Science Instructor - Annis Water Resource Institute

Grand Valley State University

Muskegon, MI, USA 🇺🇸

Grand Haven, MI, USA 🇺🇸

Job no: 494590
Position type: TEMP – Temporary Hourly
Location: Muskegon
Categories: College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

The Annis Water Resource Institute (AWRI) seeks passionate and energetic environmental educators to engage students in hands-on, place-based learning experiences onboard its research vessels and in its indoor/outdoor classroom programmingInstructors are assigned to either the W. G. Jackson (docks in Muskegon), the D. J. Angus (docks in Grand Haven), the AWRI classroom, or may serve in a combination of roles. AWRI anticipates hiring multiple instructors for the 2023 outreach season. These positions report to AWRI’s Education Specialist.

AWRI is a multidisciplinary research organization within Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with a mission to integrate research, education, and outreach to enhance and preserve freshwater resources. The Water Resources Outreach Education Program delivers hands-on, investigative education about water to the public, with special emphasis on youth. Our floating learning laboratories and landside programming connect people in West Michigan with local water resources through experiential learning about water chemistry, lake food webs, human impacts on water quality, and more. Participants aboard an educational cruise have an opportunity to serve as freshwater scientists, collecting data and observations about the water bodies they sail through. Since 1986, thousands of students and others have experienced hands-on science on Lake Michigan and adjoining waters through these programs.

Position Summary

  • Science Instructors are responsible for conducting educational programs in the Water Resources Outreach Education Program, including seasonal programs aboard the research vessels as well as landside programming and special events.
  • The program on the vessels is delivered by two Science Instructors that team-teach. Instructors guide participants through water quality tests and other observations to compare the physical, biological, and chemical characteristics of Lake Michigan and smaller inland lakes. Along the way, the Science Instructors also share place-based information about the history and current conditions of the lakes and their watersheds, as well as related research of AWRI scientists.
  • The AWRI indoor/outdoor classroom program serves as a landside complement to the onboard cruises, and engages students in place-based learning about a variety of related water topics. The curriculum includes activities developed by AWRI staff, as well as draws from programs such as Project WET, Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support (MEECS), Healthy Water Healthy People, and the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program.
  • The outreach season is from mid-April through mid-October. Training for the 2023 season commences in mid-March to early April 2023, with programs beginning in mid-April.
  • These are part-time, seasonal positions. Work hours will vary depending on the outreach schedule and instructor preferences. A typical schedule is 2-3 days a week during the spring and fall seasons, with fewer days during the summer. There are generally two cruises per day lasting 2.5 hours each. Typically, programs run during normal business hours on weekdays, with occasional evening and weekend programs. Instructors cannot work more than 29 hours per week.

Primary Duties

  • Provide instruction during onboard aquatic science cruises on the W.G. Jackson and/or D.J. Angus for grades 4-12, college, and adult; and/or indoor/outdoor classroom programming.
  • Deliver AWRI’s established curriculum as well as offer responsive place-based/site-specific commentary and learning opportunities.
  • Ensure that curriculum objectives are met and that participants have meaningful learning experiences.
  • Adapt the program to the needs of each group, weather conditions, and any special circumstances.
  • Work with the rest of the team of Science Instructors to set up instructional materials before a program, reset educational spaces before the next program, and maintain educational supplies and materials.
  • Complete onboard safety training, assist in the safe and efficient operation of the vessel during education programs, and be prepared to assist in an emergency.
  • Participate in pre-season curriculum training and set-up, as well as post-season wrap-up.
  • Contribute to the development of support materials and continually improving the outreach program.
  • Participate in other outreach efforts such as teacher workshops, open houses, and special events when possible.
  • Stay current on water issues and continue to enrich their aquatic science knowledge base.
  • Represent GVSU and AWRI in a professional manner.
  • Abide by all rules, regulations, and requirements for GVSU employees, including COVID-19 policies.
  • Perform other duties as required/assigned by supervisor.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required

  • Passion for environmental education, experiential learning, and connecting people with local waters.
  • Broad knowledge of current water and environmental issues, the natural world, the Great Lakes, and human impacts to aquatic ecosystems.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with students in a group setting and adapt curricula to a variety of age levels, learning styles, abilities, and backgrounds.
  • Teaching experience in formal or informal contexts (e.g. environmental education, outdoor recreation, interpretation, classroom teaching, or related field).
  • Proficiency in best practices of outdoor education and place-based learning, and demonstrated experience in maintaining safe learning environments.
  • Commitment to the mission of AWRI.
  • For teaching on the vessels: required to participate in the Random Drug Testing Program during the vessel season, as well as pass a pre-employment drug test (per Coast Guard regulations).

