Assistant Researcher

Position Overview

Researchers at the University of Kansas (KU), in collaboration with Arizona State University and University of Michigan – Flint have partnered together to conduct a four-year project, Project ENGAGE: Enhancing Student Engagement to Facilitate Learning and Well-being, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. The project began July 2022, and we are seeking individuals to work directly with our talented elementary educators who are implementing a newly-developed intervention: Recognize. Relax. Record. (RRR, pronounced RRR). We are seeking up to three individuals to serve in a coaching capacity for this in-person intervention.

This project aims to (1) analyze existing data to determine how internalizing and externalizing behavior patterns, as well referrals for special education eligibility, may have shifted over time with the pandemic, and (2) test Recognize. Relax. Record (RRR), an intervention aimed at improving outcomes for students with and at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). RRR is designed to reduce symptoms of anxiety, increase engagement, maximize learning recovery and improve academic outcomes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are in immediate need of actionable and focused research-based strategies to support students’ academic, behavior, and social development. One particularly vulnerable population is students with or at risk for EBD, particularly those with elevated internalizing behavior patterns. Given the educational complexities and personal trauma experienced during the pandemic era, many students are expected to exhibit elevated levels of internalizing issues (such as anxiety), which may impede learning. At the same time, teachers are striving to maximize student engagement to facilitate learning and well-being. This project aims to better understand the impact of the pandemic on students’ social and emotional needs and provide schools with an intervention to address the expected rise in students with internalizing behavior challenges.

To evaluate the impact the pandemic has had on the internalizing behavior patterns of elementary students (Aim 1), the research team will analyze extant and new K-5 data from school districts with a variety of student populations. We have completed a series of single case design (SCD) studies and are now beginning a randomized controlled trial (RCT) which will be used to better understand implementation and efficacy of RRR to decrease symptoms of anxiety and increase engagement in students with and at risk for EBD (Aim 2).

We are seeking to expand our team. Project Engage is supported by the Life Span Institute. The Life Span Institute is one of 10 free-standing designated research institutes at the University of Kansas (KU). The Life Span Institute, which serves the biobehavioral and educational research communities at KU, is currently the largest external funding support of any research center on the Lawrence campus. The success of the Life Span Institute is a reflection of KU’s long-time strengths in research on human development, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and intervention. This commitment spans many academic units, a number of clinical and research settings, and three campuses of the University. The Institute is named for Richard Schiefelbusch, the founding director of the Bureau of Child Research. The Bureau was renamed the Life Span Institute in 1990 under director Stephen Schroeder, and the institute is currently directed by John Colombo.

The Life Span Institute brings together over 100 scientists who are affiliated with 20 academic departments, or who have research appointments with the institute. These investigators are supported by 165 staff members, and the external projects associated with the institute fund 85-100 graduate research assistants every year. The Institute has two affiliated multidisciplinary graduate/doctoral programs, as well as several post-doctoral training programs.

Job Description

  • 80% - Participates in the implementation and evaluation of a newly developed Tier 2 intervention with third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students, which includes driving to and spending time in participating schools; support implementation of six 2- hour trainings with teachers hosted after school. Provide direct coaching to elementary general education teachers who will be implementing this intervention with up to three students in their classroom. Work directly in-person supporting teachers with implementation during the coming academic year (2024-2025) and interact directly with teachers, families, and students to collect information
  • 10% - Participates in ongoing data collection and data management activities; supports day-to-day activities (e.g., scanning data files; organizing research materials)
  • 10% - Other duties as assigned to support project objectives.

Position Requirements

Travel to and from school-site for intervention implementation 4-5 days per week during the school year (including coaching) and data collection activities approximately 4 days a week (approximate radius up to 70 miles from University of Kansas, with mileage being reimbursed) will be required for this position. These individuals will start and end each day on the KU Lawrence campus to pick up and return materials daily. They will support the organization of the materials (e.g., labeling, scanning, and filing) upon returning to campus. When we are not in schools or in the office at KU, some members of the KU research team will work in a remote environment across multiple time zones using zoom as virtual office. Out-of-state travel is not required.
  • Fingerprint clearance within 2 weeks of employment.
  • Must have transportation available to and from participating schools.

Required Qualifications

  1. High school diploma/GED and four years of related experience OR bachelor's degree in a related field
  2. Work experience in K-12 schools, as evidenced by application materials
  3. Work experience that required scanning materials, as evidenced by application materials
  4. Work experience that required the use of Microsoft Office Suite, as evidenced by application materials
  5. Completed CiTi training or complete this training within 2 weeks of employment
  6. Experience in collaborating, incorporating feedback, and communicating well with others in a fast‐paced work environment, as evidenced by application materials
  7. Work experience that required strong attention to detail and excellent organizational skills as evidenced by application materials
  8. Excellent written communication skills as evidenced in application materials
  9. Excellent interpersonal skills, with experiences demonstrating the ability to receive input from multiple perspectives and meet project timelines, as evidenced by application materials

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Knowledge of Ci3T tiered models, as evidenced by application materials
  2. Experience with providing instruction to students as evidenced by application materials
  3. Previous work experience serving as a faculty or Ci3T Leadership Team member in a school or district implementing Ci3T
  4. Experience collecting data (e.g., student level data), as evidenced by application materials
  5. Experience with coaching or providing professional learning to adult learners, as evidenced by application materials
  6. Experience working successfully with a team, as evidenced by application materials
  7. Experience with coordinating professional learning events or other events requiring interfacing with multiple individuals and competing schedules, as evidenced by application materials

Additional Candidate Instructions

A complete application includes an online application, current resume or CV, a detailed Cover Letter addressing how required and preferred qualifications are met and contact information for three professional references. Only complete applications will be considered.

We will begin reviewing applications 7/15/2024. The position will remain open until filled. We hope to hire 2-3 part-time or 2 full-time people. To be considered, please apply by this date.

Contact Information to Applicants

Kathleen Lynne Lane, Ph.D., BCBA-D, CF-L2
Department of Special Education

Advertised Salary Range

Starts at $50,00 for full-time

Work Schedule

25-40 hours/week

Application Review Begins

Monday July 15, 2024

Anticipated Start Date

Monday August 5, 2024

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Posting Information

  • Posting ID:  28299BR
  • Department:  Bureau of Child Research
  • Primary Campus:  University of Kansas Lawrence Campus
  • Assignment:  On-Site
  • Reg/Temp:  Regular
  • Employee Class:  U-Unclassified Professional Staff
  • Review Begins:  15-Jul-2024

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