Academic Coordinator - OTS

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The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is seeking applicants for the position of Academic Coordinator for the OTS Global Health Undergraduate Semester Abroad Program in Costa Rica. This is a field-based program designed to provide undergraduate students with outstanding training in tropical medicine, public health, ethnobiology, research methods, community interaction, and Spanish language and culture.   

For more information about the Global Health Program, click here


Position Overview

Successful applicants will work closely with the Education Director (Dr. Pia Paaby), Undergraduate Programs Coordinator (Dr. Jenny Stynoski), and Global Health Logistical Coordinator (TBD) in curriculum design and implementation, and will be responsible for overseeing the teaching of three field courses: "Tropical Medicine and Public Health", "Ethnobiology", and "Research Practicum". Syllabi for these courses are available on the program website.


The professor should be comfortable with developing and conducting short but rigorous research projects with students in the field and in the community in association with local health authorities. The candidate should be comfortable using and teaching basic statistics, as well as overseeing the field team of the logistical coordinator, the TA, and the OTS driver while providing guidance to many invited professors during the program. Many of the course activities are led and taught by invited professors; the Academic Coordinator provides a consistent dynamic and academic backbone throughout the 15 week program and pulls together the ideas and expertise of the invited professors. Ideal candidates will have a background in tropical medicine or a related field (ethnobiology, epidemiology, public health, medical sociology, medical anthropology, environmental health, etc.). Ideal candidates will also have experience teaching undergraduates in field courses, experience coordinating travel itineraries and community activities in Latin America, strong leadership capabilities, and an easy-going and patient personality.


The position is based in Costa Rica, and requires a commitment of 18 weeks in Costa Rica with 13 weeks in the field and 5 weeks in the OTS office in San Jose during each semester (Spring and Fall). This is a full-time position with a required commitment of at least one year. Any questions about the position should be directed to . The OTS Undergraduate Semester Abroad Programs are accredited by Duke University and maintain high educational standards, so applicants should have excellent teaching skills and experience.


An ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in public health, epidemiology, medical sociology, medical anthropology, environmental health, etc.; M.D. or MPH will be considered with relevant experience
  • A strong interest in team teaching and interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Excellent bilingual (English/Spanish) communication skills (required)
  • Experience in field-based education and hands-on experiential teaching, a plus
  • Experience working in Latin America, especially in Costa Rica, a plus
  • Professional research experience in the tropics, a plus
  • Experience and desire for working with undergraduate students from the United States, a plus
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule and spend 16-18 weeks, twice a year, in Costa Rica
  • Comfortable with living in close quarters with students and faculty at field stations around Costa Rica (required, please consider this carefully before applying)

Application deadline: April 15, 2014

Anticipated start date: August 1, 2014 or sooner


How to Apply

Please submit the following materials in a single pdf document via the OTS website :  

  • Cover letter describing your interest and fit for the position
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Statement of teaching philosophy
  • Statement of research interests
  • Three references

Applications may also be sent electronically to.

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