Precision Agriculture Cohort Hiring Initiative, including the Position of Endowed Chair in Bozeman, MT

Montana State University

Montana State University is a land-grant institution committed to the integration of scholarly activities (research, teaching, and outreach) in service to the citizens of Montana. The College of Agriculture has a lively research culture and academic programs, including undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs. We are committed to supporting a cohort of faculty whose focus is on precision agriculture to enhance collaboration and multidisciplinary work in teaching and scholarship. We envision a wide variety of scholars who qualify as contributing to this theme and are particularly interested in people from diverse academic backgrounds whose life experiences will contribute to the excellence of the MSU community.

A wide array of scholars who focus on precision agriculture may qualify as contributing to this theme. This could include but is not limited to individuals with expertise in agronomy, animal, ag engineering/technology, database development and management, decision-support, agricultural economics, on-farm research, soil, spatial, and/or pest science.

At Montana State University we are dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive workplace, so if you are excited about this role but your experience does not align perfectly with every qualification in the job ad, we still encourage you to apply.

We are specifically searching for faculty whose locus of tenure will be within one of the following departments:

Department to be determined (1 position, Elizabeth & Whitney MacMillan Endowed Chair, Asst/Assoc/Full Professor).
The College of Agriculture is searching for a scholar who focuses on Precision Agriculture, defined broadly. This includes leading a nationally recognized research and education program at the nexus of precision agriculture technologies, data science including robotics, simulation modeling and decision-support systems supported by on-farm research, agronomy, and soil and water sciences. This position will reside in one of the seven departments within the College of Agriculture, appropriate to the candidate’s field of study. This position will take a leading role in developing precision agriculture research and teaching programs for addressing agricultural challenges in Montana and beyond.

60% research/30% teaching/10% service (9-month, department location dependent on field of study)

Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (1 position, Assistant Professor).
The Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences is searching for a scholar who focuses on Precision Agriculture in the context of land use and management. This could include, but is not limited to, research and teaching at the nexus of agronomy, precision agriculture technologies, soil and water sciences, and data science including simulation modeling and decision-support systems supported by on-farm research.

60% research/30% teaching/10% service (9-month, on the Bozeman campus)

Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology (1 position, Assistant Professor).
The Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology is searching for a scholar who focuses on Precision Agriculture in the context of agronomy. This could include, but is not limited to, research and teaching interests in engineering/technology, high throughput phenotyping, database development and management, decision-support, or spatial science within an expectation of on-farm research.

60% research/30% teaching/10% service (9-month. on the Bozeman campus)

Research Centers (1 position, Assistant Professor, Northern Ag Research Center).
The Department of Research Centers is searching for a scholar who will have a strong background in agronomy, livestock, bioinformatics or related field with skills in one or more relevant areas of precision agriculture including but not limited to engineering/technology, ag. economics, database development and management, decision-support, and/or spatial science. The successful candidate will be able to design, conduct and interpret a wide range of on-farm research relevant to their field of expertise in precision agriculture approaches to improve the profitability and sustainability of ag operations in Montana. The ability to engage in outreach and supervise students and professional staff is expected. This includes, but is not limited to, research addressing the needs of state and regional stakeholders, with particular focus on dryland production systems, with on farm producer trials expected, and extension programing focusing on application of precision ag approaches to improve the profitability and sustainability of ag. operations in Montana.

45% research/45% extension/10% service (12-month, Northern Ag Research Center, Havre, MT)

Duties and Responsibilities

Duties include a combination of research, teaching, extension, and service as specified for each position. A commitment to excellence in teaching and an active research program with extramural funding are essential, along with the integration of research, teaching, and/or extension as applicable. We are accepting applications from candidates whose tenurable home can be in any of the above-listed departments and whose scholarly expertise addresses the cohort theme of Precision Agriculture. For on-campus positions, instructional responsibilities will include teaching lower division, upper division, and in some cases, graduate courses within the scholar’s area of expertise, as well as advising and mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, including those who have been historically underserved by higher education. For off-campus position, extension responsibilities include developing extension programing focusing on application of precision agriculture approaches to improve the profitability and sustainability of ag operations including those who have been historically underserved in Montana. Service includes department, college, and university committee work and participation in professional organizations.

Required Qualifications – Experience, Education, Knowledge & Skills

Terminal degree in a discipline appropriate to the home department by start of appointment.

Potential for excellence in teaching or extension.

Potential for excellence in research and a publication record commensurate with career level.

Demonstrated evidence of research potential that meets the theme of Precision Agriculture.

