View all jobs

Resident Lecturer in Political and Social Dimensions of Conservation, Chile

Puerto Natales, Chile
The SFS program on Wild Patagonia: Fire and Ice (spring and fall semester), located in Chile seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented individual to serve as part of a residential team of faculty and staff who deliver an interdisciplinary, hands-on learning experience to students spending a semester abroad.  This program, based in Puerto Natales, Chile will present a rich learning landscape for students exploring people’s relationship with the environment and conservation.

The Lecturer will teach the Political and Social Dimensions of Conservation course as well as teach one-third of the Directed Research course. Contribute to student learning in the areas of anthropogenic climate change and  conservation planning in Patagonia. 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:
The Chilean Patagonia region, like other high-latitude regions, is hyper-susceptible to changes in climate, and the Southern Patagonian icefield is shown to be more vulnerable to climate change than Alaskan glaciers. The focus of this program will be the science of climate change from the Quaternary Period to the Anthropocene, the ecology of the Patagonian coast, alpine forests, and exposed terrestrial and fragile habitats, and the complexity of the regional conservation decision-making apparatus. Students will be encouraged to consider the dynamic Patagonian conservation movement from multiple lenses, taking into account perspectives from multiple stakeholder groups. This program weaves the study of human action and impact throughout the fields of earth systems, ecology, and climate change. Patagonia is a place where climate change can be observed and measured in palpable ways.

Course Description: Political and Social Dimensions of Conservation
This course explores the decision-making apparatus within Chile (and Argentina) and delves into the complexity of why humans decide to conserve or not; which places/things we choose to conserve or not, what is the cost (in human capital, economic capital, and to ecosystem services) when we choose to conserve or not, and who ultimately are the power brokers of the conservation movement in Patagonia (corporations, government entities, NGOs, foreigners, etc.). And by extension, how do the Chilean conservation management objectives and operations map onto the broader world stage. This is a very transformative time in Chilean conservation management. The ministries are under re-organization; those that hold political influence now may not be the ones in office in subsequent years. Many media outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and The Economist have had recent profiles on the influence of foreign private entities largely shaping the conservation scene in Chile. This course will allow stimulating debate and exploration and send students home with an unprecedented insight. Students will leave with a conceptual framework for understanding, and the practical skills for critically analyzing, nature-society interactions, emphasizing climate change, conservation, and development.

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 Research Plan (currently in development) 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:  https://fieldstudies.org/program/chile-semester/
Program Schedule and Locations:
The Center for Climate Studies is located in Puerto Natales. The program includes field excursions and trips to the Torres del Paine National Park, the Perito Moreno Glacier, Tierra del Fuego, and Puerto Montt (program locations are subject to change due to in-country conditions and travel restrictions). For fall semester, faculty are required to report to the Center in mid-August (exact date to be determined) for preparation for the program, but earlier arrival is possible and encouraged. Program dates for fall are late August through mid-December, with a debrief and a post-planning period following the close of the session. Faculty are required to return to the Center for the start of the spring semester in mid-January (date to be determined) in preparation for the spring semester which takes place from late January through early May.
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.
  • 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 design/conduct research according to it
  • Identify appropriate components of the program’s research plan suitable for student Directed Research projects
  • Prepare research results for collaborators 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     
  • 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
  • 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 and the Dean
  • 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
Daily Center Life
  • Live near the Center for the duration of each program period and take some 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 areas of Political Ecology, Anthropology, Human Geography, or related fields – with understanding of higher latitude or alpine systems. 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 or professional activity
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental issues
Preferred Qualifications
  • Work in Patagonia
  • Experience teaching field courses or work with study abroad programs
  • Fluency or high proficiency in Spanish
  • 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 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

This is a contract position with a start date of mid- August 2021. The contract will end in mid-May 2022 with continuance depending on successful completion of duties and sufficient student enrollment. Salary is dependent on experience and qualifications.  Comprehensive benefits package included.
Puerto Natales, Chile
Reports to:
Program Manager and Senior Faculty in Chile and The Office of Academic Affairs in the United States
To Apply: Submit a cover letter outlining relevant experiences and addressing the qualifications and expectations stated above and curriculum vitae online.  Recommendation letters or reference testimony will be required upon request.
For further clarifications of roles and responsibilities contact Mark E. Seifert, Chief Program Officer and Dean of SFS at academics@fieldstudies.org

Powered by