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The Teaching Opportunity of a Lifetime

The Summer Science Program seeks faculty to help inspire tomorrow's scientists. SSP is a venerable, intensive residential enrichment program for some of the most motivated and academically gifted students in the world -- bright young people who will enroll in highly selective colleges and later go on to leadership positions in science and other professions. Since 1959 many have cited the program as a major turning point in their lives. Teaching and mentoring such great students is a pleasure and a privilege.

Over a hundred professional astronomers and physicists have been associated with SSP as a student, faculty, or both, including George Abell (UCLA), Edward Bertschinger (MIT), Nicholas Suntzeff (Texas A&M), Jerry Nelson (UC Santa Cruz), Douglas Richstone (Michigan), Thomas Steiman-Cameron (Indiana Univ.), Alma Zook (Pomona College), Elizabeth Simmons (Michigan State Univ.), Amy Barr (Brown Univ.), and many more.

"Every year I am astonished and impressed with the intelligence, creativity, maturity, enthusiasm, and energy of the students. Working with and getting to know them are the greatest perks of being a faculty member at SSP." --Dr. Michael Faison, Yale Univ.

"Nothing else I've done is as rewarding as teaching at SSP." --Dr. Douglas Duncan, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder

On each of two campuses, in Santa Barbara, California, and Socorro, New Mexico, the Academic Director and Associate Academic Director teach the astronomy and calculus-based gravitational mechanics necessary to perform a near-earth asteroid orbit determination from first principles. A Site Director provides residential and logistical support. Four Teaching Assistants live in the dorm and have front-line roles in both academic and residential aspects.

All faculty receive salary, housing, meals, and travel reimbursement. The Summer Science Program is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse faculty and encourage all qualified individuals to apply. (Non-US citizens must have legal permission to work in the US; we cannot sponsor employment visas.) All positions are open until filled, usually by Jan. 1.

Faculty are on campus (almost) continuously for 44 days and 43 nights. Typical dates are:

  • Socorro, NM: Second Tuesday in June through last Thursday in July
  • Santa Barbara, CA: one week later than NM campus
Faculty / Staff Application

Job opening announcement suitable for campus bulletin boards

Lecturing Faculty

The curriculum includes lectures in celestial mechanics, vector calculus, observational astronomy, introductory programming in VPython, and other subjects according to faculty interest and time available. Lecture outlines and other resources are provided for core material. The Academic Director and Associate Academic Director at each campus divide this courseload according to respective interests. Together they give students sufficient background to perform an asteroid orbit determination using their own observations, measurements, and software. During the spring, faculty participate in hiring TAs and attend a weekend planning meeting.

Candidates should be experienced and enthusiastic teachers at the college level. A PhD in a physical science is preferred, as is experience with observational astronomy. Interested individuals should send a completed application, CV, and statement of teaching philosophy to:

Dr. Douglas Duncan SSP '68, Trustee
Dept. of Astrophysical & Planetary Science, Univ. of Colorado
(303) 735-6141, dduncan [at] colorado [dot] edu

Teaching Assistant / Residential Advisor

Teaching Assistants are tutors and academic instructors, assisting students in using astronomical equipment and computers, and with homework, under the direction of the Academic Director. Just as important is their simultaneous role as residential advisors and personal mentors, supervising students in the dorm and organizing recreational and social activities, under the direction of the Site Director.

Applicants should be rising college seniors, graduating seniors, or graduate students, majoring in physical science or engineering. SSP alumni are especially encouraged to apply.

See TA Job Description

Send CV and completed application to:
Summer Science Program
Richard D. Bowdon, Executive Director
rbowdon [at] ssp [dot] org
108 Whiteberry Dr
Cary, NC 27519
voicemail (866) 728-0999