CISS Invites Applications for Inaugural Cohort of Postdoctoral Associates
The Center for Innovation in Social Science at Boston University was established by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2021 to support, incubate, and promote innovative interdisciplinary research in the social sciences. The Center has more than 70 faculty affiliates, a dozen graduate student affiliates, and postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars. It also provides a forum for established and new workshops focused on cutting-edge topics in the social sciences, bringing together faculty and graduate students from multiple disciplines sharing substantive research interests ranging from social inequalities to health to climate change. The Center is now recruiting its inaugural cohort of two postdoctoral associates whose research focuses on social and economic inequalities, broadly defined. Postdoctoral fellows will work closely with a faculty mentor, and will participate in professional development programs alongside participants in other postdoctoral programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at BU.
CISS invites promising early-career associates from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to join a vibrant community committed to excellent, innovative research and teaching; interdisciplinary scholarship; and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the academy. CISS Postdoctoral Associates will receive faculty mentoring, opportunities for teaching, professional development, and interdisciplinary networking. This program is open to all associates who employ social science theories or methods in their work; we are particularly interested in outstanding associates whose research spans disciplinary divisions.
Applications must be submitted by Monday, December 12, 2022. Please read the Eligibility Requirements, Application Requirements, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sections below before beginning your application. All questions should be directed CISS Administrator Díana Hughes at email@example.com.
Terms of Appointment
CISS Postdoctoral Associates are appointed for a term of two years, with the possibility of applying for a third year. Associates will be encouraged to seek external funding for a third year (workshops on grant and fellowship application writing are included in the program’s professional development workshops and supports). The position start date is September 1, 2023.
All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States for the duration of the program (at least two years, beginning September 1, 2023) and the program does not provide visa sponsorship or work authorization. If the candidate would require visa sponsorship from the program in order to be continually authorized to work in the US for the full duration of the program, then they unfortunately would not be eligible.
Compensation and Resources
CISS Postdoctoral Associates whose appointments begin in the 2022-23 academic year receive an annual (12-month) stipend of $65,000, plus benefits. Associates also receive an annual allowance of $3,000 for research expenses and a one-time computer allowance of up to $1,500.
For the current application period, CISS invites applications from early-career associates who have completed (or will complete) their doctoral degree requirements between January 1, 2020 and September 1, 2023. Candidates will be asked to provide proof of completion of their doctoral degree requirements prior to the start of the program.
This program is open to all fields of inquiry represented in the social sciences but preference will be given to associates whose research spans across traditional disciplinary divisions or modes of inquiry. If you have questions about whether your field of study is eligible, please contact the Center Director Deborah Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preference will be given to those candidates who have not yet held a postdoctoral position and who do not hold a tenure-track assistant professor faculty position. Current BU postdoctoral associates and fellows and candidates who received their Ph.D. from Boston University are not eligible. Applicants who received a bachelors or master’s degree from BU are eligible. Candidates must be eligible to work in the United States by September 1, 2023. CISS does not provide visa sponsorship or work authorization.
Affiliations and Mentoring
The Center will serve as the host unit for the Postdoctoral Associate. Applicants also will be encouraged to participate in events and programming in the CAS departments most closely aligned with their academic background and training.
All Associates will be assigned one or more suitable faculty mentors from our CISS affiliates. Associates and their mentors will meet regularly throughout the program for research and career advising, and will meet at the end of each academic year to review the Associate’s progress. Associates will collaboratively develop a career plan with their mentor that describes their activities in the program and how they connect to their overall career goals.
The Center will also provide guidance and mentorship through a series of regular professional development workshops focused on publishing, grantsmanship, teaching, media impact, writing CVs and cover letters, and other skills essential to a successful academic career. Workshops also will focus on the pursuit of non-academic careers for social science PhDs. The Center also collaborates with other programs on campus, including the Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs office and CAS Society of Fellows program, for shared training and networking events, as described below.
