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Head (With Faculty Rank)


About the Job: The College of Biological Sciences seeks a Head of the Department of Biology Teaching and Learning (BTL). This individual will lead an interdisciplinary department focused on excellence in undergraduate biology education and biology education research. The Head will lead efforts within the college and across the University to define, develop, and implement a strategic vision for the future of biology education.

Responsibilities: The Head will provide vision and leadership to the Department of Biology Teaching and Learning. The department Head is responsible for directing and overseeing all matters related to the department including: program planning/review; developing and achieving annual goals/objectives; faculty and staff recruiting, mentoring, supervision, and development; and budget oversight and review. The Head reports directly to the CBS Dean and works closely with members of the Dean’s leadership group.

In consultation with department members, the department Head has the primary responsibility and authority for:
1. Developing and articulating departmental goals
2. Fostering and promoting the department’s innovations and successes in research and teaching
3. Formulating and communicating recommendations for hiring, tenure, promotion, retention and evaluation of faculty and departmental support staff
4. Establishing and effectively managing departmental budget priorities and allocations
5. Setting teaching assignments and teaching times and regulating faculty workloads
6. Recommending leaves and special assignments to the dean
7. Ensuring that faculty in the department are fully engaged in departmental and general faculty duties
8. Communicating the department’s views to the college community and vice versa
9. Working with the BTL Director of Graduate Studies to further the goals of the BTL graduate program

Additionally, the Head should be aware of the instructional, creative, and outreach activities of the departmental members and of their service as advisers and committee members, both within and outside the University. The Head also will be expected to continue his/her scholarly contribution to the discipline, to contribute to the academic program of the unit, and to provide service to CBS and the University where appropriate.

Required Qualifications: 

  • Ph.D.  (or foreign equivalent) in a biology discipline from an accredited institution; rank of associate or full professor.
  • Established record of excellence in:
    • Biology education research, including success in publishing peer-reviewed papers and obtaining external funding
    • National leadership in biology education
    • Success in teaching students from a variety of cultures and communities; utilizing a variety of evidence-based teaching methods in the classroom
    • Working effectively within a diverse institution with multiple, complementary goals
    • Working effectively with individuals of diverse backgrounds, including tenure-line and teaching faculty, academic/professional staff, graduate students, post-docs, and undergraduate workers
    • Supervising faculty and staff in a way that promotes their professional growth, supports their contributions, and reinforces the sense of community
  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills; ability to communicate effectively with faculty, staff, and students from diverse communities and cultures.
  • Demonstrated interest and skill in academic leadership/administration, including effectively managing large, complex budgets and administrative units.

To Apply:

  1. Visit
  2. Click the appropriate maroon box
  3. Enter 319834 in the keyword search box

Applications must be submitted online by November 15, 2017. You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume. Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Activities" page and uploading documents there. To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail  (link sends e-mail) or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).

Founded in 1851, the University of Minnesota, with its five campuses and 67,932 students, is one of the largest, most comprehensive universities in the United States, and ranks among the most prestigious research universities in the world. It is both a major research institution, with scholars of national and international reputation, and a state land-grant university, with a strong tradition of education and public engagement.

The College of Biological Sciences (CBS), founded in 1965, is one of only a few colleges nationwide that focuses exclusively on biological sciences. The college offers seven undergraduate majors and is home to five graduate programs that span the discipline from molecules to ecosystems.  CBS’s overarching mission is to improve human welfare and global conditions by advancing knowledge of the mechanisms of life through breakthrough discoveries and to prepare today’s students to create the biology of tomorrow.

The Department of Biology Teaching and Learning: BTL is a unique department – no other institution has brought together a group of researchers and educators as a department with the explicit goal of fostering biology education research and teaching excellence.  To that end, BTL has become a nationally-recognized leader in designing and implementing innovative student-centered approaches to biology teaching, in both classroom and laboratory settings.  The Department currently includes 6 tenure-track faculty, 8 teaching (contract) faculty, 14 education and teaching specialists, 6 laboratory and office staff, and 8 affiliated faculty holding joint appointments in BTL.

  • Undergraduate Biology Education: The Department manages all introductory biology courses within the College of Biological Sciences. These courses serve both non-science majors and CBS students in the seven majors available within the College. In this capacity, the BTL faculty and staff participate in both design and delivery of highly innovative, student-centered courses that are typically taught in the University’s Active Learning Classrooms.  The ten introductory Biology courses currently offered in CBS serve approximately 6,500 students annually.
  • BTL also houses the CBS Instructional Labs group, which supports almost every lab course taught in the college.  The group hires and trains teaching assistants, and supports instructional and logistical needs of the instructors in these courses. Instructional Labs support 25 courses that serve approximately 7,000 students.
  • Scholarly Teaching and Biology Education Research: The majority of BTL members are active in educational research and publishing in education-related areas, including evolution education, the impact of active learning classrooms and approaches, and the impact of authentic research experiences.  Recent hires have brought a wave of new faculty into the Department, bolstering ongoing research and strengthening the reputation of the Department.