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DUE 19-001

Dear Colleague Letter: Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE), Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Employment Opportunity for Program Director Positions (Open Until Filled)

August 5, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

The Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) at the National Science Foundation announces a nationwide search to fill temporary Program Director positions. Formal consideration of applications will occur on a rolling basis and will continue until selections are made.

Program Directors have an unparalleled opportunity and responsibility to ensure that NSF-funded research is at the forefront of advancing knowledge. They have the primary responsibility for enabling the agency's overall vision to capitalize on new concepts in science and engineering and provide global leadership in advancing research and education. This responsibility requires knowledge and experience in STEM disciplines, as well as knowledge and experience in research in educational innovations. Program Directors manage merit review of research and development proposals, make funding recommendations, administer awards, and interact with research and education communities across the nation. They also serve in Foundation-wide initiatives to accomplish NSF's strategic goals to: 1) Expand Knowledge in Science, Engineering, and Learning; 2) Advance the Capability of the Nation to Meet Current and Future Challenges; and 3) Enhance NSF's Performance of Its Mission. Successful Program Directors have a broad interest in research and education, are open to new ideas, have good judgment, and are committed to ethical behavior, fairness, and personal integrity.

EHR is responsible for programs that strengthen STEM education at all levels and in all settings across the nation to: 1) support the development of a diverse, well-prepared workforce of scientists, engineers, and educators whose work enhances the nation's quality of life, health, and prosperity; and 2) promote the scientific literacy of the nation's population. Within EHR, the DUE mission is to promote excellence in undergraduate STEM education for all students. DUE manages funding programs that provide a comprehensive approach to improving STEM education at two- and four-year colleges and universities. To this end, DUE programs fund STEM education research, as well as projects that apply the results of education research while building new knowledge in the process.

Collectively, these programs pursue complementary objectives to strengthen undergraduate STEM education, including:

  • To increase the diversity of STEM students and STEM faculty;
  • To support research and development of innovative educational materials, courses, curricula, pedagogical techniques, and innovative assessment instruments and methods;
  • To stimulate and enable research on undergraduate STEM learning, institutional change, broadening participation and workforce development;
  • To promote scientific literacy;
  • To strengthen links between undergraduate education and the preK-to-12 sector through funding of pre-service teacher preparation and teacher professional growth;
  • To advance professional development for faculty and pre-K to 12 teachers;
  • To engage institutions and industry on improvements in workforce development;
  • To provide opportunities for institutions to award scholarships to students;
  • To investigate the effectiveness of curricular and co-curricular interventions for retaining and graduating students, including scholarship recipients.

More information about DUE programs may be found at

DUE Program Directors manage merit review of undergraduate STEM education proposals and manage awards in DUE programs, as well as in relevant programs in other divisions and directorates. They have many opportunities to engage in leadership activities that promote STEM education. Successful candidates will participate in all phases of the merit review process, including writing or revising solicitations, managing the merit review of proposals submitted to assigned programs, and conduct post-award monitoring of funded projects, including review of annual and final reports as well as site visits. Program Directors also represent the division at professional conferences and in cross-directorate or cross-agency initiatives; conduct analyses and prepare reports and internal budget plans for programs and other EHR and DUE activities; and contribute to the Foundation-wide coordination of scholarly activities for undergraduate STEM education. Program Directors will also provide leadership in broadening participation in STEM disciplines and in undergraduate STEM education.

DUE Program Directors must have expertise in one or more STEM-relevant disciplines and significant undergraduate teaching experience. However, successful applicants typically have experience in one or more of the following areas: STEM education research, interdisciplinary STEM education, cyber learning, pre-K-12 STEM teacher preparation, community college teaching, teaching diverse populations of students, experience in institutional change efforts, assessment and program evaluation.

Program Directors with expertise in any NSF-relevant STEM discipline are encouraged to apply. At this time, we encourage candidates with expertise in physics/astronomy, computer science and data science. Appointments could begin as early as Jan 2020.


Candidates must have a Ph.D. in an NSF-relevant STEM discipline plus at least six years of successful post-Ph.D. research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

Desirable characteristics include strong relationships with one or more scientific communities, knowledge of undergraduate education research and literature, and strong skills in written and oral communication. All appointees are expected to function effectively both within specific programs and as part of a team, contributing to and coordinating with offices throughout the Foundation and with other federal and state government agencies and private sector organizations.

The position may be filled with one of the following appointment options:

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. Initial assignments under IPA provisions may be made for a period up to two years, with a possible extension for up to an additional two-year period. 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. For additional information regarding IPA positions, please visit the NSF website at:

Visiting Scientist, Engineer or Educator (VSEE) Appointment: A VSEE appointment will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Visiting Scientists are on non-paid leave status from their home institution and placed on the NSF payroll as Federal employees. 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 institution or to the carrier. Appointments are usually made for one year and may be extended for an additional year by mutual agreement. For additional information regarding VSEE positions, please visit the NSF website at:

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 status 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.

For additional information on NSF's rotational programs, please see "Programs for Scientists, Engineers, and Educators" on the NSF website at: and

It is NSF policy that NSF personnel employed at or IPAs detailed to NSF are not permitted to participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs.  Failure to comply with this NSF policy could result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from Federal Service or termination of an IPA assignment and referral to the Office of Inspector General.

Applications will be accepted from U.S. 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. This also applies to individuals considered for Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignments to NSF. Non-citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will not be considered eligible.

Individuals interested in applying for a Program Director position should send a current CV and statement of interest to the Division of Undergraduate Education via email to with "Program Director Position" in the subject line. Applications may also be sent to:

Division of Undergraduate Education
National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 292-8670
Fax: (703) 292-9015