Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Postharvest Systems position announced | WSU Tree Fruit | Washington State University Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Postharvest Systems position announced

WSU is hiring an Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Postharvest Systems

The College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resources Sciences (CAHNRS), through the Department of Horticulture, seeks a leader in postharvest systems to serve as a core member of our tree fruit research and extension team. The endowed chair will build an internationally renowned research program on postharvest systems to enhance the profitability and sustainability of the Washington apple, cherry, pear and stone fruit industries. This position is supported by a $2.0 million endowment made possible by a $32 million investment from the state’s tree fruit growers to support research and extension at Washington State University (WSU).

Washington State is a premier tree fruit production region, with more than 230,000 acres (95,000 ha) statewide providing an annual economic impact of more than $8 billion. Over a third of the state’s tree fruit production is exported to markets worldwide. The state is one of the most agriculturally diverse in the U.S., where long, warm summer days, cool nights, low precipitation, and fertile soils make conditions ideal for irrigated specialty crop production.

The Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Postharvest Systems will be tenured in the WSU Department of Horticulture and is directly responsible to the Chair of the Department of Horticulture and the Research & Extension Center Director at the home location. The location of this position (Prosser or Wenatchee Research & Extension Center) will be based on the programmatic focus of the finalist and how that focus aligns and integrates with the mission and strategic areas of excellence for the center.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

The Endowed Chair is expected to provide energetic research leadership to address significant challenges to the tree fruit supply chain whose solutions can be derived from an integrated understanding of issues from bloom to table and are best addressed with a team-oriented, systems approach. Multi- and transdisciplinary collaborations are expected both within and beyond WSU.  In complement, the Chair is expected to develop a world-class research program in a selected area of the tree fruit supply chain. Such research may include, but is not limited to, investigations of pre- and postharvest cultural practices and biotic/abiotic stresses and their interactions on postharvest fruit quality; metabolomic, proteomic and molecular mechanisms underlying postharvest physiology; inheritance and expression of fruit traits; fruit sensory attributes and value-added products; postharvest handling technologies and supply chain logistics.

A systems approach to the tree fruit supply chain and validation of new research findings will inform technology transfer to, and successful adoption by, growers, packers and shippers. Active participation in formal dissemination of research results to the tree fruit industry, undergraduate and graduate students via guest lectures, individual and team teaching activities and graduate student advising is expected. This Endowed Chair research program complements recent and planned tree fruit-focused research faculty and extension professional hires, as well as WSU initiatives — such as the WSU Tree Fruit Decision Aid System, the WSU Agricultural Weather Network, the Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), and the Tree Fruit Extension Team.

The successful candidate will emphasize collaborative programs with state, federal, and private research and extension personnel to strengthen efforts among multi- and transdisciplinary teams. The successful candidate will acquire competitive extramural funding to support a comprehensive research program, contribute extensively to the scholarly literature, and enhance the national and international scope and reputation of WSU tree fruit programs. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct a program of research consistent with the mission of WSU in general and the strategic goals of CAHNRS, and work effectively with other researchers, extension professionals, private crop consultants, and with industry stakeholders. The successful candidate will participate in regional meetings, promote tree fruit postharvest systems research, and provide content to popular/grower media. Teaching responsibilities include the mentoring and supervision of graduate students, guest lectures and individual and team teaching contributions in the area of postharvest systems.

QUALIFICATIONS:

Required:

  • Earned Ph.D. in an agricultural or biological science field at time of application;
  • Qualified for appointment at assistant professor, associate professor or professor rank. The tenure home of the Endowed Chair is in the Department of Horticulture. Candidates applying for this position at the assistant professor rank must have experience in an assistant-rank position or equivalent with an established record of accomplishments in program leadership, scholarship and extramural funding; and
  • Demonstrated record of scholarly accomplishments in postharvest systems.

Preferred:

  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with technical and nontechnical audiences in oral, written, and electronic forms.
  • Demonstrated leadership in developing and executing an intensive interdisciplinary research program in postharvest systems.
  • Demonstrated excellence in collaborative research, graduate student mentoring, and research team building.
  • Demonstrated record of acquiring extramural competitive grant support.
  • Knowledge of state-of-the-art techniques applicable to tree fruit postharvest systems research.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and ability to work effectively with individuals and groups of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and ideologies.

KEY PARTNERSHIPS:

Washington State University strives to be the world leader in tree fruit research, outreach and education. CAHNRS is a top 10 agriculture college in the land grant university system. Today, WSU’s tree fruit effort includes more than 30 faculty members who dedicate the majority of their time and effort to tree fruit research and extension. These faculty span eight academic disciplines – horticulture, biosystems engineering, entomology, plant pathology, soil science, food science, agricultural economics, and agrometeorology – and are located on the main Pullman campus, at four Research and Extension Centers, and in regional extension units. This effort is greatly augmented by the activities of USDA-ARS scientists in the Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research Laboratory and the Wapato Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research Laboratory, as well as Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission staff located in Wenatchee and Yakima.

