Postdoc Educational Equity and Critical Technology AI Institute

University of Colorado Boulder
Colorado, United States
Salary Not Specified
Feb 01, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time

Job Summary

We are encouraging applications for a postdoctoral researcher to join a newly established National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Institute. Funded by the National Science Foundation, The Institute for Student-AI Teaming brings together a geographically distributed team of researchers from nine Universities with partners from academia, K-12 school districts, and industry to address the central challenge of how to promote deep conceptual learning via rich socio-collaborative learning experiences for all students. In this position, you will work with a multidisciplinary research team to deepen our understanding of issues of race, equity, and justice in artificial intelligence as it relates to K-12 education. The job responsibilities of this position include: conducting and publishing original research; partnering with schools and communities that serve Black and Latinx students, as well as students who are immigrants; facilitating the participatory design of AI curriculum that include youth and educators as co-designers; supporting classroom enactments and studies of the AI curriculum in middle and high schools; and contributing to sociocultural, sociopolitical, and critical theories of learning.
The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

The Institute for Student-AI Teaming ( ) will develop, deploy, and study AI Partners that interact naturally with students and teachers through speech, gesture, gaze, and facial expression in real-world classrooms and remote learning settings. The AI partners will be designed in close collaboration with educators and students, with the aim of supporting students to develop STEM proficiencies, disciplinary practices, and collaborative problem-solving skills. The long-term impact of the Institute will be to help realize the grand challenge of “Education for All”, by leading the nation towards a future where all students – especially those whose identities are underrepresented in STEM – routinely participate in rich and rewarding AI-enabled collaborative learning experiences that scale, resulting in deeper student engagement and persistence in STEM, more inclusive classroom cultures, and significant improvements in learning outcomes. An important component of this effort is to develop middle and high school curricula that:
  1. provide diverse students with broad and deep learning opportunities to develop and critique artificial intelligence and
  2. serve as testbeds for the proposed AI partners.

The Institute for Student-AI Teaming is hosted and supported by the Institute of Cognitive Science (ICS) at CU Boulder. Founded in 1968, the mission of ICS is to understand and enhance human cognition, learning, and development through the creation of interdisciplinary partnerships. ICS fosters rich scientific interchange across researchers from a broad range of fields including Artificial Intelligence, Linguistics, Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Philosophy, and Education. ICS also specializes in incubating cutting edge, state-of-the-art research centers such as this newly formed Institute for Student-AI Teaming.

Background Context for this Position

As schools become increasingly inundated with digital technology, it is crucial that educators, researchers, and innovators think critically about the material and discursive consequences of inequitable technology design, development, and dissemination. Critical science and technology scholars have long warned against oversimplified constructions of digital learning tools as inherently neutral, post racial and ungendered. Instead, critical race and feminist technology scholars urge more intersectional, techno-social interrogations of technology that can unearth and dismantle oppressive systems embedded within digital hardware, software, and infrastructures. To answer this call, the AI Institute will unite university researchers, public school educators, minoritized students, and community partners in a historic endeavor to create a justice-oriented artificial intelligence partner to help remediate educational inequalities afflicting minoritized student groups.

Importantly, our institute recognizes both the material and discursive consequences that emanate from designing race-neutral or “colorblind” technologies. In the case of urban education, wherein Students of Color endure some of the highest rates of the proliferation of carceral technologies used to surveil, coerce and contain bodies of color has undergirded the expansion of the school-to-prison pipeline via the “New Jim Code.”

A fundamental goal of the AI Institute writ large, and the postdoctoral position, in particular, is to foster innovative, student-centered, and race-conscious technology research that will help address and dismantle issues of educational inequality for minoritized students including but not limited to, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, undocumented, and linguistically diverse students. Thus, this position warrants a motivated, creative individual who shares our mission of promoting equity through the development of instructional materials and digital innovations that center the interests and concerns of Black, Latinx, Native American, female, and gender nonbinary, neurodiverse, and emerging multilingual students and their communities. This position provides an exciting opportunity to be involved with a multi-institution team working on the cutting edge of critical science and technology education.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Build and maintain relationships with school districts, educators, community partners, university researchers, and other co-design participants.
  • Co-lead co-design workshops with youth, educators, and community organizations to produce storylines for interdisciplinary, problem-based middle and high school curricula.
  • Organize and manage distributed teams of educators and researchers to build out the storylines by writing lessons and developing other instructional materials for the curricular units.
  • Co-lead the design and conduct of classroom-based pilot and field studies of the curricula and AI partners.
  • Help to organize and participate in Learning Futures Workshops that aim to elicit broad community participation in the design of AI partners, which may include coordinating with national organizations focused on algorithmic justice who are engaged as partners in this design work.
  • Conduct and publish research related to these activities and your interests, which could be (but are not limited to) the areas of AI education, co-design, partnership as a focus of research; collaborative learning environments; curriculum supporting computational thinking and AI.
  • Contribute to the functioning of the AI Institute and the Education Strand by participating in team meetings, annual retreats, and other events.

What We Can Offer

The hiring range is $60,000-75,000, commensurate with experience and education.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits , including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder .

Be Statements
Be Ambitious. Be Innovative. Be Boulder.

What We Require
  • Ph.D. in Learning Sciences, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Information Studies, Education or a related field.

What You Will Need

  • Strong writing and communication skills and the ability to conduct research in interdisciplinary teams.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully publish and present peer-reviewed scientific articles.
  • Experiencing working with middle and high school youth.
  • Experience teaching STEM-related content in a school setting or collaborating with educators.
  • Demonstrated experience or interest in critical interrogations of technology around lines of race, gender, class, sexuality etc.
  • Deep commitments to remediating issues of intersectional oppression and educational inequity for minoritized student groups.
  • Knowledge of critical theory (CRT, Black feminist thought, QueerCRiT, etc.)

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Knowledge about artificial intelligence concepts and approaches or demonstrated experience developing and/or analyzing other state-of-the-art computational approaches as part of critical interrogations of technology.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume/CV
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Professional Publications: Two representative publications
  4. Writing Sample: A separate, written response to the prompt : We seek to develop materials that address justice-related problems in AI and support equitable participation by diverse students. Please describe your experience working with and/or designing materials for Black, Latinx, Native American, female, gender non-binary, disabled, emerging multilingual and/or neurodiverse students. Your response should not exceed 2 pages.

During the application process, you will need to enter contact information for two references and we will request letters of recommendation and additional materials if needed, as the search progresses.

Review of applications will begin on February 8, 2021 and continue until the position is filled.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs .

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Candace Cyrus

Posting Contact Email: Candace.Cyrus@Colorado.EDU

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