Assistant Professor of Tree Fruit

Assistant Professor of Tree Fruit

The Department of Plant Science at Penn State is seeking candidates for a tenure-track, 9-month Assistant Professor position with 75% extension, 20% research, and 5% teaching responsibilities. Pennsylvania has a diverse and progressive tree fruit industry with an annual farm gate value exceeding $110 million. Nationally, in most years the state ranks fourth in apple production, fifth in peaches, and sixth in pears. Fruit is grown for both fresh and processing markets and there are three commercial tree fruit nurseries in the state.

The successful candidate will develop collaborative extension and research programming as a member of the state-wide Tree Fruit Extension Team which consists of faculty from several disciplines on the University Park Campus and at the Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, as well as extension educators located across the state. Research and extension activities should support orchard systems that are well-suited to the region's climate and soils for fruit while providing ecosystem services such as water quality protection, climate resilience, soil health enhancement, and wildlife habitat. The successful candidate is expected to develop appropriate scholarly publications and attract external funds to support programs

The Department of Plant Science is housed within the College of Agricultural Science. The Department is home to about 50 faculty members whose efforts are focused on advanced research, teaching and extension/outreach in plant science with a strong commitment to fostering diversity, equality, and inclusive excellence in all activities. The Department has considerable strength across the continuum of basic to applied research, including root and rhizosphere biology, plant response to stress and climate resilience, plant nutrition, soil fertility and nutrient management, sustainable crop production systems, and agroecosystem modeling. The Department enjoys strong collaborative connections with a variety of colleges (e.g. Eberly College of Science, College of Engineering, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences) and institutes (e.g., Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science (SAFES), the Huck Institutes of Life Sciences and Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Long-Term Agricultural Research Network. Tree fruit program personnel enjoy a strong relationship with the tree fruit industry, including fruit growers, nursery growers, fruit packers and processors.

The College of Agricultural Sciences values and supports interdisciplinary research and extension activities, including providing seed grant funds for external grant proposal development. The Tree Fruit candidate is encouraged to initiate research that employs emerging technologies such as precision and digital agriculture, and to collaborate with scientists with expertise in soil, plant, root/rhizosphere microbiome, pest, animal and ecological science, and post-harvest storage, as well as agricultural engineers and economists at Penn State, the USDA ARS, and others around the country.

The PSU Extension Tree Fruit Team consists of faculty members with expertise in Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Engineering, Entomology, Food Science, Plant Pathology and Soil Science, as well as Horticulture. Extension responsibilities include interacting with other specialists, county educators, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and stakeholder groups around the state, region and nation to identify and prioritize needs; and developing a comprehensive extension education program with a variety of outputs such as the periodic overall coordination and updating of chapters in the Penn State Tree Fruit Production Guide, fact sheets, articles in Penn State's Fruit Times, the Pennsylvania Fruit News, digital products, webinars, and field demonstrations. The successful candidate will serve as a liaison between the fruit industry and the college and demonstrate potential to become an Extension Tree Fruit Team Co-leader, and will work with organizers of the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference and other grower meetings to develop educational programs.

Teaching Responsibilities:

Teaching responsibilities include teaching one tree fruit course for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students every other year, giving occasional guest lectures , advising undergraduate students and recruiting and advising of graduate students.

Education and Experience:

Candidates must have strong written and oral speaking skills to communicate various aspects of tree fruit production and storage to diverse stakeholders. The candidate should have a Ph.D. or equivalent by the date of appointment with disciplinary depth in deciduous tree fruit, and the ability to collaborate in multidisciplinary programs to enhance the sustainability of tree fruit production. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with background and experiences. An attractive benefits package is available.

Application Requirements:

Candidates should apply online at Review of applications will begin on August 5, 2022 and continue until the position is filled. Candidates should provide a cover letter, curriculum vitae, the names and contact information for three references, three representative publications, a statement of research experiences/future interests, and a statement of teaching pedagogy/interests. Applicants should provide evidence, either woven through their application materials or as a separate diversity statement, of a commitment to fostering diversity, equity, inclusive excellence, and belonging and of engagement which creates an inclusive environment in their classroom, department, and the University. Employment will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with university policies.

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusion that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity in society and nature, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusion as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.

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tree fruit
University Park, PA (USA)