Assistant Professor, University of Missouri

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Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology – Sustainable Development

Division of Applied Social Sciences (DASS)

College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR)

University of Missouri


The Department of Rural Sociology in the Division of Applied Social Sciences (DASS) seeks applications and nominations for a tenure-track assistant professor position to support its research and teaching programs in rural sociology. The focus of this position is on sustainable development, complimenting the emphasis areas of the department and also contributing to DASS. Current departmental areas of emphasis include sustainable development, organization/communities, consumption, natural resources/environment, food and agriculture, and economic sociology. Applicants must demonstrate potential to contribute to scholarship and a research trajectory suitable for garnering extramural support, and are expected to publish in high quality journals relevant to the field of rural sociology, sustainable development and their emphasis area. Consistent with the department’s location in the Division of Applied Social Sciences (DASS) and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), we encourage applicants who work at the intersections of basic and applied interdisciplinary research. Applicants are expected to show significant potential for teaching excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Offer high quality courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels.
  • Publish in high quality journals relevant to the field of rural sociology, sustainable development or closely related fields.
  • Attract external funds to support their research program.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary colleagues from diverse backgrounds.
  • Advise graduate students in the professional masters, masters, and PhD programs.
  • Serve on department/division, college and university committees.

Required qualifications:

  • A PhD in rural sociology, sociology or another relevant social science discipline.
  • Evidence of effective scholarship.
    • Evidence of potential for teaching excellence and commitment to teaching.
    • Evidence of the ability to develop strong research and teaching programs relevant to DASS and CAFNR.
      • Potential to secure extramural funding in support of a research and scholarship program.
      • Commitment to a collaborative approach.

Rural Sociology offers an undergraduate minor and a wide range of courses that expose students from across campus to perspectives that compliment and extend their training related to fields as diverse as the life sciences, food science, biotechnology, natural resources, journalism, and the health professions. The department offers three graduate degrees. The Professional Master of Science degree is the principal master’s degree in rural sociology and offers the option of specialization in community facilitation or analytical processes. This program is designed to prepare students for positions in the public and private sectors in policy analysis. The Master of Science degree prepares students for doctoral training. The Doctor of Philosophy is primarily a research degree intended for those who plan to pursue a career in academic institutions, public- or private-sector organizations in research and/or planning, administrative leadership positions, non-profit organizations, or as a consultant in specialized research or policy analysis.

There is considerable potential for research and applied analysis of sustainable development at the local, state/regional, national and international levels. The Division of Applied Social Sciences is uniquely positioned to create an interdisciplinary program whose point of departure is a focus on the human dimensions of sustainability — researching, teaching and engaging in translational outreach on ways to create and maintain sustainable institutions, organizations and communities. The addition of a faculty member in the Department of Rural Sociology with expertise in human dimensions of sustainability will add to existing faculty strength in this area in the DASS and compliment CAFNR biological and natural science programs that focus on the biological and physical dimensions of global sustainability.

The Department of Rural Sociology is part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Division of Applied Social Sciences (DASS), an interdisciplinary division which includes multiple social, behavioral and economic science departments, as well as nationally recognized policy and applied research centers including the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), Community Policy Analysis Center (CPAC), Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES), Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA), among others. The Department of Rural Sociology works closely with community development extension state and regional specialists, some of whom hold faculty appointments in the department, and with Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension. An additional extension program centered in the department is Community Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture.

The University of Missouri-Columbia is one of only thirty-one public universities that hold membership in both the Association of American Universities and Carnegie Foundation’s Research 1 designation. The University of Missouri is an equal opportunity employer.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE – Applicants should provide:

  • An application letter highlighting key areas of strength in the applicant’s background and summarizing the applicant’s fit with the position.
  • Current CV.
  • Contact information for at least four professional references.
  • Examples of scholarly work (eg, publications, papers presented at professional meetings).
  • Experience related to teaching (eg, courses taught, statement of teaching philosophy, summary of student evaluations, course outlines).

Please visit to submit an application. Questions regarding this position should be directed to:

Dr. David O’Brien
Chair, Search Committee – Sustainable Development position
109 Gentry Hall
Department of Rural Sociology
Division of Applied Social Sciences (DASS)
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

Screening of applications will begin April 1, 2013 and continue until the position is filled. Official transcripts will be required for any candidate offered the position.

MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources strongly endorses the principles embodied in the MU’s values statement – respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence (  In that context we seek to recruit and retain outstanding scholars who are:  Committed to blending service with scholarship, Leaders, Good colleagues who will collaborate with others from diverse disciplines and backgrounds, Flexible and adaptable in an era of rapid change.

The University of Missouri is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.  To request ADA accommodations, please contact our ADA coordinator.