University of Washington, Department of Physics

Position ID:UW-Physics-PEGPOSTDOC [#14995]
Position Title: Postdoctoral Scholar Physics Education Research
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Seattle, Washington 98195, United States [map]
Subject Area: Physics / Physics Education
Appl Deadline: finished (2019/10/07, finished 2021/03/06, listed until 2020/08/31)
Position Description:    

*** this position has been closed. ***

The University of Washington Physics Education Group, in collaboration with researchers at Seattle Pacific University and the University of Washington - Bothell, seeks a Postdoctoral Scholar to work on a recently-funded National Science Foundation grant, “Research and Curriculum Development to Leverage University Student Conceptual Resources for Understanding Physics.” The grant builds on an earlier project that ends this year. The new grant will:

  • Identify university student conceptual resources for understanding kinematics, linear momentum, electric circuits, and heat and temperature
  • Develop and test instructional materials that build on student resources
  • Study context-dependent patterns in resource use
  • Intentionally seek a representative sample of introductory physics students
  • Disseminate insights and resources from the project through PhysPort

An informational video for the project can be found here. For more details, interested candidates can consult the full grant narrative; to see results of pilot work, candidates can consult the previous grant’s publications and working manuscripts

The Postdoctoral Scholar would join a collaborative team that includes faculty Paula Heron (Physics, University of Washington Seattle), Amy Robertson (Physics, Seattle Pacific University), Rachel Scherr (Physics, University of Washington - Bothell), and Raphael Mondesir (Sociology, Seattle Pacific University).  

The Postdoctoral Scholar would be supported in choosing an independent and integrated strand of research (in Strands 1, 2, or 4 in the grant narrative) and would receive extensive professional development that includes travel to conferences, mentoring undergraduate and graduate researchers, and other skills identified collaboratively. 

Term of appointment: This position is a full-time, 12-month (one-year) appointment that may be extended up to a maximum of two years. The start date is flexible (between 10/01/2020, and 04/01/2021).  The Postdoctoral Scholar title is limited to five years, including postdoctoral  experience(s) at UW and other institutions.

Postdoctoral Scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website.

Minimum qualifications: Ph.D. (or foreign equivalent) in Physics, Science Education, or a related field. Capacity and interest in supporting undergraduate and graduate student research, developing an independent strand of research with support, participating in project management, and presenting research in presentations and publications.

Applications may be submitted at:   Applicants should submit a current CV, an in-progress or published manuscript, a list of three professional references (please let them know that we may contact them), and answers to the following questions (~1-2 short paragraphs each):

  1. Describe a professional accomplishment that you are proud of. What about this accomplishment makes you feel proud?
  2. Looking at the grant narrative, what is at least one strand of research that you feel confident you can immediately contribute to, and how? What is one strand of research you feel you can learn something from, and what is it?
  3. Describe an experience where you’ve supported someone in accomplishing a long-term task that you collaboratively identified. (This could be an undergraduate research project, or it could be a neighborhood project, or something altogether different.) How did you structure your time to accomplish this task, and what did your support role look like? What did you learn from this experience?
  4. What excites you the most about this project? 
  5. What is something you feel concerned about or intimidated by as you move into a postdoctoral research position?
  6. What kinds of professional development do you hope to gain as a postdoctoral research associate?  

Questions about this position should be directed to Paula Heron ( or Amy Robertson ( Candidates may contact Lisa Goodhew (, Lauren Bauman (, or Anne Alesandrini ( to learn more about what it is like to work with one or more members of the team.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

Commitment to Diversity

The University of Washington is committed to building diversity among its faculty, librarian, staff, and student communities, and articulates that commitment in the UW Diversity Blueprint ( Additionally, the University’s Faculty Code recognizes faculty efforts in research, teaching and/or service that address diversity and equal opportunity as important contributions to a faculty member’s academic profile and responsibilities (


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Contact: Assistant to the Chair
Postal Mail:
Box 351560
Department of Physics
University of Washington
Seattle WA 98195-1560
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