Appalachian State University — Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development

Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development
Appalachian State University

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POSITION & QUALIFICATIONS: The Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Department at Appalachian State University invites applications for a tenure track position at the rank of Assistant Professor, beginning August 2020. We seek a dynamic teacher, scholar, and activist/practitioner whose work addresses the ecological and environmental dimensions of global change, the ecological dimensions of coupled human-natural systems, and the ways that global environmental change undermines human well-being and the potential for sustainable development.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. (or its international equivalent) in an integrative natural sciences field (e.g. sustainability science, ecology, environmental science, or earth systems science). The ability to teach introductory and upper level courses on the science that informs sustainable development as well as a demonstrated commitment to high-quality teaching are essential. Applicants should demonstrate a strong record of applied social-ecological or socio-environmental approaches in their research and teaching as well as evidence of potential to collaborate across degree program concentrations within the department for research, curriculum development, and teaching purposes.

Ideal applicants will pursue integrative and collaborative approaches to crucial questions about multiscale, interconnected social-ecological problems. We are particularly interested in a colleague whose work is visionary and will deepen the department’s strengths in:

  • the climate crisis: drivers and consequences of climate change as well as climate change mitigation, adaptation, resilience, and other responses to climate disruption; and
  • the biodiversity crisis: drivers and consequences of mass extinction, ecological collapse, and reductions in biosphere integrity as well as conservation, restoration ecology, and other approaches to addressing biodiversity loss.

We will prioritize applicants whose work broadens our geographic and disciplinary strengths as well as applicants who demonstrate a commitment to justice dimensions of, and community-engaged responses to, global change. Diversity is a key (though under-realized) component of our department’s mission. Thus we seek candidates who strengthen our department’s commitment to improving intercultural competencies and working across difference to combat historical inequities and promote positive social and ecological change.

Faculty members are expected to maintain an active program of scholarship and to participate in service activities, including student advising. The teaching load is 3/3 with an active research agenda.

THE DEPARTMENT: We are a critical development studies department that is committed to preparing students for transformative, community-driven development and social change. The Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Department integrates theory and practice from across the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. We function as a collaborative, transdisciplinary team of scholar-activists and scholar-practitioners with backgrounds in agroecology and forestry, anthropology, ecology, environmental humanities, environmental studies, human geography, labor studies, and political science. Many of our current faculty deviated from their disciplinary mainstream in order to study, to teach, and to respond to pressing socio-ecological challenges with a more integrative and action-oriented approach. As such, we welcome applicants with unconventional intellectual trajectories and interdisciplinary training.

The department is composed of twelve core faculty members whose research and teaching draw on a broad range of local and international partnerships and resources, including the department’s Teaching and Research Farm and Agroecology Laboratory, located in Fleetwood, NC. We have more than 350 undergraduate majors who concentrate in one of four degree programs: a BS in community, regional, and global development; a BS in agroecology and sustainable agriculture; a BS in environmental studies; and a BA in environmental studies. These degrees are offered in-house, rather than through faculty affiliates in other departments, providing for a highly dynamic and integrated approach to curriculum and mentorship. The Department’s mission is to prepare students to engage in the social, economic, and environmental transformations necessary to create thriving, equitable, and sustainable communities within an ecologically healthy world. Our graduates are prepared to work in leadership positions and fulfill the University’s commitment to building a just and sustainable future. Additional information about the Department is available at

THE UNIVERSITY: Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Appalachian State University offers a challenging academic environment, energetic campus life, and breathtaking location. Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors. Small classes and close interactions between faculty and students create a strong sense of community, which has become an Appalachian hallmark. The University’s mission is to “prepare students to lead purposeful lives as engaged global citizens who understand their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all.” Appalachian State is one of 16 universities in the University of North Carolina system.

APPLICATION: Applications should include the following: 1) a cover letter; 2) a curriculum vitae, including contact information for at least three references; 3) a one-page statement of teaching philosophy and a list of new or existing courses you would like to teach; 4) a one-page research statement; and 5) a one-page statement demonstrates how your approach to sustainable development advances diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Review of applications will begin on December 12, 2019, and continue until the position is filled. Questions may be addressed to the search committee chair, Dr. Jennifer Westerman, at

Appalachian State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. The University does not discriminate in access to its educational programs and activities, or with respect to hiring or the terms and conditions of employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity and expression, political affiliation, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or sexual orientation.

Proper documentation of identity and employability will be required before the hiring process can be finalized. Any offer of employment to a successful candidate will be conditional upon the University’s receipt of a satisfactory criminal background report.

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