The University of Tennessee, Knoxville — Professor and Head, Department of Plant Sciences

Applications and nominations are invited for the position of Professor and Head, Department of Plant Sciences, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This position is 12-month and tenured with a 100% administrative appointment. 


The Department currently employs 30 faculty members and 61 professionals and support staff to conduct its teaching, research, Extension/outreach, and service programs. These employees are located on the Knoxville campus and throughout Tennessee at Research and Education Centers and the State Botanical Gardens of Tennessee. Approximately 130 students are enrolled in the Department’s bachelor’s program in the Herbert College of Agriculture. The Department offers concentrations in Horticultural Science and Production, Organic Production, Plant Genetics and Biotechnology, Public Horticulture, Sustainable Landscape Design, and Turfgrass Science and Management. The Department’s masters and doctoral programs, including the intercollegiate Master of Landscape Architecture, offered in partnership with the College of Architecture and Design, currently enroll about 86 students. Participation in research, creative achievement, and experiential learning are fundamental to the Department’s undergraduate and graduate education programs. Research and Extension efforts focus on agronomy and field crops, fruit and vegetable production, landscape design, molecular biology and genomics, nursery production, organic and sustainable production, plant breeding, public horticulture, turfgrass and management, controlled environment agriculture, and weed science. The Department’s mission, vision, and core values are available at Additional information on the Department is available at Information on Knoxville can be found at 


The Department Head’s responsibilities include leadership of all departmental programs and administrative responsibility for planning, fiscal management, human resources, and facilities. The Head reports to the Deans of UT Extension, AgResearch, and the Herbert College of Agriculture and works with each of the three Dean’s offices to accomplish departmental goals and objectives. The Head guides the Department’s efforts to deliver nationally and internationally recognized teaching, research, and Extension/outreach programs. The Head helps develop, articulate, and promote the Department’s vision of being an innovative and leading source for information and technologies in agronomy, horticulture, plant biology, and landscape design. 

The successful candidate is expected to: 

  • Lead education, research, Extension/outreach, and service activities in the Department with fairness and integrity; 
  • Advocate effectively for the Department with University administration and external constituencies (including professional organizations, alumni, industry, and state and federal agencies); 
  • Promote a workplace environment that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect for multicultural and multidisciplinary settings, and is based on collegiality, teamwork, inclusive decision making, and a sense of shared community across the University; 
  • Recruit, motivate, strengthen, and retain faculty and staff through active engagement, mentoring, and professional development programs; 
  • Increase recruitment and participation of underrepresented students and faculty within the department; 
  • Interact with faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders to determine and support direction and priorities; 
  • Enhance cooperation and collaboration with other departments, colleges, and universities; 
  • Cultivate externally sponsored opportunities to support departmental programs; and 
  • Increase national and international recognition of the Department’s faculty, staff, students, and programs.
    The University of Tennessee is seeking candidates who have the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the diversity and intercultural goals of the University and College.


The successful candidate must qualify for the rank of Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences with an earned doctorate in plant sciences or a related field. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the following: 

  • Excellence in at least two of the following: (1) Research or scholarly activity; (2) Teaching, instruction; (3) Extension/outreach or service; or (4) Academic or administrative leadership; 
  • Record of outstanding professional accomplishments, including team-building skills; 
  • Understanding of and commitment to excellence in the three missions (teaching, research, and Extension/outreach) of a land grant university; and 
  • Knowledge of and commitment to equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.


We seek a collegial leader with:

  • Effective communication, consensus building, interpersonal, and leadership skills; 
  • Skills in effective management of personnel and a desire to encourage productive teamwork; and
  • Demonstrated fiscal and resource management skills;
  • Experience assessing priorities, developing and implementing a strategic plan, and adapting to change in a multidisciplinary environment; 
  • Appreciation for the disciplinary breadth of the Department; and 
  • Clear vision and strategy for the Department.


Compensation is competitive and based on education, experience, and qualifications. The University of Tennessee offers a comprehensive benefits package to all regular employees, including health and dental insurance, life insurance, and multiple retirement plans.


The Department of Plant Sciences fosters a diverse and inclusive environment, and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Applicants should submit (i) letter of application summarizing the applicant’s qualifications, leadership philosophy, and vision for a plant sciences department that integrates diverse disciplines within a contemporary land grant university; (ii) complete curriculum vitae; (iii) statement of philosophy and approach to building a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment for faculty, staff, and students; (iv) names, addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers of at least five professional references that the Search Committee may contact; and (v) copy of transcripts showing degree(s) conferred through Nominations and questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Christopher Clark, Search Committee Chair,, (865)974-7462.

Review of applicants will begin January 14, 2022, and continue until an appointment is made.

All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admissions without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

Eligibility and other terms and conditions of employment benefits at The University of Tennessee are governed by laws and regulations of the State of Tennessee, and this non-discrimination statement is intended to be consistent with those laws and regulations.

In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, The University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the University.

Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), ADA (disability), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), 1840 Melrose Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996-3560, telephone (865) 974-2498 (V/TTY available) or 974-2440. Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Office of Equity and Diversity.