FIRE Open Positions & Hiring

FIRE Research Educator & Assistant Clinical Professor

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Position Description

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 inclusive faculty-mentored research experience that drives accelerated professional development.


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 Educator Introduction
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 the daily progress, management and success of students.  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).

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 perspectives.

  • 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 timelines.

  • 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 June 2021 through June 2022 with strong potential for annual renewals beginning in July 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

  • Master’s (title: Lecturer) degree or

  • Bachelor’s (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.