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Assistant Professor- School for the Environment

Job Details

Job no: 520683
Position Type: Faculty Full Time
Campus: UMass Boston
Department: SFE - Dean's Office
Date opened: 18 Sep 2023 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close:

Assistant Professor of Environmental Justice

School for the Environment

University of Massachusetts Boston

Description. The School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston is seeking candidates for a full-time tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Environmental Justice to begin September 1, 2024. We invite scholars to apply who study the systemic, racist and colonialist policies and practices and the mechanisms through which these result in disproportionate environmental burdens placed on those with the least political power. The most severe impacts are often realized in communities of color and low-income communities in the US and other exploited groups around the globe. Environmental burdens may include exposure to toxic chemicals, degradation of indigenous lands, and exposure to climate change-related hazards. The preferred candidate will deeply engage with communities to identify communities’ research needs, develop impactful research questions, and methodologies with those communities. We particularly welcome community-based participatory research approaches that further communities’ organizing efforts to end injustices and inequalities. The preferred candidate will use mixed qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and transdisciplinary problem-solving approaches. We are especially interested in candidates with research interests that integrate traditional ecological knowledge, indigenous perspectives, and/or focus on the role of indigenous movements in environmental justice.

The candidate will have the opportunity to interact with UMass Boston’s diverse social and environmental justice institutes including the CANALA (Collaborative of Asian American, Native American, Latino and African American) Institutes, Urban Harbors Institute (UHI), Sustainable Solutions Lab (SSL), and Mass Bays National Estuary Partnership. These institutes as well as faculty within the School for the Environment have strong connections to a host of local, state, and national environmental organizations and are eager to collaborate on impactful research seeking funding from government agencies such as NSF, EPA, NIH, NASA, and NOAA, among other sources of public and private funding. The candidate will receive mentoring within the School for the Environment as well as professional development opportunities.

Responsibilities. The successful candidate will develop and maintain an externally funded, community engaged research program in Environmental Justice that involves undergraduate and graduate students. The candidate will be invited to contribute to the university’s Grand Scholarly Challenges by collaborating with diverse faculty across the university on the themes of “Climate Equity and Coastal Urban Areas” and “Advancing a Just Society.”

The successful candidate will be expected to teach and mentor students across the Environmental Studies and Sustainability BA and Environmental Science BS, MS, and PhD programs. The candidate will also have the opportunity to participate in developing a new Environmental Justice minor and assist in its management. The candidate will serve on committees within the university and develop strong engaged scholarship with environmental justice communities within the New England Region.

Qualifications. Environmental Justice is an inherently interdisciplinary field and therefore we invite applicants from a range of fields. For example, we welcome candidates with a PhD or equivalent degree in public health, anthropology, sociology, economics, environmental science, law, urban planning, or related fields. Experience could include environmental health, environmental history, environmental policy and management, political ecology, ecological economics, environmental law or planning, or indigenous studies. The candidate should be able to integrate multiple disciplines to study complex environmental justice issues.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

UMass Boston is an urban public research university with a teaching soul, whose impact is both local and global. We are the third most diverse university in the country - more than 60% of our undergraduate students come from minoritized communities and groups and more than half of our students are the first in their families to attend a college or university. Thus, our students come to us from richly diverse life experiences and backgrounds; they bring to our classrooms and research settings the robust range of perspectives growing out of the socio-cultural, economic, and historical contexts in which they have lived, along with the challenges they encounter, engage, and strive to overcome. We invite applications from candidates who engage the diverse life experiences of our student body, who appreciate that students bring their holistic selves into the academic setting, and who recognize and articulate how their own life experiences and backgrounds have shaped their journeys, practices, and commitments as researchers, scholars, and educators.

The University of Massachusetts Boston provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, genetic information, pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, or membership in any other protected class. The University of Massachusetts Boston complies with all applicable federal, state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the University operates. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment.

The School for the Environment’s (SFE) mission is to generate, communicate, and activate knowledge aimed at promoting the health, sustainability, and resilience of coastal ecological systems and communities. SFE pursues its environmental health and justice research, teaching, and outreach agenda through a transdisciplinary approach designed to enhance the problem-solving capacity of local communities and institutions. SFE’s faculty support three undergraduate programs (community development, environmental science, environmental studies), three master’s degree programs (environmental science, marine science, urban planning and community development), and PhD Programs in environmental science and marine science. SFE is also home to the Urban Planning and Community Development (UPCD) Department, and we suspect the successful candidate to have strong interactions with UPCD faculty and students.

The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) is the Commonwealth’s public urban-serving research university that has a dynamic teaching and learning culture and a special commitment to urban and global engagement. Nearly 16,000 students are enrolled in UMB’s seventy-nine undergraduate and one hundred fifteen graduate programs. UMB boasts the most diverse student body in New England, with nearly 60% of its students being first-generation college attendees. Located along the recently completed, forty-seven-mile, oceanside Harbor Walk in Boston, UMB shares the Columbia Point Peninsula with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Archives, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Archive, and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate. UMB is also part of the rich ecosystem of universities in greater Boston and the UMass university system.

UMB’s Policy on Background Checks

As a condition of employment, the University will conduct appropriate background reviews for all new hires once an offer has been accepted. This policy will be implemented in a manner consistent with the rights of privacy, equal opportunity, and academic freedom afforded to those who serve the University.

How to Apply

Interested individuals can initiate the application process by visiting the UMB’s Career Portal at: After completing the University’s basic employment application, candidates can upload the following documents:

· Cover letter

· CV

· Complete contact information for three academic references

Application Deadline

For maximum consideration by the SFE Search Committee, materials should be submitted, via the UMB Employment Portal, by Friday, November 17, 2023 before 12 am (EST).

For More Information

Helen Poynton, Professor of Molecular Ecotoxicology, School for the Environment, University of Massachusetts Boston at: or 617-287-7323.

Applications close:


Working at University of Massachusetts Boston

The University of Massachusetts Boston is nationally recognized as a model of excellence for urban public universities. The scenic waterfront campus is located next to the John F. Kennedy Library, with easy access to downtown Boston. 

The second-largest campus in the UMass system, UMass Boston combines a small-college experience with the vast resources of a major research university. With a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students easily interact with professors because most teaching occurs in small class sizes. Ninety-three percent of full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their fields.

UMass Boston’s academic excellence is reflected by a growing student body of nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university’s eight colleges offer more than 100 undergraduate programs and 50 graduate programs. The University Honors Program serves 300 students who thrive on intellectual challenge. Enriched courses probe more deeply into theory or venture further into application.

UMass Boston’s diverse student body provides a global context for student learning, and its location in a major U.S. city provides connections to employers in industries such as finance, health care, technology, service, and education, offering students opportunities to gain valuable in-school experience via internships, clinicals, and other career-related placements.

More than 100 student organizations — including clubs, literary magazines, newspaperradio stationart gallery, and 16 NCAA Division III sports teams — offer a rich campus life. Students live throughout Greater Boston and in apartment communities just steps from the campus, and enjoy the rich amenities, cultural attractions, and educational opportunities that make the city the biggest and best college town in the nation.

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