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Continuing Education Coordinator

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University of Washington Seattle
United States

This posting is for a Limited Term Appointment. The work is estimated to be 20 hours/week and is expected to last 9 months.

The University of Washington (UW) is proud to be one of the nation's premier educational and research institutions. Our people are the most important asset in our pursuit of achieving excellence in education, research, and community service. Our staff not only enjoy outstanding benefits and professional growth opportunities, but also an environment noted for diversity, community involvement, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits, and natural beauty.

The School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences is a nationally renowned School that provides Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral instruction and degrees to a competitive international population of students. The faculty, staff, and students of the School support a vibrant and diverse research program, with annual support exceeding $3.2 million in state funding and $12 million in sponsored research funding. The School maintains unique research stations both in Alaska and on Hood Canal, and manages small vessels that support instructional and research activities.

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) is a rigorous citizen science organization based in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. Now 17 years old, COASST recruits and trains coastal citizens from northern California north to Kotzebue, Alaska to survey their local beach in a systematic, standardized fashion, returning data on a monthly basis about the number, identity, and condition of beached marine birds and, separately, marine debris. Working in dozens of coastal communities, COASST provides continuing education to adult learners who are typically retirees. At present, almost 850 participants collect data as part of the COASST program. All participants are trained in a 5-6 hour session led by an expert. COASST also provides frequent follow-ups with all participants in the forms of refresher trainings, on-line trainings and education, socials and evening presentations, and written reports and other information. Once data collection starts, COASST interns and professional staff keep in close contact with each participant, making sure (s)he has adequate supplies and is surveying correctly, and frequently (at least monthly).

About the Position:
The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), based at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, has an outstanding opportunity for a Continuing Education Coordinator (Limited Term Appointment). The Continuing Education Coordinator will be the person responsible for recruiting participants into the COASST program, responsible for the design and delivery of recruitment, and for designing and implementing assessment of the success of recruitment.

This position sits at the interface between the Senior Management Team, the COASST participants, the COASST undergraduate interns, and members of the Social Science Research Team. Over the next two years, the current corps of COASST participants is expected to double, and the Continuing Education Coordinator will lead the effort to recruit these individuals. It is expected that (s)he will develop recruitment strategies that are tuned to individual geographic communities and communities of practice, and be able to adaptively manage and fine-tune these strategies based on indices of success (also developed by this position). This position must work hand-in-glove with the Volunteer Coordinator to pass newly recruited participants into the main volunteer corps. This position must also work closely with Education Research and Independent Evaluation professionals to insure that ongoing research on recruitment is well conducted. It is expected that this person will contribute substantively and creatively to the social science research design and execution, and most specifically on the factors affecting recruitment.

Citizen Science is a growing field, and the University of Washington has several well-recognized programs pairing scientists and professional staff with citizen data collectors and adult learners. COASST is the largest of these programs, and has been federally recognized by the Office of Science Technology Policy in The White House as a national exemplar of rigorous citizen science. This position could significantly advance the role of the university in terms of public interaction with science through innovative methods to recruit participants from dozens of local coastal communities. In that role, this position will act as a face/voice of citizen science and will represent the University of Washington and the College of the Environment to hundreds of adult learners seeking continuing education through direct participatory learning in science.

COASST has received funding to expand its corps of participants while simultaneously designing and conducting educational research on the factors motivating adult learners to recruit to rigorous citizen science programs, and maintain active membership in that learning community. A critical factor in the success of COASST, and the research described here, is the ability of the program to recruit local coastal citizens via the communication pathways, and personal and professional interactions that are indicative and even idiosyncratic to those communities.

The Continuing Education Coordinator will be responsible for the design, delivery and assessment of a participant recruitment program, and must be successful in recruiting hundreds of new volunteers to the program. In that effort, (s)he will be supported by the wisdom and experience of the Senior Management Team; however, it is expected that this person will come with the creativity and experience to design and deliver without being instructed in daily or weekly tasks. Success in this position is based on successfully recruiting individuals from all geographic communities and communities of practice represented in Pacific Northwest and Alaska coastal counties. As one major facet of the recruitment process is a linked research program exploring the factors that lead to successful recruitment and subsequent retention, this position will work as a member of the Social Science Research Team which includes Education Research and Evaluation professionals.

Responsibilities: Manage the recruitment of COASST volunteers and the implementation of educational research and evaluation programs.

Participant Recruitment: Design, deliver and assess the success of the COASST participant recruitment program.

Analyze current participant trends as a precursor to selection of training or other outreach events.
Analyze past recruitment strategies, and strategies used by other organizations, as a function of local community standards of communication and interaction, as a precursor to the design of the COASST recruitment program.
Develop a weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting system highlighting recruitment success. Develop indices of success for these reports.
Oversee junior and senior undergraduate interns who will perform many of the daily tasks associated with recruitment.
Manage the recruitment budget, and develop and deliver budget reports to the Senior Management Team.

Social Science Research: Design, deliver and assess the success of recruitment of COASST participants in the Educational Research and Evaluation programs.

Develop and deliver the recruitment program for select participation in existing COASST research and evaluation programs (now principally surveys and journaling), based on existing knowledge and expertise within COASST as well as best practices of Social Science and Educational Research programs.
Assess participant recruitment and retention effectiveness in the COASST Social Science and Educational Research programs, where target success rates are 80% for all pre post studies, and a minimum of 6 months for all longitudinal studies.
As a member of the Social Science Research Team, design and deliver new strategies to reach communities yet untapped by COASST.
Develop data entry programs, as needed, and oversee senior undergraduate interns in data entry. Develop QAQC measures to assess data entry quality and specificity.

Other responsibilities as assigned and as needed.

Bachelor's degree in biological sciences, communications, or related field AND one year or less experience with the following:
Experience with outreach and volunteer recruitment
Strong organizational skills, with a demonstrated ability to manage multiple competing tasks
Ability to work in a fast paced environment with distractions, while maintaining a focused, yet positive, team focused demeanor
Experience in event organization, including reserving venues and advertising
Exceptional communicational skills, on the phone, in person, and in writing
Quantitative skills, including spreadsheet and database experience sufficient to track incoming program evaluation surveys

Equivalent education/experience may substitute for all minimum qualifications.

Experience working with citizen science projects.
Skills using mapping programs such as ArcGIS or GoogleEarth.
Familiarity with Tableau software.

Condition of Employment:
A satisfactory outcome from a criminal background verification will be required prior to hire.


University of Washington Seattle
United States