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Sustainable Development Program Seeks Teaching Assistants for Spring 2023



Sustainable Development Program Seeks Teaching Assistants for Spring 2023

The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development is accepting applications for Spring 2023 teaching assistant positions for the following courses:

  1. SDEV UN2300 Challenges of Sustainable Development (x3)
  2. SDEV UN3280 Workshop in Sustainable Development
  3. SDEV UN3310 Ethics of Sustainable Development
  4. SDEV UN3390 GIS for Sustainable Development
  5. SDEV UN3410 Cities and Sustainability
  6. SDEV UN3450 Spatial Analysis for SDEV
  7. SDEV UN3550 Bangladesh-Life on a Tectonically Active Delta
  8. SDEV GU4050 US Water and Energy Policy
  9. SDEV GU4250 Climate Change: Resilience & Adaptation
  10.  SDEV GU4400 Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring Rwanda

Applicants must be current full-time Columbia University students enrolled in a degree-granting program. Students should expect to work 10-20 hours per week on average, but this can vary throughout the semester. Applications will only be accepted from graduate students and undergraduate juniors or seniors. Please note Teachers College and Barnard students are not eligible to apply. Be sure to check the description for each position for additional restrictions and information.

To Apply

Applicants are welcome to apply to multiple positions provided they submit a separate application for each. Please post your cover letter stating your interest in the position and a resume (both in PDF format) here. The deadline to apply is November 7 at 11:30pm.

NOTE: If you are applying for the TA position with SDEV 4400 (Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring Rwanda), please submit cover letter and CV directly to [email protected] Deadline: 5pm on Friday, October 28.


SDEV 2300 Challenges of Sustainable Development (x3)

Expected course day/time: Tu/Th 10:10 AM – 11:25 AM

This course provides an introduction to the field of sustainable development, drawing primarily from social science and policy studies. It offers a critical examination of the concept of sustainable development, showing how factors like economics, population, culture, politics and inequality complicate its goals. Students will learn how different social science disciplines (political science, demography, economics, geography, history, law, and sociology) approach challenges of sustainable development across a variety of topics (fisheries, climate change, air pollution, consumption, energy, conservation, and water management). The course provides students with some of the fundamental concepts, vocabulary, and analytical tools to pursue and think critically about sustainable development.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities:

Teaching assistants must fulfill the responsibilities identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. The teaching assistant(s) will be responsible for:

  • Attending all lectures and completing all assigned reading;
  • Leading weekly recitation sections, where the TA will guide discussion and organize the flow of the class;
  • Meeting weekly with the teaching team to coordinate various aspects of the course;
  • Contributing to grading needs as required, including maintaining organized records of assignments; and
  • Being available for students who need help or have questions.

Applicants should have a keen interest in building teaching skills, including tools for explaining scientific information to undergraduates. The TA will devote an estimated 15-20 hours each week to the course.

Eligibility:

Applicants must be current full-time CU students enrolled in a degree granting program. Applications will only be accepted from graduate students.


SDEV 3280 Workshop in Sustainable Development

Expected course day/time: M/W 2:10 PM – 4:00 PM

The upper-level undergraduate Sustainable Development Workshop will be modeled on teamwork and client-based graduate-level workshops, but with more time devoted to methods of applied policy analysis and issues in sustainable development. The heart of the course is the group project on an issue of sustainable development with a faculty advisor providing guidance and ultimately grading student performance. Students will receive instruction on methodology, group work, communication and the context of policy analysis. Much of the reading in the course will be project-specific and identified by the student research teams.

Applicants should have strong project management skills and an interest in sustainable development.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities: 

A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. The teaching assistant may be responsible for directing drills, recitations, discussions or laboratory sessions related to courses offered by an officer of higher rank. They will be responsible for meeting and coordinating with the instructor regularly and performing other course-related duties as assigned, like grading written coursework. This also may include developing, distributing and statistically analyzing “peer-review” and “self-review” forms.

Eligibility:

Applicants must be current full-time CU students enrolled in a degree granting program. Applications will only be accepted from graduate students.


SDEV 3310 Ethics of Sustainable Development

Expected course day/time: Tu/Th 1:10 PM – 2:25 PM

The TA would perform primarily the following functions:

  1. Maintain an accurate spreadsheet tracking student performance, including contributions to online discussions on Canvas.
  2. Record on the spreadsheet any relevant data provided by the instructor, such as students’ grades on the mid-term and final assignments.
  3. Track the submission of course assignments for timeliness.
  4. If needed, provide assistance with grading students’ work and calculating final grades.
  5. Record student absences on the spreadsheet, on the basis of a classroom sign-in sheet and relevant e-mail.
  6. Record student class participation.
  7. Attend class regularly and occasionally meet with the professor to review any course-related issues or questions.
  8. Assist with editing weekly PowerPoints.
  9. Be responsive to students having technical or other questions.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities:

A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. The teaching assistant may be responsible for directing drills, recitations, discussions or laboratory sessions related to courses offered by an officer of higher rank. They will be responsible for meeting and coordinating with the instructor regularly and performing other course-related duties as assigned, like grading written coursework. This also may include developing, distributing and statistically analyzing “peer-review” and “self-review” forms.

