Vadose Zone Scientist/Engineer for Water Quality - University of Nebraska, Lincoln

The Vadose Zone Scientist/Engineer for Water Quality holds an academic-year appointment as assistant or associate professor in the Departments of Agronomy & Horticulture and/or Biological Systems Engineering in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), as well as a courtesy appointment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the College of Public Health.


Recognizing that diversity within a context of inclusivity enhances creativity, innovation, impact, and a sense of belonging, IANR and Agronomy & Horticulture are committed to creating learning, research, Extension programming, and work environments that are inclusive of all forms of human diversity. We actively encourage applications from and nominations of individuals from underrepresented groups.


The incumbent conducts a research and education program focused on quantifying and predicting the fate and transport of chemicals and nutrients in the vadose zone of agricultural watersheds with a focus on irrigated croplands, and the effects of management strategies for irrigation, nutrient, and crop protectant applications to ameliorate or prevent contamination of groundwater.


The incumbent maintains a high impact, nationally and internationally recognized, and externally supported research and teaching program contributing as an effective scholar and citizen to the integrated (extension, research, and teaching) land-grant mission of the Departments of Agronomy & Horticulture and/or Biological Systems Engineering and IANR, including supporting student recruitment and IANR science literacy. Research conducted by the incumbent collaboratively addresses the movement of water and solutes, and the fate and transport of nutrients and agricultural chemicals in the vadose zone, focusing on interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes in the vadose zone and quantifying the subsurface movement of nutrients and chemicals beyond the crop root zone. Through field, laboratory studies and monitoring coupled with modeling, the research will expand understanding of the implications on water quality of nutrient and irrigation management practices, land use changes, conservation practices, and regulatory actions.


The incumbent’s contributions to teaching support holistic irrigated cropping systems management that connects agricultural management to environmental quality (ecological engineering) and contributes to Agronomy/Horticulture, Biological Systems Engineering, Environmental Science, and/or Water Science degree programs. The incumbent will provide leadership in teaching and/or team-teaching to deliver courses and experiences related to water quality strategies, vadose zone chemical/nutrient chemistry and transformations, soil physics, saturated and unsaturated flow of solutes in the vadose zone, and processes governing transport of contaminants in the vadose zone. In addition, the position is expected to contribute to recruiting, advising, and mentoring students. Specific course assignments may change according to program needs.


In the area of work covered by the position, the incumbent seeks and establishes effective disciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations, including integration with local stakeholders, complementary research groups, extension teams, educational programs, and other partners. The incumbent accepts committee assignments, reporting responsibilities, and other special ad hoc assignments as requested at the administrative unit, college/division, institute, and/or university levels.


Required qualifications include a Ph.D. in Soil Science/Agronomy, Geology, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, or a closely related field. A publication record in peer reviewed journals, with topics related to vadose-zone processes and water
quality is also required. Preferred qualifications include the understanding of nitrate and other groundwater contamination problems as they relate to processes, soil and geologic materials, and environments between the land surface and the water table, and as they relate to agriculture, environmental stewardship, and public health. Demonstrated search and award of grant funding at various levels; demonstrated field experience and quantitative skills, including data analysis; commitment to excellence in teaching; excellent oral and written communication skills with emphasis on communication with a variety of stakeholders; ability to engage in scientific teamwork to address major issues; experience in course design, development, and management; and evidence of work with diverse or underrepresented communities or groups are also preferred.


To view details of the position and create an application, go to http://employment.unl.edu, requisition F_210008. Click “Apply to this Job” and complete the information form. Attach 1) a letter of interest that describes your qualifications for the job and anticipated contributions; 2) your curriculum vitae; 3) contact information for three professional references; 4) statements that describe your philosophy and approach to teaching and research; and 5) a statement of your experience contributing to inclusive environments in which every person and every interaction matters (2 page maximum). Please note, the statements (items 4 and 5) will need to be combined into one document. Review of applications will begin March 22, 2021 and continue until the position is filled or the search is closed.


As an EO/AA employer, qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation. See http://www.unl.edu/equity/notice-nondiscrimination.