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Michigan State University Research Associate-Fixed Term in East Lansing, Michigan

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Research Associate-Fixed Term

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Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff

Major Administrative Unit / College:College Of Agriculture And Nat Resources

Department:Entomology Agriculture And Natural Res 10002268

Sub Area:FAS- Fac./Acad Staff


Location: East Lansing

Categories: Research/Scientific, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union

Working/Functional Title

Research Associate - Fixed Term

Position Summary

Applications are being accepted for a postdoctoral research associate position to work on an NSF-Funded project in K-5 science education, focusing on an agency-based approach to science curriculum, using night-flying moths as model organisms. The research associate will work with, and under the direction of Dr. Peter White, and Dr. David Stroupe at Michigan State University. The initial appointment will be for 12 months. It is intended to be a three-year position, pending successful annual performance reviews. The position will commence on January 1, 2022, and is expected to be "in-person".


In this project, we propose to design, implement, and test curricular materials, as well as provide teacher support, that give elementary and middle-school students epistemic agency in their classrooms while they explore the diversity and abundance of moth assemblages in their local communities. There are few opportunities in elementary and middle-school for students to engage in scientific processes or to conduct their own scientific investigations. In part, this is due to the structure of elementary and middle-school; teachers often have a wide spectrum of content to teach across many subject areas, and are forced to dedicate little time to science. Another significant limiting factor, however, is the dearth of ready-to-implement science-focused curricular materials available to teachers that provide guidance around helping students participate in science practices. Thus, a goal of our project is to develop, implement, and test curricular materials that teachers can use to bring authentic science into their classrooms. Our curricular materials will leverage an often-overlooked species group that can be explored in most urban and rural school districts in America: moths (Order: Lepidoptera). In our curricular materials, students will (i) learn about the ecological importance of moths, (ii) construct their own homemade moth traps, (iii) decide on what scientific questions they would like to explore, (iv) conduct their own moth trapping, (v) explore their trapping data to make conclusions about their scientific question and (vi) disseminate their results to the local school community, and online via our Moth-Ed project website. We will partner with a set of teachers to co-develop our curriculum and run curriculum testing. We will investigate the impact of our materials via student interviews and pre- post-activity assessments.In addition, we will provide ongoing support for the teacher collaborators as they pilot the materials in their classrooms.


The postdoc will work closely with Drs. White and Stroupe, along with the project team on the design, development, piloting and testing of curricular materials, teacher workshops, and data collection and analysis. The postdoc will play a significant role researching and building the Moth-Ed integrative curricular materials, designing and populating website pages, and piloting and assessing the working with teachers. The postdoctoral research associate will be involved in preparing publications arising from the research conducted in this project. They will participate in manuscript planning, data analysis, drafting manuscript sections, submitting to appropriate journals, attending professional meetings, and responding to manuscript reviewer comments.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Degree

Doctorate -K-12 education, biology, biology education

Minimum Requirements

  • A strong knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research approaches.

  • Experience with inclusive and constructivist teaching pedagogies.

  • An ability to work with and handle live and dead insects, particularly moths.

  • Excellent writing skills, knowledge of html and use of web-based technologies.

  • A record of producing peer-reviewed publications.

  • A set of skills that would help in managing and coordinating a study at a national scale.

  • Experience working with K-12 teachers, and developing teacher training workshops.

Desired Qualifications

  • A strong knowledge of fundamental K-12 biology, particularly relating to insect biology and/or ecological processes.

  • A comprehensive understanding of agency-based education, and CHAT as a theoretical framework.

Required Application Materials

Submit an application letter describing research interests and career goals, a curriculum vitae, two writing samples, a diversity and inclusivity statement, and complete contact information for three letters of recommendation to careers.msu.edu (posting # 719303). Questions regarding this position may be directed to Dr. Peter White,pwhite@msu.edu, and/or Dr. David Stroupe,dstroupe@msu.edu.

Review of Applications Begins On




Department Statement

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University is committed to achieving excellence by creating and sustaining an accessible and inclusive culture that values cultural and academic diversity. We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. The CANR is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that academic excellence is achieved through open access and proactive inclusion.

MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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