Friday, October 19, 2018

PER/AER/STEM Education Research Postdoc, Texas State

Postdoctoral Researcher in Physics/Astronomy/STEM Education Research at Texas State University

Summary of the position
We are offering a postdoctoral-level research position in physics/astronomy/STEM education research in the Department of Physics at Texas State University. The selected candidate will work closely with Dr. Alice Olmstead on mutually agreed-upon work related to supporting sustained improvements in undergraduate STEM education and/or developing instructional innovations that highlight social justice issues. An interested candidate would be expected to work on at least one (but not all) of the following new projects: (1) identifying teams of STEM faculty and other stakeholders who are working together to address issues of equity and inclusion in their departments or institutions, and investigating what enables this work to be productive; (2) facilitating virtual conversations among physics and/or astronomy instructors who are trying out ways to engage students in reasoning about the relationship between science and society, and researching what unique opportunities and challenges this community of instructors might face; and/or (3) locally developing and piloting curriculum and pedagogy that could engage students in reasoning about the relationship between science and society, and researching the results. This position is part of a startup package and not affiliated with a specific grant.

Job description
The salary for this position is $50,000/year plus benefits. The initial contract is for one year, renewable for a second year. The selected candidate would be expected to engage in research activities such as: collecting and analyzing video data; conducting and analyzing interviews; identifying and recruiting study participants; preparing documents for human subjects institutional review board feedback; reviewing relevant literature; and disseminating results through written publications and conference presentations. The selected candidate may have opportunities to mentor undergraduate students in research, depending on the interests and expertise of those involved. The selected candidate will also be expected to participate in grant proposal preparation activities related to their research topic.

The Physics department at Texas State University is home to a large physics education research group and a thriving undergraduate Learning Assistant program. The research group currently includes four tenured or tenure-track faculty members, two lecturers, a postdoctoral researcher, two Masters students, and multiple undergraduate students. The selected candidate would have regular opportunities to interact with this group and learn about other projects.

Minimum qualifications:
-        Ph.D. in Physics, Astronomy, Science Education, or another STEM and/or education-related field
-        Demonstrated commitment to improving equity and inclusion in STEM
-        Excellent written and verbal communication skills
-        Enthusiastic and motivated learner

Desirable qualifications:
-        Demonstrated knowledge of and interest in research-based instructional strategies for undergraduate STEM
-        A history of engaging in conversations about equity, ideally within scientific communities
-        Experience developing, implementing, and/or assessing the impact of curricular materials
-        Experience mentoring students in research

-        Expertise in physical sciences (e.g., astronomy, physics, or a related field)
-        Experience using qualitative research methods (e.g., conducting and analyzing interviews, analyzing video data)
-        Knowledge of literature about faculty instructional change and/or organizational change
-        Knowledge of critical theory and/or other theoretical perspectives that are well-suited for approaching questions related to equity in STEM

Application process
Review of applications will begin on November 20 and continue until the position is filled. Start date is flexible, preferably between the start of Spring 2019 and the end of Summer 2019. We are willing to explore the possibility of remote work arrangements for a candidate who meets most of all of the required and desirable qualifications, however, we cannot guarantee that this is an option and strong justification would be required. Interested candidates should submit a 1-2 page cover letter and a CV to Dr. Alice Olmstead at The cover letter should explain the candidate’s interest in the position, including which of the projects listed above they would like to pursue, and why they are a good fit for this position (based on alignment with the required qualifications and at least a subset of the desirable qualifications). The cover letter should specify a preferred state date and, if the candidate has not yet received their PhD, when they expect to receive it. If the candidate is requesting a remote work arrangement, this should also be specified in the letter. The CV should include a list of publications, professional development or leadership experiences, and contact information for three professional references. Shortlisted candidates may be asked to submit a writing sample and three letters of recommendation.