Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities

Postdoctoral Fellow Opportunity School of Education and Social Policy Northwestern University


Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy has an open position for a Postdoctoral Fellow, starting July 1, 2017.

Research-Practice Partnerships and Research Use in School Districts

We seek a postdoctoral fellow to work on major research studies under the auspices of the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice (, a knowledge utilization center funded through the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. One study is a mixed-methods, cross-case comparison of the role of research and other forms of information in four school districts. The second is a two-year comparative study of research-practice partnerships. This one-year position begins July 1, 2017 and has the possibility of extension through June 30, 2019. We seek an experienced researcher with a strong background in qualitative field methods, and mixed methods analysis; and substantive expertise in one or more of the following: the relationship between research and practice, district decision making, organizational theory, policymaking, or implementation of Common Core Standards in Mathematics. Familiarity with research-practice partnerships is desirable.

The first study is led by Cynthia Coburn and Jim Spillane at Northwestern University. The second study is led by Cynthia Coburn and Bill Penuel at University of Colorado-Boulder. The postdoctoral fellow will participate in all phases of the projects including: developing instruments; data collection; data analysis, and the publication of results. The principal investigator will encourage the postdoctoral scholar to develop publications that build on her or his emerging research agenda. The postdoctoral scholar must be able and willing to travel to research sites; work both individually and as part of a multi-campus team; and provide supervision to undergraduate and graduate research assistants.


Applicants should have an earned doctorate in education, sociology, learning sciences, public policy, or related field. The position carries a competitive salary plus health insurance coverage and has the possibility of renewal, conditional upon performance and available funding. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

Northwestern University is located in an attractive lakefront community adjacent to Chicago. Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Members of historically underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States. Employment eligibility verification required upon hire.

For questions, please contact Cynthia Coburn at To apply, please send a cover letter, CV, and two representative publications to Natalie Jou at

Post-Doctoral Fellow for STEM Education and Computational Thinking Projects at Northwestern University



Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy seeks applicants for a postdoctoral fellow in the learning sciences. The start date is as soon as possible and the expected duration of the position is two years with possibility of renewal for a third. The candidate will be part of a team of researchers, faculty, and teachers involved in a newly funded initiative by the National Science Foundation as well as an ongoing project with the Spencer Foundation. The goal of the project is to broaden participation in computing fields, increase student interest in STEM fields, and bring classroom curriculum more in line with science as practiced in the 21st century. In this effort we will develop, implement, and evaluate computational activities for high school and middle school STEM classrooms. The project will focus primarily on under-resourced schools and underrepresented youth to improve the equity of and access to the highest quality educational materials. We are also conducting research with scientists to better understand how they use computation in their science practice, and building a comprehensive taxonomy for computational thinking in STEM.

This position provides opportunities for in-depth qualitative and quantitative research in schools as well as in science laboratories. Successful candidates will be comfortable conducting research in school and classroom environments and coordinating with teachers and administrators. The candidate will be part of a collaborative research team involving Northwestern faculty from computer science and learning sciences. This is a dynamic and vibrant collaborative environment comprised of faculty, post-docs, students, computer programmers, modelers, and curriculum developers.

The candidate would co-supervise the work of graduate students and staff, publish research papers, contribute to grant writing and materials development, work closely with implementing schools, and help shape the overall scope and direction of the research. There will be close mentorship from the PIs (Uri Wilensky & Michael Horn) as well as opportunities to learn from other truly outstanding senior scholars and practitioners. Fellows will fully participate in research laboratories including the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling (CCL) and the Tangible Interaction Design and Learning (TIDAL) Lab.

A successful candidate will have a doctorate in learning sciences or a related field (e.g., science education, computer science education), strengths in research methods, a science background, good communication skills, experience with classroom-based research, and be a strong writer. Preference will be given to applicants with expertise in computational education and prior work with middle or high school teachers and students.

Minorities and women are strongly urged to apply. Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.  Northwestern University is located in an attractive lakefront community adjacent to Chicago. For more information about the School of Education and Social Policy, go to

To apply, please send a cover letter, CV, sample publications and the names and contact info of 3 references to Application review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Click here to view the Northwestern University careers page.