Resident Lecturer in Natural Resource Management (PANAMA) – with emphasis in forest ecology / management

The SFS program on Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies (TIBS), located in Bocas del Toro, Panama, seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented individual to serve as part of a residential team of faculty and staff that delivers an interdisciplinary, hands-on learning experience to students spending a semester abroad.  TIBS has a thematic focus on the tropical island ecosystems, including the coastal and terrestrial ecosystems and the economic and sociocultural systems unique to the Bocas del Toro archipelago in the Panamanian Caribbean. 

On a contract basis, teach the Principles of Resource Management course during the fall and spring semesters in Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies. Contribute significant content to the Coastal Ecology course on terrestrial ecology. Contribute to student learning in the area of natural resource management, including coastal and forest resources and agricultural systems. Lead designated components of the programs research plan and, as part of this, oversee, mentor, and grade the student directed research projects.
Institutional Mission:
SFS creates transformative study abroad experiences through field-based learning and research. Our educational programs explore the human and ecological dimensions of the complex environmental problems faced by our local partners, contributing to sustainable solutions in the places where we live and work. The SFS community is part of a growing network of individuals and institutions committed to environmental stewardship.

Program Focus:
SFS is working with various agencies and organizations in Bocas del Toro to develop management strategies to help conserve coastal / marine and on-shore terrestrial biodiversity that may provide economic opportunities for island residents. Student field research is helping to provide the local government, community, and tourism developers with data and recommendations that will help sustain the economic, social, and ecological stability of the Bocas del Toro archipelago.

The program’s objective is to quantify social and ecological baselines, conduct on-going ecosystem and resource monitoring, help to mitigate change to the marine and terrestrial environment, and prepare the local community for the continued evolution of eco- and adventure-tourism through research and education.

Course Description: Principles of Resource Management EE (NS) 374:
The Principles of Resource Management course provides students with the concepts and tools for natural resource management and resource-based productive activities such as artisanal fisheries, agroforestry systems, and forest management in the Bocas del Toro archipelago.
This course establishes the link between the complementary courses offered in the program, Environmental Policy and Socioeconomics and Coastal Ecology. Topical areas may include: ecosystem services, forest management, anthropogenic impacts, regulation and enforcement, conservation practices, coastal zone management, tropical marine resources, tropical fisheries and fisheries management, parks and protected areas, natural areas and development, and tourism development and planning. The goal of the course is for students to gain concepts and tools helpful to manage island resources for long-term sustainability.
Applicants are encouraged to review proposed course syllabi and programs descriptions on the SFS website:

Duties and Responsibilities
Provide high quality, modern and experiential teaching in critical environmental issues in an interdisciplinary curriculum, and participate fully in the implementation of the program’s research plan that addresses these issues. The publication of research results is critical. Work closely with the lecturers in Coastal Ecology and Environmental Policy and Socioeconomics to deliver an interdisciplinary program through education and research in a field setting. Each lecturer is expected to provide high quality, inquiry-based teaching and will lead students in Directed Research projects defined in the program’s research plan.

  •  As part of an interdisciplinary teaching team, teach a significant portion of the academic program (minimum 50-60 lecture hours)
  • Plan, revise, and effectively deliver a challenging, problem-based interdisciplinary curriculum
  • Organize lectures and prepare course materials in a timely and professional manner
  • Adhere to the daily academic schedule
  • Prepare, administer, and grade assignments, quizzes, mid-term and final examinations
  • Supervise and mentor a student research group in Directed Research projects
  • Actively support and counsel students on academic issues
  • Maintain records of lectures, exams, quizzes, readings, field experiences and homework assignments 


  •  Help design the program’s research plan and conduct designated research according to it
  • Identify appropriate components of the program’s research plan suitable for student Directed Research projects
  • Prepare research results for clients and partners and for publication and conference presentations
  • Assist in the creation and implementation of program research policies, priorities, budgets as required
  • Follow data management, record keeping, and reporting systems
  • Present research findings at local and international conferences (budget dependent)       


  •  Participate in planning activities prior to the program start and in review/analysis following students' departure
  • Participate in training activities for new program staff prior to and during the program, particularly interns
  • Participate in and lead parts of the orientation and re-entry components of the program presented to students at the beginning and end of each program period
  • In cooperation with other program staff, provide day-to-day coordination of interns as delegated by the program director
  • Participate in resolving group management issues and student discipline problems
  • Participate in preparation of the final reports, academic handbook revisions and other required reports
  • As requested by the Center Director, assist with other logistical, group management, and administrative tasks 

Safety & Risk Management           

  •  Take responsibility, as an individual and as a member of the program faculty/staff team, for the safety of all program participants
  • Participate in the review and revision of program risk assessment and management plans
  • Know the emergency procedures plan for the field station, including evacuation plan
  • Participate in the safety portions of the on-site orientation and conduct safety briefings for students and/or staff
  • Complete incident reports when appropriate and contribute to safety audits
  • Comply with, actively model, and enforce all SFS and program policies and procedures
  • Ensure that first-aid certifications are kept up to date

Daily Center Life

  •  Live on-site for the duration of each program period and take meals with the students
  • On a rotating basis, take responsibility for "staff of the day" duties
  • Take part in, and occasionally lead community outreach, site upkeep projects, social and field activities
  • Drive standard transmission vehicles and boats as needed
  • Adhere to, actively model and enforce all SFS and program policies and procedures

Minimum qualifications

  • Ph.D. and university-level teaching experience in Forest and Agroforest Management or related field.  Field research experience, preferably in the fields  of Forestry, Agriculture systems
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary teaching and research team
  • Track record of research publications
  • Small boat handling experience (for marine focused faculty)
  • Experience leading water related excursions – snorkeling (for marine focused faculty)
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental issues

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated experience working in collaboration with small island governments
  • Experience in cross-teaching or collaboration in environmental policy, socioeconomics or other related social science field; climate change, and sustainable living and development
  • Residential student group management and risk management experience highly desirable
  • Track record of grant writing success
  • Good command of Spanish language

Other Expectations

  • Obtain First Aid certification prior to first day of work (SFS reimbursable available)
  • Willingness to work flexible hours and live on site at the field station with a small team of permanent staff, groups of US undergraduate students
  • Participation in all program activities
  • Represent SFS at local and international meetings and conferences
  • At all times, work to ensure good relations between the SFS and the local community


This is an academic year contract position starting in mid-August, 2014 and ending in mid-May, 2015 with the likely continuance in the fall semester of 2015 depending on successful completion of duties and sufficient student enrollment. Salary is dependent on experience and qualifications.  Comprehensive benefits package and on-site room and board included.
The SFS program center, Isla Solarte, Bocas del Toro, Republic of Panama

Reports to:
Center Director

Start Date:
No later than August 15, 2014

To Apply: Submit a cover letter outlining relevant experiences and addressing the qualifications and expectations stated above and curriculum vitae online at

Recommendation letters will be required upon request. Equal Opportunity Employer.

Inquiries about the position may be directed to SFS Dean of Academic Programs Mark Seifert at

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