About the Role
The Biological Systems Engineering Department (BSE) at Virginia Tech seeks applications for a tenure-track position in Ecological Engineering, specializing in Environmental Biophysics, at the Assistant Professor rank (9 months, teaching and research). We seek candidates who are motivated to contribute to a collegial, interdisciplinary community with a strong tradition of addressing Virginia Tech’s triple missions of learning, discovery, and engagement.
Ranked (USN&WR) among all U.S. programs as 10th in undergraduate programs and 12th in graduate programs, the BSE department currently has 24 tenure-track faculty, 51 graduate students, and 130 undergraduate students. Charged with developing and disseminating engineering knowledge and practices that protect natural resources and improve sustainable production, processing, and utilization of biological materials, the department has on-campus research resources that include StREAM Lab, a unique, world-class research center focused on understanding the interactions of natural and human systems. The BSE Department is affiliated with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, which is ranked (USN&WR) among all U.S. engineering schools as 13th in undergraduate programs and 30th in graduate programs.
Virginia Tech is a public, land-grant university with an enrollment of approximately 36,000. Virginia Tech is committed to teaching and learning, research, and outreach to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world. Building on its motto of Ut Prosim (that I may serve), Virginia Tech is dedicated to InclusiveVT - serving in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. Virginia Tech actively seeks a broad spectrum of candidates to join our community in preparing leaders for the world.
Virginia Tech's main campus is located in Blacksburg, VA, an area consistently ranked among the country's best places to live. In addition, Virginia Tech’s presence in the Washington, D.C., area offers unique proximity to government and industry partners. Virginia Tech’s activities in the DC Metro area are expanding rapidly, with Virginia Tech's new Innovation Campus in Alexandria, VA slated to open in 2024. Virginia Tech offers excellent opportunities for multidisciplinary collaborations, with potential partnerships that include the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, the Virginia Water Resources Center, 11 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers located throughout the Commonwealth, and other academic departments.
We seek an outstanding candidate whose research program will contribute to Virginia Tech’s Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture and its transdisciplinary Destination Areas. The successful candidate will have a PhD in Biological, Environmental, or Civil Engineering, Soil Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, or closely related field by appointment start date, an outstanding record of academic achievement, strong interest in and aptitude for undergraduate and graduate teaching and mentoring, an appropriate record of scholarly achievement, the ability to work collaboratively on interdisciplinary research and instruction, the potential for securing extramural funding, and a willingness to expand disciplinary boundaries to address complex technical and societal challenges. Preferred qualifications include an excellent publication record in high-impact journals, experience with interdisciplinary education to include teaching environmental biophysics and related courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, postdoctoral research experience, successful applications for research grants or other programmatic support, an established profile within appropriate professional societies, international experience, and eligibility to become a licensed professional engineer.
The successful candidate will be expected to initiate, build, and sustain an externally-funded, internationally-recognized research program that leverages existing faculty expertise in the focus area of Ecological Engineering. The successful candidate will advance a number of related fields through empirical studies and biophysical modeling and will work across multiple scales, ranging from individual soil or plant pores, to plant-animal-water interactions at landscape scales, to regional analyses of biophysics and biogeochemistry. Potential research program areas include:
● Agricultural system modeling (crop and animal) related to food security and agricultural resiliency,
● Interactions and dynamics in plant-animal-soil systems,
● Remote sensing and large-scale climate modeling with application to the critical zone (the layer extending from the top of vegetation downward to groundwater, where water, atmosphere, soil, and organisms interact),
● Micrometeorology, biometeorology, ecological climatology, and biophysical ecology applied to the critical zone,
● Quantifying the impacts of land use and climate change on the surface energy balance, the carbon cycle, and hydrological/nutrient fluxes.
The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to a well-rounded academic experience for students, including teaching existing undergraduate and graduate courses, advising senior design teams, providing undergraduate research opportunities, and advising graduate and post‐graduate students. Participation in one of Virginia Tech’s Integrative Graduate Education Programs is highly encouraged. International engagement and recognition are encouraged and expected as the successful candidate’s career advances. Position requires occasional travel to attend conferences and meetings. Completion of a criminal background check is required.
Applicants must apply online at jobs.vt.edu (posting number 527535). Application materials include a cover letter, CV, up to three relevant research publications, and contact information for at least three professional references. In addition, applicants must provide a research statement and a statement of teaching and mentoring philosophy (up to three pages each) including the candidate’s ideas for supporting an equitable and inclusive educational environment consistent with the Virginia Tech Principles of Community; specific examples of experiences, activities, and plans will help us identify candidates who can support and extend our University’s commitment to inclusive excellence. Review of applications will commence on January 4th, 2024 and continue until the position is filled. Questions regarding the position should be directed to the Search Committee Chair, Dr. Brian Benham, at email@example.com (540-230-7763).
The department fully embraces Virginia Tech’s Commitment to increase faculty, staff and student diversity; to ensure a welcoming, affirming, safe and accessible campus climate; to advance our research, teaching, and service mission through inclusive excellence; and to promote sustainable transformation through institutionalized structures. Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law. If you are an individual with a disability and need accommodation, please contact the Human Resources Services Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (540) 231-9331.
PhD in Biological, Environmental, or Civil Engineering, Soil Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, or closely related field by appointment start date; An outstanding record of academic achievement; Strong interest in and aptitude for undergraduate and graduate teaching and mentoring; An appropriate record of scholarly achievement; Ability to work collaboratively on interdisciplinary research and instruction; The potential for securing extramural funding; A willingness to expand disciplinary boundaries to address complex technical and societal challenges; Excellent oral and written communication skills; Willingness and ability to effectively supervise undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate researchers; Position requires occasional travel to attend conferences and meetings.
An excellent publication record in high-impact journals; Experience with interdisciplinary education to include teaching environmental biophysics and related courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels; Engagement with undergraduate and graduate students.
Postdoctoral research experience; Successful applications for research grants or other programmatic support; An established profile within appropriate professional societies.
International experience; Eligibility to become a licensed professional engineer.