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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)
  5. any available teaching evaluations

Name the .PDF file as follows: last name.first name.course number. For example: Doe.John.Environ290.

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.

Course Description

This course examines extreme events—e.g.,  fires, floods, heat waves, cold snaps—for their social effects. It looks for both short-term response (emergency response, immediate impacts, recovery and rebuild) and long-term response (changes in living patterns, in relations to natural systems, in consumption and mobility) and how those responses vary with cultural setting, socioeconomic position, inequality and power. Throughout, the course will look for opportunities to use extreme events to create a more sustainable and just society. 

For this it will examine historical cases—e.g., 1789 Lisbon earthquake and fires, 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires, the 1889 Johnstown flood, and the Peshtigo Wisconsin fire—and contemporary cases—e.g., 2002 heat wave in Europe, the 2017 Santa Rosa fire, and the 2018 rain bomb in Houston. 

From there, the course will look to the future to imagine positive responses to expected but unpredictable extreme events. The course thus approaches extreme events from a multitude of perspectives, including those of climate, history, sociology, engineering, political science, planning and even some literature and art.

The course is structured primarily as a lecture, but has features of a seminar (daily readings and discussion). Students must prepare daily, engage in discussions (including written submissions), and collaborate with each other for research, public presentation and discussion. Assignments will include the development of an original case study (past, present or future) and short written summaries.


  • Primary grader for multiple student short papers, providing feedback on content and writing quality, with instructor oversight
  • Secondary grader for exams
  • Available to meet with students as needed throughout the semester (specific weekly office hours not required)
  • Attend all lectures
  • Complete all readings
  • Meet with instructor once per week (1/2 hour)
  • Meet with student research teams twice during semester, providing feedback prior to and after meetings
  • Manage content on course website, including the return of graded materials

Required Qualifications*

  • Basic competency in Word & Excel as well as in using course websites.
  • Applicant must be in good standing as a graduate student at the University of Michigan. If the language of instruction at a student’s undergraduate institution was not English, they 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*

  • Previous teaching experience as well as other work experience (paid or unpaid) and strong work habits 
  • Experience in evaluating and critiquing writing
  • Environmental policy and behavior courses; economics, ecology, ethics; sustainability theory

Contact Information

If you have questions about how to apply for the position, please email Instructor: Tom Princen.

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.

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.