Endowed Chair of Tree Fruit Soil and Rhizosphere Ecology - Washington State University in Prosser Washington

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Washington State University

Prosser, Washington

United States


Detailed Job Description

■ Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Soil and Rhizosphere Ecology

■ 12-month, full-time, at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor eligible for tenure at the time of hire.

■ Washington State University (WSU) Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC), Prosser, Washington, United States.

■ Competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience.

■ November 1, 2015; negotiable

The College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resources Sciences (CAHNRS) through the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences (CSS) seeks a leader in soil and rhizosphere ecology to serve as a core member of our tree fruit research and extension team, contributing to an expanding college focus on soil-plant interactions. The endowed chair will build an internationally renowned, soil- and rhizosphere-focused research program that enhances the competitiveness of the Washington apple, cherry, pear and stone fruit industries. This position is supported by a $1.5 million endowment made possible by a recent and historic, $32 million investment from the state’s tree fruit growers to support tree fruit research and extension at Washington State University.

Washington State is recognized globally as a premier tree fruit production region, with more than 230,000 acres of tree fruits statewide providing an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. Over a third of the state’s fruit production is exported to markets worldwide. The Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC) is situated in one of the most agriculturally diverse regions in the U.S., where long, warm summer days, cool nights, low precipitation, and fertile soils make ideal conditions for irrigated fruit production, as well as other high-value horticultural crops.

The Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Soil and Rhizosphere Ecology is directly responsible to the Chair of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and the IAREC Director.

Required Qualifications

• Earned Ph.D. in soil science, ecology, horticulture, forestry or closely related field at time of application;
• Qualified for appointment at associate or full professor rank in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences; and
• Demonstrated record of scholarly accomplishments in soil and rhizosphere ecology.

Preferred Qualifications

• Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with technical and nontechnical audiences in oral, written, and electronic forms.
• Demonstrated leadership in developing and executing an intensive interdisciplinary research program in soil and rhizosphere ecology.
• Demonstrated excellence in collaborative research, graduate student mentoring, and interdisciplinary team building.
• Demonstrated record of acquiring extramural competitive grant support.
• Knowledge of state-of-the-art techniques applicable to tree fruit soil and rhizosphere ecology research.
• Demonstrated knowledge and ability to work effectively with individuals and groups of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and ideologies.

Monthly Salary

Commensurate with qualifications and experience

Additional Information

The Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Soil and Rhizosphere Ecology located in the WSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, but collaborating widely both within and beyond WSU, is expected to address significant challenges to fruit production whose solutions can be derived from an improved understanding of soil and rhizosphere ecology. Research may include investigations of rhizosphere characteristics; function of microbial communities; plant nutrient and water uptake; nutrient cycling; signaling between root, microbes and scion; and root characteristics, exudates, and architecture. By relating rhizosphere interactions to bulk soil properties (biological, chemical, physical), meteorology, hydrology, biotic and abiotic stress, rootstock and scion performance, crop management practices, and landscape variability, new research findings will inform technology transfer to, and successful adoption by, growers. Participation in formal dissemination of soil and rhizosphere ecology-related knowledge to the tree fruit industry, undergraduate and graduate students via guest lectures, team teaching activities and graduate student supervision is expected. The endowed chair’s research program complements several recent and planned soil- and rhizosphere-focused faculty hires, as well as other IAREC, Departmental, inter-Departmental, and state-wide initiatives—such as integrated pest management, the WSU Tree Fruit Decision Aid System, the WSU Agricultural Weather Network, the Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), and the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR).

The successful candidate will emphasize collaborative programs with state, federal, and private research and extension personnel to strengthen ties between interdisciplinary horticultural and soil science research teams. The successful candidate will acquire competitive extramural funding to support a comprehensive research program, contribute scholarly literature, and enhance the national and international scope and reputation of the WSU soil science and horticultural programs. The successful applicant will be expected to conduct a program of research consistent with the mission of the WSU Agricultural Research Center, and work effectively with other researchers, extension professionals, private crop consultants, and with the grower community and stakeholders. The successful candidate will participate in regional meetings, promote soil science in tree fruit production systems, and write for popular/grower press in addition to publishing extensively in scientific journals. Teaching responsibilities will include the mentoring and supervision of graduate students, guest lectures and team teaching activities.

In partnership with the State’s tree fruit industry, Washington State University strives to be the world leader in tree fruit research, outreach and education. Today, WSU’s tree fruit effort includes more than 30 faculty members who dedicate the majority of their time and effort to tree fruit research and extension. These faculty span ten academic disciplines – horticulture, biological systems, engineering, entomology, plant pathology, soil science, food science, agricultural economics, agrometeorology and rural sociology – and are located on the main Pullman campus, at three research and extension centers, and in regional extension units.

This effort is supplemented with the activities of scientists in the USDA-ARS Tree Fruit Research Laboratory located in Wenatchee, the USDA-ARS Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research Laboratory located at Wapato, and the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission located in Wenatchee and Yakima. WSU has continued to advance its tree fruit research and education program with recent investment in faculty positions in breeding and genomics, physiology, automation and mechanization, as well as the purchase of a 150-acre research and demonstration orchard near Wenatchee. The historic $32 million investment from the state’s tree fruit producers will add six endowed chairs, at least five extension/tech transfer positions, and provide operating funds for research orchards, facilities and equipment.

The Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission uses grower assessments on fruit produced in the state to competitively fund research efforts in partnership with WSU, other universities and the USDA on essential aspects of tree fruit production including germplasm and rootstock development, physiology and crop management, improved post-harvest practices, eating quality and crop protection. Approximately $1.5 million per year is provided to WSU and USDA personnel in tree fruit research grants.

Faculty and students in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences (CSS) at WSU are committed to creating a sustainable earth and feeding the world through research, teaching, and extension. Our department offers M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Crop Science and Soil Science. Undergraduate students can select B.S. programs in either Integrated Plant Sciences (with emphasis on agricultural biotechnology, field crop management, or turfgrass management) or Agricultural Food Systems (with emphasis on education, technology and production management, business economics, organics or food security). First-class facilities include a new 30-acre organic farm on the Pullman campus as well as labs and farms at research centers in Prosser, Wenatchee, and Mount Vernon. Partnerships with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory, commodity commissions, the agriculture industry, and family farms result in well-rounded and timely research, successful outreach, and opportunities for student internships.

For more information, visit http://css.wsu.edu.

The position is expected to be located at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC) near Prosser in the lower Yakima Valley of central Washington. The IAREC functions as an administrative unit and maintains a strong multidisciplinary focus. It is also the state headquarters for the WSU AgWeatherNet, which includes 161 automated weather stations around the state (http://weather.wsu.edu/). Sixteen faculty members are stationed at the IAREC representing six WSU academic departments, as well as 80 staff members and Washington Department of Agriculture and Department of Ecology personnel. The Tri-Cities and Yakima metropolitan areas, less than an hour’s drive from the IAREC, host the WSU Tri-Cities campus and the USDA Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, respectively. Facilities include four research farms totaling almost 1200 acres, and extensive laboratories, greenhouses, offices, and support facilities. The recently opened WSU Wine Science Center at the Tri-Cities campus offers state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for plant physiology, microbiology and biochemistry research. Prosser, a town of 5000 residents and excellent public schools, is situated centrally in the midst of this bountiful horticultural region. With its seasonal farmer’s market, rapidly expanding wine and tree fruit industries, and annual wine and food festival, Prosser is a culturally rich and diverse town with abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation nearby. For more information, visit http://prosser.wsu.edu.

Located in south-central Washington State, Prosser is the birthplace of Washington wine. The Yakima River runs through the town and expansive vineyards. At the Irrigated Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Prosser, scientists from WSU, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, and Washington State Department of Agriculture address concerns about the amount of water used in the state for agricultural production. Given that an estimated two-thirds of Washington’s crops come from irrigated land, this research is vital to the region’s economy and sustainability. Prosser is also home to the recently established Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center and is just a 30-minute drive to the WSU Wine Science Center and WSU Tri-Cities campus.

To learn more about the Prosser community, visit www.cityofprosser.com.

The College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) at Washington State University is an expansive and diverse college that includes 15 academic units and five research and extension centers distributed across the state. CAHNRS fosters disciplines that serve at the interface of scientific discovery and its application to the advancement of society and improvement of the human experience. Our mission is to provide global leadership in discovering, accessing, and disseminating knowledge that contributes to producing a safe, abundant food and fiber supply; promotes the well-being of individuals, families, and communities; enhances sustainability of agricultural and economic systems; and promotes stewardship of natural resources and ecological systems. In all dimensions of our mission, we strive to embody the signature “World Class. Face to Face.” motto of Washington State University. CAHNRS personnel embrace the opportunity to fulfill the university’s land-grant mission by making groundbreaking research discoveries, by utilizing innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and by delivering relevant, progressive extension programs that synergistically generate outcomes that enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Washington State, as well as for people around the globe.

For more information, visit http://cahnrs.wsu.edu.

Founded in 1890, Washington State University is a comprehensive land-grant university with teaching, research, and extension missions, and one of two research universities in Washington State. WSU is organized into ten academic colleges, the Honors College, and the Graduate School. It has an enrollment of more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on four campuses (Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver) with approximately 20,000 students located on the main campus in Pullman, WA. WSU ranks among the top 60 public research universities and is a Carnegie I, Doctoral/Research Extensive University. WSU strongly values diversity among its faculty, staff, and students and seeks to ensure a welcoming community for all.

Further information about WSU can be found at: www.wsu.edu.

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EDUCATOR AND EMPLOYER. Members of ethnic minorities, women, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam-era, recently separated veterans, and other protected veterans, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply.

WSU is committed to excellence through diversity and faculty-friendly policy action, including partner accommodation and NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation programs (http://www.advance.wsu.edu/).

WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

WSU is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource Services: 509-335-4521(v), Washington State TDD Relay Service: Voice Callers: 1-800-833-6384; TDD Callers: 1-800-833-6388, 509-335-1259(f), or hrs@wsu.edu.

Keyword Phrases

  • Crop and Soil Sciences
  • statewide system with worldwide reach
  • Discover a great place to work!
  • embracing diversity where everyone can grow!
  • Environmental Science, Ecology & Forestry
  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science
Employment Type:Faculty
Degree Required: Associate
Experience: See Job Description
Level of Job: Department Chair
Type of Faculty:Tenure Track
Salary: See Job Description
Type of School:Research University
Application Requirements: CV/Resume
Cover Letter