Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Community Engagement

The Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position in environmental studies and community engagement at the assistant professor level, with a 60% research, 40% teaching appointment. We seek a colleague who will bring the scholarship of sustainability and community engagement to bear on critical environmental and natural resource issues challenging communities across Michigan, the U.S. and the world.


Duties include: (a) conducting and disseminating peer-reviewed research related to community engagement in environmental and natural resource management; (b) obtaining extramural competitive funding to support a strong research program; (c) developing and delivering high quality classroom instruction tied to curriculum learning outcomes; (d) recruiting and advising graduate students and directing thesis and dissertation research; (e) collaborating effectively with students, faculty, community partners including resource managers, policymakers, and other stakeholders; and (g) performing professional and university service.

The successful candidate is expected to develop a program of scholarship that integrates funded research, instruction, and outreach activities. The candidate’s research will focus on community engagement related to environmental issues and community sustainability. Potential areas of application could include, but are not limited to, environmental justice; ecological risk assessment; renewable energy; corporate environmentalism; resilience of socio-ecological systems; environmental policy; environmental impact assessment; human dimensions of climate change vulnerability, mitigation and adaptation; and land and water management. Scholars who use participatory research methods are encouraged. Some potential research funding sources include federal agencies such as NSF, NIH, EPA, USDA, and USAID, as well as private foundations and non-governmental organizations. Examples of NSF programs of interest include Science, Technology and Society (STS), Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH), and Advancing Informal Science Learning. An example of an NIH program of interest is Environmental Health Disparities & Environmental Justice.

The successful candidate will be prepared to teach courses in the department’s Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS) major and in the department’s sustainability core curriculum. The successful candidate must be prepared to teach CSUS 200 (Introduction to Sustainability), CSUS 301 (Community Engagement for Sustainability), and CSUS 310 (History of Environmental Thought and Sustainability). The candidate will also be expected to participate in the department’s effort to build a suite of quantitative and qualitative methods courses in its graduate and undergraduate curricula. Possible courses could include, but are not limited to, environmental impact assessment, life cycle analysis, qualitative research methods, survey research methods, program evaluation, social network analysis, environmental modeling, and spatial data analysis. A 40% teaching appointment typically brings with it an expectation of alternating between teaching two courses in one academic year followed by three courses the following academic year. The candidate’s initial teaching assignment will be determined once the candidate is hired. We seek candidates who can help us innovate methodologically and pedagogically. We also seek candidates who will mentor undergraduate and graduate students as they develop skills that they can apply academically and professionally.


Applicants will be evaluated for the following criteria:

  • Disciplinary or interdisciplinary Ph.D. in an area that integrates the scholarship of
    community engagement with the natural resources and environment focal areas of the
    Department of Community Sustainability;
  • Evidence of successful research including publications in peer-reviewed journals;
  • Preparation for successfully pursuing external funding to support research, outreach and
    teaching programs;
  • Potential for successful teaching in the sustainability core curriculum including CSUS 301: Community Engagement for Sustainability, CSUS 310: History of Environmental Thought, elective courses in the ESS major, and research methods;
  • Potential for mentoring students; and
  • Demonstrated interest in community engagement and collaborative and interdisciplinary research.


The Department of Community Sustainability is a vibrant community of scholars
who engage with colleagues, students, stakeholders and communities to address sustainability challenges within specific environmental, economic and cultural contexts.

We do this by:

  • Focusing on sustainability engagement that embraces the decisions inherent in the transition to a more sustainable future;
  • Creating and supporting a dedicated faculty working on sustainability-related issues;
  • Incorporating a systems-thinking view of sustainability into curricula at the undergraduate level, graduate level, and lifelong learner level; and
  • Conducting sustainability scholarship that is international in scope while attending to
    regional and local contexts.

As scholar-practitioners, and as a multidisciplinary department, we address critical issues at the interface of agriculture, natural resources, recreation, and communities. Through engaged scholarship, we aim to generate knowledge that will be useful to people in their roles as residents, landowners, businesses, and governmental and non-profit institutions.

We seek to understand the dynamic interactions in communities, ecosystems, and the world, as well as opportunities for sustainable development. This work is rooted in our view of a just, engaged, and dynamic society. Toward that end, we are guided by an ethic of responsible and responsive scholarship that engages people and communities.

Consistent with its mission to contribute to the development of sustainable communities, the Department offers three undergraduate majors (Bachelors of Science) linked by a common core in community sustainability: (1) Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS); (2) Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SPRT); and (3) Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Education (AFNRE). The Department offers graduate degrees in Community Sustainability (MS and PhD) and in Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas Management (MS and PhD). In both undergraduate and graduate programs, the Department of Community Sustainability embraces international as well as domestic applications, engagement, and opportunities.

Additional information about the Department is available at

University: Michigan State University ( is a Land Grant institution based in East Lansing, Michigan that provides regional, national, and international leadership in basic and applied research, excellence in teaching, an emphasis on international engagement, and a strong extension program that partners with diverse stakeholders to bring science-based responses to social and environmental challenges.

Michigan has abundant natural resources, one of the most diverse agricultural industries in the nation, and is surrounded by the beautiful Great Lakes. East Lansing and the region have numerous music and theatre offerings, with an active arts community ( that includes the recently opened Broad Art Museum ( Throughout Michigan there is a growing local food movement, over 100 wineries and microbreweries, diverse outdoor recreation activities, and a range of summer and winter sporting events.

Salary: Salary will be commensurate with qualifications, and MSU offers a generous benefits package (details at

Application Procedure: Qualified applicants MUST apply online on the MSU Applicant Page (MAP) website, referencing posting #2158. Applications must include the following: 1) a cover letter that includes the applicant’s perceived fit with the department; 2) a statement focusing on research experience and interests including methodological approaches; 3) a statement of teaching philosophy and experience; 4) a curriculum vitae; and 5) contact information for three or more references.

Questions regarding the position may be directed to the Search Committee chair, Dr. John Kerr via email or to set up a phone conversation at Applications will be accepted until December 15, 2015, or until a suitable candidate is selected.

Michigan State University is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. The University actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.