Department Head - Biology & Microbiology

South Dakota State University invites applications for the position of Department Head of Biology/Microbiology for the Department of Biology and Microbiology. This is a 12-month, full-time, tenure-track, benefits-earning administrative appointment that carries an academic rank of Professor. This leadership position serves as the executive officer of the department and reports directly to the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences.

SDSU is especially interested in candidates that can contribute to and/or coordinate course offerings that address the experiences of underrepresented minorities in organizations. Women, minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.


The Department of Biology and Microbiology seeks an innovative individual with vision and strong leadership skills who is committed to establishing collaborative relationships, fosters an environment in which faculty and stakeholders are engaged partners, and communicates consistently and effectively. The Department Head must lead the department to develop and maintain strong, relevant research, teaching, and outreach programs. The department head will teach one course. The successful candidate will possess the following minimum and preferred qualifications:


  • A Ph.D. in  biological sciences or a related discipline;
  • Evidence of scholarly, professional or creative achievement sufficient to qualify for tenure in the Department of Biology and Microbiology at the Professor rank;
  • A strong commitment to and demonstrated success towards the advancement of undergraduate and graduate education with an emphasis on excellence in teaching, research and scholarship;
  • Prior personnel supervisory experience;
  • Demonstrated leadership capabilities, e.g., a nimble strategist with a record of successful academic leadership with a knowledge of, appreciation for and commitment to the philosophy and programs of a land-grant institution;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Must be authorized to work in the United States. Sponsorship is not available for this position.


  • Experience in academic administration, e.g., demonstrated experience overseeing complex budgets, fiscal matters, strategic planning and personnel management;
  • Candidate should be nationally recognized in their field;
  • Commitment and demonstrated success towards the advancement of the diversity of students, faculty and staff and to advancing an inclusive climate that stimulates excellence;
  • Understanding and appreciation of evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning.
  • Ability to develop and implement a bold vision for the future of the Department and a proven record of envisioning, developing and sustaining innovative programs that foster excellence in teaching, increased research and service;
  • An effective collaborator and consensus builder who can communicate with multiple constituencies and enable partnerships with other colleges and universities, government agencies, stakeholders and corporations;
  • Capability to identify, recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff;
  • Ability to stimulate growth in recruitment and retention of students;
  • A track record of successful fundraising with a talent for identifying and cultivating entrepreneurial opportunities;
  • Strong communicator and commitment to openness, collaboration and shared decision-making.


Commensurate with qualifications.


South Dakota State University offers a wide range of benefits including medical, dental, and flexible benefits, retirement plans, compensation packages, paid holidays, and vacation leave.  Employees also have access to internal and state-sponsored training as well as reduced tuition for state-supported courses at all State of South Dakota academic institutions.


Ranked as the No. 2 best place to work in South Dakota by Forbes, South Dakota State University is the state’s largest, most comprehensive university with more than 200 programs and an enrollment of approximately 12,000 students.

SDSU offers a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation and the world. Its employees embrace the university’s core values of being people-centered, expanding knowledge through creativity, embracing organizational and personal integrity, commitment to diversity, and excellence through continuous improvement.

The College of Natural Sciences was founded in 2018 and brings together four departments: Biology and Microbiology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Geography and Geospatial Sciences, and Physics. The College offers 11 baccalaureate degrees, eight baccalaureate minors, three M.S. degrees and three Ph.D. degrees.  The college provides the courses to fulfill the natural sciences requirements for all undergraduates at South Dakota State and promotes the use of scientific methods of inquiry to investigate the natural world. Research in the College focuses on both foundational studies and applied work that benefits regional and global communities. More information about the College and its departments are available at  

With its 26 faculty, 4 Research Assistant Professors, 11 Instructors/Lecturers, 7 staff members, over 550 undergraduate and 50 graduate students, the Department of Biology and Microbiology is the largest department within the College of Natural Sciences. The students can choose among five bachelor of science programs, 10 pre-health professional programs, and a M.S. and Ph.D. program in biological sciences, with two specializations. In the annual nationwide ranking of U.S. colleges and universities by College Factual, South Dakota State´s Biology program ranked in the top 8 percent nationally as a “Best Value for the Money” program. The Department has a strong commitment to teaching, research, and service, and supports research in a broad range of biological disciplines ranging from systems biology, immunology and microbiology, mammalian cell and molecular biology, biotechnology and synthetic biology, plant and animal microbiomes, plant cell and molecular biology, to discipline-based education. For a closer look, please visit the department website at:

As the state’s 1862 Morrill Act land-grant institution, the work of the university is carried out on its main resident campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City, and Aberdeen, and through Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across South Dakota.

SDSU was recognized as one of 54 institutions in the United States as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in 2014. The university’s total research expenditures are greater than $60 million. SDSU is the state’s first High Research Activity institution as classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Jackrabbits Athletics competes as an NCAA Division I member with membership in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Summit League and the Big XII for wrestling.

Brookings is home to approximately 24,000 residents and is located 60 miles north of Sioux Falls and 200 miles west of Minneapolis. rates Brookings as an ideal community for families, students, young professionals and retirees. It considers Brookings among the safest and most vibrant cities in South Dakota.

The Brookings Public School District educates approximately 3,300 K-12 students and ranks among the state’s highest academic achieving school districts. The district includes three elementary schools, an intermediate school for fourth and fifth grade, one middle school and a high school.

The city also boasts an abundance of attractions and activities, including the Children’s Museum of South Dakota, Dakota Nature Park, South Dakota Art Museum, McCrory Gardens, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, Outdoor Adventure Center and the Brookings Summer Arts Festival.


Position is open until filled with full consideration given to applications received by March 31, 2021. 


SDSU accepts applications through an on-line 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 curriculum vitae and a cover letter.  The cover letter should specifically address how the candidate meets the qualifications as outlined in the advertisement.  The candidate should provide a brief overview of how his/her  career has prepared the candidate for a departmental leadership position, the leadership and management style of the candidate, and the candidate´s vision of strengthening the teaching, research and service mission of the Department (3 page limit).  Also include names and contact information of at least three professional references.  Email applications will not be accepted.   Please contact SDSU Human Resources at (605) 688-4128 if you require assistance with this process. 

Any offer of employment is contingent on 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.  

South Dakota State University is a tobacco free environment.  

It is the policy of the University to maintain a drug-free environment and to thereby establish, promote, and maintain a safe and healthy working and learning environment for employees and students.  This position is subject to South Dakota State University’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy 4:14. 

For questions about the position, contact Layne Manson at

South Dakota State University is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its faculty, staff and students.  Women, minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  Arrangements for accommodations required by disabilities can be made by emailing SDSU prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, gender, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran’s status or any other protected class in the offering of all educational programs and employment opportunities.  Individuals with concerns regarding discrimination should contact:  Equal Opportunity Officer/Title IX Coordinator, Human Resources, Morrill Hall 100, SDSU, Brookings, SD  57007.  Phone:  (605) 688-4128.