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Assistant Professor of Environmental Geophysics

Department: Environmental Sciences
Position: Full time (10 month), tenure track position with full benefits package
Salary:  Negotiable within the range established in the Collective Bargaining Agreement ($44,000-$54,000)
Union Affiliation: MEA/MFT
Posting Date: March 2021
Start Date: August 1, 2021


The Environmental Sciences Department at the University of Montana Western seeks an innovative, passionate, educator-researcher in the area of geophysics applied to environmental science. The position is a full-time, tenure-track appointment at the assistant professor level. The University of Montana Western values diversity, and applicants from diverse backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate a teaching approach that will use Montana Western’s unique immersion scheduling model (Experience One), where students take, and faculty teach a single class at a time for 18 instructional days. Authentic practice in the discipline is the mission of the campus and we seek a talented and creative educator who can apply their research directly to undergraduate learning through fieldwork and projects.

The Environmental Sciences Department consists of an interdisciplinary group of four environmental geoscientists dedicated to getting students into the field to work on real projects of value to society. We are good at what we do, having recently ranked the 5th best environmental sciences program in the nation by We prepare our students for careers with natural resource management agencies, land conservation organizations, and private industries as environmental scientists, managers, sustainability specialists, and naturalists. Post-graduation placements from our programs are extremely high. We also foster a family atmosphere, which we consider essential to student success and a positive faculty work environment. We care deeply about each other and support one another in daily life. To strengthen our bonds, we spend time together in the surrounding Rocky Mountains. We are a team, and we seek a new team member.

The initial teaching responsibilities include general education courses in physical science and astronomy, and physics I and II using our immersion scheduling to integrate lectures, labs and fieldwork in order to engage students in real projects in the discipline. After the first year, the new team member will have the exciting opportunity to use her/his area of expertise to create a new, experiential general education course and at least one new course for students majoring in the environmental sciences. The goal is to engage students in real projects that are of value to society. A desire and ability to support students majoring in biology, ecology, education and other programs utilizing coursework in physics is essential, and the successful candidate will be able to advise, mentor and support students, and supervise their internships, projects and senior theses. The teaching load is 12 semester credits, which are taught during three of four blocks per semester. The fourth block is a Professional Development Block for conducting research, writing grants, attending meetings and completing projects done with students during previous blocks. The successful candidate will serve on campus committees, engage in campus assessment and accreditation, and be an active member of the Montana Western campus community.


The successful candidate will hold a doctorate (ABD considered) in the broad area of geophysics applied to the environmental sciences. The candidate should be an engaging and dedicated teacher who is committed to undergraduate student learning and success through fieldwork and project-based research. We are particularly interested in candidates with research interests that employ ground penetrating radar or other field tools to work collaboratively with faculty and students on land and water management, hydrology, surficial processes, natural hazards and climate change. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability in experiential learning and innovative undergraduate education using field-based research. Demonstrated college-level teaching in physics and environmental geophysics is desirable.


Application materials should include a letter of interest responding to the position description, a statement of teaching philosophy (<2 pages), a statement of research interests (<2 pages), a curriculum vitae including contact information for at least three professional references, and official or unofficial graduate and undergraduate transcripts. All application materials should be submitted as a single PDF file with page numbers. Candidates will need to successfully complete an interview, likely through Zoom, but hopefully on campus, where teaching evaluations may be requested. Official transcripts will be required at the time of hire. Inquiries can be made to Dr. Rob Thomas at Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. This position announcement can be made available in alternative formats upon request.  Application materials should be sent to:

Patti Lake
Personnel Officer
The University of Montana Western
710 South Atlantic Street
Dillon, MT 59725

The University & Dillon Area

The University of Montana Western is a dynamic, innovative, undergraduate university with over 65 full-time faculty and 1,300 students. It is located in Dillon, Montana in the scenic Rocky Mountains and has been awarded numerous top national rankings for delivering high quality, affordable education.

Montana Western is the only public four-year college in the nation offering Experience One (X1), experiential learning delivered on the block schedule. Class sizes are small and students take a single course at a time, three hours each day for 18 days, before moving on to the next course. Each course is four credits and four blocks are offered each semester. The block schedule facilitates field and lab work, undergraduate research, study travel, and interdisciplinary teaching. Montana Western’s faculty strongly believe in mentoring and inspiring students, and assisting them in the transition from university life to professional careers.

The University of Montana Western is an integral part of the Dillon Community. With a population of 5,000 people, Dillon is known for outstanding public schools, safe environments, recreational opportunities, and an excellent quality of life.

The University of Montana Western is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from qualified women, minorities, veterans and people with disabilities. Qualified candidates may request veterans‚ or disabilities preference in accordance with state law. Reasonable accommodations are provided in the hiring process for persons with disabilities. Finalists for any position will be subject to a criminal background investigation.

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