Resident Lecturer in Political and Socioeconomic Dimensions of Environment, Bhutan

Resident Lecturer in Political and Socioeconomic Dimensions of Environment, Bhutan
Institution: The School for Field Studies
Location: Bumthang, Bhutan
Category: Faculty – Agriculture – Environmental Science, Ecology, and Forestry
Posted: 10/19/2016 | Posting is closed
Application Due: Open Until Filled
Type: Full Time

The SFS program on Eastern Himalayan Forests and Rural Livelihoods (summer) and Himalayan Environment and Society in Transition (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, active learning experience to students spending a session abroad. Partnering with the Bhutanese Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE), this program will present a rich learning landscape for students exploring biodiversity, conservation and people’s relationship with the environment.

On a contract basis the Resident Lecturer will 1) teach the Political and Socioeconomic Dimensions of Environment course. 2) Contribute to student learning in the areas of rural environmental policy, economics, and development. 3) Lead designated components of the programs research plan and, as part of this, teach and grade the Directed Research course and mentor 6-8 student-directed research projects. During the six-week summer program, the Resident Lecturer will teach approximately one-third of the six credit Himalayan Forests, Watersheds, and Rural Livelihood course.

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 people 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 UWICE, 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. The country is in many ways in transition and this course examines the social, cultural, economic, and ecological dimensions of these changes and their impact on human-nature interactions. In this course we examine the social, political, and economic dimensions of Bhutan’s approach to development, with a focus on environment.

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 fact from interpretation, cause from correlation, and advocacy from objectivity. The directed research topics are derived from the SFS Center’s Strategic Research Plan. Through the Directed Research project, students will contribute to a growing body of scientific research that informs local conservation and resource management decisions.

Program Schedule and Locations:

Faculty are required to report to the Center in mid- January 2017 (date to be determined) for preparation for the spring semester program which takes place February 13th to May 24th. This program is located at the UWICE center in Bumthang with field excursions and mini-treks to surrounding areas. The summer session dates are June 5th to July 13th.

Duties and Responsibilities

Provide high-quality 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 instruction and mentorship 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


  • 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
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • Track record of research publications

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


The spring semester program start date is mid-January 2017. The contract will end at the completion of the following fall semester, but terms of hire are flexible. Continuance may occur 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: Bumthang Bhutan
Reports to: Program Director and the Office of Academic Affairs

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


Contact: The School for Field Studies

Our Organization is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants are treated without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability.

As an equal opportunity employer, we comply with all relevant government regulations and affirmative action responsibilities.

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