Assistant Professor of Protected Area/Natural Resources Recreation Management and Sustainability

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The Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position in the area of protected area/natural resources recreation management, and sustainability at the assistant professor level, with a 55% research, 45% teaching appointment. Our department has an undergraduate program in Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism as well as graduate programs (M.S. and Ph.D.) in Sustainable Tourism and Protected Area Management. We seek a colleague who embraces the Department's core value of community engagement and who will bring the scholarship of sustainability to bear on issues related to protected areas, natural resources management, human dimensions of natural resources, and recreational activity, that are challenging communities across Michigan, the U.S. and the world. We believe that parks and protected areas, as well as recreation and tourism enterprises and activities can contribute substantially to community sustainability. We seek someone whose scholarship can contribute to a greater understanding of this potential.

Duties: Duties include: (a) conducting and disseminating peer-reviewed research related to protected areas, natural resources recreation and sustainability; (b) obtaining external funding to support a strong research program; (c) developing and delivering high quality classroom instruction; (d) recruiting and advising graduate students and directing thesis and dissertation research; (e) collaborating effectively with students, faculty, resource managers, policymakers, and other community stakeholders; and (f) performing professional and university service.

The successful candidate is expected to develop an integrated program of scholarship that connects funded research, instruction, and outreach activities. Potential research areas could involve the natural, social, management and behavioral sciences as they relate to the sustainable management of protected areas, natural resources-based recreation, and other areas that address the interface between protected areas, recreational activity and community sustainability.

The successful candidate will be expected to be able to teach a course (or courses) supporting the undergraduate and graduate programs related to protected areas and natural resources recreation management, and have the ability to teach at least one of the department's core undergraduate sustainability courses CSUS 200, CSUS 300 or CSUS 301). We seek candidates who can help us innovate both methodologically and pedagogically. We also seek candidates who will mentor undergraduate and graduate students as they develop skills to apply academically and professionally.

Qualifications:  Applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

•   disciplinary or interdisciplinary Ph.D. in an area that contributes to the interface of sustainability, protected areas, natural resources, and recreation;

•   evidence of successful research worthy of publication in peer-reviewed journals;

•   preparation for successfully pursuing external funding to support research, outreach, and teaching programs;

•   potential for successful teaching in the sustainability core, the protected areas, recreation/tourism undergraduate and graduate programs, and research methods;

•   potential for mentoring students; and

•   a demonstrated interest in community engagement and collaborative and interdisciplinary research


Department: The Department of Community Sustainability is a vibrant community of scholars who engage with colleagues, students, stakeholders, and communities to address sustainability challenges within many environmental, economic, and cultural contexts. We do this by:


•           focusing on sustainability engagement that embraces the decisions inherent in the transition to a more sustainable future;

•           creating and supporting a faculty working on sustainability-related issues;

•           incorporating a systems-thinking view of sustainability into curricula at the undergraduate,

graduate, and lifelong learner levels; and

•           conducting sustainability scholarship that has value in international, national, regional, and local contexts


As scholar-practitioners working within a multidisciplinary department, we address critical issues at the interface of natural resources, protected areas, agriculture, recreation, tourism, and communities. Through engaged scholarship, we aim to generate knowledge that will be useful to residents, landowners, government agencies, tourists, businesses, and non-profit institutions.


We seek to understand the dynamic interactions in communities, ecosystems, and the world, as well as opportunities for sustainable development. This work is rooted in our view of a just, engaged, and dynamic society. Toward that end, we are guided by an ethic of responsible and responsive scholarship that engages people and communities.

Consistent with its mission to contribute to the development of sustainable communities, the Department offers three undergraduate majors linked by a common core in community sustainability: (I) Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS); (2) Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SPRT); and (3) Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Education (AFNRE). The Department offers graduate degrees in Community Sustainability (M.S. and Ph.D.) and Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas Management (M.S. and Ph.D.). In both undergraduate and graduate programs, the Department of Community Sustainability embraces international as well as domestic applications, engagement, and opportunities.

Additional information about the Department is available at

University: Michigan State University ( ) is a Land Grant institution based in East Lansing, Michigan that provides regional, national, and international leadership in basic and applied research, excellence in teaching, an emphasis on international engagement, and a strong extension program that partners with diverse stakeholders to bring science-based responses to social and environmental challenges.

Michigan has abundant natural resources, with 53% of its land forested, more than 11,300 inland lakes, and 3,200 miles of coastline along the Great Lakes. Over 22% of Michigan is designated public lands that include national parks, lakeshores, forests, and wildlife refuges. It has a nationally recognized, award winning state park system and the largest state forest system in the United States ( ). Additionally, Michigan has one of the most diverse agricultural industries in the nation. Michigan has a growing local food movement, over 150 wineries, more than 350 microbreweries, diverse outdoor recreation activities, and a range of spring, summer, fall and winter sporting events ( ) East Lansing and the Mid-Michigan region have numerous music and theatre offerings, with an active arts community ( ) that includes the MSU Broad Art Museum ( ) and the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts at MSU (

Salary: Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and MSU offers a generous benefits package (details at ).

Application Procedure: Qualified applicants MUST apply online at  referencing posting #612007.  Applications must include the following: 1) a cover letter that includes the applicant's perceived fit with the department; 2) a statement focusing on research experience and interests including methodological approaches; 3) a statement of teaching philosophy and experience; 4) a curriculum vitae; and 5) contact information for three or more references.

Questions regarding the position may be directed to the Search Committee chair, Dr. Dan McCole via email or to set up a phone conversation at . Applications will be accepted through December 8, 2019 or until a suitable candidate is selected. Michigan State University is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. The University actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.