MSI Faculty Leadership Opportunity

Announcement for MSI Faculty on Macroscale Ecology Education Leadership Team

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) Office of Education and Diversity Programs is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for faculty in Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI) to join an interdisciplinary Macroscale Ecology Education Leadership Team. The project seeks to advance an education program for college students that will introduce them to continental-scale science and research facilitated by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).

For 2013, the program is centered around an interdisciplinary college student workshop: Future of Environmental Decisions (FED), to be held June 2-7, 2013 in Baltimore, MD. The workshop is one of two workshops in ESA’s Scaling Up: Joint workshops on Continental-scale Population and Community Ecology and Education project made possible through an award by the National Science Foundation.

Since 2008, ESA has been working with its partners to build foundations for the participation of diverse students and faculty from small undergraduate and minority-serving institutions in discovering and understanding the impacts of climate change, land-use change, and invasive species. This initiative has led to the development of an interactive conceptual framework for continental-scale ecology education, several teaching modules using large scale data, and a prototype Future of Environmental Decisions (FED) education workshop in 2010 using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) visualization of biological, environmental and social data to explore how regional scale data can inform environmental decision making. From this project, there is the potential to develop curricula that can be taught through courses or through regional institutes.

2013 Future of Environmental Decisions (FED) Workshop
Faculty from Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) are invited to apply to be part of the Leadership Team for the Future of Environmental Decisions workshop. Three faculty from MSIs will be selected. The FED Leadership Team will contribute to the organizing of the 2013 FED workshop and in the development of future workshops in their own regions.

The FED workshop aims to introduce undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds to the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) infrastructure, and provide opportunities for students to:

  • develop insights into environmental decision-making using environmental and social science data
  • gain 21st century skills in working with large scale data, mapping and public communications technologies
  • build skills to communicate science to land and resource managers and the general public
  • explore potential ecology and environmental science careers

Undergraduate and graduate students from any academic discipline – including social, natural, formal and applied science fields – are expected toparticipate. Underrepresented minority students are especially encouraged to apply. This workshop is an enhancement of a prototype workshop ESA organized in 2010. The workshop is being offered in conjunction with an early career faculty workshop, organized by ESA’s Science office, to develop macroscale ecology research agendas.

FED Leadership Team – Faculty Opportunity
For the current 2013 workshop, the FED Leadership Team will work with Project faculty from University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (UMCES), West Virginia University and NEON Inc. We will be using Potomac Basin / Chesapeake Bay watershed data as a case study for macroscale environmental decision-making and open source software, qGIS, for data visualization and analysis. The workshop includes a study cruise on the Rachel Carson research vessel on the Chesapeake Bay.

FED Leadership Team members are asked to build upon the 2013 workshop planning experience and draw from their unique perspectives to develop and support ESA to plan future workshops in their own region. The specific role of selected faculty in the 2013 workshop will be based upon the research interests and expertise of the individual. Future workshops are to maintain a focus on interdisciplinary macroscale environmental decision-making and expected to broaden the collaboration to include other MSIs especially within their region.

Benefits for Faculty
This is an opportunity for faculty to prepare for and participate in ideas and pedagogical techniques used to advance macroscale interdisciplinary research and education coinciding with the development and construction of National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) infrastructure over the next decade. NEON is expected to generate continental-scale data for 30 years. Selected faculty will be recognized by ESA as leaders in this rising initiative and in future proposals highlighting resources for science, education and management in their region. Opportunities for peer reviewed publication of workshop results are expected.

ESA expects to recruit three faculty from MSIs to form the Leadership Team. Travel expenses to the 2013 workshop will be fully covered by ESA through NSF support.

Criteria for Faculty Selection
ESA is seeking faculty from MSIs with unique perspectives on interdisciplinary environmental decision-making using macroscale environmental and social data. The ideal faculty would be:

  • Familiar with sources of socioecological datasets in their own region
  • Connected with regional natural resource managers and social scientists
  • Experienced in incorporating data exploration in the classroom.

Faculty with background in environemental issues from a variety of disciplines including ecology, environmental sciences, computational sciences and social sciences are welcome to apply. Faculty will be selected based on teaching experience, research interests, their potential and interest to lead future collaborative regional FED workshops, and to draw a mix of disciplinary experts for future workshops in their region.

Participating Faculty commit to:

  • Plan pre-workshop webinars and workshop materials during monthly hour-long planning meetings between December 2012 and June 2013
  • Participate in at least one of two 90-minute pre-workshop webinars for student participants – one in April and one in May.
  • Participate in 5-day workshop from June 2 – 7, 2013 in Baltimore, MD. (Transportation, room and board are provided).
  • Participate in the planning and development of future FED student workshops and support ESA in the proposal development process after June 2013.

More information about the background of this project and previous workshops are available at:

How to Apply:
Send the following application materials to Andrea McMillen, Education Programs Coordinator, by Monday, November 5, 2012:

  • Letter of Interest in the project (2 pages or less), specifically addressing the criteria for faculty selection described above.
  • Names and contact information for 2 professional references.
  • An up to date curriculum vitae (CV), listing education, publications, and academic service.

Applicants will be notified by the end of November.

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