Research Associate

Boulder, CO
Mar 06, 2018
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Professional Research Associate (Postdoc or Early Researcher) in Inclusive Simulation Research in STEM Education with the PhET Interactive Simulations Project at the University of Colorado Boulder The PhET Interactive Simulations Project ( ) at the University of Colorado Boulder has an opening for a full-time Research Associate (postdoc or early researcher) position with a focus on research involving accessible simulation features and their use by students with and without disabilities. The PhET Team designs and develops interactive simulations for teaching and learning science and mathematics with supporting professional development materials, and makes all of these resources available for free to educators and students around the world. Research at the K-12 and college levels is a major component of the PhET project, and focuses on understanding aspects of design and use that lead to increases in student engagement and learning. This particular position is part of PhET's initiative to increase the accessibility of the interactive simulations for students with disabilities.

Job Description
The successful applicant will join the vibrant and productive PhET team. Their responsibilities will grow as the applicant becomes familiar with the project, to include:

  • Designing accessibility features (as part of a 3- to 5-person team) into existing PhET HTML5 simulations. (Software programming is not required, though knowledge of basic coding principles is a plus - see description of desirable qualifications below. The PhET project has a team of professional software developers that will implement accessibility features in the simulations).
  • Conducting user-testing of simulation use through interviews of students with and without disabilities.
  • Leading simulation design, development, and research efforts - e.g. analyzing data, conducting interview and classroom-based research studies (including developing connections and collaborations with school administrators and teachers, and conducting classroom observations), etc.
  • Serving as a PhET project liaison to the accessibility, accessible technology, education research, and STEM and Special Education teacher communities
  • Assisting with dissemination of the PhET project's resources to the accessibility and teacher communities: developing and representing PhET in online forums and resources; running exhibit booths at national and local conferences; and assisting with teacher workshops.

The successful candidate will work at the University of Colorado Boulder which is a national leader in STEM education with over 50 campus programs addressing STEM education and the Center for Science Learning. The candidate will join the PhET Interactive Simulation project's growing team of 20+ full and part-time faculty, researchers, teachers, software developers, and staff. More information on PhET can be found at: .

Start Date
The start date is flexible. We will consider start dates as early as April 1, 2018 and as late as Aug 1, 2018, with a preference for a start date of June 1, 2018 or earlier.

The University of Colorado is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to building a diverse workforce. We encourage applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. Alternative formats of this ad can be provided upon request for individuals with disabilities by contacting the ADA Coordinator at .

The University of Colorado conducts background checks on all final applicants being considered for employment.


Required Minimum Qualifications:
We will consider applicants who:

  • Have completed a:
    • Ph.D. in Physics, Physics Education, Chemistry, Chemistry Education or a closely related field, with a strong interest and background in science education
    • Ed.D (with a strong science background) in Science Education or Special Education or closely related field, or a
    • Ph.D. in Educational Psychology or a closely related field
    • Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction, Human-centered Computing or a closely related field

by June 30, 2018 (minimally, all degree requirements must be met if the degree has not yet been conferred by the deadline).

  • Have experience conducting research in K-12 classrooms
  • Are highly organized, and very attentive to details
  • Are proficient with common workplace software (e.g., spreadsheets and word processing)
  • Have excellent technical writing and presentation skills
  • Have excellent professional and workplace communication skills (e.g., email)
  • Is highly capable of advancing multiple projects with overlapping deadlines, and able to complete projects in a timely manner.
  • Can, with reasonable accuracy, estimate time to complete tasks (e.g., drafting a manuscript, designing an interview protocol, etc.)

Highly Desirable Qualifications
While not required, any of the following qualifications are highly desirable:

  • Experience conducting research involving students with disabilities, and/or their teachers
  • Experience with assistive technology (e.g., alternative input devices, screen reader software, etc.)
  • Knowledge of the semantic use of HTML and the main principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines by the World Wide Web Consortium
  • An undergraduate degree in a STEM discipline (e.g., physics, computer science, etc.)
  • Familiarity with PhET simulations and their use in the classroom
  • Demonstrated interest in language (e.g., multilingual, linguistics, natural language processing, etc.), and/or sound (e.g., playing an instrument, sonification, etc.)

Special Instructions to Applicants:The University of Colorado Boulder conducts background checks on all final applicants being considered for employment, prior to the issuance of an offer letter. The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to providing a safe and productive learning, living and working community. To achieve this goal, we conduct background investigations for all final applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include a criminal history record check, and an EPLS (Excluded Parties List System) check. The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires that verification of employment eligibility be documented for all new employees by the end of the third day of work.

The University of Colorado is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, the University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, political affiliation or political philosophy in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. Inquiries may be directed to the Boulder Campus Title IX Coordinator by calling 303-492-2127. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, alternative formats of this ad can be provided upon request for individuals with disabilities by contacting Human Resources at

Application Materials Required:Cover Letter, Resume/CV, List of References, Unofficial transcript(s), Additional Attachments - Refer to Application Materials Instructions Below

Application Materials Instructions:Applicants must complete the Faculty/University Staff and EEO Data (application) form, and upload the following required documents: 1 - Cover Letter; 2 - Resume; 3 - The document uploaded for Proof of Degree can be a Transcript which shows the date the degree was conferred; Copy of Diploma; or official letter from the Registrar or the Dean of the School or College conferring the degree; and 4 - List of References. This position is eligible for medical, dental and life insurance, retirement benefits programs, and is eligible for monthly vacation and sick leave accruals.

Job Category: Faculty

Primary Location: Boulder

Department: B0001 -- Boulder Campus - 10180 - Physics

Schedule: Full-time

Posting Date: Mar 5, 2018

Closing Date: Ongoing

Posting Contact Name: Oliver Nix

Posting Contact Email:

Position Number: 00178293


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