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Assistant Professor - Plant Pathology

Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, Mississippi, United States
Salary Not Specified
Date posted
Jan 8, 2024

Job Details

Position Function:

The North Mississippi Research and Extension Center (NMREC) and the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology & Plant Pathology (BCH-EPP) at Mississippi State University (MSU) invite applications for a tenure-track, 12-month, assistant professor faculty position in plant pathology with a targeted focus on sweetpotato and other specialty crops. This position is a joint appointment with principal affiliation at NMREC and academic affiliation in BCH-EPP. The position will be based at either NMREC in Verona, MS, or the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station near Pontotoc, MS, as deemed most suitable to support the research program of the successful applicant. Candidates with the ability to make research impacts on plant disease in the field and during post-harvest storage curing and preservation are preferred. Applicants should be able to articulate a prospective research program that has promise for sustainable external funding and national recognition. Opportunities exist for teaching by distance education or on the MSU campus in the BCH-EPP department and would be highly supported and encouraged, with research release time to do so available as part of the application as desired and approved by the home and academic Department Heads and Dean.

Salary Grade : UC

Please see Staff Compensation Structure or Skilled Crafts and Service Maintenance Compensation Schedule for salary ranges. For salary grade UC, these positions are "Unclassified" and salary ranges are determined by the hiring department.

Department Profile:

NMREC is in Northeast Mississippi at Verona, MS, just outside the city of Tupelo, and the Pontotoc branch station is located near Pontotoc, MS, which is approximately a 25-minute drive from Tupelo, MS. Both NMREC and the Pontotoc branch station are roughly 1 hour by car from MSU’s main campus in Starkville where BCH-EPP is located. The Pontotoc branch station is one of 4 branch experiment stations in Northeast Mississippi administered by NMREC. NMREC is administered by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES), and BCH-EPP is co-administered by MAFES and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. MSU is a Carnegie Foundation R1-Very High Research Activity Doctoral University and home to the nation’s only Agricultural Autonomy Institute. MSU is a comprehensive public institution with over 23,000 undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 1,500 fulltime faculty members. A member of the Southeastern Conference, MSU is a major athletic competitor on the national stage, having won the NCAA baseball national championship in 2021. Our beautiful main campus is in Starkville, a historic city of about 25,000 people, roughly 2 hours from Memphis, Birmingham, and Jackson and roughly 4 hours from New Orleans, Atlanta, and Nashville. Starkville is a vibrant college town with several signature weekend events highlighting arts, culture, and sports. The Tupelo and Starkville area opens doors to outdoor adventure and recreation. Like the state of Mississippi, these cities are known for their southern hospitality, welcome all people, and embrace diversity. They boast a low cost of living, vibrant business communities, attractive and safe neighborhoods, good public and private schools, and concerts and plays. Chamber of Commerce websites (Tupelo-; Starkville- are good sources of additional information. Representative of the American land-grant tradition yet distinctive in its own spirit, MSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctoral degrees. A body of energetic researchers, both faculty and other, are assisted by an effective research administration to place MSU at number 11 in agriculture and in the top 100 U.S. universities in research and development in science and engineering.

Area of Specialization:

Plant Pathology

Anticipated Appointment Date:

July 1, 2024.

Tenure Track Status:


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The successful candidate will be expected to use a multidisciplinary approach to build an effective, nationally/internationally recognized research program with extramural funding that uses both field and laboratory-based approaches to address applied research topics. Additional MAFES facilities provide opportunities to expand research efforts beyond the Verona and Pontotoc sites, and numerous collaborative opportunities exist with scientists at other MAFES research locations throughout the state as well as nationally. There are opportunities to engage in industry-relevant plant pathology research that involves production, harvest, and post-harvest processes for sweet potato and economically important agricultural specialty crop commodities including a wide array of vegetable crops. Substantial field, greenhouse, laboratory, shop, and information technology facilities/equipment/capabilities are established to support research efforts.

Specifically, the successful candidate will:
1. Provide leadership in plant pathology research in sweetpotato and other specialty crops.
• Develop a robust research agenda based on needs of the region and available funding opportunities.
• Effectively manage plant pathology resources within NMREC.
• Work cooperatively and collaboratively with other faculty members in implementing plant pathology research and related programming.
2. Serve as a productive NMREC and BCH-EPP faculty member.
• Develop a nationally-recognized research program.
• Secure extramural funding to support research in plant pathology.
• Demonstrate scholarly activity via publication in appropriate academic journals.
• Demonstrate a commitment to mentoring graduate students and involvement in graduate education.
• Demonstrate a commitment to service through activities such as participation on department, college, and university committees and via service to appropriate professional associations.
• Contribute to a collegial work environment and foster productive working relationships with scientists, faculty, staff, and external stakeholders.
• Opportunities exist for teaching by distance education or on the MSU campus in the BCH-EPP department and would be highly supported and encouraged, with research release time to do so available as part of the application as desired and approved by the home and academic Department Heads and Dean.

Minimum Qualifications:

A Ph.D. in Plant Pathology, or equivalent in a closely related discipline, as well as excellent interpersonal skills and verbal and written communication are required. Applicants must have a strong commitment to scholarly production and grantsmanship as well as teaching excellence and should have the ability to conduct multi-disciplinary collaborative research.

ABDs or degree pending considered (all but DISS):


Preferred Qualifications:

Candidates with strengths in plant pathology with an innovative view to industry relevant research in sweetpotato, vegetable crops, and other specialty crops, are preferred. Candidates with professional experience effectively collaborating with and managing research teams are preferred. Candidates with experience integrating basic and applied research will be given priority. A basic working knowledge of agricultural production in agronomy or horticulture is desirable. Candidates with an entrepreneurial mindset and enthusiasm for developing translational research into marketable intellectual property are desired.

Instructions for Applying:

Link to apply:

Qualified applicants must apply online at and attach (1) cover letter, (2) curriculum vitae, including a list of three professional references complete with current contact information, (3) statement of past, present and future research, including commonly employed technologies, equipment, and funding sources, and (4) official transcripts (any social security numbers included on requested transcripts should be redacted prior to submitting online). Anticipated appointment date is July 1, 2024, or as soon as a qualified candidate is identified. Screening will begin March 1, 2024.

Screening Date:

March 1, 2024 until filled.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.

What do I do if I need an accommodation?

In compliance with the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), if you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation in order to apply for a position with Mississippi State University, please contact the Department of Human Resources Management at tel: (662) 325-3713 or .

If you have any questions regarding this policy, contact the Department of Human Resources Management at (662) 325-3713 or . Upon request, sections of this job listing are available in large print, and readers are available to assist the visually impaired.


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Explore what makes MSSTATE exceptional. We are positive you’ll find your place at Mississippi State in an atmosphere that welcomes all, cultivates academic excellence, and celebrates service to local communities and throughout the world..

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