Jobs at Western

Current Openings

Current Openings

Assistant Professor - Physics Education Research

Apply now Work type: TT Faculty
Location: Bellingham, WA
Categories: College of Science & Engineering

Position Title Assistant Professor - Physics Education Research
About the University

WWU is a public university with over 16,000 students. We are centrally located with respect to major research universities such as the University of Washington, University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University. WWU has been named as one of the best colleges to work for by the Chronicle of Higher Education. WWU is one of 24 institutions in the USA to receive funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Program, which supports the Advancing Excellence and Equity in Science program in the College of Science and Engineering.

The campus overlooks Bellingham Bay and the City of Bellingham.  Seattle is 90 miles to the south, Vancouver, British Columbia is 50 miles to the north.  The North Cascade Mountains are to the east, and the San Juan Islands are to the west, offering a wealth of recreation opportunities.

About the Department

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is comprised of 16 full-time faculty and 110 undergraduate physics majors.  Physics B.S. and Math/Physics B.A.Ed. degrees are offered in addition to minor degrees in both physics and astronomy.  In recent years, the department has placed increased emphasis on providing meaningful research opportunities for its majors, including hiring new tenure-track faculty committed to undergraduate research. Members of the department are also active in the development of new educational materials and innovative teaching methods.  The common vision shared within the department is to make the WWU Department of Physics and Astronomy the most outstanding undergraduate program of its kind in the nation.

WWU has a historic emphasis on teacher preparation and prepares a large fraction of the K-12 teachers in Washington State.  SMATE is housed in the College of Sciences and Engineering, includes 12 faculty members with joint appointments in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geology, Computer Science, and the College of Education, and is led by a full-time director.  SMATE prepares teachers in science content and methods and has an established history of leading and supporting systemic science education reform efforts in Washington State and nationally. SMATE faculty engage actively in interdisciplinary collaborations in research, teaching, and teacher professional development.

WWU is committed to creating equitable and inclusive learning and working environments for their students, faculty and staff.  A number of faculty-led initiatives and committees focus on diversity and inclusivity in the classroom and beyond. The college’s STEM Inclusion & Outreach Specialist, who also teaches in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, maintains partnerships with faculty and inclusion programs locally and nationally that are devoted to recruitment and advancement of underrepresented students in STEM.  New faculty are supported by mentoring both within the department and through university-wide initiatives, and individual faculty involvement in the Faculty Success Program has recently been supported by our department. Student clubs such as SACNAS, Physicists for Inclusion in STEM (PhIS), and Out in Science are also vital to advancing inclusion within the college.

Detailed information is available at the Department of Physics and Astronomy and SMATE websites.

The Department, SMATE, and the College of Science and Engineering support Western's mission, which states that together with our students, staff, and faculty, we are committed to making a positive impact in the state and the world with a shared focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement. We encourage applications from women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, and other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and with diverse experiences interested in this opportunity.

About the Position

Full-time, tenure-track assistant professor, beginning September 2022. Western Washington University (WWU) invites applications from candidates with research specialization on the learning and teaching of physics and/or astronomy. This is a joint appointment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Science, Mathematics and Technology Education (SMATE) program. 


The successful applicant will enhance existing strengths in undergraduate education and science teacher preparation and will contribute actively to identifying and responding to new challenges and opportunities in these areas.  Teaching assignments (typically five courses per academic year) will be distributed evenly between courses in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and courses in SMATE.  An active research program on the teaching and learning of physics and/or astronomy is expected, especially one that engages undergraduate research assistants and supports collaborations within and between SMATE and Physics.  Service activities include departmental committees and student advising.  The successful applicant will work to close existing gaps in student retention and success and to provide equitable and inclusive learning opportunities for all students.

Required Qualifications
  • Ph.D. in physics, astronomy or closely related field, OR in science education together with upper-division or graduate-level course work in physics. Candidates who have completed all degree requirements except for the dissertation may apply; all degree requirements must be completed by June 15th of the first year of employment.
  • Record of scholarly research on the learning and teaching of physics and/or the learning and teaching of astronomy
  • Potential for developing an active research program involving undergraduate students
  • Demonstrated experience in or potential for teaching undergraduate physics and/or astronomy courses, including physics courses designed for preservice teachers
  • Demonstrated commitment to and potential for cultivating learning environments that are equitable and inclusive of students with diverse identities and backgrounds
  • Demonstrated commitment to and potential for the preparation and/or professional development of K-12 teachers
  • Demonstrated commitment to and potential for the use of student-centered teaching approaches

All employees must comply with our Immunization policies, including COVID vaccination by time of hire and Proof of Rubeola Measles Immunity within 60-days of hire. Please reach out to if you need information regarding medical or religious exemption and applicable accommodations.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Teaching experience at the undergraduate or K-12 level
  • Post-doctoral research experience or equivalent
  • Potential for scholarly collaborations with existing faculty at WWU
  • Interest in actively participating in discussions with faculty, staff, and students from multiple disciplines to create vibrant STEM teacher preparation programs
  • Demonstrated interest in and potential for teaching upper-division physics courses


 Commensurate with experience and qualifications

Bargaining Unit

 United Faculty of Western Washington

Application Instructions

Applications must include (1) a detailed cover letter describing the ways in which the applicant's background addresses the required and preferred qualifications, (2) a statement of teaching philosophy, (3) a statement outlining proposed research plans, specifically addressing plans for undergraduate involvement, (4) a statement that addresses how your cultural, experiential, and/or academic background has prepared you to support the success of students with backgrounds or identities that are underrepresented in STEM fields as well as your commitment to these issues, and (5) a full curriculum vitae including the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers of three professional references.  Do not send letters of recommendation; they will be requested only for semi-finalists. All application materials must be uploaded through the WWU Careers website

Inquiries may be addressed to the search committee chair, Dr. Ken Rines, at or (360) 650-7944.

Closing Date Notes Review of applications will begin on December 3, 2021, and the position will remain open until filled. 

Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("The Clery Act"). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western's campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at The report can be found at: Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.

Job no: 498918
Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:

Back to search results Apply now Refer a friend

Share this:

| More