Postdoctoral Associates are expected to teach one undergraduate course per academic year and will work with their faculty mentors on developing course curricula that incorporate their research interests. Associates, their mentors, and CISS leadership will work with the Associate’s preferred academic department to determine appropriate teaching responsibilities in the Spring ’24 semester and AY ’24-25. If desired, Postdoctoral Associates may discuss with their mentor and host unit additional teaching responsibilities that would complement their research or professional development aims and meet departmental needs. Associates may not teach or hold employment at other institutions for the duration of their term as a Postdoctoral Associate.
The Center will provide Postdoctoral Associates with professional development training and opportunities as part of the Society’s regular programming and in collaboration with the University’s Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs Office, which hosts the Postdoc Academy and a range of other career-related resources for postdoctoral associates and fellows at BU. Upon arrival, Associates will also participate in new postdoc orientation to better understand the full range of offices and resources for postdoctoral associates at BU.
- Application Form
- Cover Letter- maximum of 2 pages. Address why you are specifically interested in the Center for Innovation in Social Science at Boston University, and why you are interested in being part of an interdisciplinary cohort. (Optional: you are welcome to include names of faculty affiliates you would be interested in working with).
- Curriculum Vitae
- Statement of Research and Scholarly Goals – up to 2 pages (not including citations or references). Description of intended research plans for the program, previous research and scholarly work, and how your work aligns with the research strengths of CISS, including its commitment to research that broadly illuminates social inequalities and advances social justice and inclusion. The statement should describe your research in clear, concise language that can be understood by faculty reviewers across disciplines. Please also briefly mention the type(s) of mentorship you would like to receive during the fellowship period (e.g., methodological, theoretical, professional development).
- Diversity & Inclusion Statement– up to 2 pages. Statement should describe applicant’s demonstrated commitment and contributions to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion through scholarship, teaching, service, and/or outreach activities. Applicants are encouraged to include their personal experiences with diversity and inclusion, including (but not limited to) their experience as a member of an underrepresented group, their engagement with diverse communities, and/or any professional training in diversity and inclusivity.
- Teaching Statement/Philosophy– up to 2 pages. Describe your teaching philosophy and interests, drawing on both formal and informal experiences in teaching, mentoring, and pedagogy.
- Contact information for up to 3 reference letter writers– one letter must come from the applicant’s doctoral advisor. CISS will request letters for finalists only.
All materials must be submitted through Academic Jobs Online (link here). Materials should be single-spaced and written in Times New Roman or Arial font (11 pt or larger).
Graduate transcripts are not required in your application materials, but the Center will request an official transcript from your doctoral degree-granting institution if you are selected as a finalist. Applicants who advance in the review process may be asked to provide a dissertation abstract and writing samples at a later date. Some will also be asked to interview via Zoom for the position.
An interdisciplinary selection committee comprised of Center leadership, affiliates, and Steering Committee members will review applications in consultation with the potential host unit(s) of the candidate. Faculty reviewers will evaluate candidates based on:
- Alignment of applicant’s research goals and interests with CISS and the academic department which would serve as the applicant’s secondary home.
- Interdisciplinary strengths of applicant’s work
- Innovative and focused research proposal, teaching statement, and DEI statement
- Ability of the applicant to contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education through their research, teaching, service, and lived experiences
- Preparation and relevant experience for conducting the proposed research during the postdoctoral scholarship and for teaching BU undergraduates
- Ability to communicate scholarly work to multiple disciplines and audiences
Candidates will be notified of final decisions by mid-February. Alternates may be contacted if the initial awardees do not accept in the subsequent weeks.
If you have further questions after reviewing the website and the FAQs, please contact email@example.com
I received my Ph.D. over three years ago. Am I still eligible to apply for this program?
No. Only applicants who have completed or will complete their Ph.D. or terminal degree requirements between January 1, 2020 and September 1, 2023 are eligible for the program.
I received my Ph.D. from Boston University. Am I eligible to apply for this program?
No. Candidates who received their Ph.D. from Boston University are not eligible to apply. Current BU doctoral students and postdoctoral associates and fellows are also ineligible. Applicants who received a bachelors or master’s degree from BU are eligible.
I will receive my Ph.D. after September 1 of next year. Am I still eligible to apply this fall?
No. Candidates will be asked to provide proof of completion of their doctoral degree requirements prior to the start of the program on September 1, 2023. You would be eligible to apply for the following year.