Three research and demonstration orchards include over 200 acres devoted to tree fruit for short- to long-term studies. Significant postharvest facilities and equipment are available at both Prosser and Wenatchee Centers as well as with willing collaborators in the tree fruit industry. The Tree Fruit Endowment also includes two separate funding sources to enhance tree fruit extension research orchards and facilities. In addition, the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission uses grower assessments to fund research efforts with WSU, other universities and the USDA on all aspects of tree fruit production and handling. Approximately $1.5 million is awarded annually to WSU and USDA personnel.

THE DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE:

The department (http://horticulture.wsu.edu) is in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS, http://www.cahnrs.wsu.edu). The department has fully integrated programs in teaching, research, and extension, involving approximately 20 faculty, 19 adjunct faculty, 20 research associates, and numerous administrative professionals and support staff statewide. The administrative office is located on the main campus in Pullman with 52% of the faculty located across two branch campuses (http://www.spokane.wsu.edu; (http://www.tricity.wsu.edu) and four statewide Research and Extension Centers:

To support the College commitment to Rosaceous specialty crops, strategic hires have been made in plant breeding, genetics, bioinformatics, genomics, plant physiology, plant pathology, and biosystems engineering. A recently published analysis ranks Plant Science research productivity at Washington State University in the top echelon of universities nationwide.

IRRIGATED AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EXTENSION CENTER (IAREC):

The WSU-Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC) is a diverse and multifaceted research and extension center located near Prosser in Benton County.  Benton County ranks first in the production of wine and juice grapes, second in the production of hops, and third in the production of tree fruits in Washington.  The county is also bordered by Yakima and Grant Counties, the first and second largest producers of tree fruit in the state.  IAREC hosts 13 WSU faculty members associated with the departments of plant pathology, entomology, biological systems engineering, horticulture, and crop and soil science and 8 USDA-ARS scientists from the Grain Legume Genetics Physiology and Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research Units. The Center is also host to the WSU Subject Matter Centers: the Center for Precision Agriculture and Automated Systems (CPAAS), Clean Plant Center Northwest (CPCNW), the Washington Agricultural Weather Network (AWN). Scientists at IAREC host over 40 graduate students from 11 countries and 6 continents. IAREC is a 30 minute drive from the WSU Tri-Cities Regional Campus. The area is served by Prosser Memorial, Kadlec, and Trios Hospitals. For more information, visit http://iarec.wsu.edu.

LIFE IN SOUTH-CENTRAL WASHINGTON:

Prosser, a quaint and progressive town of 5000 residents with superior public schools, is situated centrally in the midst of this bountiful horticultural region. Located in south-central Washington State, Prosser is the birthplace of Washington wine and is home to the recently established Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center and The Annual Prosser Balloon Festival. The Yakima River runs through the town and nearby orchards, vineyards, and hop yards. Prosser is just a 30-minute drive to the Tri-Cities metropolitan area (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick), where many IAREC researchers reside. The Tri-Cities area has a population of two hundred and fifty thousand and the fourth largest metropolitan area in Washington. The Tri-Cities offer extensive water-related activities at the confluence of the Columbia, Snake and Yakima rivers, a symphony orchestra, three sports teams, a convention center, live theatre, several annual music festivals and fishing tournaments, and a variety of restaurants and shopping centers.  The Tri-Cities Airport (PSC) offers 34 flights per day and is served by Alaska/Horizon, Delta, United, and Allegiant Airlines.  Direct flights to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Denver are available and the airport is the most accessible hub in Eastern Washington from November through March. The Tri-Cities is also served by Interstate 82 and Amtrak. The Yakima Metropolitan area, a center of tree fruit packing and distribution in Eastern Washington, is a 40-minute drive from Prosser and also offers big-city amenities similar to those in the Tri-Cities.  The Cascade and Blue mountain ranges, Seattle/Portland metropolitan areas, and Spokane/Coeur D’ Alene tourist areas are a short drive (1-3 hours) from Prosser. To learn more about the Prosser community, visit www.cityofprosser.com. To learn more about the Tri-Cities area, visit http://www.visittri-cities.com.

