The Research Director of the Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Speech Group leads 26 scientists and engineers in the research and development of innovative technologies to improve assessment. The Director also leads research that encourages the appropriate use of these technologies in operational settings and advances the state of the art in NLP and speech processing research in the education domain.
The Director is responsible for conceptualizing and pursuing a research agenda of fundamental and applied research in NLP and speech processing that will address current needs and anticipate future needs of education and assessment. This includes the development of technologies to:
- automate or facilitate scoring of open-ended responses;
- support practices for developing tests and learning materials;
- safeguard the security and validity of assessments;
- enable technology-rich environments for assessment and learning;
- and provide automated performance feedback.
The Director will assume responsibility for the enhancement of a variety of existing ETS technologies that include e-rater (for automated scoring of essays), c-rater (for scoring content-based short answers), and SpeechRater (for scoring the spontaneous speech of English Language Learners), as well as the development of fundamentally new systems and methods.
The Director will also be responsible for leading efforts to expand the use of ETS NLP and speech technologies. The Director will actively seek out opportunities for operational use of these technologies for both internal and external clients. This includes coordinating with ETS business units to understand market and client needs/trends, identify appropriate use contexts, develop the necessary research evidence to support operational use, and establish procedures for the transition of research technologies to production environments.
- Conceptualize, plan, develop, coordinate, and obtain funding for integrated programs of research related to the development, evaluation, deployment and operational monitoring educational technologies based on natural language processing, speech processing, and machine learning. Direct and administer personnel, fiscal, operational, and policy implementation activities for research units. Conduct independent research and consulting.
- Participate in determining research policies and priorities with broad organizational implications. Serve on policy and planning committees.
- Generate or contribute to new or modified research methodology and procedures related to educational applications of NLP, speech processing and machine learning, including in the areas of automated scoring, support for test development, test security and novel assessment environments.
- Coordinate the development of proposals and budgets, both internally and in response to requests for proposals from external clients. Identify potential funding agencies. Function as a liaison and negotiate with funding agencies and clients.
- Design and conduct complex scientific studies functioning as an expert in the major facets of the programs; respond as a subject matter expert applying acquired knowledge and experience to questions of broad policy implication. Provide expert consultation and collaboration on problems arising from substantive research and/or testing programs, or corporate management concerns.
- Direct the scientific, financial and administrative conduct of major research, development, or large-scale analysis projects, exercising well-developed skills in the management of human and other resources. Oversee the development and application of technical competence of less senior staff.
- Implement dissemination activities utilizing various methodologies to reach specific audiences. Disseminate knowledge, particularly the results of activities through the publication of research papers, progress and technical reports, the presentation of seminars or other appropriate communication vehicles.
- Initiate, develop, promote and maintain professional relationships as representative, consultant or advisor to external advisory or policy boards and councils, research organizations, educational institutions and educators. Respond to requests initiated by professional colleagues, educators, and as appropriate the press and the public. Maintain appropriate contact with funding agencies for the development of new research programs and projects.
- Supervise and mentor more junior staff, including the responsibilities, deliverables and career development of professional staff. Assign or recommend the assignment of staff to research programs and projects and evaluate their performance. Review, approve, and monitor personnel actions, including employee selection, performance appraisal, disciplinary actions, salary administration, and affirmative action plans.
Education, Certifications, or Special Licenses:
A Doctoral degree in computer science, computational linguistics, linguistics, electrical engineering, or a related field is required.
Eight years of progressively more independent research experience providing evidence of continuing and substantial contributions to a field of study are necessary, with experience managing research staff and transitioning the outcomes of research into operational practice desirable.
Excellent verbal and written communications skills, including public speaking, interpersonal and public relations skills, and writing and editing skills.