Position Announcement

Posted: April 22, 2016

Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, Professor and Department Head, Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education (AESE)

STARTING DATE          January 1, 2017 or as negotiated

RESPONSIBILITIES: The College of Agricultural Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University is seeking a dynamic individual as Department Head to provide leadership and vision to guide the development of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education. The Department’s land-grant mission is to extend knowledge in the social sciences through nationally and internationally recognized research, teaching, and outreach activities. Our mission is achieved through excellence in three key social science disciplines: Agricultural Economics, Rural Sociology, and Agricultural and Extension Education. AESE is home to five graduate programs, five undergraduate majors, six minors, and participates in five dual-degree programs.  AESE is the academic home for 48 faculty and 32 staff, including an Associate Head and faculty advisory committee. Penn State University has 24 campuses, 17,000 faculty and staff and 100,000 students and is ranked among the top public universities. 

The Head is the Department's academic leader and administrative officer, and provides intellectual and organizational leadership for AESE. The Head reports directly to the Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.  


Specific responsibilities include:

  • Lead faculty and staff in implementing and enhancing the Department's undergraduate and graduate education programs, Cooperative Extension, and outreach initiatives to ensure programs are highly responsive to the evolving interests and needs of students and society.
  • Guide and enhance the Department's research environment to assure that programs meet the needs of stakeholders and sponsors.
  • Proactively engage Extension, and enhance the Department’s state, national and international reputation.
  • Administer and manage the Department's academic affairs, personnel, finances, and physical facilities.  
  • Represent, promote and advocate for the Department within the College and University, and with disciplinary groups, alumni and other private and public stakeholders within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond.  
  • Create an environment that facilitates 1) an effective shared vision; 2) a highly productive, innovative, and entrepreneurial faculty and staff; 3) collaborative opportunities, and 4) a mutually supportive, diverse and intellectually stimulating environment for faculty, staff, and students.  
    • Support development programs to attract external support for educational programs, research initiatives, centers and institutes, and Extension engagement strategies.


QUALIFICATIONS: Requires a Ph.D. in agricultural economics, agricultural education, rural sociology, or a closely related field.  Desirable attributes include:

  • Demonstrated ability for highly effective administrative leadership and management of a multi-disciplinary, multi-function department.  
  • Significant understanding and appreciation of the evolving mission of the land-grant university system, and of expectations, opportunities and constraints facing faculty and departments in public research and education institutions.  
  • Substantial knowledge of university research, Cooperative Extension, and teaching functions.  
  • Demonstrated ability in and commitment to effective leadership that stresses participatory decision-making.
  • Strong personnel management experience.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Proven ability and commitment to mentoring faculty and staff at all career stages and support for professional development.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage budget priorities and obtain external funding to effectively balance a diverse array of needs within the Department.

SALARY:  Competitive, commensurate with background and experience. An attractive benefits package is available.

APPLICATION:  Apply online at  Candidates should upload a cover letter summarizing interest in the position and qualifications and a complete curriculum vitae. In addition, provide a statement of leadership philosophy and names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of at least three individuals who may be contacted as professional references.  Review of applications will begin August 15, 2016 and continue until a suitable applicant is identified. To learn more about the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, visit:


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Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.