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How to Apply

Candidates should submit cover letter and CV (combined into one PDF file) through the UM jobs portal. Questions may be sent to Lisa Broome, Associate Director, LSA Honors Program, lbroome@umich.edu.

Course Description

The LSA Honors Program invites applications to teach Honors Core 222: "Are We Alone?” beginning January 1, 2020. Position is pending enrollment demand.

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” - Arthur C. Clarke

As part of the Honors Core Curriculum, this course (Honors 222) introduces Honors students to a range of questions, ideas, and techniques to ask, ‘Are we alone?’ Do intelligent extraterrestrials (ETs) exist? If they exist, have they been here before? Can we – should we – try to communicate? Would we even recognize ETs if we met them?

The framework for the course is the ‘Fermi Paradox’, first posed by Enrico Fermi in 1950 – ‘Where are they?’ We will explore the argument that, given the age of the Galaxy, if intelligent and technologically advanced civilizations exist elsewhere it appears inevitable that extraterrestrials should already have visited, colonized or communicated with the Earth. Is it possible that the conditions for the origins of life are rare? We will explore the origin of the elements, stars and planets thought to be important for the development of life. Is it possible that the emergence of life and evolution of intelligence is well-nigh impossible? We will ponder what life is, and explore the story of the emergence and development of life on the Earth, along with how we know that story. Is it possible that interstellar travel is impossible, or that civilizations are doomed to annihilation? We will investigate the dangers to civilization posed by nature and ourselves, the challenges of communication and interstellar travel, and the possible benefits and dangers of contacting ET.

Course Requirements: This course serves first and second year Honors students, with diverse interests and goals. Accordingly, our assessments combine flexibility with a core set of assessments that all students need to master. Students will all complete regular readings with weekly written and quantitative responses. In lecture, students explore the central themes using a variety of formats and techniques (including in-class assessment techniques). Outside of class, students will be given substantial flexibility in creating their own course of study, drawing from a range of small, medium and large assignments. Small assignments are similar in scope to biweekly homework sets; large assignments are of the scale of an ambitious term paper. At least one assignment will involve a presentation during discussion section. One or more of the assignments need to be quantitative in character. This allows students to deeply pursue the topics in which they’re the most interested, in ways they find engaging.

Intended Audience: This course is designed to be appropriate and exciting for all Honors first- and second-year students, whatever their primary areas of interest. As an Honors Core course, this course is open only to first- and second-year Honors students. This course is a discussion section of a larger lecture course and will provide regular guidance from the lead instructor of the course, collaboration with him and other GSIs in the course. GSIs in the Honors Core are expected to participate in occasional events for Core courses.

Responsibilities*

The GSI will lead two discussion sections of the larger course, and will work closely with the course's faculty instructor to achieve the teaching and learning outcomes of the course.

As part of the Honors Core Curriculum, this course introduces Honors students to the fields, questions and meta-questions, and methodologies of the Natural Sciences. This course also meets the QR2 requirement. This course is a discussion section of a large lecture course; the lead instructor of the course will provide regular guidance; GSIs will collaborate with him and other GSIs in the course, and instructors and GSIs from other Honors Core Courses. GSIs in the Honors Core are expected to participate in occasional events for Core courses.

Required Qualifications*

Good standing in a graduate or professional terminal program in a relevant department.

Desired Qualifications*

Candidacy in a Ph.D. program in a relevant department. The ideal candidate will have a background in fields relevant to the topics covered by the course, e.g., biology, biochemistry, earth sciences, anthropology, linguistics, physics or astronomy. Furthermore, the ideal candidate will be strongly interested in helping students succeed, and willing to help develop and shape the content and progression of the course.

Contact Information

Contact Dr. Lisa Broome at lbroome@umich.edu with questions; questions for the faculty member leading the course should be directed to Lbroome@umich.edu for forwarding only. Applications are due by 11/22/2019 but all positions may be filled by then.

Decision Making Process

All applications will be forwarded to the Honors Program Associate Director who will make a hiring recommendation to the department. Once the recommendation is reviewed, an offer letter will be authorized. Once positions are filled, all applicants will be notified of their status by email.

Selection Process

All applications will be forwarded to the Honors Program Associate Director who will make a hiring recommendation to the department. Once the recommendation is reviewed, an offer letter will be authorized. Once positions are filled, all applicants will be notified of their status by email.

GEO Contract Information

The University will not discriminate against any applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, marital status, familial status, parental status or pregnancy status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, height, weight, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, HIV antibody status, political belief, membership in any social or political organization, participation in a grievance or complaint whether formal or informal, or any other factor where the item in question will not interfere with job performance and where the employee is otherwise qualified. The University of Michigan agrees to abide by the protections afforded employees with disabilities as outlined in the rules and regulations which implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Information for the Office of Institutional Equity may be found at hr.umich.edu/oie/contact.html and for the University Ombuds at www.umich.edu/~ombuds/.

Unsuccessful applications will be retained for consideration in the event that there are last minute openings for available positions. In the event that an Employee does not receive his or her preferred assignment, he or she can request a written explanation or an in-person interview with the hiring agents(s) to be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time.

This position, as posted, is subject to a collective bargaining agreement between the Regents of the University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees' Organization, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO 3550.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.