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Professor and Head, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA

Type of position This is a tenured, twelve-month academic and administrative appointment.
Employer Virginia Tech
Description of Employer The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been instrumental in helping agriculture and other life science industries make significant strides in improving people’s lives. Through its land grant mission of research, teaching, and extension, today’s College is adapting to society’s expectations and needs by focusing its resources and efforts on improving human health and nutrition, sustaining agriculture and the environment, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, and developing cures for devastating and debilitating diseases.

Virginia Tech, founded in 1872 as a land-grant institution, is currently ranked as a Top 25 Public University by US News & World Report and a Top 25 Public Research University by the National Science Foundation. Through a combination of its three missions of learning, discovery, and engagement, Virginia Tech continually strives to accomplish the charge of its motto: Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). As the Commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech serves a diverse population of 30,000+ students and 8000+ faculty and staff from over 100 countries, and is engaged in research around the world. Invent the Future at Virginia Tech.

Location Blacksburg, Virginia
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date of competition 3/15/15
Date position available August 2015
Description of duties JOB DESCRIPTION:
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) invites outstanding applications and nominations for the position of Professor and Head of the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science (PPWS). This is a tenured, twelve-month academic and administrative appointment. We seek a dynamic individual with a creative and inspiring vision for the three mission areas (research, education, and extension/outreach) of the department.

The PPWS department’s mission is to provide leadership on issues related to (1) understanding the basic functions of plants and their pathogens, (2) mitigating the impact of biotic and abiotic plant stresses and developing practices for their management, (3) exploring innovative uses for plants and plant products, and (4) maintaining sustainability of agricultural and related ecosystems, natural resources, and the environment. The department has 27 tenured/tenure-track faculty members (18 on campus, 9 at Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Centers).

The PPWS department is nationally and internationally-recognized through its outstanding research programs in translational plant sciences, molecular biology, functional genomics, plant and microbial biology, abiotic stress physiology, metabolic engineering, plant protection, and weed biology, ecology, and management. Research activities are funded by governmental agencies such as USDA, NSF, and NIH, as well as commodity boards and industry.

The department strongly promotes a collegial research environment, resulting in extensive internal and external collaborations. The department supports significant extension/outreach programs in integrated management of plant diseases, abiotic stress, water, and weeds. The department also provides diagnostic clinic services in the identification of plant diseases, nematodes, and weeds.

The department offers M.S. and Ph.D. programs and participates in interdisciplinary programs in Translational Plant Science (TPS), Genetics, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (GBCB), and Interfaces of Global Change (IGC). The department does not have an undergraduate major but offers foundational and elective courses in departmental disciplines. Additional information about departmental programs is available at http://www.ppws.vt.edu/.


  • Create, support, and maintain the vision, mission, and strategic goals for PPWS consistent with Virginia Tech’s strategic initiatives;
  • Lead and mentor a dynamic team of faculty, staff, and students to accomplish PPWS goals and objectives;
  • Foster interdisciplinary and collaborative research, education, and outreach;
  • Actively participate in the recruitment of top-notch faculty, staff, and students;
  • Encourage professional development, mentoring, evaluation, and promotion of faculty and staff;
  • Prepare and manage departmental budgets;
  • Participate in planning and development of new research facilities;
  • Support faculty in obtaining grants for sponsored research and extension and gifts to support strategic departmental initiatives;
  • Direct, support, and enhance the development of challenging and innovative curriculum;
  • Ensure compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations and university policies;
  • Lead or serve actively on appropriate university and professional committees and task forces, and effectively represent PPWS to internal and external constituents;
  • Maintain engagement in scholarly activities such as research, education, and/or extension/outreach
Qualifications sought The successful candidate will have a distinguished record of scholarly achievement including an extramurally-funded research program and a forward-thinking, strategic vision for research, education, and extension/outreach. The incumbent will have a demonstrated ability to promote the synergy of basic and applied research in a multidisciplinary environment and a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion. Strong interpersonal, communication, and decision-making abilities and previous leadership experience are essential.

Candidates must have a doctoral degree in Plant Science, Biological Science, Biochemistry, Genetics, Computational Biology or other related field, and be eligible for tenure at the rank of professor. Desired start date is August 2015.

Contact for additional
Nominations and inquiries should be addressed to
Dr. Mary Leigh Wolfe, Search Committee Chair
Department Head, Biological Systems Engineering
200 Seitz Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States
540-231-6092; E-mail: mlwolfe@vt.edu
Application procedure
Submit what
Applicants should submit curriculum vitae, the names and contact information of five references, and a cover letter summarizing their administrative philosophy and vision for the position and the PPWS department.
Submit to
Apply online at www.jobs.vt.edu (job posting TR0150007). Review of applications will begin on March 15, 2015 and continue until the position is filled.
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