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Sustainable Development Program Seeks Teaching Assistants for Spring 2021

Spring 2021 Teaching Assistant Opportunities

The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development is accepting applications for Spring  2021 teaching assistant positions for the following courses:

  1. SDEV UN1900 Introduction to Sustainable Development Seminar
  2. SDEV UN3280.001 Workshop in Sustainable Development
  3. SDEV UN3310 Ethics of Sustainable Development
  4. SDEV UN3390 GIS for Sustainable Development
  5. SDEV UN3450 Spatial Analysis and Sustainable Development
  6. SDEV UN3410 Cities and Sustainability
  7. SDEV GU4250 Climate Change Adaptation- SPRING A
  8. SDEV GU4350 Public Lands in the American West- SPRING B
  9. SDEV GU4050 US Water and Energy Policy

Applicants must be currently enrolled, full-time Columbia University masters degree students and in rare cases undergraduate juniors or seniors. Please note that Teachers College and Barnard students are not eligible to apply. Be sure to check the description for each position for expected days/times, specific requirements and any additional restrictions/information. Students should expect to work 10-20 hours per week on average (in compliance with visas, if applicable), but this time commitment can vary throughout the semester.

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 December 2 at 11:30pm.

1. SDEV UN1900: Introduction to Sustainable Development Seminar | Tuesday 11:40am-12:55pm (Online)

The course is designed to be a free-flowing discussion of the principals of sustainable development and the scope of this emerging discipline. This course will also serve to introduce the students to the requirements of the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development and the content of the required courses in both the special concentration and the major. The focus will be on the breadth of subject matter, the multidisciplinary nature of the scholarship and familiarity with the other key courses
in the program.

Applicants should have knowledge of sustainable development, with previous coursework in the area and be familiar with the structure of the major and the special concentration in the undergraduate program 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 by undergraduate juniors or seniors and graduate students.

2. SDEV UN3280.001 Workshop in Sustainable Development | Tuesday/Thursday 6:10-8:00pm (Online)

The upper level undergraduate Sustainable Development Workshop will be modeled on 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.

3. SDEV UN3310: ETHICS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT | Tuesday/Thursday 2:40-3:55PM (Online)

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.

4. SDEV UN3390: Spatial Analysis and Modeling for Sustainable Development |
Tuesday (1:10-2:25PM)/Thursday (1:10-3:25PM) | Online

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 graduate students.

5. SDEV W3450: Spatial Analysis and Modeling for Sustainable Development |Monday (11:40-12:55PM) /Wednesday (11:40-1:55 PM) Online

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.

6. SDEV UN3410: Cities and Sustainability | Wednesday (6:10-8:00PM ) Online

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.

7. SDEV GU4250: Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation | Spring A: January 11 – February 26 | Monday/Wednesday (2:10-4:00PM) | Hybrid (pending University decision) or Online

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.

8. SDEV GU4350 Public Lands in the American West | Spring B: March 8- April 15 |Monday/Wednesday (2:10-4:00PM ) | Hybrid (pending University decision) or Online

Land use in the American West is inevitably dominated by the prevalence of federally managed public lands. Most western states have a land base that is at least 35% public, and competing interests navigate a complex bureaucracy as they vie for limited resources. This course will focus on the federal agencies authorized to make management decisions across those lands: the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Park Service, and others. We will explore the legal and regulatory framework that guides land use decisions, and study enduring resource access conflicts. Pulling from both academic scholarship and the gray literature in political science, environmental sciences, law, and organizational behavior, this course provides an interdisciplinary overview of governance challenges in the American West.

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 will work closely with undergraduate students, helping them with assignments and presentations. The TA will also be responsible for assisting the instructor with grading and presentation assessment. In order to enhance our unified approach to the course, the TA will be expected to coordinate with the instructor regularly and perform other course-related duties as assigned.

Eligibility: Applicants must be current full-time Columbia University graduate students enrolled in a degree-granting program. Applicants should have a background in political science or policy, and some experience living in and/or studying the West.

9. SDEV GU4050: U.S. Water and Energy Policy | Monday (6:10-8:00PM ) Online  

U.S. Water and Energy Policy 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, environmental justice, 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.

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

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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