Assistant Professor of Energy Systems in the Department of Community Sustainability

Assistant Professor of Energy Systems in the Department of Community Sustainability

The Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University invites applications for a nine-month tenure-system faculty position in Energy Systems and Sustainability at the Assistant Professor level, with a 60% research, 40% teaching appointment to start August 2017.  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 critical energy issues across Michigan, the U.S. and the world.

The successful candidate is expected to develop an integrated program of scholarship that connects funded research, instruction, and outreach activities with respect to behavioral, economic, or social science approaches to energy and low-carbon transitions. Potential research areas could include, but are not limited to, examining preferences for energy sources, effective energy policies, reducing energy consumption, improving energy efficiency, climate change mitigation, or adopting renewable energy technologies. Research areas should also intersect with sustainability science, community engagement, and our department’s thematic areas:

  1. Education and community engagement
  2. Community food and agriculture
  3. Natural resources and environment
  4. Recreation and tourism systems

The successful candidate will be prepared to teach courses in the department’s Environmental Studies and Sustainability major and in the sustainability core curriculum (CSUS 200, 300 and 301) that serves all the department’s majors. The candidate will also be expected to participate in contributing to a high quality suite of quantitative and qualitative methods courses in the department’s graduate and undergraduate curricula. Other courses could address, but are not limited to, energy and society, energy and climate policy, food-energy-water nexus, and energy systems. 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 that they can apply academically and professionally. 

Duties: Included duties are to: (a) conduct and disseminate peer-reviewed research related to the interdisciplinary science of human interactions with energy and energy systems, and its implications for policy and practice;  (b) obtain competitive external funding to support a strong research program; (c) develop and deliver high quality classroom instruction; (d) recruit and advise graduate students and direct thesis and dissertation research; (e) collaborate effectively with students, faculty, resource managers, policymakers, and other community stakeholders; and (f) perform professional and university service.

Qualifications:  Applicants will be evaluated for the following criteria:

  • Disciplinary or interdisciplinary PhD required at time of appointment, in an area that contributes energy expertise to the focal areas of the Department of Community Sustainability, primarily through a focus on energy systems;
  • evidence of successful research leading to publications 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 curriculum, the Environmental Studies and Sustainability major, 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 specific 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 dedicated faculty working on sustainability-related issues;
  • Incorporating a systems-thinking view of sustainability into curricula at the undergraduate level, graduate level, and lifelong learner level; and
  • Conducting sustainability scholarship that is international in scope while attending to regional and local contexts.

As scholar-practitioners, and as an interdisciplinary department, we address critical issues at the interface of agriculture, natural resources, recreation, and communities. Through engaged scholarship, we aim to generate knowledge that will be useful to people in their roles as residents, landowners, businesses, and governmental and non-profit institutional leaders. 

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 (Bachelor of Science) linked by a common core in community sustainability: (1) 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 (MS and PhD) and Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas Management (MS and PhD). 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 pioneer 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, one of the most diverse agricultural industries in the nation, and is surrounded by the beautiful Great Lakes. East Lansing and the region have numerous music and theatre offerings, with an active arts community ( that includes the recently opened Broad Art Museum ( Throughout Michigan there is a growing local food movement, over 200 wineries and over 200 microbreweries, diverse outdoor recreation activities, and a range of summer and winter sporting events.

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  #4531.  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/research philosophy that includes specifically addressing the alignment between your goals and CANR’s focus on excellence through diversity and inclusion, including summary of your experience with, or interest in working in diverse classrooms and communities; 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. Rick Foster via email or to set up a phone conversation at Applications will be accepted until January 13, 2017, 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.