Assistant Professor: Remote Sensing and Environmental Geography

Job description

The Department of Geography at San Diego State University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty member at the Assistant Professor level in remote sensing and environmental geography.  Candidates must have a PhD degree in Geography, Geosciences or a related field, demonstrated potential for outstanding research in remote sensing, and a strong background in some aspect of biophysical geography, environmental science, human dimensions of environmental change, and/or land change science.  Technical specializations can include machine/deep learning for image processing, or spatial modeling.  Applications can include land use and land cover change, agriculture, ecosystem structure and function, hazards, human health, urban or rural development, biodiversity or conservation, water resources, climate and/or other aspects of environmental change.  Demonstrated excellence in teaching, scholarship and commitment to extramural funded research activity is required.  The candidate will have an interest in teaching and developing graduate and undergraduate courses in remote sensing of the environment. The hire will advise students in the Department’s Master’s programs and the joint SDSU-UCSB PhD in Geography.  Anticipated start date is Fall 2021.  To be eligible for this position, applicants should review SDSU’s Building on Inclusive Excellence (BIE) criteria ( and must meet a minimum of two of the eight listed criteria.  Applications should include i) letter of application describing research and teaching interests as well as outlining how the applicant meets at least two of the BIE criteria, ii) curriculum vitae including list of publications, presentations, teaching experience, and past, current and pending funding, and iii) list of three references. Letters will be requested from references for select candidates, with a requested turnaround time of approximately two weeks.  Materials should be submitted at Applications received by February 1, 2021 will receive full consideration but the position is open until filled.  SDSU is a Title IX, equal opportunity employer.  The person selected is a "mandated reporter" under CSU Executive Order 1083.  For additional information see or contact the Chair of the Search Committee, Prof. Trent Biggs, [email protected].

Building on Inclusive Excellence Criteria

We are seeking applicants with demonstrated experience in and/or commitment to teaching and working effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds and members of underrepresented groups.  Candidates must satisfy two or more of the eight Building on Inclusive Excellence (BIE) criteria. Candidates that meet BIE criteria: (a) are committed to engaging in service with underrepresented populations within the discipline, (b) have demonstrated knowledge of barriers for underrepresented students and faculty within the discipline, (c) have experience or have demonstrated commitment to teaching and mentoring underrepresented students, (d) have experience or have demonstrated commitment to integrating understanding of underrepresented populations and communities into research, (e) have experience in or have demonstrated commitment to extending knowledge of opportunities and challenges in achieving artistic/scholarly success to members of an underrepresented group, (f) have experience in or have demonstrated commitment to research that engages underrepresented communities, (g) have expertise or demonstrated commitment to developing expertise in cross-cultural communication and collaboration, and/or (h) have research interests that contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in higher education.  Please indicate in your cover letter how you meet at least two or more of these criteria.

About SDSU

San Diego State University is the largest university in San Diego and the third largest in California. The highly diverse campus community has a student population of over 36,000 and approximately 5,849 faculty and staff. SDSU is currently designated as a Doctoral / Research-Intensive University by the Carnegie Foundation.  Established in 1897, SDSU offers bachelor degrees in 84 areas, masters in 76 and doctorates in 21. See for more information. SDSU is a large, diverse, urban university and Hispanic-Serving Institution with a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence. Our campus community is diverse in many ways, including race, religion, color, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin, pregnancy, medical condition, and covered veteran status.  We strive to build and sustain a welcoming environment for all.

SDSU has been ranked as the No. 1 small research university in the nation on the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index. In fiscal 2016-17, SDSU faculty and staff attracted more than $134 million in grants and contracts. Academic Analytics consistently ranked SDSU faculty research productivity highly in 2007-2010: #1 out of 92 small research universities in the United States, #15 out of all 155 public research universities, and #35 out of all 222 American research universities.

About the Department of Geography

The Department of Geography has one of the strongest research programs at SDSU, with focus areas in human-environment interactions, biophysical geography, watershed analysis, GIScience, and human and urban geography.  The Department offers M.A. degrees in Human and Environmental Geography, as well as M.S. degrees in Geographic Information Science and Watershed Science.  The joint doctoral program with the University of California, Santa Barbara is 7th ranked nationally according to the most recent report from Academic Analytics.  See for more information. 

