGA Contact List, Student Senator page, Legislation Tracker, and all other Torchlight databases as needed. Less than 5 hours per week.

Research Assistant

Student Policy
Performs data cleaning, fact-checking, and summarizing

Assists Blog Writers and Accountability officers in their work and performs data cleaning, fact-checking, and summarizing and when needed. Less than 5 hours per week.

Research Assistant

Policy Research
Performs data cleaning, fact-checking, and summarizing

Assists Research Fellows, Policy Analysts, and Legislative Analysts in their work and performs data cleaning, fact-checking, and summarizing and when needed. Less than 5 hours per week.

Data Analyst

Policy Research
Assists with advanced data analytics

Assists on research projects that require computer programming, statistical regressions, and other advanced data analytics. Less than 5 hours per week.

Copy Editor

Proof and edit all Torchlight content

Copy Editors work with all members to proof and edit their content before final publication. Experience or interest in student government is a plus, but not required.  A demonstrated competency and passion for good, accurate writing is needed. Less than 5 hours per week. 

Resident Senator

Student Policy
Provides input on current SGA activities

Provides input to Torchlight on current Student Senate or SGA activities and ensures Torchlight’s analysis on Student Senate activities is timely and accurate. Less than 5 hours per week.