First-Year Research Educator @ University of Maryland

December 7, 2020

UMD FIRE Professional Track Faculty Research Educators, University of Maryland


The First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE)
<> is a major initiative at the University of
Maryland, College Park (UMD). FIRE provides first-year UMD students an
faculty-mentored research experience <> that
drives accelerated professional development.

FIRE Research Educator Introduction

The Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President is seeking Research
Educators for potential new FIRE innovation and research streams
<>. The stream Research Educator
<> works in collaboration with FIRE
program leadership and stream-affiliated faculty members to design and
implement the group research agenda and is responsible for curriculum,
instruction, and broad student mentorship.

FIRE Research Educators work in collaboration with department-based faculty
members to design and implement the research agenda of a new group.
Research Educators oversee all research operations including student
research progress, infrastructure, equipment, consumables, as well as
management of the fiscal budget. They are the primary instructors of record
for the courses connected to the FIRE research group and mentor
undergraduate students and peer mentors daily in a research facility.

FIRE Research Educators are typically post-PhD scholars, experts in their
disciplines, and are responsible for students’ daily progress, management,
and success.  Research Educators have interests in continued research,
program administration, and education.  Research educators manage the
curriculum, instruction, assessment, evaluation, research goals, laboratory
environment, fiscal budget, and peer mentors.  They are available to the
students of the stream during most business hours of daily operation and
provide direct leadership, insight, and perspective to peer mentors and
students.  These individuals are the instructors of record for FIRE stream
courses and are appointed as Assistant Clinical Professors (PhD required
for this title, other titles possible).

FIRE Research Educators as Leaders

As the leader of the research mission, the Research Educator drives the
research agenda. This involves acting as both the intellectual and physical
driver of the research operation. The Research Educator refines the
research goals and identity of the group while clearly communicating
research goals and expectations to their team. Additionally, the Research
Educator is the logistical leader of the research endeavor which requires
them to document all training methods and protocols. The Research Educator
maintains the quality and cleanliness of the research environment and
continually addresses resource, logistical, facilities, and planning
problems. Finally, this role requires the Research Educator to be an
accomplished practitioner in their field of expertise. They continually
review discipline-specific literature and ongoing progress and redirect the
research to achieve the most productive outcomes, develop new lines of
research as existing lines are completed, drive the creation of conference
presentations and manuscripts, and introduce students to diverse
methodological perspectives. The Research Educator creates meaning, the
capacity for discovery and ensures the market utility of the experience for
students by helping them engage in work that is broadly relevant, has the
capacity to generate new knowledge, and that allows for students to receive
meaningful training and develop professionally marketable skills.

FIRE Research Educators as Educators

As the lead instructor of all stream-affiliated courses, the Research
Educator is tasked with providing an excellent educational experience -
both in scheduled course sessions and the research environment. This
requires the Research Educator to use educational best practices for
formative assessment of student training and summative assessment of
student accomplishments. Research Educators use UMD's Learning Management
System to its fullest extent possible to facilitate their courses. This
includes the use of announcements, assignments, assessment and lecture
related files, grading, peer review, and class discussion. Research
Educators develop assessments in advance of deadlines that include rubrics
that make it clear how assessments will be evaluated for a grade. They
provide students prompt and qualitative feedback on all assessments. Stream
curriculum is designed in a research-sensitive manner that allows for
iteration: students engage in work that includes periods of uncertainty,
setbacks, and unexpected outcomes and have the opportunity to repeat
unsuccessful methodological attempts.  Research Educators use pedagogies
shown to create effective learning environments.

FIRE Research Educators as Mentors

As the professional that interacts with each FIRE-participating student,
the Research Educator is tasked with providing personal, academic,
research, and professional mentorship. Research Educators engage in student
personal development through the creation of experiences that drive the
development of personal capacities such as collaboration, communication,
time management, leadership, critical thinking, confidence, self-efficacy,
resilience, discipline identity, and goal orientation. Academic growth is
fostered through both practical advice and the research-centered work that
allows other first-year courses to have increased purpose and meaning.
Research Educators provide research mentorship by fostering a work
environment that encourages collaborative efforts from all students while
minimizing conflict and competition, challenges students to learn to act
autonomously. Additionally, Research Educators role model by engaging
scholarly work within the research environment, continually communicating
the big-picture and broader impacts of the research agenda, and encouraging
students to attend on-campus seminars related to stream research. Finally,
professional mentorship is provided to students by engaging in practices
that both implicitly and explicitly instruct students regarding behaviors
that promotes student professional success. Research Educators learn to
mentor and support students of all capacities (struggling, typical,
superstar, perhaps disengaged) in the research environment and think of
students as responsibilities as opposed to labor or commitments.

Expectations of Position

   Ability to lead a team of undergraduate peer mentors through clear
   communication and management.
   Ability to develop instructional curriculum and protocols for
   research-based inquiry and discipline understanding.
   Ability to effectively teach undergraduate students in lecture and
   research-based environments.
   Ability to mentor students from research, academic and personal
   Ability to assess student learning through development of formative and
   summative assessments appropriate for inquiry-based instruction.
   Ability to manage research operations including student progress,
   equipment, consumables and oversight of the fiscal budget.
   Ability to effectively communicate with stream faculty members,
   undergraduate peer mentors, students and institutional colleagues.
   Ability to problem-solve, prioritize and manage multiple projects and
   Strong organizational and interpersonal skills including the ability to
   communicate clearly and effectively.
   Ability to work autonomously and collaboratively.
   Flexibility to grow, adapt and change as FIRE develops at UMD.

The Research Educator position will be supported from January 2021 through
December 2021 with strong potential for annual renewals beginning in
January 2022 per positive performance reviews. The position reports to the
Director of Discovery-Based Learning in the Office of the Senior Vice
President and Provost.

Minimum Qualifications

PhD (title: Assistant Clinical Professor) degree or

Masters (title: Lecturer) degree or

Bachelors (title: Faculty Specialist) degree.

Research leadership experience.

   Experience working on funded research projects.
   Prior supervisory experience of undergraduate researchers.
   Record of success in presenting research at conferences and/or
   publishing research in peer-reviewed journals.
   At least one-year experience in teaching undergraduate students (either
   as the instructor of record or as a teaching assistant).
   At least one year of research team experience with substantial project
   management experience and organizational skills.


Qualified individuals should apply for the positions described below