Technological development and applications for environment and sustainability, including remote sensing, are key components of geographic research and teaching. Our department takes a transdisciplinary approach to understand and develop innovative solutions to our world’s most pressing environmental, social and technological challenges. We use quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches, critical theory, and cutting-edge geo-spatial technologies to understand and draw connections between local outcomes and global forces, such as climate change, water resources, disease, globalization, resource depletion, inequality, youth and migration. Our research vision is to use our skills, knowledge, spatiotemporal thinking and geo-spatial technologies to advance theory, conduct policy-relevant research, and find sustainable solutions to social and environmental problems, both locally and globally.

Through our classes and graduate programs, we aim to provide students with the knowledge, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and proficiency in geospatial techniques required to understand complex global and local interdependencies between people, places and environments.  Geography students master theories and practices in physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities, as well as geospatial technologies. Our students not only develop abilities to conduct research, analyze evidence, and communicate clearly, but they also learn how to develop solutions to real world problems using an integrative approach. We see learning about the dynamics of human-environment systems as particularly relevant now and in the future.

The successful applicant should expect to teach at least several of the following extant courses offered by our department, with the potential to develop additional courses in their area of expertise. Geography courses with a focus on remote sensing include:

  • Geography 591/591L: Remote Sensing of the Environment (w/ laboratory)
  • Geography 592/592L: Intermediate Remote Sensing of the Environment (w/laboratory)
  • Geography 688/688L: Advanced Remote Sensing (w/ laboratory)
  • Geography 780: Seminar in Techniques in Spatial Analysis

Environmental Geography courses offered by SDSU Geography that could incorporate remote sensing and applications include:

  • Geography 101:  Earth's Physical Environment
  • Geography 104:  Geographic Information Science and Spatial Reasoning
  • Geography 370: Conservation and Science Policy
  • Geography 426: Regional Field Studies
  • Geography 454: Sustainable Cities
  • Geography 506: Landscape Ecology
  • Geography 507: Geography of Natural Vegetation
  • Geography 512: World on Fire
  • Geography 572: Land Use Analysis
  • Geography 573: Population and Environment
  • Geography 770: Seminar in Environmental Conservation

The particular expertise associated with this position, as well as the potential for multi-disciplinary collaboration, justify high expectations for significant external funding. The hire is expected to procure extramural research funding from sources such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and other sources.

This position will support collaborative linkages within the department in the areas of (associated Geography faculty in parentheses): water resources (Biggs, McMillan); climate (DeSales, Quandt); food and agriculture (Marcelli, Bosco, Quandt); biogeography and landscape ecology (An, O’Leary, Stow); environmental statistics (An, Christakos); social-ecological systems (An, Levine, Marcelli, Quandt); environmental planning and policy (An, Biggs, Christakos, Jankowski, Levine, McMillan, O’Leary, Stow, Quandt), geospatial information systems and analysis (An, Christakos, Jankowski, Nara, Skupin, Stow, Tsou); and children, youth and family studies (Aitken, Bosco Marcelli, and Swanson).  The hire will also be well situated to join various research clusters in which our department participates: Blue Gold: Mitigating impacts of water scarcity (; Climate Change and Sustainability Studies (C2S2 – predicting regional climate, its impact, and human adaptions and mitigation; and Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA).  Other research centers in the Geography Department include: Center for Earth Systems Analysis and Research (CESAR), Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS), International Population Center (IPC), and Youth, Environment, Society and Space (YESS). CESAR ( is a shared educational and research center with five separate laboratory facilities in support of geographic information science and technology, qualitative methods and research, and physical modeling and processes. Four of these facilities are computer labs equipped with high-end workstations and the latest versions of GIS, remote sensing/image processing, and spatial statistics software.   The hire will likely play a leadership role with CESAR.  Additionally, the hire will have significant opportunity for potential collaboration with other units on campus, including: Anthropology, City Planning, Ecology, Economics, Geological Science, Graduate School of Public Health, History, Humanities, Philosophy, and Sociology.

The person holding this position is considered a “mandated reporter” under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and is required to comply with the requirements set forth in CSU Executive Order 1083 as a condition of employment.

A background check (including a criminal records check) must be completed before any candidate can be offered a position with the CSU. Failure to satisfactorily complete the background check may affect the application status of applicants or continued employment of current CSU employees who apply for the position.

SDSU is a Title IX, equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against persons on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, marital status, age, disability, pregnancy, medical condition, or covered veteran status.




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Job No:
Posted: 12/3/2020
Application Due: 2/1/2021
Work Type: