Urban EcologistTransforming Excellence Program – Faculty Research Cluster: Sustaining Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the richness of life on Earth, past and present. It encompasses genes, genotypes, populations, species and ecosystems, essentially all levels in the extraordinary hierarchy of organization and structure of organisms. It is also the natural capital of our planet, through which we derive vital resources that underpin all livelihoods and cultures. Humans have greatly accelerated the loss of biodiversity to our own detriment, thus creating an urgent need for outstanding research and effective public outreach. Increasing scientific knowledge and public understanding of biodiversity can lead to decisions that yield more sustainable economic growth and reduce human impacts on ecosystems.
Through the Transformative Excellence Program, the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) and the University of Utah are developing a faculty cluster focused on Sustaining Biodiversity, where research in collections-based biodiversity and data and computer science are combined with learning research for a novel interdisciplinary emphasis that strongly supports the University’s commitment to sustainability. This new research emphasis will combine science, practical applications, and computational and learning sciences in the areas of genomics, conservation biology, urban ecology, paleoecology, data science, simulation, and informal learning. It will complement related research at the NHMU, in the School of Biological Sciences, in the departments of Anthropology, Educational Psychology, Geography, Geology & Geophysics, City & Metropolitan Planning, and at the Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute.
By connecting collections-based biodiversity science to policy and public understanding, the Sustaining Biodiversity faculty can assist University of Utah researchers and students in addressing and communicating important issues facing resource management in the Intermountain West and beyond. The Museum will serve as the bridge for understanding the connection between formal and informal learning and testing educational ideas in an authentic context with diverse audiences. We are seeking collaborative faculty who will join us in exploring the diversity in the world around us and communicating its value and impact to the public.
The University of Utah seeks to fill a tenure-track position at the Assistant or Associate Professor level focused on biodiversity science in the area of urban ecology, broadly defined, to begin in Fall 2022. This is a joint hire between the Natural History Museum of Utah, the Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute, and the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah. Areas of research emphasis could include, but are not limited to, landscape, community, or ecosystem ecology, conservation biology, and ecological design with an emphasis on computational and data-enabled approaches. We welcome applicants with a commitment to community engagement, public policy, ecological planning and design, and to enhancing knowledge discovery through computational modeling and data visualization. We are especially interested in candidates who can contribute to our university’s diversity.
The successful candidate will have a demonstrated record of outstanding multidisciplinary research, excellent communication skills, and an ability to engage with stakeholders and diverse communities. An integration of computational and data-enabled techniques into research approaches as well as familiarity with emerging opportunities presented by increased availability of data and data-driven methods (e.g., based on Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) is desirable. Experience with natural history collections is preferred. In addition, the successful candidate will have the capability to work across a range of scales from the neighborhood to the region, engaging urban and rural communities. Qualified candidates may have research interests across the globe, and with an interest in developing a research program that advances biodiversity science in Utah and the Intermountain West.
Responsibilities include: (1) developing and maintaining an ongoing program of scholarly, multidisciplinary research that involves computational modeling and visualization of data from fieldwork or collections, with the goal of enhancing NHMU collections (https://nhmu.utah.edu/collections); (2) developing meaningful collaboration with faculty in the Sustaining Biodiversity cluster, as well as faculty at NHMU, the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning, and other academic departments; (3) expanding and developing citizen science projects and other biodiversity-related outreach programs at NHMU, SCI Institute, and associated departments; (4) meeting a 0.5 FTE teaching requirement in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning and/or interdisciplinary Dark Sky Studies Minor Program, and playing an active role in the Center for Ecological Planning & Design and/or Metropolitan Research Center; (5) engaging as an member of the SCI Institute faculty; (6) training and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students; (7) developing and submitting research funding proposals to national agencies and foundations; (8) engaging with NHMU exhibits and educational programming; (9) participating in faculty governance at the department, college, and university levels.
This position is part of an interdisciplinary faculty cluster at the University of Utah that brings together natural sciences researchers, learning scientists, and data and computational science expertise to engage in novel research, outreach, and public learning. Positions in the cluster build on a long history of faculty positions shared between academic departments and NHMU; more information about this position and the cluster can be found online: https://nhmu.utah.edu/sustaining-biodiversity.
The University of Utah is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate based upon race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, status as a person with a disability, genetic information, or Protected Veteran status. Individuals from historically underrepresented groups, such as minorities, women, qualified persons with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply. Veterans’ preference is extended to qualified applicants, upon request and consistent with University policy and Utah state law. Upon request, reasonable accommodations in the application process will be provided to individuals with disabilities. To inquire about the University’s nondiscrimination or affirmative action policies or to request disability accommodation, please contact: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 201 S. Presidents Circle, Rm 135, (801) 581-8365.
The University of Utah values candidates who have experience working in settings with students from diverse backgrounds, and possess a strong commitment to improving access to higher education for historically underrepresented students.
The University is a participating employer with Utah Retirement Systems (“URS”). To be eligible for retirement contributions, you must be hired into a benefit-eligible position. Employees with prior URS service may elect to enroll in the URS within 30 days of hire. Regardless of whether they are hired into a benefit-eligible position or not, individuals who previously retired and are receiving monthly retirement benefits from URS must notify the Benefits Department upon hire. Please contact Utah Retirement Systems at (801)366-7770 or (800)695-4877 or the University’s Benefits Department at (801)581-7447 for information. This position may require the successful completion of a criminal background check and/or drug screen.