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Postdoctoral Research Scholar

Western Washington University

Western Washington University

Bellingham, WA, USA
Posted on Friday, September 15, 2023

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Postdoctoral Research Scholar

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Position Title

Postdoctoral Research Scholar

About the University

Western Washington University, with over 16,000 students in seven colleges and the graduate school, is nationally recognized for its educational programs, students and faculty. The campus is located in Bellingham, Washington, a coastal community of 90,000 overlooking Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades Mountain range. The city lies 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. Western is the highest-ranking public, master's-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings. Western Washington University is committed to achieving excellence through advancing inclusive success, increasing our Washington impact, and focusing on transformational education grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and based on innovative scholarship, research, and creative activity. Western's greatest strength is the outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae who make up its community. Western supports an inclusive governance structure for all and provides a learning and working environment in which everyone can thrive. In pursuit of this excellence, individual employees are expected to establish and maintain productive and effective inclusive working relationships amongst diverse populations including staff, faculty, administration, student, and external constituents. Further, individual employees are expected to have the ability to operationalize sustainability concepts (economic, societal, environmental) into all aspects of performing their job duties.

About the Department

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Anthropology Department support Western's mission, which states that together with our students, staff, and faculty, we are committed to making a positive impact in the state and the world with a shared focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement. We encourage applications from women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, and other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and with diverse experiences interested in this opportunity.

We are a four-fields department committed to the importance of the unique perspectives offered by our diverse field. We value ongoing collaboration across subdisciplines and maintain strong interdisciplinary ties throughout the university. Western Washington University places value on both teaching and research and the department prides itself in the success of our faculty integrating inquiry and pedagogy in our work, which is reflected in the consistently significant number of majors and minors in our program. The successful candidate will join a community committed to both knowledge creation and teaching. 

The Department of Anthropology is committed to advancing diversity in all areas, including scholarship, instruction, and engagement. The successful candidate will be expected to fulfill mentoring responsibilities that provide equitable and inclusive learning environments for all students. Candidates should address at least one of the topical areas outlined above in their cover letter, indicating how their past experiences, current interests and activities, and/or future goals could promote a work climate that values and supports inclusion. 

About the Position

The Department of Anthropology at Western Washington University (WWU) invites applicants for an NSF-funded Postdoctoral Research Scholar position investigating primate craniofacial anatomy under the supervision of Drs. Tesla Monson and Marianne Brasil. The postdoctoral research scholar will be contributing to a collaborative project studying the evolution of circumorbital morphology in hominids and other primates using 3D geometric morphometrics, with particular emphasis on modularity and integration. This is a full-time 2-year position. The anticipated start date is January 1, 2024.

Position Duties and Responsibilities

Research (75%)

  • Collect and analyze 3D scan data from primate cranial specimens.
  • Meet weekly with PIs. Attend professional conference (AABA’s) to present research.
  • Year 1) Postdoc works with MA student in the Primate Evolution Lab (WWU) to collate 3D scan data from MorphoSource. Postdoc spends 9.5 weeks at the NMNH (NY) and 8 weeks at the AMNH (DC) collecting 3D scan data using the lab 3D scanner. Postdoc works with graduate and undergraduate students to process 3D data and set landmarks.
  • Year 2) Postdoc conducts statistical analyses and serves as lead author for two manuscripts from the project. Postdoc attends American Association of Biological Anthropology conference to present research.

Mentoring and Service (25%)

  • Throughout the appointment, postdoc works with graduate students and undergraduate students in the lab to provide educational opportunities in research. Postdoc participates in lab meetings and lab activities to promote community and provide mentoring opportunities. Postdoc will provide assistance with development and implementation of the public symposium (Year 2, IHES2025).

Required Qualifications

Must have:

  • Obtained a Ph.D. in biological anthropology, biology, anatomy or a related field prior to the position start date.
  • Experience in 3D imaging, data management, and analytical tools including geometric morphometrics and other quantitative research methods.
  • Demonstrated experience with software packages such as 3D Slicer, R, or other similar programs.
  • Ability to travel to study original primate materials housed in various U.S. museums.
  • Ability to work effectively with and supervise undergraduate and graduate students in the lab.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated knowledge of primate craniofacial anatomy and functional morphology, primate osteology, and fossil hominid biology. Demonstrated commitment to working with diverse students, faculty, and staff, and broader communities.

Special Requirements

The postdoctoral research scholar must be in residence in the Bellingham area during the appointment. The postdoctoral research scholar must also be willing and able to complete extensive 3D scanning work at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC (2 months), and the New York American Museum of Natural History in New York City (2.25 months) for a total of 4.25 months (all expenses paid + salary).

Conditions of Employment

All employees must comply with our Immunization policies, including Proof of Rubeola Measles Immunity within 60-days of hire. Please reach out to HR@wwu.edu if you need information regarding medical or religious exemption and applicable accommodations.


Position salary is $60,000. Salary increases will be provided in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, including a 4.5% increase effective September 16, 2024.

Benefits Information

This is a 2-year full-time (12 month) position with benefits and healthcare. See hr.wwu.edu for more information. Benefits Overview for Faculty Positions

Bargaining Unit

United Faculty of Western Washington

Application Instructions

A cover letter and curriculum vitae are required and should address your experience related to the position responsibilities and the required and preferred qualifications. In addition to explaining how your research record makes you a good fit for the position, please describe any mentoring experience you have, and your mentoring philosophy. Please also detail any contributions you have made to DEIJ in the discipline.

You will be asked to provide contact information of three references.

Please email Dr. Tesla Monson (monsont2@wwu.edu) or Dr. Marianne Brasil (brasilm@wwu.edu) with any questions about the position or the application process.

Closing Date Notes

Application review begins October 9, 2023; applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Start date is January 1, 2024.


Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Western Washington University, Old Main 126 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay); crtc@wwu.edu

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3303 or 711 (Washington Relay).

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("The Clery Act"). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western's campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at vpsa.office@wwu.edu. The report can be found at: Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires and rehires, which includes a sexual misconduct background check.


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