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Director of Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL)

Organizational Overview

At the Vera Institute of Justice, our vision is of a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all. At a propitious moment for justice reform, we are standing up and driving change on a variety of fronts -- ending mass incarceration, vastly improving life behind bars, ensuring that immigrants get due process, ending cash bail and centering racial equity in all this work. Changing the way people think and act in order to serve justice is in our DNA. Since 1961, we’ve leveraged our access and influence with government partners and worked collaboratively with community stakeholders to transform the systems we rely on for safety and justice:

  • We study problems that impede human dignity and justice.
  • We pilot solutions that are at once transformative and achievable.
  • We engage diverse communities in informed debate.
  • We harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice.

Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We hire employees that reflect our values: respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, and race equity. We encourage applications from Black, Indigenous, and people of color. People with disabilities are also encouraged to apply. If you want to learn more about life at Vera click here.

What you’ll do

Vera generates ideas to transform criminal legal and immigration systems and takes them to national scale. Following the completion of our strategic plan, we have created the “Impact Pipeline” where we generate ideas and actions for transforming criminal, legal and immigration systems. This staged process helps Vera staff generate ideas with potential for national impact, pilot those ideas, adapt and improve them, and evaluate their effectiveness. Effective monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) is a core component of this new approach, providing a tool for feedback, continuous improvement, and strategic decision making.

The Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and learning will lead the development and implementation of MEL frameworks and processes that are tailored to Vera’s multifaceted approach to systems change. In this role, you will develop and implement flexible MEL tools that measure an array of outcomes, including the perspectives of those who are directly impacted by criminal legal and immigrations systems, with a particular focus on racial equity and inclusion.   

This position will report to the VP for Research and MEL, and work in close partnership with a team of MEL associates, the Director of Impact Strategy, the Director of Innovation Strategy, and members of the research leadership team.

The core responsibilities of the position include: hiring and supervising a team of MEL Associates; partnering with initiative teams to define impact goals and develop metrics for assessing progress toward defined goals; designing and implementing data collection plans that use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies; establishing participatory MEL approaches; and providing regular and ongoing feedback to initiative teams and senior leadership.

Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Manage a team of MEL associates to evaluate Vera initiatives
    • Work with initiative leads, researchers, and Impact Strategy staff to iteratively define project goals and develop monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plans for all initiatives in the impact pipeline            
    • Partner with researchers in pipeline initiatives to identify existing data sources and develop additional data collection plans, as needed
    • Ensure that all M&E plans include race equity outcomes and incorporate participatory methods, where appropriate
    • Coordinate the collection and analysis of M&E data
    • For a subset of established initiatives, oversee and/or conduct experimental or quasi-experimental impact evaluations – working with external evaluators as needed
  • Support the use of M&E data as a tool for learning, strategic decision-making, and project planning
    • Provide regular feedback via short reports and dashboards
    • Meet with initiative teams to learn from M&E results and adapt interventions as appropriate
    • Partner with the Director of Innovation and Program Development, and the Director of Impact Strategy to provide coordinated support for pipeline initiatives
  • Serve as a member of the research leadership team and supporting institute-wide research culture and practice
    • Participate in research leadership and research department meetings and events
    • Mentor researchers and provide training and guidance on MEL models and approaches
    • Support ongoing equity initiatives within the department
  • Develop MEL tools and frameworks, with a particular focus on race equity and inclusion
    • Develop strategies for identifying community-defined goals and metrics
    • Identify additional opportunities to include participatory methods and power building strategies in ongoing MEL activities

Who you are

You take initiative, and thrive in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment. In everything you do, you exhibit a core commitment to racial justice. You value partnership, and have excellent writing, organizational, and communication skills. You have extensive experience developing and leading monitoring and evaluation activities in an applied setting.

The successful candidate will bring the following skills, experience and competencies:

  • Lived experience and/or demonstrated commitment to using research and analysis to address issues of racism and inequity in the criminal legal or immigration system 
  • Experience using MEL approaches in applied, policy settings
  • Experience using participatory research methods and/or community-based approaches to MEL
  • Familiarity with data on the operation and impacts of the U.S. criminal legal and/or immigration system preferred
  • Collaboration skills and experience mentoring and supporting colleagues with diverse skillsets
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills 
  • Graduate degree in a social science, public policy, measurement and statistics, education, or related interdisciplinary field
  • 8+ years research experience, with 5+ years designing and implementing monitoring and evaluation activities required
  • Leadership and project management experience


We believe in compensating our staff members at or above market. Compensation is commensurate with experience and includes competitive benefits.

How to apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Online submission in PDF format is preferred. However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:


ATTN: People Resources / Director of Criminal Legal Research

Vera Institute of Justice

34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Fax: (212) 941-9407

Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.

No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.


Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status or current employment status. 

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission. People who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal or immigration systems are encouraged to apply.

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