Postdoctoral Fellow, CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) at Tufts University


The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life will award a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Youth Civic Learning and Engagement for the 2023-24 academic year (August 2023- July 31, 2024).

CIRCLE is a research-based think tank studying how young people in the United States learn to become active participants in our democracy. CIRCLE studies a broad range of topics, including K-12 civic education, youth organizing, youth and civic media, and community characteristics that promote civic development. The central focus of its work is expanding access to civic learning and engagement opportunities by illuminating and working with others to address systemic inequalities and marginalization.

The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, where CIRCLE is based, prepares Tufts students in all fields of study for lifetimes of active citizenship, and conducts critical national research to build stronger communities and democracy. Tisch College promotes new knowledge in the field and applies evidence-based practices in its programs, community partnerships, and advocacy efforts. Central to the university’s mission, the college offers opportunities for students to engage in meaningful community building, gain civic and political experiences, and explore their commitments to civic participation.

Operating under the directorship of Dr. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, CIRCLE is a team of twelve individuals representing diverse professional and academic backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences. In service of our goal to ultimately eliminate the systemic barriers that keep some young people marginalized from and underrepresented in civic life, we engage in impact-driven partnerships. By consistently seeking out opportunities to learn with and from people and organizations representing marginalized communities, we are able to intentionally iterate our approach to research and aim to achieve equal and just outcomes.

We take a systems-approach to understand and address barriers and widen pathways toward civic learning and engagement, which in turn drives a wide-ranging portfolio. CIRCLE focuses on the following major areas of inquiry through multidisciplinary lenses and a vision of equitable systems:

·       Broadening Youth Voting/Growing Voters

·       Equitable K-12 Civic Learning

·       Understanding Youth Attitudes and Beliefs

·       Youth in Media for Democracy

·       Youth Activism and Change

·       Civic and Economic Mobility

The postdoctoral fellow will be invited to provide their expertise and knowledgebase in the projects that CIRCLE currently engages in. The postdoctoral fellow will co-lead a major predetermined project, take significant responsibility on another, and also have a portion of their time (~20%) to conduct independent research of their choice within the major topical areas of CIRCLE’s work and will have access to many datasets for developing publishable research. These main projects focus on the (largely structural) relationships between civic media and information access, use, creation and youth civic engagement.  

The position is currently set up as a one-year engagement but will be renewed for another year pending availability of funds (over half is already raised) and mutual agreement between the scholar and CIRCLE’s leadership. This fellowship does not come with a teaching requirement, nor is that something that can be guaranteed. 


A scholar with a Ph.D. in any relevant discipline who is not yet tenured, or an ABD whose defense date is no later than December 31, 2023.  The scholar must have authorization to work in the United States for at least 12 months.  Tufts University is not able to sponsor a visa for this position.

Desirable qualifications, experiences, and skills include, but are not limited to:

Strong commitment to and track record of advancing equitable outcomes in a community through research, partnerships and/or civic action.

Expertise in at least one of the following areas: Civic media, youth media or participatory media; Media and youth development, specifically civic and political development; or, News, civic information and youth civic engagement.

At least two of the following: Experience leading a mixed methods research project; Implementation of a large qualitative research project; and/or Experience with community-based research implementation.

Ability to collaborate with colleagues and partners from varied backgrounds and to interact with practitioners of diverse backgrounds, views, and positions.

Strong interest in pursuing a career that involves partnership with community groups, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Knowledge and experience in one or more of the following: Partnership with young people through research initiatives (including YPAR); Communicating about research with non-research audiences; Creating research-based products for non-research audiences (Not limited to written); or Articulating and/or organizing around implications of research for change. 

Capacity to function well in a fast-paced, impact-driven workplace working on several projects at one time. Although the postdoctoral fellow will not have the same expectations of a full-time CIRCLE staff member, they are expected to meet deadlines, respond to partner requests and project expectations in a timely, partner-centered manner.

More details here:

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.