Assistant Professor of Practice

Tucson, AZ
Apr 07, 2021
Position Type
Tenured & Tenure-Track
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
Posting Number:



Biosystems Engineering-Ins

Department Website Link:

Medical Sub-Speciality:


Main Campus


Tucson, AZ USA

Position Highlights:

The Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) ( in the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension and at the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS) focuses on the production of plants and their products, such as vegetables and flowers, inside structures such as greenhouses using sunlight as well as indoor vertical farming systems with electrical lighting, particularly for extreme and critical regions and environments. By using controlled environment agriculture (CEA), for greenhouse, Urban Agriculture and Vertical Farm applications, high-value crops can be produced at maximum productivity in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. CEAC supports education, research, outreach and Extension as part of the Department of Biosystems Engineering (BE) and in support of programs within the School of Plant Sciences (SPLS), Environmental Science (ENVS), and Department of Agricultural Education, Technology, and Innovation – all programs of CALS. CEAC is internationally renowned for expertise and application in CEA and integration of innovation platform plant physiology, engineering, sensor technology, and computer technology applied to Controlled Environments, including Urban Agriculture.

Urban Agriculture (production agriculture using CEA) is a popular social movement expanding for many reasons, including:

  • 1. High interest in locally-grown, safe, secure food that is pesticide-free and/or organic; to know your food & farmer; for community and economic development;
  • 2. complements precision field agriculture;
  • 3. interest in investment by large corporations and supports interests of AgTech and Silicon Valley investors; and
  • 4. fits into the funding programs within USDA/NIFA, NSF, DOE with emphasis on food-energy-water research programs for water/nutrient recycling, increased production and resource-use efficiency, and organic production

Outstanding UA benefitsinclude health, dental, and vision insurance plans; life insurance anddisability programs; paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays; UA/ASU/NAUtuition reduction for the employee and qualified family members; state andoptional retirement plans; access to UA recreation and cultural activities; andmore!

The University of Arizona has been recognized for our innovative work‐lifeprograms. For more information about working at the University of Arizona andrelocations services, please visit

Duties & Responsibilities:

CEA technologies of hydroponics andcontrolled, protected culture are the fundamentals of year-round foodproduction and traditional commercial food production. Food is a constant,daily need; a community, social, and economic enhancer for society; and acomponent within the FEW nexus as the basis for sustainable life and smartcities.

The BE Department and CEAC are currently seeking a Professor of Practice to support the instruction mission of the BE and Sustainable Plant Systems programs and to educate graduates to meet the expectation of the CEA-based industry. The work environment includes a team of inter-disciplinary CEA faculty centrally located in the CEA Building on the Campus Ag Center Farm which has been historically supported at UA for more than 60 years of research and education activities in collaboration with the CEA industry. A Smart classroom, 5000 sq-ft greenhouse crop production/Lab space and other greenhouse compartments combine to complete the CEAC mini-campus. As the instructor for the CEA curriculum in BE and Sustainable Plant Systems programs, the candidate is expected to teach courses including 1) Introduction to Hydroponics, 2) Advanced Hydroponics, and 3) Greenhouse Pest Management with lecture and labs. These courses include a unique 5000 sq-ft plant care greenhouse laboratory and an indoor vertical farming system, for development of operations, and management skills in the CEAC teaching/research greenhouses and vertical farm with classroom learning, hands-on assignments, and group discussion covering pest management principles, methods, and current practice.

These courses and labs are important because they:

  1. are foundational courses and the basis of CEA for greenhouse Urban Agriculture and Vertical Farm;
  2. provide hands-on experiences with crops within commercial-designed production systems;
  3. are located at CAC/CEAC, they often provide students with their first greenhouse and indoor vertical farming opportunity experiences relevant to commercial operations;
  4. offer student employment, internships, and volunteering opportunities;
  5. provide a natural pathway from introductory to advanced hydroponics topics;
  6. often provide demonstrations and/or displays for visitors and tours;
  7. raise hydroponically-grown produce for sale and for community food needs;
  8. allow students to observe species/variety differences;
  9. allow students to observe plant culture differences [new substrates, procedures];
  10. provide students with experiences in plant response to environmental control;
  11. provide students with the challenges of providing environmental control to meet the needs of the plants;
  12. have students practice pest management practices in preparation for the Professional Crop Advisor (PCA) license;
  13. expose students to short course and intensive workshop lectures & demonstrations; and
  14. allow students to gain insights into Plant Sciences, Biosystems Engineering, Sustainable Plant Systems, Agricultural Education, Technology, and Innovation, Agricultural Technology Management, and Hydroponic Crop Production.

