Utah State University

Postdoctoral Fellow I

City Logan Campus
Posted Date 3 months ago(11/11/2021 2:45 PM)
Requisition ID
# of Openings
Job Locations
Category (Portal Searching)
Research (non-Faculty)
Position Type
Benefited Full-Time
Job Classification
Percent of Time or Hours per Week
E Eccles Jones Coll of Ed & Hum Svs
Advertised Salary
Commensurate with education and experience, plus excellent benefits


We seek a postdoctoral scholar to join a National Science Foundation funded project (Award: 2119573) at Utah State University. The scholar will join a multidisciplinary collaboration to address the lack of Indigenous representation in social studies curricula. In partnership with Tribal Knowledge Holders, the team will design Indigenous narrative technologies for the classroom.


The postdoctoral researcher will be collaboratively supervised by the Principal Investigators, Dr. Melissa Tehee, Associate Professor in Psychology and Director of the Tohi Lab at Utah State University, Dr. Breanne Litts, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technologies and Learning Sciences and Director of the Learn Explore Design Lab at Utah State University, and Dr. Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera, Assistant Professor of Computing and Entertainment Arts and Engineering and Director of Laboratory for Quantitative Experience Design at University of Utah.


This position is a full-time (1.0 FTE) appointment for 12 months, renewable at least 2 years pending satisfactory performance. Review of applications will begin December 1 and continue until the position is filled. The position would ideally start Spring 2022, but is negotiable.


If you have questions about the position, please contact the search committee via Dr. Breanne Litts breanne.litts@usu.edu.


Project Information

This project will contribute to the national need for sharing Indigenous perspectives in US K-12 education. By providing accurate representations of Indigenous narratives within social studies curricula, this project will address misconceptions of Indigenous peoples and their communities. The project will mitigate potential impacts of misrepresentations such as cultural identity silencing, disconnection, and lower graduation rates for Indigenous students and lack of cultural competence for non-Indigenous students. Often, Tribal Knowledge Holders visit classrooms and share their histories and perspectives class by class, which has the potential to overburden Indigenous communities. Technology can support both teachers and Indigenous communities to develop sustainable processes and practices to appropriately preserve and share Indigenous knowledge, culture, and perspectives. To date, little work has examined the role of Indigenous representation in the creation of narrative technologies designed to mitigate the lack of Indigenous representation in the classroom. This project will develop emerging narrative technologies from an Indigenous perspective to support teachers and classroom learning. The broader impact of the work includes benefits for tribal communities, K-12 educators, and policymakers, and other community and education organizations that wish to expand representations of diverse knowledge, cultures, education, and computations.


The proposed work builds on existing efforts to address pressing issues of bias embedded in emerging technologies and expand current notions of how to design new forms of technology for more equitable futures. The proposed project will deconstruct and culturally reformulate the basis of emerging technologies: the underlying computational models, data, algorithms, and interfaces. The overarching research question is: What does a culturally sustaining/revitalizing computational model of Indigenous narrative(s) look like? Building on an existing partnership with the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation and K-12 teachers, the project team will use the social studies classroom as a design context to address issues of representation of Indigenous knowledge and culture via computational models. The proposed work seeks to empower Tribal members to (re)engage technologies that have historically perpetuated disparities and caused significant harm to their community to develop prototypes that represent their ways of being and knowing. The prototypes will be Tribally-created design experiences that preserve Indigenous history and effectively share it with students in fourth grade classrooms. This project will offer empirical insights for effective strategies and processes of how to engage Indigenous communities through a community-driven design methodological approach. The project has the potential to reimagine not only how models and algorithms are designed, but also who designs them. This project will inform and advance diverse fields including computer science, learning sciences, psychology, Indigenous education, teacher education, and social studies education.


The postdoctoral scholar will collaborate with a diverse team of researchers, designers, educators, teachers, scientists, tribal knowledge holders, and community members. The postdoctoral scholar will lead a community-centered and interdisciplinary research program, collaborate on the design of Indigenous learning technologies, maintain and sustain partnerships with Tribal Knowledge Holders and K-12 teachers, and mentor undergraduate and graduate student researchers. The scholar will have the opportunity to learn about advances on all fronts of technology and education, to contribute to all aspects of the work, and to gain experience in interdisciplinary research including computational design approaches and psychological research methods.  The scholar will conduct and analyze interdisciplinary research studies in collaboration with the various members of the project team and Tribal Nation representatives as well as coordinate annual reports, Human Subjects protocols, partnership meetings, and research meetings. As part of this interdisciplinary project, the scholar will support management of research and design duties such as data collection and analysis tasks and designing new technologies, and analyze and disseminate research findings.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • PhD (or dissertation completed by start date) in field relevant and applicable to the project work.
  • Demonstrated understanding of and/or experience with Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Tribal sovereignty.
  • Experience with and/or understanding of community-centered, design research, research-practice partnerships, and/or similar methodological orientations.
  • Evidence of a commitment to equity and justice in education.
  • Ability to travel throughout Southern Idaho and Northern Utah for project work.

