Postdoc in HS Computational Physics Education (Student Learning)

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Applications are invited for a post-doctoral researcher for a recently funded National Science Foundation project, “Integrating Computational Science Across Michigan.” This project is supported by a collaboration that joins the Michigan State University's Department of Physics and Astronomy (Prof. Danny Caballero and Prof. Paul Irving) and its College of Education (Prof. Niral Shah and Prof. David Stroupe). The successful candidate for the current position will work collaboratively with team members to design multiple professional development workshops and an on-going support system for high school physics teachers in Michigan who are interested in integrating numerical computation and modeling into their classes. In addition, the candidate will conduct research on student learning and engagement as teacher’s work to implement their co-designed computational activities.


Responsibilities include working in coordination with physics and education faculty to:

  • Design multiple professional development opportunities for supporting teachers to integrate computation into high school physics courses,

  • Work collaboratively and constructively with in-service high school physics teachers,

  • Gather and analyze data in classrooms of students working on computational activities,

  • Interview students and teachers about computational usage and experiences,

  • Conduct research using qualitative methods to determine how students approach their work on computational activities,

  • Mentor junior researchers including graduate students and undergraduates in physics education research, and

  • Author articles for journals such as Physical Review: Physics Education Research, the American Journal of Physics, and The Physics Teacher, as well as

  • Present research results at professional conferences such as the American Association of Physics Teachers conference and the Physics Education Research Conference.


The candidate will collaborate with faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students in the Michigan State’s Physics Education Research Lab ( and Teacher Education program.


The appointment is initially for one year, with the possibility of extension, based on performance and the availability of funding. The salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience. Appointment is contingent upon successfully completing a full background check.


Candidates are expected to hold a Ph.D. in physics, physics education, or STEM education. A successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • Prior professional development experience, which may include leading or supporting in-service or pre-service teachers, teaching assistants, and/or learning assistants,

  • Some form of computational experience in their academic experience, research, or both,

  • A qualitative research background in some area (e.g., ethnography, case studies) using well-established qualitative methods (e.g., semi-structured interviews, video analysis).

  • Prior work organizing a large team around some project (teaching, research, and/or service).


An exceptional candidate will will demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • Experience with physics education research,

  • Prior experience designing professional development,

  • Coordinating data collection across multiple sites including managing video data,

  • Supervising junior collaborators on education research,

  • Working on a multi/interdisciplinary team,

  • A history of successful publications, and/or

  • An interest in issues surrounding (in)equity in computational education.


Applicants should submit a CV, a statement of research interests, and a statement of educational philosophy and experiences to (posting number 467584). In addition, applicants should arrange for three (3) letters of recommendation to be submitted to the same posting.


Review of applications will begin on Oct 15, 2017 and will continue until the position has been filled. Start date is negotiable with a preference toward candidates that are available in early 2018. Questions regarding the position may be directed to Prof. Paul Irving (, research advisor for this project, or Prof. Danny Caballero (, co-director of the Physics Education Research Lab.


MSU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans, and persons with disabilities.