Assistant Professor - Agronomy
Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is seeking applicants for a 9-month tenure track faculty position in Agronomy with research, extension and some teaching responsibilities. The focus of this position will be soybean production (Research/Extension). This position will be housed at the Virginia Tech Tidewater Agricultural Research & Extension Center located in Suffolk, VA. Research and Extension goals will focus on increasing overall productivity, resiliency, sustainability, and economic value of food, agriculture production systems, and natural resources while expanding Virginia Tech's global influence in this rapidly evolving domain. This position will be affiliated with the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture as well as contribute to Virginia's Smart Farm Innovation Network, in conjunction with existing faculty, county Extension agents, staff, and graduate students working in these areas of research and Extension outreach.
The successful candidate will develop a regionally and nationally recognized research and Extension outreach program to improve and enhance production capacity, profitability, and sustainability of soybean cropping systems. This should be accomplished by developing and implementing novel agronomic practices combined with integration of current and emerging technologies in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic soybean production systems. The candidate will also be expected to develop and maintain relationships with agricultural stakeholders that leads to substantial applied research that directly benefits producers across the region. The tenure home will reside in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences (SPES) within the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. The position will be considered a soybean specialist within Virginia Cooperative Extension. Linkages with other universities (e.g. Virginia State University, the 1890 land-grant institution of Virginia), colleges outside of CALS and units outside of SPES will be highly encouraged. Opportunities for international engagement exist and will also be encouraged.
The successful individual is expected to secure extramural funds (including federal competitive funding) to support an integrated Extension and research program. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are necessary, and the candidate is expected to establish and maintain close working relationships with Virginia Tech-CALS Faculty, county Extension agents and regional Extension specialists; as well as industry, commodity groups, state agencies, and other organizations as appropriate. The successful candidate is also expected to recruit and mentor graduate students.
Research duties and expectations:
The candidate will be expected to lead a multidisciplinary team of peer researchers, technicians, and students that conduct relevant applied (and when necessary basic) research addressing problems faced by stakeholders. Research activities may include (but are not limited to):
- Obtain external funding to support field-scale research using the latest advances in precision agriculture technology to acquire highly reliable spatial and temporal data and analyze those data with GIS and innovative statistical techniques and modeling.
- Conduct small-plot multiple-factor research where field-scale research is not practical.
- Identify impactful research areas such as management strategies for resource-efficient, resilient, and environmentally-sound cropping systems; evaluation of new production practices and technologies; cultivar evaluations; chemical and biological seed treatments; seed quality and nutrition studies; water and nutrient use efficiency studies; abiotic and biotic crop stresses; integrated pest management; food-grade and other value-added soybean trials; short- and long-term profitability studies.
- Collaboration with county Extension agents to conduct on-farm research that addresses state and local needs.
- Lead the soybean variety testing program by conducting full-season and double-crop soybean variety tests in major production regions (or "multiple environments") of Virginia.
- Publish research in peer-reviewed journals.
The candidate will be expected to lead a multidisciplinary team of Extension specialists, county Extension agents, and researchers to improve economic and environmental sustainability of the soybean industry through highly visible outreach programs founded on science-based information and research. Extension activities may include (but are not limited to):
- Develop recommendations and deliver technical training to county Extension agents, farmers (stakeholders), and crop advisors through a combination of applied research, print and electronic resources, face-to-face meetings, field days, and farm visits. Examples include:
- Develop and deliver sound agronomic guidelines.
- Teach agronomic fundamentals to improve the critical thinking skills of stakeholders to make better decisions.
- Facilitate technology transfer and adoption of products that maximize efficiencies of agronomic practices.
- Address current and emerging issues pertaining to soybean-based cropping systems in conjunction with faculty specializing in insect, disease, and weed management, agronomy, precision agriculture, and other appropriate fields of study.
- Evaluate research conducted by peer-universities and private industry that could benefit Virginia stakeholders.
- Deliver practical information and educational tools via direct and indirect contact with clientele. Examples include:
- Participate in county, state, regional, national, and international Extension meetings, conferences, field days, and the Virginia Soybean Yield Contest.
- Publish timely and relevant information through Virginia, regional, national Extension publications.
- Deliver timely information and advice through bulletins, newsletters, websites, blogs, videos, webinars, social media.
- Respond to stakeholder and county Extension agent inquiries, crises, and needs as they arise. Troubleshooting production problems via farm visits and other means of communication (e.g., video calls, text, email).
The candidate will not have a formal teaching appointment, yet graduate student education will be expected to foster the next generation of Extension agents and specialists, agronomic researchers, farmers, and crop advisers through mentoring and training of graduate students. Guest lectures are also encouraged to support existing undergraduate and graduate courses.
Service duties and expectations:
As an off-campus Agricultural Research & Extension Center, Tidewater AREC hosts a multidisciplinary team of faculty, staff, and students. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the professional development of peers, staff, and students via personal interactions and formal trainings. Additionally, service as the Educational Advisor for the Virginia Soybean Board and Virginia Soybean Association is expected, including participation on the Virginia Agriculture Expo committee. Finally, service to the professional community through review of publications, participation in and service to professional associations and meetings, and participation in competitive grant panels is expected.
Ph.D. in agronomy, plant and/or crop sciences, or closely related field.
Strong foundation in agronomic principles and concepts.
Highly effective verbal and written communication skills.
Demonstrated ability to publish original research in peer-reviewed and internationally-recognized journals.
Ability to obtain a Virginia Commercial Pesticide License (Category 10) within 12 months of hire date.
Experience in soybean production systems.
Ability to apply research results and provide recommendations and guidelines for the agricultural community.
Experience in Extension programming.
Ability to deliver information and tools via modern media technologies to diverse audiences.
Work effectively in teams and evidence or interest in interdisciplinary work.
Engage with a diverse population of industry, grower organizations, faculty, staff and students.
Ability to obtain a Class A CDL.
Commensurate with experience
November 28, 2022
The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.
Uncommon Work Schedule - (Rotating Shifts, Weekend, Nights)
In addition to the online application, required application materials include: 1) cover letter summarizing qualifications, 2) curriculum vitae, 3) statement of current research interests (1-page limit), 4) statement of extension education and graduate mentoring philosophy (1-page limit), and 5) full contact information for four professional references. All inquiries concerning this position should be directed to the Search Committee Chair, Dr. William Hunter Frame, firstname.lastname@example.org; (757-807-6535). Review of applications will begin on November 28, 2022 and will continue until a suitable candidate is selected.
About Virginia Tech
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.
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 military 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.
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