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How to Apply

Prospective GSIs are encouraged to attend a GSI forum that is held each term as the first step in the process. This mechanism will ensure that SEAS students are familiar with the application and selection processes and expectations. SEAS students are encouraged to contact faculty with whom they are interested in teaching.


To apply for SEAS GSI positions, visit the following link-

The following application materials combined as one .PDF document will be required-

  1. A cover letter addressing your interest and qualifications for the position
  2. A resume or curriculum vita
  3. Copy of your undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial is fine)
  4. Teaching history (list course and department)
  5. Teaching evaluations (if available)

Name the .PDF file as follows: lastname.firstname.course number. For example:Doe.John.EAS517.pdf.


Verify your own course schedule against the schedule for the course to which you are applying as a GSI. All GSIs are required to attend the lecture and discussion times as posted.

* An active SEAS student who is also in good standing:

  • is currently enrolled in a SEAS degree program
  • has a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  • has not completed all of the required credits towards their SEAS MLA, MS, or PhD degree
  • is making satisfactory progress toward completing all of their SEAS degree requirements in a timely manner (i.e., SEAS MS students' time limit is 2 years, SEAS MLA and dual degree students' time limit is 3 years, SEAS PhD students' time limit is 5 years); including approved extensions.

Course Description

This course uses a geographical political ecology lens to interrogate conflicts (broadly defined) between people and institutions over natural resources, in both developed and developing world contexts. The course will first review the literature on political ecology as an explanatory framework by tracing out its intellectual genealogy and outlining some of the current approaches and perspectives utilized in this subfield. Next, we will critique traditional approaches to the study of natural resources related conflicts. The remainder of the course will rely on theoretical and empirical studies, which help to unveil the complexities associated with conflict environments. Seven specific themes will be addressed in two parts. The first part concentrates on political ecological approaches to the study of environmental commodities and (violent) conflict and encompasses: (1) population, resource scarcity and green security, and (2) conflict commodities and extractive natural resources (oil, diamonds, forests, and water). The second part of the course probes deeper into the social and political aspects of environmental conflicts and specifically examines: (3) gender & the environment; (4) land, culture & identity; (5) climate change; (6) food security, and; (7) conflicts between people and protected areas.


The GSI will work with the instructor to coordinate key lesson plans, design grading rubrics, grade assignments and final paper, and meet individually with students to clarify course aims, goals, and lessons. The GSI will maintain the Canvas site, and ensure that grading is conducted on time. The GSI will mainly focus on attending lectures, holding office hours, and grading, as well as other duties assigned by the instructor.

Required Qualifications*

Completion of at least one year of coursework at UM/SEAS. Bachelor's or Master's degree in geography, anthropology, sociology or political science or closely related fields. Active SEAS graduate student in good standing*.

First Aid/CPR Required: No

Desired Qualifications*

Previous teaching experience. Fully conversant in geographical people-environment relationships, environmental/cultural anthropology, cultural and/or political ecology. Ability to critique and discuss various approaches and perspectives related to society and the environment, broadly defined. These topics include: Population, Resource Scarcity & Green Security, Conflict Commodities (Oil, Water, Forests, Diamonds, etc., including petro-violence and water wars), Gender and Environmental Conflict, Climate Change and Conflict, Food Security and Environmental Conflict, and Conservation Conflicts).


  • Prior Completion of Course Required: Somewhat Important
  • Teaching Experience Required: Somewhat Important
  • Expertise of Field Work Experience in Subject Matter Required: Always Very Important


Additional Information

For additional information, you may contact the instructor at:

Contact Information


Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of fourteen calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

Decision Making Process

The Associate Dean or his/her designate reviews GSI assignments based on instructor and student preferences. Faculty preferences are heavily weighted in the GSI selection process in order to satisfy course needs. If the matching process changes the rank of the students being selected (especially for courses with multiple GSIs), then the instructor for the course is consulted about these changes. After this, a final review of allocations is made by the Associate Dean.

The Financial Aid Coordinator will notify successful applicants within four to six weeks of the application deadline. Applicants may contact to request feedback on their unsuccessful application.


Selection Process

Instructors have access to their position description and selection criteria along with the applications for their course(s). Instructors review their applications and rank the candidates for each position. In addition to ranking the qualified applicants, instructors may identify applicants as unqualified for the position.

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 and for the University Ombuds at

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.