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Apr 8 / BARD CEP

Student Affairs Manager – Panama

Organization: The School for Field Studies

Position Title: Student Affairs Manager

Location: Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation, Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Hours & Compensation: Full-time.

Position Dates: 10 month contract beginning late August 2013. Must be available to travel to SFS headquarters in Beverly, MA for one week of training in mid-August.

Application Deadline: April 30, 2013.

Posted On: April 4, 2013.

Organization Overview:

The central theme of The School for Field Studies (SFS) Panama study abroad program is “islands as a delicate system,” with emphasis on the resources of Panama’s spectacular coastal and marine environments. Students will explore several key interfaces: human and natural systems, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and conservation and development. The goal of this undergraduate study abroad program is to assess the state of the archipelago’s fragile natural habitats, define the main environmental issues, and understand the community goals in natural resource management. Our ultimate goal is to help islanders maintain balance and harmony between people and nature in this fragile ecosystem.


Student Affairs

  • Deliver in-country orientation and ongoing training to students in the areas of community building, critical thinking, cross-cultural issues, conflict resolution, self-awareness, communal living, and health and safety
  • Act as a resource to students for their program-related and personal needs
  • Facilitate communication within the student group and between staff and students
  • Preemptively monitor and address individual student and group attitudes and behavior
  • Keep the Center Director informed of potential problems
  • Participate in resolving group management issues and student discipline problems
  • Facilitate establishment and support of student committees

Safety & Risk Management

  • Take responsibility for the safety of all program participants
  • Adhere to, actively model, and enforce all school-wide and program rules and polices
  • Coordinate incident reporting system and on-site safety audits
  • Ensure that Incident Reports are provided to SFS headquarters
  • Submit a Risk Management Plan to SFS headquarters prior to field trips
  • Participate in the review and revision of program risk assessment and management plans
  • Coordinate the program’s emergency plans, including for evacuation and fire safety
  • Recommend and review policies and procedures needed to manage risks
  • Coordinate the safety and health portions of the on-site orientation
  • Maintain all land- and water-based medical kits and safety supplies

Community Outreach

  • Work with program faculty/staff to develop and implement community outreach activities
  • Arrange recreational programming for students within the local community
  • At all times, work to ensure good relations between the program and local community
  • Organize and facilitate guest speakers from the community

Program Support

  • Coordinate and communicate scheduling of program to students as needed
  • Participate in training activities for new program staff prior to and during the program
  • Provide periodic reports, marketing materials, and student input to SFS headquarters
  • Participate in preparation of final reports and program field preparation guide revisions
  • In cooperation with other program staff and as delegated by the Center Director, provide day-to-day coordination of interns
  • Participate in planning activities prior to program start and in review post-program
  • As requested by the Center Director, assist with other logistical, group management, and administrative tasks

Daily Program Life

  • Live on-site for the duration of each program period and take meals with students
  • On a rotating basis, take responsibility for Program-specific staff of the day duties
  • Ensure that all staff understand the responsibilities of the staff of the day role
  • Take part in, and occasionally lead, program upkeep projects, social, and field activities
  • Serve as program caretaker during breaks as requested by the Center Director
  • Drive standard transmission vehicles and outboard motorboats as needed


Required Qualifications:

  • BA/BS, preferably in a Natural Science field with Coastal or Marine studies focus
  • Advanced Spanish language skills
  • Significant experience living, working, or studying abroad, preferably on an SFS program
  • Wilderness First Responder (must be certified by program start; SFS will assist)
  • Extensive group and student facilitation experience
  • High emotional and cross-cultural intelligence
  • Experience with crisis and risk management
  • Ease with living communally and using shared facilities
  • Accustomed to working long hours in remote environments with limited resources
  • Clean driving record, ability to operate manual transmission vehicles and motorboats

Preferred Qualifications:

  • MA/MS in Education, Natural Sciences, or Social Sciences
  • Experience living, working, or studying in Panama or coastal Latin America
  • Lifeguarding and SCUBA diving experience and certification
  • EMT and/or WEMT certification
  • Computer skills in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel) and Windows
  • Familiarity with navigating medical resources in developing countries
  • Background in experiential educational programming
  • Management of student and residential affairs in higher education

How to Apply: Submit a detailed cover letter and resume to

Contact Information: 

The School for Field Studies,

100 Cummings Center, Suite 534-G, Beverly, MA 01915

Job URL:

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