Monday, September 22, 2008

Research Assistant - Program on the Environment

The Program on the Environment (PoE) was established in 1997 to foster and promote interdisciplinary environmental education at the University of Washington (UW). PoE offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies, a Minor in Environmental Studies, and two graduate certificate programs. Program on the Environment also coordinates the undergraduate certificate in Restoration Ecology, in cooperation with the Restoration Ecology Network. In addition, PoE serves as a focal point for information exchange on environmental education opportunities at the UW. PoE's programs provide students knowledge in four domains of inquiry: natural sciences; social sciences; law, policy, and management; and ethics, values, and culture. PoE merges these fields through rigorous coursework and hands-on learning within the community to provide a unique opportunity for students and faculty to explore complex environmental issues from multiple perspectives. As a focal point of environmental studies at UW, PoE is well positioned to bring campus and community together and to educate future environmental leaders.

PoE is not a traditional academic department and does not have a faculty of its own. Instead, it plays a networking role, bringing together faculty and students from across the University to augment existing programs and offer integrated, interdisciplinary programs that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. PoE consists of a Director, an Associate Director, an Undergraduate Program Coordinator, an Undergraduate Adviser, a Graduate Program Coordinator and a Program Operations Specialist. PoE is overseen by an Advisory Board consisting of faculty, staff, and students representing a wide range of departments, colleges, and service units from all three UW campuses. Administratively, PoE is a unit that reports to the Council of Environmental Deans representing the Evans School of Public Affairs and the Colleges of Architecture & Urban Planning, Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Forest Resources, and Ocean and Fishery Sciences.

We have an outstanding opportunity for a part-time (50% FTE), temporary (Autumn Quarter 2008) Luce Keystone Research Assistant. This position will have two areas of responsibility:

1) working on Keystone Projects for the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management (EM) (5 hours per week), and
2) providing research support for the Role of Scientific Information in Environmental Decisions course (one of the core EM courses) (15 hours per week). Reappointment for Winter Quarter 2008 to continue support of Keystone Project logistics may be possible.

1. Keystone Projects.
Keystone Projects play an integral role in the EM Program. Teams of EM students work with a UW Faculty Mentor and a community partner on Projects designed to address contemporary issues affecting the region. Each Project lasts two quarters, Winter and Spring. Keystone Projects for 2008-2009 are:

  • Developing Innovative Solutions for Short Haul Trucking in the Puget Sound Corridor. Community Partners: Port of Tacoma and Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Bellevue Greenhouse Gas Emissions Community Action Plan
    Community Partner: City of Bellevue
Responsibilities include:
1) establishing lines of communication with EM faculty Director, EM Graduate Program Coordinator, Faculty Mentors and communication partners;
2) helping to set up Winter Quarter skills workshop in Keystone course (ENVIR 511), and
3) updating web page and syllabus for ENVIR 511.

Faculty: Alison Cullen, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs

The course is offered by the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs. It serves as a core offering for the Program on the Environment’s Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management.

Course schedule: WED 1:30-4:20 PM (class size 35-40)

Responsibilities include:
1) doing background research on decision analytic topics;
2) meeting with instructor regularly to review research needs and student progress;
3) attending all lectures;
4) preparing course materials, as needed;
5) assisting student learning by holding review sessions, tutoring students one-on-one during office hours, and responding to student e-mail.
There may be additional course-specific requirements of the instructor.

Course Description
This course examines how science contributes to decisions that involve the natural environment; how science and scientists help frame debates and decisions; how scientific findings are incorporated into decision-making processes; how scientists and nonscientists deal with uncertainty about scientific questions. Illustrates the need for accurate representation and critical evaluation of scientific information.

Course Objectives
- Use decision analytic and precautionary frameworks to analyze complex environmental decisions
- Develop an appreciation of both the "role" and the "limits" of analysis
- Identify and address issues of temporal scale and spatial scale in decisions
- Identify and characterize tradeoffs in decisions
- Assess the relevant and driving characteristics of risk in decisions under uncertainty
- Build and solve decision tree structures
- Identify and address issues of variability and uncertainty in information
- Develop probabilistic descriptions of uncertainty and variability in information based on empirical measurement, models and expert judgment.

This position provides opportunities to work with the Program on the Environment team who was recognized with the 2007 Brotman Award for Instructional Excellence.

  • Currently registered UW Graduate Student in good standing and eligibility to hold a Graduate Student Assistantship during all quarters of employment
  • Strong science background
  • Commitment to broadly-based environmental education
  • Good written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • Teaching experience
  • Understanding of regional environmental issues
  • Priority will be given to those who completed the course with distinction in an earlier quarter
  • Project management experience
Application Process:
Part of the application process for this position includes completing an on-line cover letter assessment as well as the Employment Eligibility Assessment to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process. The assessments will appear on your screen for you to complete as soon as you select "Apply to this Position" on this job announcement. Once you begin the assessment, it must be completed at that time. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until the assessment is complete.

In the cover letter assessment, please:
  • state what strengths you would bring to serving as a Research Assistant for the Keystone Projects and in the Role of Science course as well as your strengths and background relevant to the specific activities outlined in the responsibilities outline above and the course description for PB AF 597A
  • provide contact information for 2 - 3 references (name, title, phone, email) familiar with your research and teaching abilities.
Preference will be given to applications received before/by Monday, September 22, 2008. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Decisions and notification to all applicants will be communicated by the week of September 29, 2008.

Apply for this job here: