Monday, January 29, 2018

DBER Postdoc, University of Central Florida

General description of position:

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral level position to join an interdisciplinary discipline-based education research (DBER) team at the University of Central Florida. The selected candidate will work closely with Dr. Jackie Chini in physics, Dr. Erin Saitta in chemistry, and Dr. Charles Hughes in computer science/simulation to conduct research on preparing graduate teaching assistants for student-centered instruction using a mixed-reality simulator. This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, uses an existing set of student-avatars for GTAs to develop and rehearse teaching skills and tracks changes in GTAs’ actions in the simulator back to their classroom practices and their students’ learning outcomes. An example of our early research in this environment was published in the Physical Review Physics Education Research:

The DBER community at UCF is large and growing. The Chini research group includes an existing postdoc, four graduate students, and multiple undergraduate students; more details are available at The physics department includes a second tenure-track faculty member in PER, and the chemistry department includes three chemistry education research lecturers. Additional faculty in several STEM departments also engage in education research.

This is an initial 12-month appointment, with potential renewal for a second year. The successful candidate will participate in personalized professional mentoring as part of UCF’s Preeminent Postdoctoral Program. Professional development activities may include training on and participation in grant writing, training in mentoring and scaffolded mentoring of students, participation in the STEM Education Reading Group, and participation in the UCF iSTEM Faculty Fellows program (for disciplinary faculty working on education projects).

Job description:

The successful candidate will spend at least 50% of their time on the GTA training project, but due to the nature of the funding, there is some freedom to collaborate on existing projects and to lead new research directions. Duties will include designing simulator lessons, conducting classroom observations and interviews, collecting student learning data, data analysis, preparing manuscripts for STEM education journals, presenting at related conferences, and supporting graduate and undergraduate researchers.

The candidate is expected to start by June 30, 2018. The salary is $50,000 plus benefits. The successful candidate will also receive a one-time $5000 stipend to support personal research activities (usable for expenses such as travel, page fees, and human subjects support).

Required minimum qualifications:

Ph.D. in Physics, Physics Education Research, Chemistry, Chemistry Education Research or a closely related field by June 30, 2018 (minimally, all degree requirements must be met if the degree has not yet been conferred by the deadline); familiarity with discipline-based education research methodologies; a demonstrated ability to collaborate with others and work independently.

 Preferred qualifications:

Demonstrated experience with one or more of the following: conducting and analyzing classroom observations; conducting and analyzing interviews; GTA/teacher professional development; teaching student-centered STEM courses; strong oral and written communication skills.


Employer: University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Location: Orlando, FL

Start date: March to June 2018

To apply: Please submit the following to For full consideration, please submit materials by Sunday March 4, 2017.

1.       Cover letter, including:
a.       Why you are interested in this position
b.       Why you are a good fit for this position
c.       Your preferred start date
d.       When you received or expect to receive your PhD
e.       Your research interests
f.        How this position is consistent with your academic trajectory

2.       CV, including:
a.       Complete list of publications
b.       Education and research experience
c.       Contact information for three references.

Please contact us (Jackie Chini at; Erin Saitta at; full team at for questions.

Additional Information:

The University of Central Florida is currently the second largest school in the United States by student enrollment. UCF is located in sunny Orlando, Florida.