Demonstrated evidence of teaching or extension potential that meets the theme of Precision Agriculture.

Evidence of potential for undergraduate and graduate mentorship, in particular support of underserved communities.

Demonstrated potential for meaningful contributions to the diversity and excellence of MSU’s community through research, teaching, extension, service or lived experience.

Preferred Qualifications – Experience, Education, Knowledge & Skills

Evidence of strong statistical and data management skills related to precision agriculture.

Experience working with, teaching, or mentoring diverse groups from diverse backgrounds.

Previous teaching or extension experience at the university level with a high level of effectiveness.

Demonstrated ability to write grant proposals and secure extramural funding.

Experience interacting with stakeholders.

Experience with field research trials.

Potential to engage in collaboration with diverse MSU faculty and interest in multidisciplinary work.

The Successful Candidate Will

Have an appreciation of diverse constituencies and add to the College’s commitment to supporting students from diverse backgrounds.
Contribute to fostering diversity of the campus, curriculum, and discipline.
Contribute to the College of Agriculture mission of providing outstanding teaching, research, and extension.
Have strong oral and written communication skills, and effective interpersonal skills.
Have the ability to collaborate productively with students, staff, and faculty at MSU.

Position Special Requirements/Additional Information

This job description should not be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements, but a general description of the job. Nothing contained herein restricts Montana State University’s rights to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time.

Physical Demands

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily with or without reasonable accommodation. The requirements listed above are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

The Program

The Department

The Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (
) work spans land resources and environmental science and management, and includes cutting-edge, innovative teaching, fundamental and applied research, and highly effective outreach and service to a broad range of public and private entities. Our faculty offer broad expertise related to soils, microorganisms, insects, plants, climate, and water to achieve an integrated multi-scale and multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and managing ecosystems. We address issues related to natural and managed landscapes such as cropland, rangeland, forests, reclaimed land, polar and geothermal environments, and protected natural areas, with fundamental and applied investigations in agriculture, environmental science, land management, and natural resources. We advance scientific understanding across spatial and temporal scales, and apply this understanding for effective land management, informed adoption of sustainability practices, and broad education of students in preparation for careers in the agricultural and environmental sciences. LRES consists of 35 research and teaching faculty, about 250 undergraduate students, 25 thesis M.S., 110 online MS, 25 Ph.D. graduate students, and 40 technical and postdoctoral scientists, and has a strong tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration within the department and across the institution and State.

The Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology has 28 tenure track faculty including plant pathologists, plant breeders, plant physiologists, horticulturalists, entomologists, cereal chemists, and plant molecular biologists. The Department has state-of-the-art laboratory and plant growth facilities. Field research facilities are available both on campus and at seven MAES Research Centers located strategically throughout the state. The Department offers both MS and PhD degrees in Plant Pathology and Plant Science. There are currently 50 graduate students and >150 undergraduate majors in the Department.

The Department of Research Centers: The entire State of Montana is our Campus. Our research centers provide the foundation upon which the research and teaching missions of the university stay relevant to needs of agriculture in the state. Each center addresses the diverse climatological, ecological and environmental challenges faced by agricultural communities around the state. This tenure track position is located at the Northern Agricultural Research Center (NARC) which is a diversified crop and livestock research facility located seven miles southwest of Havre (pop. 10,000). Havre, MT offers year-round outdoor recreation opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, golfing, skiing, and ice skating. Cultural attractions include museums, galleries, concerts, and live theater. Historical attractions nearby include the Montana Dinosaur Trail, Fort Assinniboine and Buffalo Jump. Havre is a small town with a low crime rate and is the focal point of commercial activity in the Hi-Line region. Also located in Havre, but not part of the research center, is Montana State University-Northern, north central Montana’s comprehensive university offering programs and services at the associate, baccalaureate, and master’s levels.

Departments also included for the endowed chair position:

The Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics (
) is jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and the College of Letters and Science and has 23 faculty members. The Department aspires to the highest academic standards and is dedicated to education that develops human capital. Faculty members are highly productive scholars who conduct scholarship in economics with an emphasis on agricultural and applied microeconomics and a focus on high quality publications in leading refereed journals. DAEE faculty often obtain extramural grant funding. The department offers undergraduate degrees in agricultural business, economics, and financial engineering, with undergraduate majors numbering about 280, and a rigorous, highly respected master’s degree in applied economics, graduating an average of 6-8 students per year.

