Resident Lecturer in Conservation Science, Peru

The SFS program on Biodiversity Conservation and Development located in the Amazon region in and around Iquitos, Peru seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented individual to serve as part of a residential team of faculty and staff that delivers an interdisciplinary, hands-on learning experience to students spending a semester abroad.  SFS Peru has a thematic focus on the complexity of this Amazon region with its dramatic and diverse natural and cultural elements.

On a contract basis, deliver the Conservation Science and Practice course for the Iquitos region during the fall and spring semesters and teach one-third of the Directed Research course. Contribute to student learning in the areas of conservation planning, natural resource use, and rural development. Lead designated components of the programs research plan and, as part of this, oversee, mentor, and grade the student directed research projects.
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:
This program seeks to understand both the conflicts and synergies of conservation and development. Students will gain a sense of the richness of the Amazon region—biodiversity, social and cultural diversity, and ecosystem services—while exploring strategies for sustainable livelihoods in this highly productive and diverse region of South America.
The interdisciplinary themes of socio-ecological resilience, environmental justice, and conservation will guide our inquiry. Through coursework, field exercises, and Directed Research, students will study people’s dependence on the environment, examine the threats to the environment and to social networks, and explore the tools and strategies for mitigating the threats and promoting well-being among rural communities. A strong component of the program will be examining the ecological patterns and processes that underpin the high diversity of the region.

Course Description: Conservation Science and Practice
The overarching goal of this course is to make students aware of the enormous responsibility humans have as stewards of the natural environment, and to provide them with the concepts, tools, and incentives to affect conservation of the natural environment.  The field of conservation is focused on protecting biological diversity, including ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity, through promoting processes, both ecological and social, that support biodiversity. The course will provide students with a background to engage in the ‘conservation conversation’. While it will expose students to broad issues that face the entire planet, we will focus practical aspects on local case studies, considering the array of conservation strategies in the region. The region of study – the lowland Amazon of Peru, and its associated ecosystems, will provide the local lens to evaluate global concerns on a local level.
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 (or don’t) fact from interpretation, cause from correlation, and advocacy from objectivity. The directed research topics are derived from the SFS Center’s Research Plan as defined by the Center staff and local stakeholders. Through the Directed Research project, students will contribute to a growing body of scientific research that informs local conservation and resource management decisions. SFS program lecturers lead a small group of students in this research component of the program.

Duties and Responsibilities
Provide high quality, modern and experiential 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 teaching 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 (minimum 50-60 lecture hours) 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


  • Help design the program’s research plan and conduct designated research according to it 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 Comply with, actively model, and enforce all SFS and program policies and procedures 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 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 and boats 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 areas related to biodiversity conservation. Field research and/or project implementation experience Demonstrated ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary teaching and research team Track record of research publications Demonstrated commitment to environmental issues Fluency in English language

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience working in Peru Experience teaching field courses Residential student group management and risk management experience highly desirable Fluency in Spanish language

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


This is a contract position starting in early August 2019 and ending in mid-May 2020 with the likely continuance in the fall semester of 2020 and beyond, 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.
Iquitos region of Peru (with excursion to Sacred Valley)
Reports to:
Program Director and the Office of Academic Affairs

Start Date:
No later than August 5, 2019

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.

Inquiries about the position may be directed to the Office of Academic Affairs (

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