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Teaching Assistant Professor, Controlled Environment Agriculture

K-State Olathe
Kansas, United States
$75,000.00 - $80,000.00
Posted date
Nov 11, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Education, Other Education, Science, Technology & Mathematics, Agriculture & Animal Sciences
Employment Level
Non-Tenured Track
Employment Type
Full Time
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Kansas State University Olathe and the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University (KSU) is seeking applicants for a full-time 12-month non-tenure track teaching assistant professor position (70% teaching/30% research) to be located at our Olathe campus. This new position will support the urban food systems strategic initiative of K-State Olathe and the KSU College of Agriculture through expansion of our teaching and research capabilities in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) that improve access to fresh produce in urban communities. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing and maintaining successful teaching and professional development programs and an active program in applied or fundamental research in support of controlled environmental agriculture for the urban food systems industry. Collaboration with other programs at the KSU Olathe campus including: postharvest technology, produce microbiology and food safety, consumer sensory and culinary activities, as well as the KSU Olathe Horticulture Center is highly encouraged. Subject areas of teaching and research may include but are not limited to approaches for sustainable production of specialty crops (vegetable, herb, and/or fruit) in controlled environments including greenhouses, vertical farming, and/or indoor production systems, using soilless media, hydroponics, aquaponics, and/or advanced lighting technologies. The candidate should seek to improve the quality of life in urban communities by increasing CEA crop quality, safety, integration of new or improved technologies (e.g., automation, lighting, computer controls, renewable energy) into CEA production systems, and development of best practices for more efficient crop production as well as economic, environmental and social viability.

Major responsibilities:


  • Organize, prepare, and conduct in-person, hybrid, and online courses to support the M.S. Urban Food Systems specialization and Graduate Certificate in Urban Food Systems
  • Develop and deliver graduate courses in the area of CEA as well as specific area(s) of expertise (e.g. Introduction to CEA, Soilless Production Systems, Advanced Lighting Systems, Hydroponic Nutrient Management, Aquaponic System Design, etc.)
  • Recruit and mentor graduate students and help build capacity to support professional track students in the M.S. Urban Food Systems specialization
  • Develop and deliver professional development training in controlled environmental agriculture and urban food systems in support of K-State Olathe Professional Development programming
  • Work cooperatively and be an active member in the Urban Food Systems faculty group and the K-State Olathe faculty group, which includes members from food science, horticulture and natural resources, veterinary medicine, and other colleges on campus


  • Develop a vigorous, externally funded and nationally recognized research program focused on controlled environmental agriculture in urban food systems
  • Collaborative research projects will be expected with horticulture and related discipline faculty members located at K-State Olathe, the K-State Olathe Horticulture Center, and the main campus in Manhattan, KS
  • Preferred areas of disciplinary expertise could include one or more of the following: optimization of production environments, improvement of CEA crop quality and food safety, integration of new or improved technology (e.g., automation, lighting, computer controls, renewable energy) into CEA production systems, and development of best practices for more efficient crop production as well as economic and social viability and environmental sustainability
  • Participate in all facets of graduate education by chairing and serving on graduate committees, supervising thesis and dissertation research, and publishing the results with graduate students
  • The successful candidate will have the opportunity to design, outfit, and oversee new CEA lab facilities at the KSU Olathe Campus

Kansas State University offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, paid time off – vacation, sick, and holidays. To see what benefits are available, please visit:

Kansas State University is a land grant university with an enrollment of over 20,000. Olathe, Kansas is a vibrant community with a population of approximately 125,000. It is just 20 miles southwest of downtown Kansas City, with all the cultural advantages of a major metropolitan area. Useful websites to learn more about K-State and the city of Olathe:

Kansas State University embraces diversity and inclusion.  The university actively seeks individuals who foster a collegial environment and cooperative interactions with coworkers, students, and others.  The University is dedicated to promoting the Principles of Community

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in horticulture, plant science, agricultural/controlled environment engineering or other closely aligned field
  • Be qualified for membership in the K-State Graduate Faculty (earned Ph.D. and published at least one research article in a refereed journal)
  • Ability to advance the K-State’s commitment to diversity and inclusion

 Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience in controlled environment agriculture and urban food systems; Demonstrated ability to write, edit, coordinate, and maintain educational course materials at the University level
  • Experience as a teaching assistant or instructor teaching in a classroom and laboratory situation at the University level
  • Demonstrated experience in online course development and instruction

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Excellent written, teaching/outreach and verbal communication skills
  • Potential for excellence in teaching and graduate mentoring
  • Skill in using modern and creative teaching technologies for in-person and online teaching
  • Knowledge and understanding of horticultural food crops, environmental physiology, controlled environmental agriculture technology, and urban food systems
  • Demonstrated organizational and time management skills and the ability to multi-task and work independently
  • Demonstrated excellence in research
  • Background in controlled environment agriculture research, experimental design and statistical analysis
  • Proven excellence in written communication (including a scientific, peer-reviewed publication record appropriate for the applicant's career stage) in controlled environment agriculture; Ability to work as a member of multidisciplinary teams, including external stakeholders and collaborating institutions
  • Evidence of team-building skills, capacity for successful collaboration, and potential to manage multidisciplinary education projects

 Other Requirements:

  • All K-State employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (unless granted an exemption by the university) by December 8, 2021 or their first day of employment, whichever is later, pursuant to the federal executive order for federal contractors. To learn more about this requirement and potential exemptions, please visit K-State’s COVID-19 website.
  • Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States at the time of employment.

How to Apply:

Please submit the following documents:

  1. Letter of application addressing the position description, your qualifications and experience
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. One-page statement on teaching philosophy
  4. One-page statement on research philosophy
  5. Complete contact information for at least three professional references

 Application materials must be submitted online to be considered.

Questions regarding specifics of the position can be directed to:

Eleni Pliakoni, Associate Professor of Urban Food Production and Postharvest Handling

Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources

K-State Olathe Campus | Phone: 913-307-7370 | Email:

For questions regarding the recruitment process, please contact Roberta Robinson Manager, Human Resources at  or (913.307.7316).

Screening begins on November 29, 2021 and continues until the position is filled.

Kansas State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer of individuals with disabilities and protected veterans and actively seeks diversity among its employees.

In connection with your application for employment, Kansas State University will procure a Background Screen on you as part of the process of considering your candidacy as an employee.






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