Can I apply if I have a terminal degree (e.g., JD, MD, MFA, MBA, or EdD), but not a Ph.D.?
Yes. Applicants with terminal degrees in their respective field may apply as long as they are preparing for a career in university teaching and research.
If I have applied for another postdoctoral position at Boston University, can I still apply?
Yes. If you have applied to another Boston University postdoctoral position, you are still welcome to apply for this program. However, you must disclose this in your cover letter.
I am currently an assistant professor. Am I eligible to apply?
This program is designed to give new associates the opportunity to become more competitive candidates for tenure-track faculty appointments. Preference will be given to candidates who do not have a tenure-track appointment. Candidates with a tenure-track appointment will only be considered if they are able to provide a clear and compelling explanation of how they would further the goals of the CISS Postdoctoral Associate program.
I currently hold F-1/J-1/H-1B (or other) immigration status. Am I eligible for the program?
The program does not provide visa sponsorship or work authorization.
I received my Ph.D. from a non-U.S. institution. Am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, the program is open to applicants who have received their Ph.D. from a non-U.S. institution. However, applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States.
I am unable to relocate to the BU campus. Am I still eligible to apply?
No. Associates are required to reside in the Boston area and actively engage with the Center and their host unit in-person.
Am I eligible to reapply if I? am not selected this year?
Yes. Applicants not selected this year are eligible to reapply as long as they continue to meet the eligibility criteria in place at the time of the application. You must submit a new application each time you wish to be considered.
Are Associates eligible to apply for a tenure-track position at BU, should one open up during the program period?
Yes, Associates are eligible and encouraged to apply for appropriate faculty positions at BU. Postdoctoral Associate status does not affect the outcome of one’s application; evaluation of job applicants is carried out independently by the hiring department/unit. However, candidates should not apply to the Associates program with the expectation that it will lead to a tenure-track position at BU.
All applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on Monday, December 12, 2022.
What should I include in my statement of research and scholarly goals?
The statement should provide a description of your previous research and scholarly work, your intended research plans if you were to receive the Postdoc, and how your work would align with the research strengths of the Center.
Should I send my graduate transcripts along with my online application?
No. The Center does not require transcripts to be sent with your online application. However, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) may request official graduate transcripts from your doctoral-degree granting institution if you are selected as a finalist.
Am I required to identify a mentor on my application?
No, but you are welcome to include a list of faculty you would be interested in working with. All Associates will be assigned one or more suitable faculty mentors from among our Faculty Affiliates.
May I email, mail, or fax my application materials to you?
No. We are only able to review applications that are submitted through the AJO portal.
May I submit additional materials beyond the requirements?
No. We are only able to review the requested materials.
May I submit any application materials in a language other than English?
No. All application materials must be submitted in English.
May I revise my application or provide additional/updated materials after I have submitted it?
Yes. Your application materials may be updated on Academic Jobs Online up until the application deadline.
May I submit any application materials after the deadline?
No. All application materials must be finalized and submitted by 11:59 PM EST on Monday, December 12, 2022.
Do I need to submit my reference letters with my application?
No. During the open application period, we will only be asking applicants to submit the names and contact information of their referees with their applications. Only applicants who are selected for further consideration will be asked to submit Letters of Reference.
Are there sample applications available for review?
No, we do not provide sample applications for review. We encourage you to closely review the requirements for the requested materials and to consult with your current academic advisor on how to develop a competitive application.
What should I do if I wish to withdraw my application?
Applicants who would like to withdraw their application must email the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review and Selection
Who will review my application?
An interdisciplinary selection committee made up of Center leadership, steering committee members, and Faculty Affiliates will review applications.
What does the selection committee focus on when reviewing applications?
Candidates will be assessed according to the strength of their research proposal, teaching statement, and DEI statement, as well as the interdisciplinary strength of their work and the fit of their research goals and interests with the Center. Candidates will also be assessed on their ability to communicate effectively across different disciplines and audiences.
When are the final decisions announced?
Final decisions will be announced by mid-February 2023. Successful candidates will receive offers first. Alternates may be contacted if the awardees do not accept.
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