Job Details

Professor and Head, Department of Plant Sciences

Knoxville, TN
Open Date:
Sep 21, 2021

The Department currently employs 30 faculty members and 61 professionals and support staff to conduct out its teaching, research, Extension/outreach, and service programs. These employees are located on the Knoxville campus and throughout Tennessee at Research and Education Centers and the State Botanical Gardens of Tennessee. Approximately 130 students are enrolled in the Department's bachelor’s program in the Herbert College of Agriculture. The Department offers concentrations in Horticultural Science and Production, Organic Production, Plant Genetics and Biotechnology, Public Horticulture, Sustainable Landscape Design, and Turfgrass Science and Management. The Department’s masters and doctoral programs, including the intercollegiate Master of Landscape Architecture, offered in partnership with the College of Architecture and Design, currently enroll about 86 students. Participation in research, creative achievement, and experiential learning are fundamental to the Department’s undergraduate and graduate education programs. Research and Extension efforts focus on agronomy and field crops, fruit and vegetable production, landscape design, molecular biology and genomics, nursery production, organic and sustainable production, plant breeding, public horticulture, turfgrass and management, controlled environment agriculture, and weed science. The Department's mission, vision, and core values are available at Additional information on the Department is available at Information on Knoxville can be found at


The Department Head’s responsibilities include leadership of all departmental programs and administrative responsibility for planning, fiscal management, human resources, and facilities. The Head reports to the Deans of UT Extension, AgResearch, and the Herbert College of Agriculture and works with each of the three Dean’s offices to accomplish departmental goals and objectives. The Head guides the Department’s efforts to deliver nationally and internationally recognized teaching, research, and Extension/outreach programs. The Head helps develop, articulate, and promote the Department's vision of being an innovative and leading source for information and technologies in agronomy, horticulture, plant biology, and landscape design.

The successful candidate is expected to:

  • Lead education, research, Extension/outreach, and service activities in the Department with fairness and integrity;
  • Advocate effectively for the Department with University administration and external constituencies (including professional organizations, alumni, industry, and state and federal agencies);
  • Promote a workplace environment that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect for multicultural and multidisciplinary settings, and is based on collegiality, teamwork, inclusive decision making, and a sense of shared community across the University;
  • Recruit, motivate, strengthen, and retain faculty and staff through active engagement, mentoring, and professional development programs;
  • Increase recruitment and participation of underrepresented students and faculty within the department;
  • Interact with faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders to determine and support direction and priorities;
  • Enhance cooperation and collaboration with other departments, colleges, and universities;
  • Cultivate externally sponsored opportunities to support departmental programs; and
  • Increase national and international recognition of the Department’s faculty, staff, students, and programs.

The University of Tennessee is seeking candidates who have the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the diversity and intercultural goals of the University and College.



The successful candidate must qualify for the rank of Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences with an earned doctorate in plant sciences or a related field.

In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the following:

  • Excellence in at least two of the following: (1) Research or scholarly activity; (2) Teaching, instruction; (3) Extension/outreach or service; or (4) Academic or administrative leadership;
  • Record of outstanding professional accomplishments, including team-building skills;
  • Understanding of and commitment to excellence in the three missions (teaching, research, and Extension/outreach) of a land grant university; and
  • Knowledge of and commitment to equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.


We seek a collegial leader with:

  • Effective communication, consensus building, interpersonal, and leadership skills;
  • Skills in effective management of personnel and a desire to encourage productive teamwork; and
  • Demonstrated fiscal and resource management skills;
  • Experience assessing priorities, developing and implementing a strategic plan, and adapting to change in a multidisciplinary environment;
  • Appreciation for the disciplinary breadth of the Department; and
  • Clear vision and strategy for the Department.

Application Instructions:


Applications must include:

  • A letter of application summarizing the applicant’s qualifications, leadership philosophy, and vision for a plant sciences department that integrates diverse disciplines within a contemporary land grant university;
  • A complete curriculum vitae;
  • A statement of philosophy and approach to building a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment for faculty, staff, and students;
  • Names, addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers of at least five professional references that the Search Committee may contact; and
  • A copy of transcripts showing degree(s) conferred.

The Department of Plant Sciences fosters a diverse and inclusive environment, and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Please direct applications, nominations, and questions regarding this position to:

Dr. Christopher Clark
Search Committee Chair
302 Morgan Hall, 2621 Morgan Circle
Knoxville, TN 37996-4518
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 865-974-7462

The Search Committee will begin reviewing applications on November 1, 2021 and continue to receive and review applications until an appointment is made.


Working at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Founded in 1794, the University of Tennessee is one of the nation’s oldest and most storied public universities. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee’s flagship land-grant institution includes the statewide Institute of Agriculture and the Space Institute in Tullahoma. The university embodies excellence in teaching, discovery, scholarship, research, creative activity, outreach, and engagement. Known as the Volunteers, we lead with a spirit of selflessness, empathy, and courage, and strive to be champions for diversity, equity, and inclusion

UT Knoxville is a Research 1 university with 11 academic colleges and more than 900 programs of study. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, our academic programs are repeatedly ranked top in their class. The university co-manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the country’s most prominent national lab, driving innovation in advanced manufacturing and materials, national security, and more. We are closely connected with our communities through outreach and extension efforts across Tennessee and through partnerships with non-profits, corporations, and industries—regionally, nationally, and around the globe.

The city of Knoxville is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The modern, thriving community is surrounded by gorgeous lakes and hundreds of miles of walking, hiking, and biking trails. Situated along the banks of the Tennessee River, our beautiful features an eclectic music scene, internationally recognized festivals, unique restaurants, and a robust offering of diverse cultural activities. Knoxville is located within a day’s drive of Atlanta, Nashville, Asheville, Charlotte, Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

Knoxville and the surrounding counties have a population of more than 850,000 people. The region houses many leading corporations and organizations, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pilot/Flying J, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Regal Cinemas, along with HGTV, Food Network, and other networks owned by Discovery Inc.

As a member of the UT family, you will be surrounded by top-notch faculty, staff, and students from around the world. You will be part of a diverse campus community that is passionate about changing the world and cheering for the Vols on game day.

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