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Assistant/Associate Professor - Environmental Science - #192800

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Assistant/Associate Professor

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Assistant/Associate Professor - Environmental Science - #192800


Geosciences & Natural Resources

Position Summary:

Employees at WCU may be required to submit to campus based COVID 19 vaccination or testing requirements.

The primary location of this position is on the main Cullowhee, NC campus.

The Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources (GNR) at Western Carolina University (WCU) invites applications for a 9-month, tenure track Assistant or Associate professor in the Environmental Science (ES) program. Anticipated begin work date is August 2022. The person selected for this position will serve as the ES Program Director and member of the WCU Environmental Science Program Council. The Program Director is responsible for program leadership, curriculum oversight, faculty recruitment and workload, and program planning and evaluation. Additional responsibilities of the position include: teaching undergraduate courses, advising and mentoring students, providing meaningful service to the university, profession, and community, and maintaining a well-defined scholarly/research agenda. Rank and time toward tenure will be negotiated at time of hiring based on experience.

The ES program is housed in the Department of GNR which is home to academic programs in geology, natural resources, environmental science, and geography. Faculty within the department share a commitment to excellence in teaching and undergraduate research. We are particularly interested in candidates with expertise in environmental planning, sustainability or climate change; additional areas will be considered and especially valued if they add new and relevant expertise to our department.

The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence in teaching and providing interdisciplinary experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students related to candidate’s area of scholarship. Teaching responsibilities will include an undergraduate introductory GIS course, courses in the Environmental Science program and the general education curriculum, and an upper-level course related to the candidate’s area of expertise. In addition to teaching, collaborative research with undergraduates is expected, as we strongly believe in close mentoring and teaching through research.

Western Carolina University is a 12,000-student, primarily undergraduate, campus within the University of North Carolina system. It is designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a community engaged university. Inclusiveness and diversity are academic imperatives and are university goals and expected faculty norms. We are particularly interested in candidates who have experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and a demonstrated commitment to improving access to higher education for students from underrepresented groups. The county and surrounding areas provide residents a high quality of life with its proximity to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and diverse outdoor adventures, a thriving arts community, and mild year-around temperatures. The university is placed within the picturesque Cullowhee valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is closely located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, National Forests, and the Asheville metropolitan area. WCU and the surrounding area offer a wide range of excellent field and laboratory facilities, on and off campus.

GNR DEI Statement: The Geosciences and Natural Resources Department (GNR) is dedicated to the science and study of Earth and its environment. Our department is an intersection of the sciences – geology, biology, chemistry, physics, math, geography – just as diverse systems are more resilient, we as a department are better and stronger when we reflect a diverse set of ideas, perspectives, backgrounds, and culture. We welcome and encourage participation by all interested individuals regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, national origin, physical or mental difference, politics, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or subculture. We strive to cultivate a community built on mentorship, encouragement, tolerance, and mutual respect, thereby engendering a welcoming environment for all. As Earth scientists, we believe in the need for interdisciplinary study, both in terms of disciplines and participants. Being a diverse and inclusive organization enables us to learn from others, grow our understanding, and find new ways to address, understand and implement solutions to complex problems. Science can only progress when ideas from all perspectives are included, thus we strive for inclusive teaching, scholarly, and service practices that include as many diverse perspectives as possible. We want the research experiences and education that students gain in the department to be relevant to students’ everyday lives and careers, which means we need to listen to what is relevant to each individual, not just the majority or status quo. Further, GNR promotes diversity in all areas of activity, including fostering diversity in students, faculty, leadership, committees, staff, outreach, community engagement, recruitment, and all other areas of societal activity.

Duties and Responsibilities:· 3/2 teaching load (one course reduction for program director responsibilities)· Support the vision and mission of the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources, College of Arts and Sciences, and University.· Develop and deliver courses within the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Program.· Mentor and advise students with regard to academic progress and professional development.· Provide service to the university, profession, and community.· Maintain currency in the academic discipline through continuing education, research, and/or participation in activities within the profession, including involvement within professional organizations at the state, regional, and national levels.· Work cooperatively and collegially with all faculty and staff in the GNR department and across the institution.· Carry out other assignments and duties as assigned by the GNR Director and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Carnegie statement:

WCU embraces its role as a regionally engaged university and is designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a community engaged university. Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate a commitment to public engagement through their teaching, service, and scholarship.

Minimum Qualifications:

o Doctoral degree in Environmental Sciences or related field from a regionally accredited institutiono Demonstrated university teaching experienceo Evidence of sustained scholarly activities and/or research agenda, as defined by the Boyer model

Preferred Qualifications:

o Administrative experience as a Program Director, Department Head/Chairo Three years of experience teaching in the discipline at the university levelo Demonstrated commitment to student engagement and successo Demonstrated success with student mentoringo Demonstrated strong written and verbal communication skillso Evidence of service to the profession and/or community

Position Type:

Permanent Full-Time

Number of Months Per Year:


Open Date:


Open Until Filled:


Special Instructions to Applicants:

Applications must be submitted online and include the following attachments:
· Cover letter· CV· List of professional references (minimum 3)· One-page statement of teaching philosophy · One-page statement of research/scholarly agenda· Unofficial transcripts from highest earned degree· Copy of credentials and certifications (as applicable/optional attachment)

Please contact the search chair, Dr. Diane Styers ([email protected]) if you have specific questions about the position or see for more general information. Application review will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.


Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks.

Western Carolina University uses E-Verify to confirm employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit Proper documentation of identity and employability are required at the time of employment.

Credential Verification:

All new employees are required to have listed credentials/degrees verified within 30 days of employment. All new employees who will be teaching are required to provide official transcripts within 30 days of employment. Transcripts should be provided for the highest earned degree and/or the degree which is being used to satisfy credential/qualification requirements.


Western Carolina University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race; color; religion; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; national origin; age; disability; genetic information; political affiliation; National Guard or veteran status, consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, and policies, and the policies of The University of North Carolina. Additionally, the University promotes the realization of equal employment opportunity for minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans through its affirmative action program.
Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application and interview process please call (828) 227-7218 or email at [email protected]

University Safety:

The Western Carolina University Annual Safety Report is available online at University Annual Safety Report or in hard-copy by request at the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, 227 HFR Administration Building, Cullowhee, NC 28723 (828-227-7147) or the Office of University Police, 111 Camp Annex, Cullowhee, NC 28723 (828-227-7301). The report, required of all universities participating in Title IV student financial aid programs, discusses crime statistics, procedures for reporting suspicious or criminal activity, security, police authority, crime prevention strategies, university policies on substance abuse and sexual offenses, workplace violence and fire safety.


Western Carolina University banner

About Us

Western Carolina University offers a collaborative community of faculty and staff eager to partner together to support the success of our students and our institution. We attract employees who are inspired to work in higher education because of the difference we can make together in the lives of the more than 10,000 students who study at WCU. For a few other reasons WCU is a great place to work:

Do you like being involved in the local community? So do we. We have robust service learning and community outreach efforts that invite students, faculty and staff to serve our local community in an ever-growing number of ways.

Western Carolina University has been named the Top Adventure College in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Our main campus in Cullowhee is situated 15 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. We have a biking and hiking trail on campus and many more in the area.

We attract students who are eager to excel. WCU has the oldest and largest Honors College in the UNC system and is consistently among the Top 5 institutions nationally for undergraduate research projects accepted to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

We are a cultural hub for the region. Our College of Fine and Performing Arts produces professional-quality theater under the direction of Broadway star Terrance Mann, and our music programs are recognized as some of the best in the state. Our Pride of the Mountains Marching Band has been invited to the Macy's parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Our healthcare programs are some of the most competitive in the southeast and are housed in an incredible LEED-certified facility complete with some of the best technology in teaching along with community clinics for applied learning.

For more information, please visit our website at


Western Carolina University (WCU) has been honored in multiple areas demonstrating our commitment to our students, faculty, staff and our community.  Our distinguished faculty includes national award-winning authors, nationally and internationally recognized experts, and winners of Emmy, O’Henry, and National Endowment for the Arts awards – to name a few.  WCU has been named a Top Green College by Princeton Review, is among the Top 5 for Undergraduate Research in the nation, and has been named by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as a Best College Value.  Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine has named WCU the Number 1 Outdoor Adventure College for three years running.  The WCU Pride of the Mountains Marching Band is a Sudler Trophy recipient, having led the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Bowl Parade.  WCU is ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the Top 12 Best Online Programs for the Military as well as #27 among institutions in the South for Best Colleges for Veterans.

Faculty and Staff are honored annually with a broad range of Teaching, Scholarship and service honors.  For more information, please visit our website at


Western Carolina University offers a wide array of high quality benefit plans from which to choose. These include comprehensive health and welfare insurance plans, a choice between two retirement programs, both of which provide a valuable retirement benefit, as well as optional retirement savings opportunities. Employees also benefit from a generous leave program. For more information please visit our benefits page at UNC Benefits

Diversity and Inclusion

Western Carolina University has a commitment to recruiting and retaining diverse employees who bring to our campus varied perspective and cultural understanding. Our Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs aspires to strengthen diversity as an integral component of excellence at WCU. Among public universities, our institution leads the region in student body diversity, and our diversity metrics are growing.

Mission and Vision

Our Mission (who we are):

To improve individual lives and enhance economic and community development in our region, state and nation through engaged learning opportunities in our academic programs, educational outreach, research and creative activities, and cultural activities. 

Our Core Values and Guiding Principles (what guides and inspires us):

Excellence in Scholarship, Teaching, and Learning

Collaboration with and Respect for our Communities

Free and Open Interchange of Ideas

Responsible Stewardship and Organizational Effectiveness

Organizational and Environmental Sustainability

Cultural Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Our Vision Statement (who we want to be):

To be a national model for student learning and engagement that embraces its responsibilities as a regionally engaged university.

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