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University of Virginia

University of Virginia Postdoctoral Training Fellowships in the Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) Program

»The VEST post-doctoral training program prepares promising early career scholars in the areas of teacher workforce development and effectiveness as they contribute to student learning. Fellows engage in interdisciplinary research pertaining to education science topics that may include: impact of professional development on practice and student learning; policies to improve quality and impact of early childhood interventions in low-income communities; measurement of teacher effectiveness; large-scale field experiments that leverage behavioral insights to help low-income and first-generation college-going students access and succeed in higher education; the effects of high stakes teacher assessment systems on outcomes for students and teachers; the efficacy of social-emotional learning and service-learning interventions in school and out-of school settings; and the efficacy of interventions to improve the adult community at schools. Projects place particular attention toward addressing needs of students from families with low income, examining the efficacy of interventions for specific subgroups, and considering promising approaches for students most likely to have difficulty in school.

Post-doctoral training includes two main components: a) strong mentoring with a senior investigator focused on the demanding and technical aspects of producing high quality scholarship (theory, design, intervention development, use of rigorous methods, writing, etc.) and b) immersion in an intellectually challenging and scientifically rigorous community of scholarship. Post-doctoral fellows collaborate with faculty mentors to formulate research questions, select research designs, implement research studies, collaborate with district partners, analyze data, write papers, and present findings. In addition to engagement in a mentored, collaborative program of research, experiences include engagement in work-in-progress meetings with faculty, other post-docs and students; involvement in specialized training institutes; self-evaluation processes to align training experiences and career goals; involvement with visiting scholars; as well as other opportunities.

Fellows apply to work primarily with one of three senior mentors: Dr. Robert Pianta, Dean of the Curry School of Education and Professor of Education, conducts work on the assessment of teacher effectiveness using standardized observation, design and delivery of effective professional development, and policies related to early childhood education and teacher preparation. Dr. Jim Wyckoff, Professor, conducts research on policies on teacher preparation, recruitment and retention on the quality of the teaching workforce and outcomes for students. Dr. Sara Rimm-Kaufman, Professor, conducts research on social and emotional learning, adult community in schools, service-learning, and teacher-student interactions in elementary school math classrooms.

Fellows will become part of a network of post-doctoral trainees at the Curry School of Education and its research centers including Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), Youth-Nex | The U.Va. Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, and EdPolicyWorks, also known as the Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness . A Ph.D. in Education, Psychology, Education Policy or a relevant social science discipline is required by the fellowship start date. A track record of publication and evidence of potential for obtaining external funding are required. Substantive knowledge and background in the field of education, demonstrated leadership, management and communication skills are also required. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Principal Investigator: Sara Rimm-Kaufman

Postdoctoral training application information