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Research Associate-Fixed Term

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 551952
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Education
Department: Counseling, Educ Psych & Spec Educ 10014204
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Full Time (90-100%), Fixed Term Academic Staff, Education/Training, Research/Scientific

Position Summary

As part of a collaborative project among Michigan State University (NSF Award, 1813047), the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (NSF Award,1812976), and WestEd (NSF Award, 1813086), we are seeking two research associates, postdoctoral researchers, to work with us on the development and implementation of a professional learning model, entitled Motivation - Planning Lessons to Activate eNgagement in Science (M-PLANS), for teachers to learn how to support student motivation and engagement in the context of NGSS instruction. The project team includes both motivational researchers and science education researchers from multiple institutions: Dr. Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia, Dr. Jennifer Schmidt, and Dr. Joseph Krajcik from MSU; Dr. Gwen Marchand from UNLV; and Dr. Christopher Harris from WestEd. The project team will develop M-PLANS collaboratively with a team of middle school science teachers and district level science coordinators from both Michigan and Nevada in 2019-20. In summer and fall of 2020, a small group of teachers will be trained using the M-PLANS toolkit to evaluate its effectiveness. The final year (2021) will be used to analyze findings, further refine the M-PLANS toolkit, and disseminate results and materials. The post-doctoral research associate will have the opportunity to actively engage in these three phases of the project.

We anticipate hiring one post-doctoral associate to work with the MSU team and live in Michigan (JOB LINK) and the other to work with the UNLV team and live in Nevada (JOB LINK). Applicants who are interested in both positions are strongly encouraged to apply for both positions. The post-doctoral associate will have the opportunity to work closely with entire collaborative project team across all research sites. The start date of the position is flexible, but we desire an individual to begin work no later than May 15, 2019.


  • Aid in the oversight of the project for the respective site (MSU or UNLV), including mentoring graduate and undergraduate students at each site and overseeing data collection and processing.
  • Coordinate with the co-design team for the respective location (Nevada or Michigan) and serve as the primary point of contact for data collection at school sites.
  • Actively participate in the design, development, and testing of the M-PLANS professional learning approach.
  • Work with middle school science teachers to integrate motivational principles into science instructional planning.
  • Conduct qualitative and quantitative analyses on the effectiveness of M-PLANS in changing teacher behavior/beliefs and student motivation, engagement, and learning.
  • Contribute to manuscript preparation, grant-related reporting activities, and other dissemination efforts.

Required Degree


Minimum Requirements

  • Applicants should have an earned doctoral degree (or provide evidence that the doctoral degree will be completed prior to the start of the appointment) in educational psychology, learning sciences, science education, or a related field. 
  • As well as experience conducting psychological and/or educational research in school settings; knowledge and expertise in the use of SPSS and Excel and/or qualitative data analysis.

Desired Qualifications

  • Background in either motivation or science education.
  • Experience working with practicing K-12 teachers to develop and/or implement new curricular or pedagogical approaches.
  • Interest in statistics, including structural equation modeling and/or multi-level modeling.
  • It is not expected that all candidates will have all of these areas of expertise and thus we encourage applicants with at least one or more of these desired qualifications to apply.

Required Application Materials

(1) cover letter detailing qualifications for the position, including a clear statement of research interests and description of relevant statistical and/or data management experience, (2) curriculum vitae, (3) up to three representative publications, and (4) names and contact information for three references.

Special Instructions

Please submit materials by February 1, 2019. Review of applications will begin January 9, 2018 and continue until the position is filled.  Late submissions will be considered if suitable candidates are not identified by the deadline.

To apply for the MSU position, please submit online at Please refer to Posting 551952.

To apply for the UNLV position, please submit online. For assistance with the application process, please contact UNLV Human Resources at (702) 895-3504 or

Review of Applications Begins On



MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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