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Assistant Professor - Specialty Crops

South Dakota State University
Brookings County, South Dakota, US
Closing date
Oct 7, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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The Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science at South Dakota State University invites applications to fill a nine-month, full-time, benefit eligible, tenure-track faculty position with teaching and research responsibilities (60/40). The successful applicant will conduct research on production and management of Horticultural crops grown under intense cropping systems. This position is supervised by the department head of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science and is open until filled. The preferred start date is January 2022 or earlier.

South Dakota State University promotes access to and opportunities for all to receive the benefit of and participate in education, research, and service and is especially interested in candidates that can contribute to this land-grant mission of access.

Specialty crops in South Dakota help support local food systems and communities, as they are generally labor-intensive but can offer substantial income on small acreages. Horticultural crop value is highly dependent on quality. Consumers prefer produce grown with limited chemical use, so disease management requires understanding the interactions between the plants and their environment, particularly the microbial community. Understanding the role of the microbial community in responding to varying conditions can also help select sustainable and climate-smart production practices, thus can help improve resiliency in the face of increasingly erratic weather patterns.

The successful candidate will contribute significantly to the Department's teaching program by delivering Horticulture curriculum. The position responsibilities also include management of the department's Local Foods Education Center. The successful applicant will deliver a nationally recognized teaching program focusing on innovative specialty crop production systems for horticultural food production (small scale farms, urban farms, or roof tops), food production using controlled environments (greenhouses, hydroponics, aquaponics, or vertical farming), and/or protected culture (high tunnels, low tunnels, or specialized growing environments). The incumbent may develop curriculum in their area of expertise as needed by the department. The candidate will train and educate students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and is expected to contribute to a vibrant campus learning environment.

The incumbent is expected to develop a nationally recognized interdisciplinary research program centered on management of intensely grown specialty crops and their ecosystem (soil, cover crops, and vegetable and fruits). The successful candidate for this research and teaching position will have a strong background in horticultural food production systems and have specialized knowledge in plant physiology, plant/microbe interactions, soils, or other related discipline in the quantitative study of food crop responses to environmental, cultural, or mechanical variables. Research expectations include developing production approaches and best management practices suitable for improving crop production system efficiency, economic opportunity, and climate change resilience. Approaches to accomplish these expectations could include using cultural and molecular techniques to address fundamental questions of host-microbe interaction and how these interactions relate to crop management. The position is open to all new and emerging areas of research, including biopesticides, rhizosphere interaction effects on crop health and resilience, microbial ecology in intensively managed systems including controlled environments, and others. Successful grant writing, participation in multidisciplinary research collaborations, and multi-state activities is expected.


· Ph.D. in Horticulture, Plant Pathology, Soil Biology, or related field

· Research experience in microbial ecology, phyllosphere and/or rhizosphere microbial interactions

· Ability to apply molecular biology techniques to research questions

· Ability to publish experimental results in peer-reviewed journals


· Teaching experience

· Experience with high-value horticultural crops

· Postdoctoral or equivalent experience

· Experience in plant and/or microbial genomics and molecular biology

· Potential to obtain extramural research funding.


South Dakota State University accepts applications through an online employment site. To apply, visit:, search by the position title, view the job announcement, and click on "apply for this job." This system will guide you through the electronic application form. This employment site will also require the attachment of a cover letter, which should specifically address how the candidate meets the qualifications as outlined in the advertisement, Curriculum Vitae, and a reference page with the contact information for three professional references. Email applications will not be accepted. Please contact South Dakota State University Human Resources at 605-688-4128 if you require assistance with this process.

Any offer of employment is conditioned upon the university's verification of credentials and other information required by law and/or university policies, including but not limited to, successful completion of a criminal background check.
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