The SFS Center for Amazon Studies located in the Iquitos of Peru 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. SFS Peru has a thematic focus on the complexity of this Peruvian Amazon region with its dramatic diversity of species and habitats and rich cultural elements. On a contract basis, deliver the Political Ecology of Development Landscapes course during the spring semester, and teach one-third of the Directed Research 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: This program seeks to understand both the conflicts and synergies of species and habitat complexity, conservation, and development. Students will gain a sense of the richness of the Amazon region—biodiversity, social and cultural diversity, and ecosystem services—while exploring strategies for sustainable livelihoods in this highly productive and diverse region of South America.
Through coursework, field exercises, and Directed Research, students will study people’s dependence on the environment, examine the threats to the environment and to social networks, and explore the tools and strategies for mitigating the threats and promoting well-being among communities. A strong component of the program will be examining the ecological patterns and processes that underpin the high diversity of the region.
Course Description:Political Ecology of Developing Landscapes: Peru In this course 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, resource extraction, tourism, and rural development shape both the natural landscape and the social and economic conditions in both rural areas and urban areas. Because resource extraction, rural development, and conservation are simultaneously social, cultural, economic, and ecological phenomena, 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. We will use the lens of political ecology to frame lines of inquiry and define research questions.
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 Center’s 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 a prior course syllabi and programs descriptions on the SFS website: www.fieldstudies.org/peru
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 (minimum 50-60 lecture hours)
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 for the duration of each program period and take 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 and boats as needed
Adhere to, actively model and enforce all SFS and program policies and procedures
Compensation/Benefits This is a contract position starting in early January 2020 and ending in mid-May 2020 with the likely continuance in the fall semester of 2020 and beyond, depending on successful completion of duties and sufficient student enrollment. Salary is dependent on experience and qualifications. Comprehensive benefits package and on-site room and board included.
Location: Iquitos region of Peru (with likely excursions to other areas including the Sacred Valley)
Reports to: Senior Faculty, Program Manager and the Office of Academic Affairs
Start Date: January 6, 2020 (start date is somewhat flexible)
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. Equal Opportunity Employer.
Ph.D. and university-level teaching experience in areas related to political ecology, cultural anthropology, human geography, or related field. Advanced students (ABD) may be considered based on qualifications.
Field research and/or project implementation experience essential
Demonstrated ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary teaching and research team
Track record of research publications
Demonstrated commitment to environmental issues
Fluency in English language
Experience working in Peru
Experience teaching field courses
Residential student group management and risk management experience highly desirable
Fluency in Spanish language
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