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The SFS program on Biodiversity Conservation and Development, located in the Andean-Amazon region of Peru seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented individual to serve as part of a residential team of faculty and staff that delivers an interdisciplinary, hands-on learning experience to students spending a semester abroad. SFS Peru has a thematic focus on the complexity of this Andes-Amazon region with its dramatic elevational gradient and diverse cultural elements.
On a contract basis, teach the Political Ecology of Development Landscapes: Peru course during the fall and spring semesters and teach one-third of the Directed Research course. Contribute to student learning in the areas of conservation planning, natural resource use, and rural development. Lead designated components of the programs research plan and, as part of this, oversee, mentor, and grade the student directed research projects.
SFS creates transformative study abroad experiences through field-based learning and research. Our educational programs explore the human and ecological dimensions of the complex environmental problems faced by our local partners, contributing to sustainable solutions in the places where we live and work. The SFS community is part of a growing network of individuals and institutions committed to environmental stewardship.
This program seeks to understand both the conflicts and synergies of conservation and development. Students will gain a sense of the richness of the Andes-Amazon region—biodiversity, social and cultural diversity, and ecosystem services—while exploring strategies for sustainable livelihoods in this highly productive and diverse region of South America.
The interdisciplinary themes of socio-ecological resilience, environmental justice, and conservation will guide our inquiry. Through coursework, field exercises, and Directed Research, students will study people’s dependence on the environment, examine the threats to the environment and to social networks, and explore the tools and strategies for mitigating the threats and promoting well-being among rural communities. A strong component of the program will be examining the ecological patterns and processes that underpin the high diversity of the region.
Course Description: Political Ecology of Developing Landscapes: Peru
In this course we focus on human interactions with and impacts on local natural systems, and vice versa. The course considers these interactions through the interdisciplinary lens of political ecology, examining the political, economic and social factors of environmental issues and changes. The course provides a conceptual framework for understanding how nature-society interactions, such as agriculture, resource extraction, tourism, and rural development shape both the natural landscape and the social and economic conditions in rural areas. Because resource extraction, rural development, and conservation are simultaneously social, cultural, economic, and ecological phenomena, holistic critical thinking is essential to understand these systems to enable us to propose solutions that make sense. The course provides the conceptual and practical skills and tools to critically examine and assess the human-environment nexus in the field. We also consider the theories and ethics of sustainable and unsustainable development and the need to view these issues in ways that are inclusive and just. We will use the lens of political ecology to frame lines of inquiry and define research questions.
Course Description: Directed Research
The aim of this course is to provide students with the opportunity to apply ecological, biological, and/or social-scientific methods to a field research project that addresses a local issue related to the environment. We will also investigate the ways that various methods and theories distinguish (or don’t) fact from interpretation, cause from correlation, and advocacy from objectivity. The directed research topics are derived from the SFS Center’s Five Year Research Plan as defined by the Center staff and local stakeholders. Through the Directed Research project, students will contribute to a growing body of scientific research that informs local conservation and resource management decisions. SFS program lecturers lead a small group of students in this research component of the program.
Applicants are encouraged to review proposed course syllabi and programs descriptions on the SFS website: www.fieldstudies.org/peru
Duties and Responsibilities
Provide high quality, modern and experiential teaching in critical environmental issues in an interdisciplinary curriculum, and participate fully in the implementation of the program’s research plan that addresses these issues. The publication of research results is critical. Work closely with the other program lecturers to deliver an interdisciplinary program through education and research in a field setting. Each lecturer is expected to provide high quality, inquiry-based teaching and will lead students in Directed Research projects defined in the program’s research plan.
- As part of an interdisciplinary teaching team, teach a significant portion of the academic program (minimum 50-60 lecture hours)
- Plan, revise, and effectively deliver a challenging, problem-based interdisciplinary curriculum
- Organize lectures and prepare course materials in a timely and professional manner
- Adhere to the daily academic schedule
- Prepare, administer, and grade assignments, quizzes, mid-term and final examinations
- Supervise and mentor a student research group in Directed Research projects
- Actively support and counsel students on academic issues
- Maintain an organized course portfolio
- Help design the program’s research plan and conduct designated research according to it
- Identify appropriate components of the program’s research plan suitable for student Directed Research projects
- Prepare research results for clients and partners and for publication and conference presentations
- Assist in the creation and implementation of program research policies, priorities, budgets as required
- Follow data management, record keeping, and reporting systems
- Present research findings at local and international conferences (budget dependent)
- Participate in planning activities prior to the program start and in review/analysis following students’ departure
- Participate in training activities for new program staff prior to and during the program, particularly interns
- Participate in and lead parts of the orientation and re-entry components of the program presented to students at the beginning and end of each program period
- In cooperation with other program staff, provide day-to-day coordination of interns as delegated by the program director
- Participate in resolving group management issues and student discipline problems
- Participate in preparation of the final reports, academic handbook revisions and other required reports
- As requested by the program director, assist with other logistical, group management, and administrative tasks
Safety & Risk Management
- Take responsibility, as an individual and as a member of the program faculty/staff team, for the safety of all program participants
- Participate in the review and revision of program risk assessment and management plans
- Know the emergency procedures plan for the field station, including evacuation plan
- Participate in the safety portions of the on-site orientation and conduct safety briefings for students and/or staff
- Complete incident reports when appropriate and contribute to safety audits
- Comply with, actively model, and enforce all SFS and program policies and procedures
- Ensure that first-aid certifications are kept up to date
Daily Center Life
- Live on-site for the duration of each program period and take meals with the students
- On a rotating basis, take responsibility for “staff of the day” duties
- Take part in, and occasionally lead community outreach, site upkeep projects, social and field activities
- Drive standard transmission vehicles and boats as needed
- Adhere to, actively model and enforce all SFS and program policies and procedures
- Ph.D. and university-level teaching experience in areas related to political ecology, human geography, or related field.
- Field research and/or project implementation experience essential
- Demonstrated ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary teaching and research team
- Track record of research publications
- Demonstrated commitment to environmental issues
- Experience working in Peru
- Experience teaching field courses
- Residential student group management and risk management experience highly desirable
- Fluency in English and Spanish languages
- Obtain First Aid certification prior to first day of work (SFS reimbursable available)
- Willingness to work flexible hours and live on site at the field station with a small team of permanent staff, groups of US undergraduate students
- Participation in all program activities
- Represent SFS at local and international meetings and conferences
- At all times, work to ensure good relations between the SFS and the local community
This is an academic year contract position starting in mid-August 2015 and ending in mid-May 2016 with the likely continuance in the fall semester of 2016 and beyond, depending on successful completion of duties and sufficient student enrollment. Salary is dependent on experience and qualifications. Comprehensive benefits package and on-site room and board included.
Cuzco and Madre de Dios Regions of Peru
No later than August 15, 2015