Science Education Administrator (Program Director)

Division: Undergraduate Education (EDU/DUE)
Directorate: STEM Education (EDU)
Job Type:
Appointment Type:
Temporary / Rotator
Pay Grade/Scale:
Salary Range:
$153,434 - $196,719
This job is open to the public

Application timeline

Date Posted:
Closing date: Open until filled
Formal consideration of interested applicants will begin and will continue until a selection is made.

Position Summary

NSF offers opportunities for scientists, engineers, and educators to join us as temporary program directors, whom we informally call “rotators.” Rotators serve NSF and the nation by making recommendations about which proposals to fund, influencing new directions in STEM education, supporting innovative interdisciplinary research, and mentoring prospective principal investigators, including individuals early in their careers. Rotators gain valuable experience that they can use to help their colleagues and institution prepare more competitive proposals for NSF funding.

As a rotator, you will be in a prime position to collaborate with others and increase your visibility as you survey the entire breadth of U.S. and international STEM education in real time. In addition, as a rotator, you can retain your ties to your current institution and return to it with new insights and expertise.

The Directorate for STEM Education (EDU), Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) at the National Science Foundation announces a nationwide search to fill temporary Program Director positions.  Program Directors with expertise in any NSF-relevant discipline are needed. We particularly encourage candidates with expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion research, systemic change in undergraduate education, program evaluation, discipline-based education research, online/virtual learning, AI/machine learning, data science, and social/behavioral/economic sciences.  We similarly encourage applications from individuals at two-year institutions of higher education and minority-serving institutions.

Position Description

Program Directors have the primary responsibility for carrying out the agency's overall mission to support the innovative research and education that support the Nation's strength, security, and welfare. To do so, they 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, have strong organizational and interpersonal skills, are open to new ideas, have good judgment, and are committed to ethical behavior, fairness, and personal integrity.

The Directorate for STEM Education and its Division of Undergraduate Education:

EDU 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 EDU, DUE manages funding programs that provide a comprehensive approach to improving STEM education at two- and four-year colleges and universities. These programs also strengthen links between undergraduate education and the preK-to-12 sector through funding of pre-service teacher preparation and teacher professional growth.  To this end, DUE programs fund STEM education research, as well as projects that apply the results of that 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.
  • Advance the enactment of principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion towards improving institutional climate and culture.
  • Support research and development of innovative educational materials, courses, curricula, pedagogical techniques, and innovative assessment instruments and methods.
  • Stimulate and enable research on undergraduate STEM learning.
  • Promote institutional change to advance STEM education.
  • Advance professional development and training for faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and pre-K to 12 teachers.
  • Engage institutions and industry on improvements in workforce development.
  • Provide opportunities for institutions to award scholarships to students.
  • Investigate the effectiveness of curricular and co-curricular interventions for retaining and graduating students, including the scholarship recipients.
  • Promote scientific literacy.

More information about DUE programs may be found at

DUE Program Director Duties:

DUE Program Directors manage merit review of proposals and manage awards in DUE programs, as well as in relevant programs in other divisions and directorates.  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 site visits and review of annual and final reports. They have many opportunities to engage in leadership activities that promote STEM education, such as: representing DUE at professional conferences and in cross-directorate or cross-agency initiatives; conducting analyses and prepare reports and internal budget plans for programs and other EDU and DUE activities; and contributing 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 NSF-relevant discipline(s) and significant undergraduate teaching experience.  However, successful applicants typically have additional experience in one or more of the following areas: STEM education research; interdisciplinary education; online/ virtual learning; pre-K-12 STEM teacher preparation; community college teaching; teaching diverse populations of students; and/or experience in institutional change efforts, assessment, and/or program evaluation.

The position recruited under this announcement will be filled under the following appointment option(s):

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. 

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. Non-Citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will not be considered eligible. Non-Citizens are not eligible for positions requiring a security clearance.

To ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, which may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation, the Federal Government will take no action to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees. Federal agencies may request information regarding the vaccination status of selected applicants for the purposes of implementing other workplace safety protocols, such as protocols related to masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.

Candidates for the DUE program director positions must have a Ph.D. in an NSF-relevant field, plus six or more years after award of the degree of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position, or a master’s degree in an NSF-relevant field, plus eight or more years post award of the degree of successful research, research administration and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

Candidates must be knowledgeable about undergraduate STEM education, so they can fully participate in planning programs to improve undergraduate STEM education. In addition, candidates must have sufficient teaching experience to determine whether a proposed project is evidence-based and likely to meet the needs of students and faculty.

Desirable characteristics include strong relationships with one or more scientific and/or STEM education and research 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.

We particularly encourage candidates with expertise in engineering education (all engineering disciplines), computer science education, or social/behavioral/economic sciences as well as candidates at (or with experience in) two-year institutions of higher education or minority-serving institutions. Other areas of interest include diversity, equity, and inclusion research, systemic change in undergraduate education, program evaluation, discipline-based education research, or online/virtual learning.  We encourage candidates with training in AI/machine learning, data science, or social/behavioral/economic sciences.

Individuals interested in applying for a Program Director position should send the following information via email to with "Program Director Position" in the subject line:

(1) a current curriculum vita that includes information about how the candidate meets the qualifications and experiences for serving as a rotating program officer.

(2) a statement of interest that includes a description of relevant NSF experience to the Division of Undergraduate Education

Consideration of applications will occur on a rolling basis and continue until selections are made.  It typically takes approximately 6-12 months from application to beginning of a tour of duty.  For example, applicants seeking to begin service in summer 2023 should submit applications no later than the end of March 2023.  Start dates are highly flexible and service may be deferred for up to two years. 

Applications will be reviewed in groups according to the following receipt dates:

  • October 2022 – November 2022
  • January 2023 – March 2023
  • May 2023 – July 2023

The review process will include careful review of submitted materials to determine candidates who meet the requirements.  Preliminary phone interviews may be scheduled for competitive applicants.  Selected candidates will be invited to day-long virtual or in-person interviews during which they will give a presentation and meet with divisional and directorate staff and leadership. 

Candidates can expect to hear whether they will be considered for a phone and/or in-person interview within two weeks of the receipt date windows (i.e., November 30, 2022; March 31, 2023; and July 31, 2023).