TREE FRUIT RESEARCH AND EXTENSION CENTER (TFREC):

The Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center (REC) is located in a productive irrigated agricultural area with a vibrant tree fruit sector. The Center houses 11 faculty and five co-located USDA-ARS scientists who conduct multidisciplinary research principally on deciduous tree fruit (www.tfrec.wsu.edu), supported by around 80 students, technicians, and staff. Research areas include entomology, horticulture, molecular biology, plant breeding, plant pathology, plant physiology, postharvest physiology, and soil science. The Center hosts the WSU Decision Aid System, a state-of-the-art online source of time-sensitive information for tree fruit management. An office of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources is also located on campus. The REC hosts active Extension programs and its faculty, representing four academic departments, contribute to educational programming. Faculty have a strong commitment to graduate and undergraduate student training. The main campus in Wenatchee includes office, laboratory, and greenhouse facilities. Dry and wet labs with two research farms located in nearby agricultural areas provide over 150 acres of established orchard (both conventional and certified organic).  Field trials for research and demonstration purposes with grower-cooperators and packing facilities are commonly utilized. A suite of pilot scale controlled atmosphere storage rooms and single lane fruit sorter housed in a nearby packing facility are available. Mission Statement: To be a hub for researchers, educators, extension specialists, students, and stakeholders focused on irrigated tree fruit and specialty crop systems to develop and apply new science-based knowledge and products to advance economically, environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture for industries and communities in Washington and the world.

LIFE IN WENATCHEE:

The Greater Wenatchee Area has a population of approximately 65,000 and is located at the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers along the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains, midway between Seattle and Spokane. Its semi-arid climate features extended spring and fall seasons, long dry summers, and cold winters, with over 300 days of sunshine annually. In addition to its agricultural heritage and vibrant agricultural economy, the area offers a range of sports and outdoor opportunities, including skiing, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and golfing. Along with abundant cultural events, further attractions include a thriving farmers market, an expanding Public Market and rapidly growing, restaurant, craft beer, cider, wine and distilled spirits businesses. Wenatchee Valley Community College and local public and private schools provide high-quality educational opportunities and Wenatchee is the medical hub for north central Washington.

For more information about Wenatchee and the region visit http://www.wenatchee.org/.

THE COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL, HUMAN, AND NATURAL RESOURCE SCIENCES:

The College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) at Washington State University is an expansive and diverse college that includes 15 academic units and five research and extension centers distributed across the state. CAHNRS fosters disciplines that serve at the interface of scientific discovery and its application to the advancement of society and improvement of the human experience. Our mission is to provide global leadership in discovering, accessing, and disseminating knowledge that contributes to producing a safe, abundant food and fiber supply; promotes the well-being of individuals, families, and communities; enhances sustainability of agricultural and economic systems; and promotes stewardship of natural resources and ecological systems. In all dimensions of our mission, we strive to embody the signature “World Class. Face to Face.” motto of Washington State University. CAHNRS personnel embrace the opportunity to fulfill the university’s land-grant mission by making groundbreaking research discoveries, by utilizing innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and by delivering relevant, progressive extension programs that synergistically generate outcomes that enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Washington State, as well as for people around the globe.

For more information, visit http://cahnrs.wsu.edu.

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY:

Founded in 1890, Washington State University is a comprehensive land-grant university with teaching, research, and extension missions, and one of two research universities in Washington State. WSU is organized into ten academic colleges, the Honors College, and the Graduate School. It has an enrollment of more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on four campuses (Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver) with approximately 20,000 students located on the main campus in Pullman, WA. WSU ranks among the top 60 public research universities and is a Carnegie I, Doctoral/Research Extensive University. WSU strongly values diversity among its faculty, staff, and students and seeks to ensure a welcoming community for all.

Further information about WSU can be found at: www.wsu.edu.

APPLICATION PROCESS:

Screening of application materials begins May 1, 2017, open until filled. To apply, visit www.wsujobs.com. Applications must include the following materials: 1) a cover letter, 2) a current curriculum vitae, 3) a statement of vision and goals for the position that describes how you would serve the needs of the tree fruit industry; 4) electronic copies of graduate program academic transcripts, and 5) names and contact information for four professional references. Reference letters will be requested for the finalists. The cover letter should address, in distinct sections, all of the required and preferred qualifications for the position (including your areas of expertise and research interests).

 

For questions about the position, contact Dr. Kate Evans at kate_evans@wsu.edu or 509-663-8181 x245.

 

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EDUCATOR AND EMPLOYER.

WSU is committed to excellence through diversity, has faculty friendly policies including a partner accommodation program, and a NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant (see http://www.excelinse.wsu.edu/.)

WSU employs only US citizens and lawfully authorized non-US citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Washington State University is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource Services: 509-335-4521(v), Washington State TDD Relay Service: Voice Callers: 1-800-833-6384, TDD Callers: 1-800-833-6388, 509-335-1259(f), or hrs@wsu.edu.

Washington State University