State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Sustainable Macroeconomics Class Seeks Teaching Assistant

The SDG Academy seeks the services of a course coordinator to support the development and coordination of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Macroeconomics for a Sustainable Planet. The MOOC will be taught by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University, and Dr. Felipe LarraĂ­n, economist and former Minister of Finance of Chile. Through the use of real-world examples, the course applies macroeconomic principles in the context of sustainable development, and will be launched in September 2017.

The SDG Academy is a virtual platform that provides high-quality, mass online education in the field of sustainable development. It brings together the world’s foremost experts on sustainable development—including health, education, climate change, agriculture and food systems, sustainable investment, and other related fields—to offer a comprehensive core curriculum, equipping the next generation of sustainable development practitioners to take on the complex challenges facing our planet. All course materials are available free of cost to everyone.

The Macroeconomics for a Sustainable Planet MOOC focuses on the new directions of macroeconomic analysis required to integrate sustainable development challenges, as well as the cutting-edge challenges of managing the interconnected global economy. The course examines the limitations of traditional macroeconomic theory in addressing resource allocation across sectors as well as the inter-temporal distribution of investment and savings. One of its major focuses is the challenge of financial stability in a world of rapid, cross-border capital flows.

Additionally, the course discusses the role of fiscal and monetary policy in promoting investments in physical, natural, and human capital. It describes changes in Keynesian macroeconomic theory needed to incorporate the long-term investments for achieving the SDGs. It discusses the limitations of both Keynesian and supply-side economics in disaggregating such investments not only between public and private investments, but also between short-term and long-term investments, market failures, investments to create public goods, and the inter-generational consequences of savings and consumption. The course proposes a “sustainable” macroeconomic framework that builds in medium and long-term fiscal stability while at the same time incorporating the public and long-term goals encapsulated by the SDGs.

The successful candidate will provide support in the design of the course activities and readings, populate the course platform with content, manage communications with online students and facilitate discussions with students and faculty. The researcher will report to the lead faculty of the course and work closely with the SDG Academy staff in the development of the MOOC.

The MOOC course coordinator will be expected to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week. The position will run through mid-December, starting immediately.


  • Work directly with Professor Sachs, lead faculty member of the course, and the SDG Academy team in the research and curation of content and materials for the course
  • Coordinate with the research team of Dr. LarraĂ­n and other faculty
  • Provide research support in developing sessions and exercises for the MOOC, including developing quizzes, exercises and other interactive elements of the course
  • Populate the course platform, with support from the SDG Academy team
  • Manage communications with students of the online course, through weekly updates, discussion forums, and course emails
  • Manage real-time engagement of faculty in the course through the use of Google Hangouts and/or Facebook Live, with support from the SDG Academy team
  • Manage the upload and launch of new content on the platform
  • Troubleshoot technical challenges with students and platform provider
  • Lead other activities as requested by the SDG Academy staff or the lead faculty


Core requirements

  • Current masters or doctoral student in economics, international development, or related field
  • Experience in desk research, ideally gained in an academic setting
  • A comprehensive understanding of macroeconomic theory
  • Interest and knowledge of sustainable development
  • Highly organized, responsive, and proactive
  • Excellent written, verbal, organizational, analytical and interpersonal skills
  • Pleasant, tactful, diplomatic demeanour
  • Must be authorized to work in the United States


  • Some experience in engaging faculty in course development processes (e.g. as teaching assistant)
  • Experience with online learning environments and/or massive open online courses


Hourly compensation commensurate with experience.


Please submit your CV and cover letter to All applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and are due by 11:59pm on August 31st.

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