Recruiting River Field Instructors!

Recruiting Now! RIVER Instructor & Curriculum Professional Development Program


The RIVER Field Studies Network (RIVER) is an NSF Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology  Education framed around connecting rivers, people, and science through immersive field-based education.  Two central objectives of the network are to build instructor capacity and create interdisciplinary open source lesson content to be shared across the network. You can learn more about our network here.  

RIVER is excited to begin recruiting the inaugural cohort for the RIVER Instructor & Curriculum Professional  Development Program. This program integrates expert instruction and peer mentoring in virtual and field  settings to build instructor capacity to develop and lead safe and effective river-based field lessons and  courses. Participants will “learn by doing” as they work together to create, practice, and disseminate new  open-source content as well as gaining knowledge and proficiency in:  

● Field-specific pedagogy concepts and practices 

● Interdisciplinary approaches to river studies 

● Strategies for increasing DEI in field settings 

● River-specific safety & risk management concepts and practices 

● Leading day and overnight river field trips 

● Publishing lesson content to online open-source dissemination outlets 

In addition, we anticipate participants will develop a greater: 

● Sense of support and belonging to the river STEM community 

● Connection to rivers as a place for learning and discovery 

● Commitment to fostering stewardship of riverine ecosystems 

Other Benefits 

All participant costs will be covered - including costs for travel and training. In addition, each participant will  receive a $1,000 stipend upon completion. The estimated total value of the program is $3,000 per  participant. 

Program Outline 

Outcomes will be achieved through a year-long training and mentoring cycle. The training cycle is framed  around a series of virtual webinars & activities about lesson development in the spring, an in-person field  “River Rendezvous” to pilot lessons and gain in field expertise in the summer, virtual webinars & activities  framed around lesson publication, dissemination, and scaling from lessons to courses in the fall, and  culminates with a virtual winter symposium to showcase new materials to the network and new cohort. 

Participants will be paired with another participant (ideally from a different disciplinary perspective) and a  mentor from the RFSN Curriculum Committee to form teams of three. These teams will work over the year  to produce one interdisciplinary field lab that will be published to the RFSN QUBES hub and other online  repositories as appropriate. 

The successful applicant must be able to commit to the following program:  

Spring. Participate in 6 hours of professional development in the Spring semester (~ 1 activity per month)  and to working with their teams to draft a field lab lesson.  

Summer. Attend the James River  

Rendezvous (June 2022 TBD) to be held at  the Virginia Commonwealth University  Rice River Center and in the field on the  historic James River, ancestral home of  the Powhatan people.  

Fall. Participate in 6 hours of professional  development in the fall semester (~ 1 activity per month) and to work with their  teams to revise and publish lessons to the QUBES hub. Consider how best to  

integrate lessons into existing or new  river focused courses at their institutions. 

Winter. Present new lessons to the  winter network community at the winter virtual workshop. 


This program is open to instructors who already teach, or aspire to teach, interdisciplinary immersive field  lessons and/or courses focused on riverine ecosystems. Our focal audience are instructors that teach  college/university-level STEM content, but those serving non-traditional students or teaching in other fields  (e.g., Indigenous Knowledge, Experiential Education, etc) are also encouraged to apply. Participants must be  willing to participate in program activities outlined above and work with a partner and mentor to develop a  new open-source curriculum module. We are particularly interested in supporting instructors from  underrepresented backgrounds or who serve underrepresented populations.  

To Apply  

Please complete this application no later than Dec 23 to receive full consideration. Please share this opportunity with anyone you think would be interested. 

Application link: