MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY- Chairperson, Department of Community Sustainability, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources


The Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources invites nominations and applications for the position of Chairperson of the Department of Community Sustainability, an interdisciplinary department that provides a stimulating intellectual environment for engaged scholarship. Most members of the faculty are social scientists, but the Department also includes individuals with backgrounds in the natural sciences and humanities. Research, teaching, and outreach programs in the Department engage with a broad array of communities to address sustainability challenges and goals. The Department’s commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship, recent growth in student enrollment, a cadre of newly hired faculty, and an identity that emphasizes community engagement provide a rich opportunity for leadership to support and enhance an inclusive departmental vision. The position is available as early as August 16, 2017.


The Chairperson of the Department of Community Sustainability provides facilitative leadership to the Department in all teaching, research, extension, and outreach programs and is expected to maintain and enhance a creative and productive environment for the faculty, support staff, and students. The Chairperson serves as the chief administrative officer of the Department, and reports directly to the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and interacts with senior leadership of the College, Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch (formerly Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station) on a regular basis.

Specific responsibilities of the Chairperson include:

  • Provide facilitative leadership to advance the mission and vision of the Department;
  • Advance strategic short- and long-range program planning and development for research, teaching, and extension/outreach programs;
  • Support faculty and student achievement throughout the Department, and foster a culture of collaboration, creativity, and mentorship;
  • Work cooperatively within the governance structure of the Department, which currently includes an associate chair, coordinators of undergraduate and graduate programs, and a faculty-elected Faculty Advisory Committee;
  • Work cooperatively within the larger governance structure of the College and University;
  • Foster diversity, equity and inclusion within the Department and its programs;
  • Foster a community of Department alumni;
  • Recruit excellent faculty and staff, assign responsibilities, evaluate performance, and promote faculty, student, and staff development;
  • Manage and administer Department budget and provide oversight in the procurement of financial and other resources; and
  • Advance fund development at the Department, College, and University levels.


Qualified candidates must have an earned doctorate and meet the requirements for tenure at the rank of full professor in the Department of Community Sustainability. This includes a distinguished record of scholarship, leadership, teamwork, and dedication to the land grant philosophy. The successful candidate must show excellence in sustainability scholarship, including teaching, research, and extension/outreach, and must exhibit preparedness for administration of a large, diverse faculty. The Chairperson of the Department of Community Sustainability must embrace interdisciplinary scholarship and the intellectual diversity within the Department. Applicants must demonstrate innovative and collaborative leadership, and possess a commitment to community engagement.

The successful candidate must support long-range planning and bring leadership to build on the current strengths of the Department, promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the Department, further advance the departmental mission, and promote national and international prominence.


Salary will be commensurate with qualifications, and MSU offers a generous benefits package (details at http://www.hr.msu.edu).


The Department of Community Sustainability is an interdisciplinary department within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Community Sustainability faculty work at the intersection of the humanities, social, and natural sciences and professional practice to assist the development of sustainable communities by conducting excellent scholarly research, teaching, and outreach in the following thematic areas:

  • Education and community engagement
  • Community, food, and agriculture
  • Natural resources and environment
  • Recreation and tourism systems

The Department of Community Sustainability is a vibrant community of scholars who engage with colleagues, students, stakeholders and communities to address sustainability challenges within specific environmental, economic, and cultural contexts. We do this by:

  • Focusing on engagement that embraces the decisions inherent in the transition to a more sustainable future;
  • Creating and supporting a dedicated faculty working on sustainability-related issues;
  • Incorporating a systems-thinking view of sustainability into curricula at the undergraduate level, graduate level, and lifelong learner level; and
  • Conducting sustainability scholarship that is international in scope while attending to regional and local contexts.

As scholar-practitioners, and as an interdisciplinary department, we address critical issues at the interface of agriculture, natural resources, recreation, and communities. Through engaged scholarship, we aim to generate knowledge that will be useful to people in their roles as residents, landowners, businesses, and governmental and non-profit institutions.

We seek to understand the dynamic interactions in communities, ecosystems, and the world, as well as opportunities for sustainable development. This work is rooted in our view of a just, engaged, and dynamic society. Toward that end, we are guided by an ethic of responsible and responsive scholarship that engages people and communities.

Consistent with its mission to contribute to the development of sustainable communities, the Department offers three undergraduate majors (Bachelor of Science) linked by a common core curriculum in community sustainability: (1) Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS); (2) Sustainable Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (SPRT); and (3) Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Education (AFNRE), and has recently experienced rapid growth in its undergraduate programs. The Department offers graduate degrees in Community Sustainability (MS and PhD) and Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas Management (MS and PhD). In both undergraduate and graduate programs, the Department of Community Sustainability embraces international as well as domestic applications, engagement, and opportunities.

Additional information about the Department is available at http://www.csus.msu.edu.


Michigan State University is the nation’s pioneer land-grant university, and one of the top research universities in the world. Home to nationally ranked and recognized academic, residential college, and service-learning programs, MSU enjoys a park-like campus with outlying research facilities and natural areas. MSU is a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars who provide regional, national, and international leadership in basic and applied research, excellence in teaching, an emphasis on international engagement, and a strong extension program that partners with diverse stakeholders to bring science-based responses to social and environmental challenges. The University is proactive about its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and provides individual accessibility plans to students and employees with disabilities.

Michigan State University is also proactive in exploring opportunities for employment for dual career families, both inside and outside the University, and respects all family forms. Information about MSU’s dual career support can be found at http://miwin.msu.edu/. Information about WorkLife at MSU can be found at http://worklife.msu.edu/.

The MSU campus is located in the city of East Lansing, adjacent to the capital city of Lansing. The Lansing metropolitan area has a diverse population of approximately 450,000. Local communities have excellent school systems and place a high value on education.

Michigan has abundant natural resources, is the second-most diverse agricultural state in the nation, and is surrounded by the beautiful Great Lakes. The City of East Lansing and the region have numerous music and theatre offerings, with an active arts community that includes the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts and the recently opened Broad Art Museum. Throughout Michigan, there is a growing local food movement, over 200 wineries and 200 microbreweries, diverse outdoor recreation activities, and a range of sporting events across all four seasons.


The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University is committed to achieving excellence by creating and sustaining an accessible and inclusive culture that values cultural and academic diversity. We are an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer. The CANR is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that academic excellence is achieved through open access and proactive inclusion.


Qualified persons are requested to submit, as a single electronic document, a (i) a cover letter of application; (ii) a statement of administrative philosophy and vision emphasizing a) ability to foster faculty/staff/student development, b) alignment of leadership vision and experience with CANR’s focus on excellence through diversity and inclusion, and c) program direction and growth for the future; (iii) complete curriculum vitae; and (iv) at the end of the cover letter the names, addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of five references. Nominations and applications may be sent in confidence to the University’s executive search firm:

Martin M. Baker, Managing Partner

Chelsie Whitelock, Senior Associate


10 Cadillac Drive, Suite 190

Brentwood, TN 37027



Formal review of applications will begin on March 15, 2017, and the search will remain open until the Director position is filled. The preferred starting date for the successful candidate is August 15, 2017.