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  • Writer's pictureNational Institute on Scientific Teaching

Cornell University

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Development of a new critical thinking assessment in ecology Applications are invited for a fulltime post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at Cornell University. The successful candidate will take a leading role in the design and evaluation of a new assessment for students’ critical thinking skills in ecology lab and field courses. The assessment is modeled after an existing instrument for physics labs (Physics Lab Inventory of Critical thinking or PLIC). The successful candidate will collaborate with Dr. Smith (in EEB) and Dr. Holmes (in Physics) to carry out the work.

The primary duties and responsibilities include interviewing students, requesting feedback from faculty at multiple institutions, piloting the assessment instrument in multiple classrooms, analyzing open-response data, and conducting statistical validity and reliability tests. The postdoc will also disseminate the results through publications, presentations at meetings, and an online assessment portal.

Discipline-based education research is growing at Cornell, with faculty and collaborators in physics, biology, and other STEM fields, as well as a number of new postdocs, graduate and undergraduate student researchers. The successful candidate will have an opportunity to mentor and work with many individuals and participate in weekly education journal clubs and research meetings with the larger EEB and Cornell community.


Preferred qualifications include:

  • Ph.D. in biology education research, ecology, or closely related field

  • Experience with relevant literature and education research methods: expertise in quantitative research methods and statistics, and/or qualitative research methodsKnowledge of and experience with the field of ecology

  • Ability and desire to work collaboratively, mentor graduate and undergraduate students, and to also work independently

  • Project leadership, time management, communication, and writing skills

To apply: applicants should submit their cover letter, CV, a 2-3 page research statement including relevant background and experiences, as well as the names and email or phone contacts of three professional references to Review of applications will begin on September 15, 2019.

Please contact Dr. Smith ( or Dr. Holmes ( with any questions.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. The College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will create a climate that attracts students and faculty of all races, nationalities, and genders. We strongly encourage women and underrepresented minorities to apply. Cornell University is a recognized EEO/AA employer and educator, valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

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