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Chicago Field Studies Graduate Assistant Needs for Academic Year 2020–21

Chicago Field Studies (CFS) is searching for a graduate assistant to serve three terms (fall, winter, and spring) in the 2020–21 academic year. They are seeking PhD candidates in their third, fourth, or fifth year to teach their own experiential-learning course in:

  1. Field Studies in Public Health; or
  2. Field Studies in Social Justice; or
  3. Field Studies in Environment, Science & Sustainability

Roles and responsibilities:

  1. Create and develop a syllabus for CFS course using previous syllabi, consulting with CFS Lead Instructor, and integrating student internships into the course.
  2. Teach the course for a quality letter grade 

Information about each CFS Course:

  1. Field Studies in Public Health (FSPH)

FSPH was developed for students interested in health-related fields, including public health, medicine, and health policy. In this course, students will explore the field of public health and its history, both domestically and globally. Students will unpack the complexities of this field by examining current public health issues as they relate to student internships and interests. The course will provide students an opportunity to consider how public health theory and ideology align with practice and are implemented in the real world.

By the end of the quarter, students will be able to:

  • Define “Public Health” and its major areas of focus, including the core functions of public health.
  • Identify critical issues in public health, including key challenges and key stakeholders, and be able to identify potential solutions to these issues.
  • Compare and contrast public health theory to practice, based on experiences at field internship sites.
  • Enhance skills necessary for the workplace such as goal-setting, presenting, and critical analysis.
  1. Field Studies in Social Justice (FSSJ)

Social justice is generally defined as the pursuit of just and equal access to resources, privileges, and social status. Conversely, social justice is the process of enacting change to address persistent social inequalities. This course in FSSJ will examine a number of contemporary issues through a social justice lens, and investigate how different modes of action can be employed to address social inequalities. The first half of the course considers several contemporary social justice issues in the Chicago area. Subject to instructor interests and expertise, it will likely consider the issues of segregation, gentrification and urban development, police violence, and public school funding (these topics are subject to change depending on student interest and scheduling concerns). For each issue, it will discuss recent policies, conflicts, or controversies and place them in historical context. In doing so, we will practice assessing the power relations and social inequalities embedded in each issue. The second half of the course takes up different forms of collective action that seek to enact structural social change. Specifically, it will consider the ways in which non-profit and advocacy organizations, community organizing, movement politics, and electoral politics are or are not able to address social inequalities. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to reflect on the social inequalities and modes of action that they encounter in their internships. Together, the course readings, discussions, and assignments are designed to help students develop the capacity to critically consider social inequalities and different modes of action to address them. 

  1. Field Studies in Environment, Science & Sustainability (FSESS)
With a focus on Chicago and environs, FSESS will focus in particular on questions of science and sustainability within urban landscapes and beyond. It will explore how conflicting political, economic, and social interests and values contend for influence and exert power in the realm of environmental governance. It will look at how the local, regional, national, and international institutions, non-governmental organizations, experts, interest groups, and the public interact in defining environmental problems, and formulating and implementing solutions. Drawing on students' internship experiences, it will also discuss how concepts such the environment, sustainability, and green technology are defined and constructed in practice. FSESS should be especially appealing to anyone interested in exploring major issues facing the environment, understanding the environmental policy process, and doing something about the planet's changing environments.

Learning objectives for GA:

Graduate Assistants as CFS Instructors will learn

  1. How to design a robust experiential-learning course around topics in public health, social justice, or the environment including all course content and assignments.
  2. How to create—or continually work towards creating—an inclusive learning environment for all students.
  3. Teaching practice.

Evaluation methods for GA:

Graduate Assistants will

  1. Receive direct feedback from students, CFS Advising staff and Lead Instructor.
  2. CFS Evaluates course and instructor at the end of the quarter, and this information may be useful to adjust course content or instruction for subsequent quarters.

Length of time for GA

Fall, Winter, and/or Spring Quarters.

  • Prior to /during Fall quarter: Research (observe CFS courses, review past syllabi) and develop course syllabus, finalized and approved by Professor Liz McCabe by mid-September 2020
  • Fall Quarter 2020: Teach and grade undergraduate students in Field Studies in Public Health, observe CFS courses and prepare syllabus for Social Justice
  • Winter Quarter 2021: Teach and grade undergraduate students in Field Studies in Public Health and Field Studies in Social Justice. Observe and develop Environment course to offer in Spring 2021
  • Spring Quarter 2021: Teach and grade undergraduate students in Field Studies in Public Health and/or Field Studies in Environment, Science and Sustainability 

Weekly time commitment: 

  • Fall Quarter: 3 hours of teaching/observing a week plus time to prepare and grade
  • Winter Quarter: 3 hours of teaching a week plus time to prepare and grade
  • Spring Quarter: 3 hours of teaching a week plus time to prepare and grade

Skills and experience:

  • Required: Previous teaching experience
  • Required: Graduate student in 3rd, 4th or 5th year of studies
  • Preferred: Graduate student in African American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, English, Envrionmental Science, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Political Science, Sociology, or any other related field or discipline
  • Preferred: Experience working, researching, educating or interning in the public health sector, social justice movements, environmental policy or sustainability fields

  To apply, submit:

  • a cover letter explaining why you are interested, qualified, and competitive for this role;
  • a current CV
  • any relevant CTEC or course evaluations

to: Karen A Allen, and


Categories: STEM