Assistant Professor - University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science (BESS) Department, Knoxville, TN

Effective Date:    Screening of applicants’ credentials will begin July 2018, and continue until the position is filled

The Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science (BESS) department at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) seeks a 12-month, tenure-track assistant professor to develop a nationally recognized research and teaching program (85% research & 15% teaching) in sensors and automation for biological systems.  The research program will address regional and national needs related to issues such as agricultural production automation, hydrology and water quality, and early prediction of crop, animal, and soil health.

Potential research areas include—but are not limited to—sensors for real-time monitoring of plant and animal health, wireless sensing for hydrology and water quality, soil health and nutrients, food safety, environmental monitoring, soil moisture sensing for irrigation, precision detection, placement of nutrients and crop protectants, network integration in IoT (Internet of Things).  

This individual will provide leadership in UTIA education and research that meets the needs of clientele regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion or veteran status.

Primary Responsibilities:
•    Develop a nationally-recognized research program centered on the development of new and novel sensor technologies that will enhance both fundamental and applied research

  • Direct graduate students
  • Publish and present research results
  • Teach BsE 451 Electronic Systems (4 credit hours, 3 hr class, 2 hr laboratory), a required senior-level core-class required for all undergraduate Biosystems Engineering majors
  • Participate in BESS and UTIA service activities as needed
  • Collaborate with existing BESS and UTIA faculty, as well as faculty from UT campuses and other institutions in developing novel and deployable sensors

Required Qualifications:

  • Completed Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering or other closely related engineering discipline achieved by appointment date
  • Completed coursework and experience in Electrical Engineering or closely related engineering, including circuit analysis, fundamentals of analog and digital electronics, etc.
  • Experienced in design and/or implementation of sensors, data acquisition, networks, and/or signal processing
  • Demonstrated ability and willingness to work in an interdisciplinary environment with a variety of engineers and scientists
  • Established a nascent record of peer-reviewed publications
  • Demonstrated excellent verbal and written communication skills

Desired Additional Qualifications:

  • Licensed Professional Engineer or eligible for licensure
  • Demonstrated potential for developing extramural funding  
  • Post-doctoral training in a lab with hands-on experience with electronic systems
  • Knowledge and experience with multispectral sensing, geospatial statistics, spatial and temporal data acquisition for assessing crop nutrient needs
  • Interest in interfacing with on-going precision agriculture efforts
  • Use of aerial-based remote sensing
  • Experience with robotics for advanced crop production, harvesting, and processing
  • Experience with machine learning, image processing, heuristic models, geo-spatial statistics
  • Experience with circuit design and modeling software
  • Supervision of students
  •  Teaching in a classroom or laboratory setting

The University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) is the state’s flagship research institution, a campus of choice for outstanding undergraduates and a premier graduate institution. As a land-grant university, it is committed to excellence in scholarship, learning and service and aims to enrich and elevate society. The Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee is seeking candidates who have the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the diversity and intercultural goals of the University.

Knoxville is situated in a valley between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cumberland Plateau, areas of great beauty and among the most bio-diverse in the USA. Knoxville is a city of 200,000 offering many amenities of urban life. Knoxville has a beautiful and walkable downtown, active neighborhoods, and eclectic cultural activities, restaurants, and shopping. Trip Advisor recently named Knoxville a Top Ten Destination on the Rise.  Knoxville is located within easy driving distance to Asheville, Atlanta, and Nashville.

The Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science (BESS) resides within the Institute of Agriculture at The University of Tennessee and adheres to the three-pronged mission of land grant universities by providing quality research, teaching and Extension, including outreach, to the citizens of Tennessee and elsewhere. The Department has an excellent reputation in research, teaching and Extension and excels at fulfilling its mission to advance scientific knowledge and to provide science-based information to improve the sustainability of food and fiber production, protection of natural resources, and the lives of all people in Tennessee and across the world. BESS Extension is the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture and is recognized nationally for delivering research-based information about agriculture to the people of Tennessee. The BESS Department currently has 30 full-time faculty members with expertise in diverse areas of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science. The successful candidate will have access to ten research and education centers located across the state. The department offers two undergraduate degrees, as well as masters and doctoral degrees.  The recruited individual for this position will have opportunities for collaboration within the department and across UTIA.  For more information about the department, visit our web site at:

All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status. In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the university. Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, and national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), the ADA (disability), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity, 1840 Melrose Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996-3560, telephone 865-974-2498. Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Office of Equity and Diversity.
A background check or e-verify may be conducted for employment in this position.
Salary and benefits are competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. Benefits available include group medical insurance, dental insurance, group and individual life insurance, long-term disability insurance, workers’ compensation, retirement plan with UT contribution, sick leave, annual leave, paid holidays and administrative leave days, unemployment compensation, educational discounts, and use of University Services.

The application should include a letter addressing areas of expertise, research interests, teaching philosophy, career goals, and experience appropriate to the position, a curriculum vitae, and a list of three references that include complete mailing addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses.  Application materials must be submitted as a single .pdf file and sent to Artan Xhaferaj   or mailed to Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science Department, 2506 E.J. Chapman Dr., Knoxville, TN 37996. Inquiries regarding the position should be directed to the chair of the search committee, Dr. Paul Ayers at