Eligibility:

Applicants must be current full-time CU students enrolled in a degree granting program. Applications will only be accepted by graduate students.


SDEV 3390 GIS for Sustainable Development

Expected course day/time: Tu 10:10 AM – 11:25 AM & Th 10:10 AM – 12:25 PM

This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive overview of theoretical concepts underlying GIS systems and to give students a strong set of practical skills to use GIS for stainable development research. Through a mixture of lectures, readings, focused discussions, and hands-on exercises, students will acquire an understanding of the variety and structure of spatial data and databases, gain knowledge of the principles behind raster and vector based spatial analysis, and learn basic cartographic principles for producing maps that effectively communicate a message. Student will also learn to use newly emerging web based mapping tools such as Google Earth, Google Maps and similar tools to develop online interactive maps and graphics.

Applicants should have advanced knowledge of geographic information systems software, with previous coursework in the area.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities:

A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. The teaching assistant may be responsible for directing drills, recitations, discussions or laboratory sessions related to courses offered by an officer of higher rank. They will be responsible for meeting and coordinating with the instructor regularly and performing other course-related duties as assigned, like grading written coursework. This also may include developing, distributing and statistically analyzing “peer-review” and “self-review” forms.

Eligibility:

Applicants must be current full-time CU students enrolled in a degree granting program. Applications will only be accepted by undergraduate juniors or seniors and graduate students.


SDEV 3410 Cities and Sustainability 

Expected course day/time: Wed 6:10 PM – 8:00 PM

In an increasingly urban world, sustainable development is not possible without achieving sustainability in cities. This course explores the challenges and opportunities of sustainable development policy-making at the urban level through the study of local efforts to address climate change, provide access to clean water, and develop renewable energy resources, among other topics. Students will gain a more detailed understanding of how cities’ histories, land use patterns, and economies influence urban resource use, and how cities have attempted to change those impacts. Using case studies of local sustainability initiatives, students examine how a city’s governance structure, political dynamics, and administrative capacity affect policy outcomes. Consideration of the equity implications of urban sustainability efforts is integral to the course.

Applicants should have strong knowledge of, and an interest in, the topics studied throughout the course of the semester.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities: A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. The teaching assistant may be responsible for directing drills, recitations, discussions or laboratory sessions related to courses offered by an officer of higher rank. They will be responsible for meeting and coordinating with the instructor regularly and performing other course-related duties as assigned, like grading written coursework. This also may include developing, distributing and statistically analyzing peer-review and self-review forms.

Eligibility:

Applicants must be current full-time CU students enrolled in a degree granting program. Applications will only be accepted by graduate students.


SDEV 3450 Spatial Analysis and Modeling for Sustainable Development 

Expected course day/time: Mo 10:10 AM – 11:25 AM & We 10:10 AM – 12:25 PM

This is an intermediate course in spatial modeling developed specifically for students in the Undergraduate Sustainable Development program. This course will provide a foundation for understanding a variety of issues related to spatial analysis and modeling. Students will explore the concepts, tools, and techniques of GIS modeling and review and critique modeling applications used for environmental planning and policy development. The course will also offer students the opportunity to design, build and evaluate their own spatial analysis models. The course will cover both vector- and raster-based methods of analysis with a strong focus on raster-based modeling. We will draw examples from a wide range of applications in such areas as modeling land use and land cover for biodiversity and conservation, hydrological modeling, and site suitability modeling. The course will consist of lectures, reading assignments, lab assignments, and a final project.

Applicants should have advanced knowledge of geographic information systems software, with previous coursework in the area.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities: 

A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. The teaching assistant may be responsible for directing drills, recitations, discussions or laboratory sessions related to courses offered by an officer of higher rank. They will be responsible for meeting and coordinating with the instructor regularly and performing other course-related duties as assigned, like grading written coursework.

Eligibility:

Applicants must be current full-time CU students enrolled in a degree granting program. Applications will only be accepted by graduate students.


SDEV 3550 Bangladesh: Life on a Tectonically Active Delta

Expected course day/time: Tu/Th 2:10 PM – 4:00 PM

This course uses Bangladesh as a focal area to bring together multiple earth science and environmental issues and their intersection with the human population living there. Sustainable development is a multidisciplinary field that aims to provide students with background in the wide range of disciplines that are necessary to advance human well-being without irreparable harm to the Earth. Many of these issues intersect in Bangladesh where a large and growing population lives in one of the most dynamic and sensitive environments on Earth, subject to multiple natural disasters and threatened by climate change.

This course will explore the interaction of riverine processes, water and hydrology, sedimentary processes, tectonics and earthquakes, land subsidence and sea level rise, environmental issues, cultural setting, and sustainable development in the world’s largest delta. The course will explore both the hazards and resources for life in this dynamic environment through lectures, a field trip to Bangladesh during spring break, and guest lecturers in earth and social sciences.

