Postdoctoral Research Associate Position in Science Education Research at Emory University

The Heemstra Lab at Emory University in collaboration with a cross-disciplinary group of science and education researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Haverford College; the University of Utah; and Georgia Gwinnett College seeks a Postdoctoral Scholar to join a group effort investigating students’ relationships with failure in academic settings and interventions aimed at helping students to deal with failure. The Postdoctoral Scholar will be under the joint supervision of Jen Heemstra, Acting Associate Professor of Chemistry at Emory University, and Lisa Corwin, Biology Education Researcher and Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This postdoc will work on a project entitled Promoting Student Success by Shaping Attitudes Toward Failure: Investigating how mindset interventions can help students to understand, embrace, and overcome short-term failure.

This project aims to investigate how academic interventions drawing from research on mindset, resiliency, and attribution theory can be used in classroom and laboratory settings to help students overcome fear of failure and productively respond when failure does occur. Productive responses to failures involve responses that allow an individual to quickly overcome the emotional costs of failure, learn from the failure experience, and, if possible, solve the problem associated with the failure or apply their learning to future experiences. The research aims to characterize both productive and unproductive failure responses common in an academic environment and identify academic interventions and instructional practices that help students abandon unproductive responses and adopt productive responses.

The Postdoctoral Researcher will serve as a general project manager and oversee day-to-day operations of the project. They will be involved in all aspects of the project with special attention to study design, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of the findings through conferences and publications. The successful candidate will be expected to:

  • Attend all project leadership team meetings including project design and implementation meetings and meetings to determine the scope and direction of the project,
  • Assist with study design, with special attention to the statistical analysis that will accompany the project,
  • Help refine interventions aimed at preparing students for failures or assisting students in coping with recent failures,
  • Attend and assist with professional development meetings aimed at training participants in use of interventions,
  • Engage in data collection (first year) and analysis (second year),
  • Engage in collaborative data viewing and analysis sessions with the project leadership team specifically aimed at evaluating the efficacy of tested interventions,
  • Build educational research skills and an education research agenda to carry on their own independent work after this position, and
  • Mentor undergraduate students and/or graduate research assistants associated with the project.

We are seeking candidates who have either a Ph.D. in Science Education, Learning Sciences, Educational Psychology, or related fields, or a Ph.D. in Chemistry, Physics, or Biology, experience teaching, and a strong desire to engage in education research. The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications or a strong motivation to gain experience in these areas:

  • Experience in science education research,
  • Experience conducting multivariate statistics including multiple regression, hierarchical linear models, and structural equation modeling,
  • Experience teaching at the undergraduate level,
  • Effective communication skills across disciplines, particularly to explain the nuances of a discipline to those outside of the discipline,
  • Experience with data collection, particularly in undergraduate settings, and
  • Experience working in the sciences (Chemistry, Biology, or Physics).

Salary: $47,500/year

Start date: February 2018 (negotiable)

Term: Initial appointment will be for one year (renewable for a second year)

Application procedure: Email cover letter, CV, and brief summary of past research as a single PDF to both Jen Heemstra (jen [dot] heemstra [at] emory [dot] edu) and Lisa Corwin (lisa [dot] corwin [at] colorado [dot] edu).  Letters of recommendation will be solicited for selected candidates. Application review will begin on Monday October 9th. Applications will be accepted and reviewed until the position is filled.