In order to get the greenhouses ready for fall instruction and to prepare for fall teaching a short-term appointment will be issued beginning July 1, 2021.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Organize, prepare, and conduct in-class, hybrid and online Greenhouse Hydroponics and Greenhouse Pest Management courses as part of the BE and Sustainable Plant Systems Program within CALS.
  • Organize, prepare, and manage the Greenhouse Hydroponics and Pest Management courses laboratory.
  • Present lectures and laboratories and other educational activities at the CEA Building (#2088) Classroom 1951 E. Roger Road and other facilities dedicated to teaching CEA and hydroponics crop production courses.
  • Work cooperatively with other faculty utilizing the CEAC Teaching Greenhouses (Bldg #2087) and other facilities for other CEA program-based classes.
  • Participate at the CEAC Annual Short Course and Intensive Workshop programs.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Excellent written, teaching/outreach communication skills.
  • Potential for excellence in teaching and undergraduate mentoring.
  • Background in Controlled Environment Agriculture, Biosystems Engineering, Entomology, or related fields; experience in the practices and application of controlled environment hydroponically grown crops (e.g. tomato, cucumber, sweet pepper, leafy greens) as well as IPM (Integrated Pest Management) for greenhouse crops.
  • Understand plant nutrition, diseases, pests, and integrated pest management practices.
  • Demonstrated organizational and time management skills and the ability to multi-task and work independently.
  • Skill in using modern and creative teaching technologies for in-class and online teaching.
  • High proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite including Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Word for use in the classroom and professional social media applications.
  • Proven excellence in written communication (including a scientific, peer-reviewed publication record appropriate for the applicant's career stage) in controlled environment agriculture;
  • Evidence of integrating sciences and engineering in teaching programs;
  • Evidence of team-building skills, capacity for successful collaboration, and potential to manage multidisciplinary education projects;
  • Skill in using modern and creative teaching technologies for in-class and online course teaching;
  • Demonstrated ability to be flexible and responsive in a team-based environment;
  • Knowledge and understanding of horticultural plants and environmental physiology, and controlled environment agriculture technology;
  • Knowledge and understanding of plant nutrition, diseases, pests, and integrated pest management practices;

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in horticulture, crop science, plant science, or agricultural and biosystems or horticultural engineering with emphasis on controlled environment agriculture.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience in controlled environment agriculture or greenhouse-related teaching; Demonstrated ability to write, edit, coordinate, and maintain educational course materials at the University level;
  • Experience as a teaching assistant or instructor teaching a classroom and laboratory situation at the University level;
  • Teaching experience with vegetable crop production in controlled environment agriculture, including online course development and instruction;
  • Teaching experience including development of distance/online education; Ability to advance the departmental and CALS' commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Rank :


Tenure Information:

Career-Track (CT)



Full Time/Part Time:

Full Time

Number of Hours Worked per Week:


Job FTE:


Work Calendar:


Job Category:


Benefits Eligible:

Yes - Full Benefits

Rate of Pay:


Compensation Type:

salary at 1.0 full-time equivalency (FTE)

Type of criminal background check required::

Name-based criminal background check (non-security sensitive)

Number of Vacancies:


Target Hire Date:


Expected End Date:

Contact Information for Candidates:

Dr. Murat Kacira,
Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Center
Professor, Biosystems Engineering
[email protected], phone: 520-626-4254

Open Date:


Open Until Filled:


Documents Needed to Apply:

Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Cover Letter

Special Instructions to Applicant:

Diversity Statement:

At the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. As an Hispanic-serving institution and a Native American/Alaska Native-serving institution, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we provide equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.

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