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How to Apply

Please submit the following application materials as one .PDF document by copying and pasting this link into your web browser:

The link will direct you to an MBox dropbox where you will submit your application materials. If you click on the orange ‘Apply Now’ button, your application materials will not be received.

  1. a cover letter addressing interest and qualifications for the position 
  2. a resume or curriculum vita 
  3. copy of the undergraduate and graduate transcript (unofficial is fine) 
  4. teaching history (list course and department, remote and in-person) 
  5. any available teaching evaluations

Name the .PDF file as follows: last name.first name.course number.  For example: Doe.John.Environ110

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.  In addition, a weekly Friday lab prep session (either morning or afternoon) for 2 hours is mandatory.

Course Description

Every day, human and natural activities are altering the planet on which we live.  Through our increasing resource consumption, disturbance of natural systems, technological advancement, and social inequities, we have been changing the global climate and environment in a manner that is unique over the history of the Earth.  Whether these changes to the Earth life-support systems are sustainable is perhaps the greatest question for society in this century.

This course, Global Change: the Science of Sustainability, investigates the causes and potential impacts of these changes using a combination of traditional lecture-based and modern web-based teaching methodologies.  The course surveys the evolution and interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes; how past changes on Earth help us predict the future; and how fundamental principles of science establish the sustainability of human activities on Earth.  Students apply learned knowledge by using systems modeling and spreadsheet software to investigate the dynamics of natural systems and examine case studies of relevant environmental problems.

The course curriculum provides excellent opportunities to conduct research on topics of interest to the students, culminating in a course project presented at the end of the semester.  The interactive laboratory exercises provide students the opportunity to use software tools to examine how natural systems function as well as develop projections of the future consequences of changes in the environment.  And, perhaps most important of all, students will have ample time for discussion of critical issues in natural resources and sustainability, environmental policy, and society as a whole.  All topics are developed in a manner that students will find both accessible and interesting.  After the course, students should be able to discern sound science from biased claims and will have a foundation for making informed decisions about sustainable practices in their own lives.


First and foremost, the GSI responsibility is to teach the discussion and lab sections to the best of their ability.  We have a strict organizational plan in teaching this course, and a strict calendar of assignments and duties for the GSIs.  This is the only way to teach a large class, and adhering to our schedule and plan makes the entire operation more efficient, less work, and more fun for everyone.  Remember that one critical aspect of teaching the labs is preparing for the labs, which occurs the week before lab in our weekly Friday meeting.  This prep session is not optional, nor are any of the grading sessions optional for the GSIs.  Because this class has been taught and has grown and been successful for over 25 years, there is a tremendous amount of information from previous instructors that is helpful and that will be used throughout the semester.  In addition, we will add to that body of knowledge as we update labs, make discussions more topically relevant, or design new labs if necessary.  Most of this creativity lies in the hands of the GSIs, with the requirement that lab updates are as coordinated as possible with the faculty lecture material.  Below is a bulleted list of the main GSI duties:

  • Attending each lecture M,W,F, 12-1 pm.  The GSIs should take notes on each lecture to help them teach the lab, relate the lab to lecture, and to create self-test and exam questions.
  • Teaching their assigned lab sections each week.  If a GSI must miss one of their lab sections they must arrange with another GSI to fill in for them; this should be a very rare occurrence, and should be organized well in advance unless there is an emergency illness.
  • Attending the weekly GC meeting Friday (typically 1-3 pm).  GSIs must work through the lab (i.e., run the Stella model or Excel spreadsheet, answer all the questions, etc.) before this meeting, so that we can solve problems during the meeting.  This is also time to update grades, discuss exam writing, and so forth.
  • Holding designated office hours for the students.  The GSIs decide when and where these will be held.  If the class is taught in-person instead of remotely, you can use your office or, if you do not have an office, we can arrange to reserve space in the Science Learning Center for your office hours.
  • Recording student grades each week on a spreadsheet and sending them to the GC coordinator (designated each year as one of the course GSIs) after the assignment for each section is graded.  The coordinator will then update the master gradebook and post the grades on the web for the students.
  • GSIs will alternate weeks of responsibility for writing exam questions and self-test questions from the lectures, the schedule will be decided at our first Friday meeting, and should best use the expertise of the GSIs on various lecture topics.  At the end of the week the GSI will send the coordinator the questions to organize and post online.
  • Creating the exams (midterm 1, midterm 2, and final) and editing them with professor comments; the GSIs create most of the questions along the way for each lecture. 
  • Grading the exams (part is scantron or online in Canvas, part is essay and hand-graded on paper or online in Canvas) immediately after the exam is given.
  • GSIs will also alternate duties of sending the coordinator comments, student answers, notes, and tips for teaching the labs each week.  There may be other miscellaneous tasks such as copying lab handouts, facilitating communication with the rest of the staff, and so on.

Please contact the lead instructor (George Kling, ) for specific questions about job responsibilities that are not clear in this Description.

Required Qualifications*

  • Knowledge of earth systems science, ecology, and evolution (at the undergrad or grad level) 
  • Excellent organization skills and ability to work with limited supervision 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills 
  • Applicant must be in good standing as a graduate student at the University of Michigan.  If the language of instruction at the GSI’s undergraduate institution was not English, student must be evaluated by the English Language Institute (ELI) for English proficiency and either pass the GSI-OET or have this test waived by the ELI before they can be eligible for a GSI appointment in LS&A.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Prior teaching experience in Environ 110 or 111. 
  • Prior teaching experience in large undergraduate science courses.
  • Prior teaching experience in remote classrooms.
  • Familiarity with Excel and Stella, plus experience with dynamic modeling.
  • Experience with web page development. 

Contact Information

If you have questions about how to apply for the position, please email

Decision Making Process

Faculty review applications for positions in their courses and indicate their ranked preferences. They are also asked to indicate whether they regard any applicants as unqualified and why based on the Required and Desired qualifications listed above.

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, genetic information, marital status, familial status, parental status or pregnancy status, sex, gender identity or expression (whether actual or perceived), 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, medical conditions including those related to pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, arrest record, 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 for 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 their preferred assignment, they 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.

Standard Practice Guide 601.38, Required Disclosure of Felony Charges and/or Felony Convictions applies to all Graduate Student Assistants (GSAs). SPG 601.38 may be accessed online at , and its relation to your employment can be found in MOU 10 of your employment contract.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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