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  • National Institute on Scientific Teaching

University of Northern Colorado

A research team, partially housed in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), is searching for a colleague to join our highly collaborative group. The position is for a 12 month appointment Postdoctoral Research Associated (0.875 FTE, which is roughly 35 hours per week). UNC is classified as a Doctoral University with Higher Research Activity and has a Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation. We currently enroll more than 12,200 students (approximately 9,500 undergraduates and 2,700 graduate students). The School of Biological Sciences has 21 full time faculty members, 70+ graduate students (enrolled in MS, MSNT, MBS, and PhD programs), and approximately 520 undergraduate majors with a student population that is 23.5% Latinx, 6% Black, 55% White, and 6% multiracial. The ideal candidate will share UNCs commitment to our racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse student population.


We seek a candidate to work on a three-year, NSF-funded mixed methods study, investigating novice and expert conceptions of the biotic impacts of climate change. The position is a one year appointment, renewable for a second year. While abundant literature describes student knowledge of the causes and abiotic consequences of climate change (centered in the geoscience education literature), little work describes conceptions of how the living component of ecosystems is affected by climate change. The first phases of this project is to describe these conceptions in both novice and expert populations. The latter phases of the project aim to leverage this information to develop a concept inventory to quantify accurate and alternate conceptions of introductory biology and 200/300-level ecology undergraduate students. The postdoctoral research associate will work with a highly collaborative team including Drs. Emily Holt, Julie Sexton, and Krystal Hinerman. The primary responsibilities include:

  1. Collect and analyze qualitative data related to expert and novice conceptions of the biotic impacts of climate change.

  2. Collaborate on instrument development and revision with the research team.

  3. Collecting and analyze quantitative data reflecting several field tests of the novel instrument developed by the team.

  4. Serve as project manager to oversee logistics of the project.

  5. Present and publish findings from the study.

  6. Attend grant project meetings.

Minimum Qualifications

1. A PhD degree (or ABD or equivalent) from an accredited institution in a life sciences discipline with a focus on teaching, learning, or pedagogy or a PhD in the learning sciences, cognitive or educational psychology, science education or curriculum and instruction with an MS degree in a life sciences discipline or focus on life sciences or science education.

2. 3-5 years work conducting qualitative and quantitative research or completion of a PhD in which these skills were developed.

Preferred Qualifications

1. Knowledge of or experience conducting and analyzing conceptions interviews.

2. Knowledge of or experience using various psychometric analyses (e.g., CTT, Rasch).

3. Knowledge of or experience using concept inventories for research purposes.

4. Experience teaching at the university level.

Salary and Benefits

Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Benefits available include health, vision, life, and dental insurance, as well as a selection of several defined contribution retirement programs. Dependents and spouses of UNC employees who are employed as 0.5 FTE or above are entitled to and eligible for Dependent Tuition Grants. These tuition grants will cover in-state tuition charges. Further requirements may exist. Other benefits may be available based on position.

Requested Start Date: Negotiable, but September 1, 2019 preferred

Application Materials, Contact, and Application Deadline

Screening of applications will begin on July 1, 2019 and will continue until the position is filled. Interested persons should apply online at and navigate to “Search Jobs”, then select “School of Biological Sciences” and then “Postdoctoral Research Associate 0.875”. Application documents to be submitted online include:

  1. A letter of application/cover letter,

  2. A curriculum vitae,

  3. Three letters of reference, and

  4. Unofficial or official copies of all undergraduate and graduate school transcripts.

For questions about the application process, contact Cynthia Budde, 970-351-2921. email: For questions about the position, contact the grant PI, Emily Holt, phone: 970-351-4780, email:

Additional Requirements

Satisfactory completion of a background check, educational check, and authorization to work in the United States is required after a conditional offer of employment has been made. Original transcripts must be submitted at least one (1) month before the start date.

Location and Environment

The university, founded in 1889, is located in Greeley, Colorado, which has a growing population of over 100,000 and is situated one hour north of Denver and 30 miles east of the Rocky Mountains. The City of Greeley is an affordable community (median home value of approximately $284,000) composed of both historic and newer homes, which has a lively downtown with many social and cultural activities. Greeley is located in close proximity to Pawnee National Grasslands (30 minutes), Rocky Mountain National Park (1 hour), Denver (1 hour), and world class winter sports (2 hours). Further information about UNC and the City of Greeley is available at

Additional Information

This position is funding from the NSF and the successful applicant will work 0.875 FTE, the remaining ~5 hrs per week may be met through teaching opportunities as they arise or other projects. Federal regulations require that the University retain all documents submitted by applicants. Materials will not be returned or copied for applicants.

The University of Northern Colorado is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. For more information or issues of equity or fairness or claims of discrimination contact the UNC AA/EEO/Title IX Officer at UNC Human Resource Services, Campus Box 54, Carter Hall 2002, Greeley, CO 80639, or call 970-351-2718.

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