Applicants should have a basic knowledge of sustainable development, with previous coursework in the area.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities:

A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. The teaching assistant may be responsible for directing drills, discussions or laboratory sessions related to courses offered by an officer of higher rank. They will be responsible for meeting and coordinating with the instructor regularly and performing other course-related duties as assigned, like grading written coursework.

Eligibility:

Applicants must be current full-time CU students enrolled in a degree granting program. Applications will only be accepted by graduate students.


SDEV GU4050 US Water and Energy Policy

Expected course day/time: Tu 4:10 PM – 6:00 PM

Essential Connections examines the development of America’s water and energy policies over the past century and how such policies helped to shape present-day environmental law and regulation. The focus of the course then turns to the current state of U.S. water and energy resources and policy, covering issues such as oil and gas exploration, nuclear energy, hydroelectric power and renewables, with a third and final section addressing the prospects for establishing water and energy policies that can withstand climate disruption, scarcity, etc.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities

A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. The teaching assistant may be responsible for directing drills, recitations, discussions or laboratory sessions related to courses offered by an officer of higher rank. They will be responsible for meeting and coordinating with the instructor regularly and performing other course-related duties as assigned, like grading written coursework. This also may include developing, distributing and statistically analyzing “peer-review” and “self-review” forms.

Eligibility:

Applicants must be current full-time CU students enrolled in a degree granting program. Applications will only be accepted from undergraduate juniors or seniors and graduate students.


SDEV 4250 Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation 

Expected course day/time: Mo 12:10 PM – 2:00 PM

For much of recent history, climate change policy has focused on mitigation. Reducing emissions and shifting our energy sources away from fossil fuels, for example, are actions that could slow the pace of climate change. But human populations are also vulnerable to changes in the baseline climate, and as the planet continues to warm, policy-makers have also begun to address adaptation. This course will explore dimensions of climate adaptation across sectors and scales. With a thematic focus on pervasive global inequities, students will also consider challenges associated with international development and disaster risk management. An inter-disciplinary framework will enrich the course, and students will learn about perspectives from the natural sciences, law, architecture, anthropology, humanitarian aid, and public policy.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities: 

A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. Working closely with undergraduate students, the TA for this course should be prepared to help with writing assignments and other course requirements. Additionally, the TA will assist with grading both written and oral work submitted by students. To facilitate smooth delivery of the course, the TA is expected to meet and coordinate with the instructor regularly, performing other course-related duties as assigned.

Eligibility: 

Applicants must be current full-time graduate students at Columbia University, enrolled in a degree granting program. Strong writing skills are essential, and some background in climate policy is desired.


SDEV GU4400 Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring Rwanda

Expected course day/time: TBD but tentatively T 2:10 PM – 4:00 PM

This travel course will give students the opportunity to explore what sustainable development means in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. Satisfying the workshop requirement for SDEV majors, the course is organized around two projects that students will tackle in teams. Ahead of traveling to Rwanda, three main activities will structure the course. First, students will learn about colonial history and current sustainable development efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. Second, they will be organized into teams to pursue preliminary research on one of two projects. Third, they will be paired with an undergraduate student at the University of Rwanda and begin regular correspondence using WhatsApp. The travel week will be held over spring break. We will be based in the capitol city Kigali, with some in-country travel to explore beyond the urban core. Students will work in teams alongside their University of Rwanda peers to advance the goals of their project. When we return to the U.S., the final weeks of the class will be devoted to focused teamwork, as students complete their projects.

Time Commitment and Responsibilities:

A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality.

During the regularly scheduled semester, the TA will:

  • Attend weekly class sessions and complete all assigned reading;
  • Build and maintain the class CourseWorks site;
  • Work closely with students, helping them succeed in written assignments;
  • Contribute to all elements of planning for the spring travel week;
  • Be responsible for meeting and coordinating with the instructor regularly;
  • Perform other course-related duties as assigned.

During spring break travel week, the TA will:

  • Have primary responsibility for keeping track of all students’ travel arrangements and location throughout the time in Rwanda;
  • Live with students and monitor their well-being, notifying the instructor if there are any problems;
  • Coordinate logistics for field trips, lodging and dining in Rwanda;
  • Help with University of Rwanda students’ participation in the program;
  • Perform other course-related duties as assigned.

Eligibility:

Applicants must be current full-time Columbia University graduate students enrolled in a degree granting program.

Qualifications:

The TA should have a strong background in sustainable development policy, particularly in a global context. Fluency in English is required; proficiency in French or Kinyarwanda desired. Must be highly organized and responsive to frequent communication. Enthusiasm for working with undergraduates is essential. Some experience traveling, living or working in Africa desired.

To Apply:

Submit cover letter and CV to [email protected] Deadline: 5pm Friday, Oct. 28, 2022.




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