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Assistant Professor of Cooperative Extension - Soil Health

University of California Davis
Davis, California
Closing date
Jan 5, 2024

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Soil ecology
Job Type
Faculty, Assistant Professor
Organization Type

Assistant Professor of Cooperative Extension - Soil Health

This is a 100% Cooperative Extension (CE) Specialist appointment, an academic position in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. The successful candidate will be expected to develop an externally funded, applied research program designed to develop indicators of soil health and discover practices that promote soil health that coincide with the State's diverse cropping systems, natural resources, soils, and climates. The candidate will also be expected to be an integral position to address the State's plan to increase organic agriculture by 40% of total agricultural production in the state by 2045. The candidate will develop an extension education and outreach program that extends information to diverse clientele groups including growers, ranchers, commodity boards, and policy makers. This individual will be expected to work closely with academic and extension colleagues, including Academic Senate faculty, government scientists, other cooperative extension academics, working in related fields to provide leadership and collaborative capacity to many institutions, such as USDA-NRCS, Southwest Climate Hub, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Farm Bureau, USDA-ARS, Air Resources Board, Resource Conservation Districts, Water Quality Coalitions, and NGO's. In addition, advising and mentoring of graduate students is expected.

As a member of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), Professors of Cooperative Extension (CE) use their expertise to provide statewide leadership to University colleagues, public agencies, community-based organizations, youth, consumers, and citizens. The Professor of CE is expected to keep campus and county-based University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) academics and clientele apprised of emerging issues and research findings and directions, conduct applied research and develop applications of research-based knowledge to specific problems, and provide technical information and educational leadership. A Professor of CE is a primary liaison between University research units and statewide clientele. As a member of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), the Professor of CE will be expected to provide leadership and participation in ANR Program Teams, workgroups, and Strategic Initiatives, work closely with CE academics toward the resolution of issues of regional and statewide importance, and coordinate statewide programming with UCCE and AES colleagues throughout California. The Professor of CE will also identify and consider the needs of all relevant major clientele groups in planning, developing, and executing research and education programs. The Professor of CE will be evaluated for merit and promotion in the areas of Extension Education, Applied Research, Professional Competence and Activity, and University and Public Service. In addition, the selected candidate is expected to demonstrate interest, understanding, and commitment to enhancing diversity through the inclusion of groups that are underrepresented in all activities.

I. General disciplinary focus of the position will be soil science with an emphasis on soil health. Accordingly, applicants should have the professional background necessary to conduct original applied research in soil health that is informed by the diversity of cropping systems throughout California and addresses the challenges associated with soil variability.

II. Educational and professional background requirements: A minimum requirement is a Ph.D. in Soil Science or related field focused on soil health. The successful candidate must have a record that documents innovative and productive research as evidenced by publications in peer-reviewed journals and CE products.

III. Supporting units: The duty station for this position will be at the UC Davis Campus and will be supported by the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. Professors of CE serve as an integral member of the faculty with appropriate support for office and laboratory space and access to staff who will handle grant administration and personnel matters, among others.

The position will be recruited at the Assistant Professor in Cooperative Extension level and is an 11-month appointment.

Initial review of applications will be conducted using anonymized versions of the Statement of Research Accomplishments and Interests and the Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Applications demonstrating sufficient potential based on this review will be advanced to full review.

Expected Contributions:

By developing reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships with colleagues and with various stakeholders, the Professor of CE is expected to create public value by developing a program with four elements:

Extension Education:
Key extension activities include but are not limited to:

• Provide statewide and national leadership in matters concerning the diagnosis of soil health and evaluation of soil health practices tailored to California's cropland (perennial and annual) and rangeland systems to maintain productivity and minimize adverse effects on water and air resources.

• Plan, organize, and participate in programs designed to educate growers, ranchers and other clientele including CE academics, federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, land managers, and technical service providers about techniques to improve soil health and promote multiple ecosystem services.

• Develop extension programs including print and electronic materials that address diagnosis of soil health and system-specific prescription of soil health practices.

• Provide campus and county-based CE academics with up-to-date and extendible information on the regional application of soil health promoting practices.

• Conduct educational programs for growers, ranchers and other clientele that address the different approaches to promoting soil health across California.

Mission-oriented Research

• Potential research areas include the integrated aspects of soil health (physical, ecological, and management effects) and site-specific options and limitations that influence specific soil health strategies. The overall program goal should be to conduct research leading to cost-effective soil health promoting practices tailored to soil, the conditions of the cropping system, and the physiographic setting.

• The candidate will collaborate with Academic Senate faculty, campus and UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) academics, and stakeholders on emerging issues in soil health and develop and conduct research and extension initiatives to restore degraded soils, enhance soil resilience to agricultural production and promote more sustainable agricultural ecosystems.

• We expect the successful candidate to publish their research findings in refereed journals and other electronic and print venues, such as California Agriculture or UC/ANR publications and other appropriate journals such as Soil Science Society of America, Geoderma, Agricultural Ecosystems and the Environment, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Plant and Soil, Soil and Tillage Research, Soil Science, Soil Use and Management and Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.

Professional Competence and Activity:
The appointee will be expected to participate in professional society activities including presenting papers at national and international meetings; reviewing manuscripts and grant proposals in his/her area of expertise; and establishing productive working relationships with scientists and extension personnel statewide, and in other states and countries. The goal would be to gain national and international recognition for scholarly contributions to the science and practices of soil health, as he/she advances to the higher ranks in the UC system.

*University and Public Service: *
The appointee will serve on committees that support the needs of the Department, University and ANR, including appropriate ANR Program Teams and Workgroups. The appointee may also serve on advisory councils and boards appropriate to the candidate's area of expertise. The candidate should ultimately be recognized as a knowledgeable partner who can provide reliable information and build research-informed networks to address public issues in the state of California.

In addition, the selected candidate is expected to demonstrate Interest, understanding, commitment and action that will contribute to enhancing diversity through the inclusion of groups that are underrepresented in all outreach and engagement activities.

To apply, visit

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