Fixed-term assistant professorship as part of the research project ‘AI and the University – Towards a sociolinguistics of literacy and voice in the age of generative AI’ (AI-UNI)

Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use (CIP) at the University of Copenhagen is offering a 4-year fixed-term position as assistant professor commencing 1 September 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. We are looking for a candidate who is motivated to undertake research as part of a five-year collaborative project on text-generative AI and the university (AI-UNI) funded by the Carlsberg Foundation. In addition to research activities related to the host project, the assistant professor must undertake research-based teaching and contribute to knowledge sharing with wider society.

AI-UNI
Large language models and their application as part of text-generative AI are rapidly changing the way we engage with language. The ways we write, read, speak and listen are all being transformed by various forms of AI technology which are quickly becoming part of the mainstream. In the university context these changes will have – and have in fact already had – quite fundamental consequences for how knowledge is produced, acquired, and disseminated. AI-UNI will contribute to an empirically founded and theoretically coherent understanding of how text-generative language technologies affect research, teaching and learning practices in academia, and what the implications are for knowledge production, dissemination, and evaluation.

The project will 1) document ongoing change in the way generative language technology is used as part of academic practices, 2) critically assess the associated implications for research, teaching, and learning, and 3) progressively build a theoretical model of human engagement with generative language technology as a site of sociolinguistic change. The research team will achieve these ends by conducting linguistic ethnographic case studies of how research staff and students across different faculties at Danish universities use text-generative language technologies as part of their everyday practices and by using survey methods to document change over time in the general uptake of AI at Danish universities as part of research, teaching and learning.

The project is led by professor Janus Mortensen (PI) and assistant professor Sanne Larsen, and we are in the process of recruiting a postdoc and two PhD students in addition to the assistant professorship advertised here.

Research task
The successful candidate will undertake an independent research project, designed to fit the overall research agenda of AI-UNI. The assistant professor will be expected to design and conduct a linguistic ethnographic case study focussing on undergraduate students within the humanities or social sciences as they prepare for, attend, and produce assignments in relation to their regular study activities. The case study will focus on a selection of students in one or two classes (or similar unit), with specific practices that involve the use of AI selected for detailed study after an initial period of observation.

Applicants are expected to outline a proposed research design for their case study as part of the application (see details below). The proposed research project should allow the candidate to explore how text-generative AI is used as part of academic practices and critically assess the associated implications for learning. The project should fall within the general framework of linguistic ethnography. This means that we welcome projects that include e.g. participant observation, recordings of textual practices and social interaction in offline and online environments, as well as ethnographic interviews and feedback sessions with participants. Theoretically, the project should contribute to the host project’s understanding of the use of text-generative AI at the university as a site of sociolinguistic change with potential implications for how we conceptualize the notions of literacy and voice in sociolinguistics.

The specific focus and details of the project will be decided in collaboration with the host project PI, based on the ideas presented in the project description and the overall research interests of the AI-UNI project. The assistant professor will be supervised by professor Janus Mortensen.

Teaching
The position involves teaching obligations as well as research. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the development and delivery of an MA module on Sociolinguistics and AI. The module will be developed collaboratively and co-taught by the AI-UNI research group on the basis of the ongoing project and offered at the Faculty of Humanities. In addition, the candidate will be expected to contribute to teaching and supervision at BA and MA level at the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies (Engerom) and/or the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics (NorS).

Qualification requirements

  • Applicants must have a relevant PhD degree with a specialization within the areas of sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, applied linguistics or similar.
  • Applicants are expected to be able to document academic production at international level and have the potential to make a significant impact in their field at both local and international levels.
  • Practical experience with (linguistic) ethnography or similar.
  • Documented teaching experience at university level.
  • The successful applicant must have advanced analytical skills and be a strong communicator in English. If deemed necessary, CIP may request that applicants document their English skills.
  • Due to the collaborative nature of the host project, it is essential that the candidate has excellent collaborative skills and a strong interest in being part of a close-knit research team.
  • Since the case study may involve data in Danish as well as English, knowledge of Danish or another Scandinavian language is preferable, but not mandatory.

More information on types of academic positions at UCPH and requirements for the different positions is available here: https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/career-at-upch/.

