Research Assistant Professor, The Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation – Virginia

Research Assistant Professor, The Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation

Virginia Tech



Job description

The Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education (ALCE), in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Virginia Tech, invites applications for a Research Assistant Professor with a focus on interdisciplinary and community-based food systems research. This is a 12-month, non-tenure track position with full benefits and the opportunity for promotion. The position will support the Virginia Tech (VT) Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation, which is a community-outreach-oriented center in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with extension, research, and teaching aims and activity. The Center was established in 2019 to address food system issues and complexities at the nexus of food, agriculture, and society from a critical praxis perspective. Through its community-based and participatory work, the Center asserts the importance of epistemic justice and inclusion by valuing and uplifting diverse forms of knowledge and ways of knowing for a more socially just and sustainable food system in Virginia and beyond. As such, we encourage those committed to the promotion of justice and equity as core values in their scholarship to apply.

As a member of the Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation core team, the Research Assistant Professor would contribute to leading the Center’s community-based research program by conducting interdisciplinary and community-engaged scholarship focused on food systems change and community transformation. This position will be an excellent opportunity to work as a scholar-practitioner interested in addressing pressing societal challenges and food system issues, especially relevant to Virginia, Central Appalachia, and the Mid-Atlantic region. Research faculty are expected to demonstrate excellence in research and make significant contributions to community outreach and education. Demonstrated responsibilities would include authoring and contributing to peer-reviewed publications and reports, developing and publishing white papers and policy briefs, generating external funding, and contributing to experiential learning opportunities and food systems coursework with undergraduate and graduate students. The successful candidate will build on the Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation’s reputation as a leading land-grant university center that embraces critical ideas and community-engaged approaches to generate and promote creative solutions and possibilities for a more equitable food system.

Required Qualifications

  • Earned Ph.D. in food systems, agroecology, community and regional planning, sociology, geography, agricultural and/or extension education, community development, public policy, or in a field closely aligned with food systems or food studies with emphasis on community engagement, food justice, food sovereignty, food politics, or food policy.
  • Experience in addressing critical and timely food system issues at local, regional, national, and/or global scales.
  • Skill and experience in conducting research focused on social change theories, critical theories, critical praxis, community-based research, participatory research, action research, and/or citizen science.
  • Experience working with multiple research methodologies, success in applying for externally funded research grants, and publishing findings in scholarly and community-engaged outlets.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication, presentation, and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to engage professionally with a diverse population of University faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders.
  • Ability to collaborate and build extension and research partnerships with both statewide and national scholars and practitioners at academic, community-based, non-profit, and governmental institutions or organizations.
  • Commitment to fostering and promoting justice, equity, and inclusion as demonstrated by professional experience.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills necessary for teaching and mentoring students.
  • Ability to travel and valid restriction-free U.S. driver’s license

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in project management at an academic, government, or non-profit organization.
  • Experience teaching at the undergraduate or graduate level.
  • Knowledge of food system history and current trends that are relevant to Virginia, Central Appalachia, Mid-Atlantic region, and/or the southern United States.
  • Experience in program evaluation and evaluation methodologies.
  • Intercultural skills or cross-cultural community development experience working in the United States or internationally.
  • Experience presenting and disseminating information accessible to diverse audiences.

Appointment Type


Salary Information

Commensurate with Experience

Review Date


Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim(That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive communitydedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicinecollege, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campusin Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension officesand research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

How to apply

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Dr. Kim Niewolny at [email protected] regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Virginia Tech has a strong commitment to the principle of diversity, and in that spirit seeks a broad spectrum of candidates including women, minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities desiring accommodations in the application process should notify the hiring department by the application deadline.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 215 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 30,000 students and manages a research portfolio of nearly $400 million. 


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