Assistant Professor in Geospatial Analysis, Social Justice, and Climate Change

Western Washington University

Bellingham, WA, United States 🇺🇸

About the Position: Western’s Department of Environmental Studies invites candidates for a tenure-track faculty position in geospatial analysis, social justice, and climate change at the rank of assistant professor, beginning Fall 2018.  As the world is confronting immediate and long-term problems of environmental change and degradation, especially the socially and geographically uneven effects of climate change, it is crucial to understand and integrate multiple knowledge systems and approaches to advance equity of environmental outcomes, especially along racial, economic, and cultural lines.  We understand social justice and the environment in broad terms and invite applicants with teaching and research interests that can support the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) minor and Geographic Information Science (GIS) program.

The position is open to scholars with local, national, and global perspectives and with a variety of methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives.  We expect our new colleague to help advance liberal arts and sciences, through collaborative and interdisciplinary engagement with our department, college, and university. 
About the College/Department: Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and a recognized national leader in producing the next generation of environmental stewards.  The College’s academic programs reflect a broad view of the physical, biological, social, and cultural world.  This innovative and interdisciplinary approach makes Huxley unique.  The College has earned international recognition for the quality of its programs.

Huxley College and the Department of Environmental Studies support Western’s mission to bring together individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in an inclusive, student-centered university that develops the potential of learners and the well-being of communities.  We encourage applications from women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, and other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and with diverse experiences interested in this opportunity.

With 20 tenured and tenure-track faculty, the Department of Environmental Studies is able to offer BA degrees in Environmental Studies, Geography, Environmental Policy, Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, and Environmental Education, as well as an MA in Environmental Studies and a MEd in Environmental Education.  The department is home to two interdisciplinary research institutes: the Resilience Institute and the Spatial Institute.

The Resilience Institute facilitates scholarship, education and community-based planning as a way to minimize loss and enhance equitable recovery from disasters.  The Institute supports Huxley’s DRR minor, which examines disasters as the unequitable outcomes of social, political, economic and historical processes that are often rooted in systems of oppression and marginalization.  A DRR approach seeks to reduce risk by addressing these root causes of social vulnerability.

The Spatial Institute is an interdisciplinary center for geospatial research.  The Institute focuses on applied GIS, cartography, and remote sensing, with an emphasis on environmental problem solving.  The Spatial Institute acts  as a hub for faculty, student, and community collaboration on spatial projects and plays a key role in supporting Huxley’s GIS curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including our GIS minor and GIS Certificate.

Western is located in beautiful Bellingham, nested between Vancouver and Seattle, and recognizes the rich diversity as well as the responsibility of being located on indigenous lands.  Western seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the people of Washington, to maintain the excellence of the University, and to offer our students richly various disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.  With over 15,000 students in seven colleges and the graduate school, Western is nationally recognized for its educational programs, students and faculty.  Bellingham is a coastal community of 83,000 overlooking Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and the Cascade mountain range.  Western is the highest-ranking, public, master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2017 U.S. News & Word Report rankings.

The Department of Environmental Studies is particularly committed to diversity and excellence in our faculty, students, and staff, and we especially encourage candidates who share and can contribute to this commitment through active engagement in the department, university, and wider community.  A separate statement that addresses past experiences with, and/or plans for, initiating contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion should also be included in the application materials.
Position Responsibilities: Teaching is the primary responsibility for tenure track faculty in Environmental Studies; scholarship and service are important secondary responsibilities.  Responsibilities include:
  • Teach approximately five classes during the academic year, which includes a fall, winter, and spring quarter, covering existing courses in the Disaster Risk Reduction minor and Geographic Information Science program, as well as contribute to other existing or new department offerings.  Incorporating climate justice themes throughout is encouraged.
  • Coordinate with program leads and department chair in course assignment and scheduling.
  • Engage in continuous teaching improvement through professional development, departmental peer evaluation, and staying abreast of the field.
  • Share in department responsibilities for undergraduate advising, with support from the Huxley College Centralized Student Services.
  • Support undergraduate internship and independent studies, mentor students.  Some faculty additionally advise masters’ students.
  • Fulfill all teaching and mentoring responsibilities in ways that provide equitable and inclusive learning environments for all students.
  • Maintain a program of scholarly and creative activity that is an evolving expression of the faculty’s intellectual and applied interests.
  • Collaborate on research, outreach, and service and participate in the governance of the Resilience and/or Spatial Institutes
  • Serve on committee(s) at the department level, with additional service on college and university committees, task forces, and other activities expected near and following tenure
  • Engage in off-campus service, including service to scholarly and professional associations and/or community service
Required Qualifications:
  • Ph.D. or ABD in environmental studies/sciences, climate sciences, geography, anthropology, ethnic studies, urban planning, public policy, political science, or a closely related field, required by appointment date
    • Candidates appointed ABD must complete degree requirements by June 15th of their first year.  If a candidate appointed ABD does not complete degree requirements by June 15th of the first year, the second year contract shall be a terminal contract
  • A record of effectiveness or demonstrated potential for teaching courses in the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) minor and at least two courses in our Geographic Information Science (GIS) program, as well as integrating content on climate change or its impacts into these and other courses
  • A record of high quality scholarship – which may include applied or engaged forms – that focuses on policies, practices, institutions, and communities in ways that advance equity of environmental outcomes, especially along racial, economic, and cultural lines.  The candidate is expected to produce peer-reviewed publications from this scholarship.
  • Primary focus of scholarship that intersects social and environmental justice – locally, nationally, and/or internationally – with one or more of the following dimensions:
    • Critical approaches to climate change adaptation or mitigation;
    • Disaster risk reduction or post-disaster recovery;
    • Critical and/or participatory approaches to GIS;
    • Application of GIS and/or DRR to indigenous movements, social movements or grassroots community mobilization; or
    • Socio-environmental modeling
  • A strong vision for excellence in teaching and mentorship
  • Demonstrated ability and commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the department
  • Demonstrated ability to address the needs of a student population of growing diversity – but race, ethnicity, gender, age, academic preparation, and cultural and social background – through course materials, teaching strategies, and advisement
  • Demonstrated research, professional experience, or community volunteer work with communities that have been historically marginalized or underrepresented
  • Ability to cross disciplinary boundaries and collaborate on research, outreach, and service with the Resilience Institute, Spatial Institute, or other areas of the Environmental Studies department
Preferred Qualifications:
  • A clearly defined research program that includes plans to seek external funding to support research and department activities
  • A clearly defined research and/or service program of community engagement
  • Ability to support department STEM teaching needs, including those currently offered and those identified by the candidate
Academic Emphasis: Environmental Studies
Job Location: Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
Salary: Commensurate with experience and qualifications
Bargaining Union: United Faculty of Western Washington
Application Instructions and Requested Documents: Applicants must apply online via Western’s Electronic Application System for Employment (EASE) at  Note:  Internet Explorer is recommended.

As part of a complete application, candidates must submit: 1) a cover letter describing the applicant’s record of, and future plans for, addressing the required and preferred qualifications, 2) a curriculum vitae, 3) a separate statement that addresses past experiences with, and/or plans for, initiating contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion, and 4) the names and contact information for three academic references.
Other Information: Follow Western Employment on Facebook and @WWUEmployment on Twitter
Job Posted: 12/13/2017
Closing Date Notes: Application review begins January 22, 2018; position is open until filled
Recruitment #: 170509
Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Office, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay); [email protected]

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.