For further details about the qualification requirements for assistant professorships, please consult the Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities available here:  https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/criteria-for-recognising-merit/dokumenter/Ministerial_Order_no._1443_of_11_December_2019_on_Job_Structure_for_Academic_Staff_at_Universities.pdf

Find more information for recognising merit for assistant professors here:
Criteria for recognising merit – University of Copenhagen (ku.dk)
5a_Criteria_for_recognising_merit_-Assistant_professors.pdf (ku.dk)

Assessment criteria

  • Research qualifications, including
    • the degree of originality and scope of peer-reviewed scientific production as reflected in the attached CV, project description and list of publications,
    • the potential for development as a researcher indicated by the applicant’s statement about future plans and own development,
    • active participation in research environments,
    • scientific breadth and depth in relation to the position’s academic profile,
    • ability to conduct independent research and participate in research collaboration.
  • The quality, originality and feasibility of the proposed research project.
  • Relevance of the applicant’s proposed research project for the host project.
  • Teaching qualifications, including running relevant research-based courses and interest in developing own pedagogic competencies (e.g. documented didactic training).
  • Experience and competencies in the dissemination of research, external partnerships and other forms of social impact in the form of media contributions, advice and knowledge-sharing in the public sphere.
  • Experience of contributing to organisational work, working with others and generating a vibrant academic environment.

Application
Applications must be submitted electronically, in PDF or Microsoft Word format, via the ‘Apply now’ button at the bottom of this page. The application must include the following documents (in English):  

1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
This letter should outline how the applicant’s proposed research project relates to the host project and describe your competencies and personal qualifications.

2. CV (max. one page)
The CV should contain details about educational background, language skills and other skills relevant for the position.

3. Documentation of qualifications (exam certificates and PhD diploma) 
Applicants with a degree from a university where the working language is not English or one of the Scandinavian languages must submit a translation of their diploma and/or diploma transcripts approved by the Danish embassy or consulate in the country where the original document was issued. These documents must be translated into English, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish. An official description of the grading scale (and a diploma supplement where relevant) must also be attached.

4. Project description (max. 12,000 characters, incl. spaces, excl. list of references)
Applicants must include a detailed project description outlining:

  • the proposed research question(s)
  • state of art
  • presentation and motivation of the theoretical framework
  • presentation and discussion of choice of methods and research design
  • a description of the project itself and how you see it fitting in with the larger research project and contributing substantially to it
  • a working plan for the project

5. Complete list of publications:

  • Peer-reviewed publications:
    • Monographs and anthologies
    • Articles in journals
    • Book chapters/anthology contributions, etc.
  • Non-peer-reviewed publications:
    • Publications disseminating research findings, etc.

Applicants can submit a maximum of three publications for assessment. The publication dates must be clearly marked on the list. The selected publications must be uploaded as attachments and numbered [1–3]. Should any material submitted consist of work with named co-authors, or work that is otherwise the result of collective academic endeavors, the extent of the applicant’s contribution to the work must be clearly specified.

6. Documentation of teaching experience at university level and other forms of knowledge dissemination. For inspiration, you may consult the guidelines for teaching portfolios at the University of Copenhagen here: https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/job-application-portfolio/.

7. Short statement(2.400 characters or less) about expected development as a researcher over the course of the position and future plans.

Only documentation in English, Danish, Swedish or Norwegian will be assessed.

We reserve the right not to consider applications that fail to live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The recruitment process
After the deadline for applications has expired, applicants are shortlisted for assessment on the advice of an Appointment Committee. All applicants will be notified whether they have been shortlisted for assessment or not. An expert Assessment Committee is then appointed and tasked with carrying out an assessment of the shortlisted applicants. The shortlisted applicants will be informed who is serving on the committee. Applicants will also be offered the opportunity to comment on the committee’s assessment of their application before the appointment is announced.

Upon completion of the assessments, a selection of qualified candidates will be invited for an interview. Please be advised that a positive assessment does not necessarily mean that you will be invited for an interview. 

For further information on the recruitment process, please see University of Copenhagen’s website: https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/.

Salary and terms of employment
Terms of appointment and salary will be in accordance with an agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). Depending on seniority, the monthly salary range for an assistant professor begins around DKK 36,400 (EUR 4,880), plus 17.1 % pension scheme contribution.

Place of employment
The place of employment is Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use (CIP), Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. See www.cip.ku.dk for further information.

International applicants
The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here: https://ism.ku.dk/. A special tax scheme is offered to researchers recruited abroad. Please see: https://ism.ku.dk/onarrival/.

Contact information
Information about the recruitment process is available from HR, email: hrsc@hrsc.ku.dk, please refer to ID number: 211-0406/24-2A.

For specific questions about the position and AI-UNI, please contact the project PI, professor Janus Mortensen (jamo@hum.ku.dk).

Further information about the host project is available at this web page: http://www.ai-uni.dk/.

Application deadline: 18 April 2024, 23:59 (CET).

Any applications or additional material submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

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Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

Info

Application deadline: 18-04-2024
Employment start: 01-09-2024
Department/Location: Center for Internationalisering og Parallelsproglighed
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