The Department of Agricultural & Technology Education is housed within the College of Agriculture and has 7 faculty members. The Department is dedicated to serving the needs of all students and stakeholders through a dynamic and comprehensive program of rural leadership, technological advancement, and proven scientific and educational practices. The program is grounded in basic and applied research aimed at improving professional and technical skills through formal and non-formal education in agriculture and industrial technology. The Department offers two degree programs with two major options in each program: Agricultural Education; Broadfield Teaching or Communications, Leadership and Extension. Technology Education; Broadfield Teaching or Industrial Technology as well as a teaching minor in Technology Education. The Department offers both an on-campus and online Master’s degree.

The Department of Animal and Range Sciences presently hosts 16 animal science faculty and 8 range science faculty. The department presently has 375 undergraduate and 30 graduate students. Research spans the nutrition, genetics, reproduction, and microbiology of animal agriculture, and the management of rangeland habitat for livestock production with wildlife habitat. Extension specialists focus their off-campus educational efforts on beef cattle, sheep and wool, forages, pesticide safety, wildlife, and rangeland management. The department is located in the Animal Bioscience Building which contains state-of-the-art teaching and laboratory facilities. Land and livestock for research are available at our department’s 474-acre Bozeman Agricultural Research and Teaching Farm located adjacent to campus, our 640-acre Fort Ellis Research Farm located 5 miles from campus, and our 13,750-acre Red Bluff Research Ranch located 35 miles from campus. Collaborative research opportunities also exist at seven off-campus MSU research centers located across the state and the 55,000-acre USDA-ARS Fort Keogh Livestock & Range Research Laboratory at Miles City, MT.

The Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology houses numerous degree options that prepare students to enter many exciting and emerging fields of research and service. Students can choose from several areas of study that form the foundations and basic level of understanding to solve a variety of problems faced by modern society including human physical and mental health, environmental health, alternative energy, and climate change. Specifically, our faculty are world renowned for their scientific expertise in biomedical research including molecular neuroscience, infectious diseases, immunology, host/pathogen interactions, disease ecology, cell and developmental biology, microbiome, cellular signaling, and pathogen biology. Our faculty are also internationally recognized as leaders in a range of environmental microbiology research areas, including microbial ecology, biofilm biology, geomicrobiology, astrobiology, bioremediation, and biofuels. The department leverages this diversity to provide broad, interdisciplinary curricula to both undergraduate and graduate students.

The College

MSU was founded in 1893 as the Agricultural College of the State of Montana. Today, the College of Agriculture is an integral part of fulfilling MSU’s land grant mission to provide a liberal, practical education to the sons and daughters of Montana. As part of the College of Agriculture, the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) conducts research on old and new challenges for Montana’s agricultural community. MAES creates opportunities for students and faculty to excel through hands-on learning, to serve through campus and community engagement, to explore unique solutions to distinct and interesting questions and to connect Montanans with the global community. The College of Agriculture is composed of 6 academic departments and 1 research department.
The College has state-of-the-art laboratories, plant growth and animal facilities. Field research facilities are available both on campus and at seven MAES Research Centers located strategically throughout the state. The College has 120 tenure track faculty supporting over 1,700 undergraduate and 300 graduate students.

Posting Detail Information

Number of Vacancies


Desired Start Date

Negotiated, as early as January 1, 2024

Position End Date (if Seasonal)

Open Date

Close Date

Applications will be:

Applications received by
September 15, 2023, will receive full consideration. However, applications will be accepted until the positions are filled.

Special Instructions

Candidates must submit the following:

A cover letter detailing how the candidate’s scholarly work and lived experiences meet the required and preferred qualifications.

Curriculum Vitae.

Research Statement that describes the candidate’s research in the discipline, with specific attention to how the candidate’s research addresses the cohort theme of precision agriculture and has the potential to advance collaboration at MSU.

Teaching or Extension Statement that describes the candidate’s approach to teaching/outreach in the discipline, with specific attention to strategies for mentoring and supporting students from underserved communities OR engaging and fostering extension clients from rural communities.

Three references (name, phone number, and email) who can address one each of the candidate’s potential areas of responsibility (research, teaching or extension, and service).

Diversity Statement

Montana State University values diverse perspectives and is committed to continually supporting, promoting and building an inclusive and culturally diverse campus environment. MSU recognizes the importance of work-life integration and strives to be responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

In compliance with the Montana Veteran’s Employment Preference Act, MSU provides preference in employment to veterans, disabled veterans, and certain eligible relatives of veterans. To claim veteran’s preference please complete the veteran’s preference information located in the Demographics section of your profile.

MSU’s Non-Discrimination Policy and Discrimination Grievance Procedures can be located on the MSU Website:

FLSA Details

FLSA Determination

FLSA Status