 Experience in the following are strong assets, but not required:

  • Familiarity with and/or willingness to learn computer science and/or computational modeling.
  • Familiarity with and/or willingness to learn quantitative methodologies relevant to the project work.
  • Experience partnering with Tribal Nations on shared work
  • Experience with research project management including managing data collection, analysis, and reporting.
  • Record of mentoring graduate and undergraduate students.

Required Documents

Along with the online application, please attach:

  1. CV to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under “Resume/CV”
  2. Cover letter stating long-term career aims, interest in the project, and suitability for the position, specifically referring to the qualification listed above to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under "Documents 1-5"
  3. One-page response to the question: What is (or would be) your approach and process to doing research with Tribal communities? to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under “Documents 1-5”
  4. One-page abstract of doctoral dissertation to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under “Documents 1-5”
  5. One writing sample up to 40 pages in length to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under “Documents 1-5”
  6. Contact information for 3 professional references to be entered in the candidate profile.

**Document size may not exceed 10 MB.**

Advertised Salary

Commensurate with education and experience, plus excellent benefits


Employees work indoors and are protected from weather and/or contaminants, but not, necessarily, occasional temperature changes.  The employee is regularly required to sit and often uses repetitive hand motions.

College/Department Highlights

Land Acknowledgement

As a land-grant institution, Utah State University campuses and centers reside and operate on the territories of the eight tribes of Utah, who have been living, working, and residing on this land from time immemorial. These tribes are the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Indians, Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe, Northwestern Band of Shoshone, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute, Skull Valley Band of Goshute, and White Mesa Band of the Ute Mountain Ute. We acknowledge the historical context behind a painful history of genocide, forced removal, and dispossession of tribal peoples’ lands on which USU exists. We acknowledge these lands carry the stories of these Nations and their struggles for survival and identity. We recognize Elders past and present as peoples who have cared for, and continue to care for, the land. In offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm Indigenous sovereignty, history, experiences, and resiliency of the Native people who are still here today.


Department Highlights (Psych & ITLS)

While the successful candidate will be administratively housed in psychology, the position will be collaborative between the Psychology department and the Instructional Technology & Learning Sciences department, both located within the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.  The Department of Psychology consists of over 30 faculty representing diverse areas of psychology. The department is one of the most research productive units in the college. Faculty enjoy collaborative relationships with those in the department as well as other departments in the college (e.g., Special Education and Rehabilitation) and across campus (e.g., Biology).


The Instructional Technology & Learning Sciences department is composed of faculty with research and practice specializations across several areas including gaming, STEM education, assessment, the Maker movement, mobile technologies, cognitive science, computer science education, digital libraries, learning analytics, and computational thinking. The department was recently ranked 3rd in the nation among all online graduate education programs and ranked 1st in our field by US News and World Reports. Faculty have received national awards for teaching, research, and service, and serve in a variety of leadership positions in professional and scholarly organizations. The ITLS department has a strong track record of procuring research funding from the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other funding organizations.


College Highlights

The Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services graduate programs are ranked #1 in all of Utah and #26 in the nation according to the U.S. News and World Report. We are ranked 6th in the nation in total research dollars. Our college has placement rates at or above 94% for certified graduates seeking employment in special education, elementary education, speech-language pathology, audiology, and 18 secondary education fields.

University Highlights

Utah State University (USU) was founded in 1888 and is honored to be Utah’s land-grant and space-grant university. USU is a Carnegie RU/H (Research University/High Research Activity) institution with approximately 27,700 students (24,660 undergraduates and 3,040 graduate students) on the Logan main campus. Utah State’s statewide system features eight campuses and 23 education centers and serves all counties in the state with Extension programs. USU offers 114 undergraduate majors, 132 graduate programs, and a variety of innovative stackable associate and certificate credentials. Washington Monthly ranked USU 14th in their national university rankings in 2019 and the 5th best public national university in the nation in 2018. As one of the two premier research institutions in Utah, USU is proud to provide a high-quality education at an affordable price. Additional information about Utah State University can be found here.


A core characteristic of USU is engagement with communities and people in economic development, improvements to quality of life, and human capital. Through the practical application of knowledge, the University and its faculty engage and share expertise with the state, nation, and world, preserving the historical land-grant tradition of partnering with communities to address critical societal issues in the interest of the public good.


The USU main campus is located in beautiful Logan, Utah; a city of about 50,000 situated in a picturesque mountain valley about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City. Outstanding recreational opportunities abound in the nearby mountains and proximate region.


Notice of Non-discrimination

In its programs and activities, including in admissions and employment, Utah State University does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination, including harassment, based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, status as a protected veteran, or any other status protected by University policy, Title IX, or any other federal, state, or local law.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations and/or USU’s non-discrimination policies:


Executive Director of the Office of Equity discrimination@usu.edu, Old Main Rm. 161, 435-797-1266

Title IX Coordinator Hilary Renshaw, titleix@usu.edu, Old Main Rm. 161, 435-797-1266.

For further information regarding non-discrimination, please visit https://equity.usu.edu/, or contact:

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 800-421-3481, OCR@ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education, Denver Regional Office, 303-844-5695, OCR.Denver@ed.gov


USU is sensitive to the needs of dual career couples and provides a Dual Career Assistance program to support careers for partners who are also seeking employment.


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