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DRL 17-001

Dear Colleague Letter: The Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) Employment Opportunity for a Program Director (Open Until Filled)

October 10, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

The Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) announces a nationwide search for temporary Program Directors at the National Science Foundation. Formal consideration of applications will begin on December 1, 2017 and will continue until selections are made.

DRL seeks program officers with expertise in one or more of the following areas: advanced technologies for learning (cyberlearning), educational data mining, learning analytics, or computer science education including K-12.

Applicants must have a Ph. D, Ed.D. or equivalent experience in learning sciences, computer science, education research, evaluation, statistics or measurement, or any of the behavioral, cognitive, or social science bases of STEM learning. Successful candidates will have research or development expertise in in the areas highlighted in this announcement.

Ideal candidates will have strong expertise in quantitative and/or qualitative research methodologies. Experience can be in formal or informal educational environments, including but not limited to schools, colleges and universities, museums, film/radio/TV production, cyberlearning/online contexts, and community youth/family programming.

DRL supports innovative research, development, and evaluation of learning and teaching across all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in both formal and informal learning settings, and in any age group. A major goal of DRL research and development awards is to enhance the science of broadening participation in STEM. DRL programs as a whole support the development of theory, methods, measurement, development, and application in STEM education.

NSF Program Directors have an unparalleled opportunity and responsibility to ensure NSF-funded research and development activities are at the forefront of advancing fundamental knowledge. In support of that, Program Directors are responsible for extensive interaction with academic research communities, formal and informal educational organizations, industry, as well as interaction with other Federal agencies that may lead to development of interagency collaborations. Within this context, Program Directors solicit, receive and review research and education proposals, make funding recommendations, administer awards and undertake interaction with research communities in these fields. They are also responsible for service to Foundation-wide activities and initiatives that together accomplish NSF's strategic goals to 1) Transform the Frontiers of Science and Engineering, 2) Stimulate Innovation and Address Societal Needs through Research and Education, and 3) Excel as a Federal Science Agency. The position requires a commitment to high standards of intellectualism and ethical conduct, a considerable breadth of interest, receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.


Candidates must have a Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree in a relevant field, such as education research, evaluation, social science, statistics, or another STEM discipline, plus six or more years after award of the Ph.D. or Ed.D. of successful research, research administration and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position. The position may be filled with one of the following appointment options:

The position may be filled under one of the following appointment alternatives:

Visiting Scientist, Engineer or Educator (VSEE) Appointment:

Appointment to this position will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Visiting Scientists are on non-paid leave status from their home institutions and placed on the NSF payroll. NSF withholds Social Security taxes and pays the home institution's contributions to maintain retirement and fringe benefits (i.e., health benefits and life insurance), either directly to the home institutions or to the carrier. Appointments are usually made for a one-year period and may be extended for an additional year by mutual agreement. These positions are eligible for conversion to permanent NSF service.

Temporary Excepted Service Appointment:

Appointment to this position will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Candidates who do not have civil service or reinstatement eligibility will not obtain civil service status if selected. Candidates currently in the competitive service will be required to waive competitive civil service rights if selected. Usual civil service benefits (retirement, health benefits, and life insurance) are applicable for appointments of more than one year. Temporary appointments may not exceed three years. These positions are eligible for conversion to permanent NSF service.

Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignment:

Individuals eligible for an IPA assignment with a Federal agency include employees of State and local government agencies or institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments, and other eligible organizations in instances where such assignments would be of mutual benefit to the organizations involved. The individual remains an employee of the home institution, and NSF provides the negotiated funding toward the assignee's salary and benefits. Initial IPA assignments are made for a one-year period and may be extended by mutual agreement to a maximum of four years total. These positions are ineligible for conversion to permanent NSF service.

For additional information on NSF's rotational programs, please visit:


Applications will be accepted from US Citizens. Recent changes in Federal Appropriations Law require Non-Citizens to meet certain eligibility criteria to be considered. Therefore, Non-Citizens must certify eligibility by signing and attaching this Citizenship Affidavit to their application to be considered for Federal appointments (i.e., Visiting Scientists, Engineers and Educators (VSEE) program, Temporary Excepted Service. Non-citizens will be considered only for the IPA program.

Please submit a current curriculum vitae and cover letter to