Research Associate at Michigan State University

Position Summary

An interdisciplinary research team at Michigan State University is seeking up to two candidates to fill one-year, 12-month (with additional years contingent on performance) Research Associate positions for research in STEM education. We are a team of Discipline-Based Education Researchers (DBER) from Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Engineering, and Education. For four years, funded by the Association of American Universities (AAU), we worked with MSU faculty to change the focus of our gateway science courses to scientific practices and disciplinary core ideas (Cooper et al., 2015; Laverty et al., 2016; Matz et al., 2018). Our initial efforts have centered on the extent to which teaching practices and assessments have changed over time and the factors that act as levers and barriers.

Now with funding from NSF, we have been expanding this project to include courses beyond introductory sequences, as well as three partner institutions (Grand Valley State University, Florida International University, and Kansas State University). The selected Research Associate will participate in this project in collaboration with faculty from these institutions and MSU faculty from the College of Natural Science, Lyman Briggs College, and College of Education. Our research team members have strong postdoctoral researcher mentoring histories and excellent placement records for our researchers.

The successful candidate for this position will analyze data generated from faculty in a fellowship about STEM education, and conduct research on student learning related to scientific practices and disciplinary core ideas.

The targeted start date is flexible between June 1 and August 31, 2019.

Required Degree

Doctorate -chemistry/physics/biology education

Minimum Requirements

The applicant should have completed (or anticipate completion of) a doctoral degree in chemistry/chemistry education, physics/physics education, biology/biology education, or higher education, with some demonstrated experience in DBER. Applicants should have a strong commitment to undergraduate STEM education and interest in working with a leading group of interdisciplinary STEM education researchers.

The successful candidate will have experience with a mix of some set of the following areas, enabling the Research Associate to make unique contributions to the research team:

  • research on institutional change
  • assessment of student learning
  • assessment of student affect
  • observation protocol development and use
  • qualitative research methods
  • quantitative research methods
  • mentoring undergraduate researchers
  • presenting and publishing research findings

Excellent writing and organizational skills are required, and the successful candidate will be expected to participate in the mentoring of graduate and undergraduate research assistants. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Required Application Materials

A complete application package will consist of:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Transcripts
  • Two samples of scholarly writing
  • Names and email addresses of three references

Special Instructions

Contact Melanie Cooper (Chemistry,, Danny Caballero (Physics,, Diane Ebert-May (Biology,, Cori Fata-Hartley (Biology,, or Becky Matz (Chemistry, about your interest or possible candidates.

Review of Applications Begins On


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