Preferred Qualifications and Education

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in a field related to aquatic science (such as environmental studies, biology, natural resources, etc.) or education (such as science education, or teaching certificate).
  • Encouraged to complete CPR and First Aid certification (employer-provided).

Working Conditions

Work is primarily performed onboard AWRI’s research vessels, on site on the AWRI grounds, and in the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation Classroom. Candidates should be able to:

  • Spend multiple hours outdoors in all types of weather (including heat, cold, rain, snow, and wind) and on variable waters.
  • Stand and walk for the duration of a typical 2.5 hour program and pre/post program prep. There is no seating on the vessels and most outdoor learning spaces; seating is available in the indoor classroom.
  • Stand and walk on occasionally uneven ground, primarily asphalt and grass.
  • Lift up to 25 pounds and assist in emergency procedures.
  • Hear crew members and onboard participants that might be out of direct sight-line.
  • Have 20:20 vision (with corrective lenses) to provide oversight during onboard activities.

Compensation: This position has a starting rate of $16/hour, and is not benefits-eligible.

Campus: Muskegon, MI and/or Grand Haven, MI

Application Deadline: Priority will be given to applications received by 11:59pm on February 12, 2023. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis thereafter. The posting may be closed at any time at the discretion of the University.

How To Apply: Please include 1) a cover letter describing the applicant’s interest in and qualifications for the position, 2) resume, and 3) three professional references (with names, phone numbers, and email addresses). The online application will allow you to attach these documents electronically. If you need assistance with the application, call Human Resources at 616-331-2215.

If you have questions regarding AWRI or the position responsibilities, please contact Christina Catanese, AWRI Education Specialist ( Also, see our website for more information about the program (

Grand Valley State University has a COVID-19 Vaccine policy that requires all faculty, staff and students to be vaccinated. New hires will be expected to adhere to the policy unless they are eligible for allowable exemptions or postponement. We will require proper documentation upon hire. Up-to-date information can be found on our Lakers Together website.

Grand Valley State University does not discriminate against students, faculty or staff in any of its employment practices or in its educational programs or activities. Grand Valley State University is guided by values for inclusiveness and community which are integral to our mission to educate students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies, and to enrich the community through excellent teaching, active scholarship, and public service. The University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution. It encourages diversity and provides equal opportunity in education, employment, all of its programs, and the use of its facilities. Members of the University community, including candidates for employment or admissions, and visitors or guests, have the right to be free from acts of harassment and discrimination, which are prohibited if they discriminate or harass on the basis of age, color, disability, familial status, height, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, veteran or active duty military status or weight. In addition, Grand Valley is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to ensure that none of its education programs and activities discriminate on the basis of sex/gender. Sex includes sex stereotypes, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and pregnancy or parenting status. The Office for Title IX and Institutional Equity serves as a resource for the GVSU community and assists individuals who may have been impacted by discrimination or harassment in connecting with resources, imposes measures that protect or support access to programs and activities, and oversees the university’s grievance process for allegations of discrimination and harassment. Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, 4015 Zumberge Hall,, (616) 331-9530.

The University will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. See TDD Callers: Call Michigan Relay Center at 711 (in State) or 1-800-833-7833 (out of State)

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. Must have the physical stamina to work long hours and/or more than 5 days per week. The requirements listed are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The information contained in this job description is for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended by the ADA Amendment Act (2008), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other applicable federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. GVSU will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.

Advertised: 10 Jan 2023 Eastern Standard Time
Applications close:




IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development