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Resident Lecturer Political and Socioeconomic Dimensions of Environment

Location: Paro, Bhutan
Job # 10037110
Date Posted: 10-12-2017
Resident Lecturer in Political and Socioeconomic Dimensions of Environment

The SFS program on Eastern Himalayan Forests and Rural Livelihoods (summer) and Himalayan Environment and Society in Transition (fall semester), located in Bhutan 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.  Partnering with the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research (UWICER) and Bhutan Ecological Society (BES), this program will present a rich learning landscape for students exploring people’s relationship with the environment and conservation.
On a contract basis, during the spring 2018 semester, the Resident Lecturer will teach the Political and Socioeconomic Dimensions of Environment course as well as teach one-third of the Directed Research course. During the six-week summer program, the Resident Lecturer will teach approximately one-third of the Himalayan Forests, Watersheds, and Rural Livelihood 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.
Institutional Mission:
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.

Program Focus:
In 2008, the Kingdom of Bhutan shifted the government structure from a monarchy to a constitutional democratic monarchy, opening the door for devolution of authority over natural resources, among other things, to regional governments and communities. Because the majority of Bhutanese reside in rural areas and depend on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods, the sustainable management of natural resources is critical for achieving the four pillars of Gross National Happiness. In collaboration with UWICER and BES, SFS students and faculty help advance Bhutan’s research agenda in several priority areas, including community forestry, human-wildlife interactions, and biodiversity conservation.

Course Description: Political and Socioeconomic Dimensions of Environment
Bhutan is internationally known for its development concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). GNH is the guiding principle of development in Bhutan and is understood to have four pillars: good governance, cultural protection and preservation, sustainable development, and environmental conservation. The Buddhist principle of The Middle Path, integrating people and nature as well as traditional knowledge and modern science, is at the core of the country’s development approach and practices.  Sustainable management of natural resources, including soil, water, biodiversity and minerals, is critical for Bhutan, as these resources are fundamental to the national identity as well as economy.
In this course we examine the social, political, and economic dimensions of Bhutan’s approach to development, with a focus on environment. We will use the interdisciplinary lens of political ecology to frame lines of inquiry and define research questions on the nature-society nexus.
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, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and rural development shape both the natural landscape and the social and economic conditions in rural areas. Because these interactions can be simultaneously social, cultural, economic, and ecological, 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.
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 Strategic 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:
Program Schedule and Locations:
Faculty are required to report to the Center in January 2018 (exact dates to be determined) for preparation for the semester-long program which takes place – January 29 to May 9, 2018.  This program is located at the SFS field center in Paro with field excursions and mini-treks to surrounding areas including Bumthang.   The summer session is six-weeks long and begins June 4, 2018. 
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
  • 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 on in an approved location nearby (tbd) for the duration of each program period and take most 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  as needed
  • Adhere to, actively model and enforce all SFS and program policies and procedures
Minimum qualifications
  • Ph.D. and university-level teaching experience in the areas of Anthropology, Sociology, Political Ecology, Human Geography or related field relevant to the teaching and research objectives of the program
  • Candidates with a Master’s degree and significant scholarship may be considered
  • Field research and/or project implementation experience
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary teaching and research team
  • Track record of research publications
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental issues
Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience working in the Himalayan region, particularly in Bhutan
  • Experience teaching field courses and familiarity with study abroad programming
  • Residential student group management and risk management experience highly desirable
Other Expectations
  • 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

Salary is dependent on experience and qualifications.  Comprehensive benefits package and on-site room and board included. International travel is covered.
Primarily Paro, Bhutan
Reports to:
Center Director and to the SFS Office of Academic Affairs in Beverly, Massachusetts

To Apply: Submit a cover letter outlining relevant experiences and addressing the qualifications and expectations stated above and curriculum vitae online.  Recommendation letters will be required upon request.

For further clarifications of roles and responsibilities contact
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