Jobs at Western

Assistant Professor of Planetary Geology/Geophysics

Apply now Work type: TT Faculty
Location: Bellingham, WA
Categories: College of Science & Engineering

Position Title Assistant Professor of Planetary Geology/Geophysics
About the University

WWU is a public university with over 16,000 students. In 2018, the Chronicle of Higher Education named WWU as one of the “Great Colleges to Work For.” WWU is one of 24 institutions in the US to receive funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Program, which supports the Advancing Excellence and Equity in Science program in the College of Science and Engineering.

The campus overlooks Bellingham Bay and the City of Bellingham, WA (  Bellingham is centrally located with respect to Seattle to the south, Vancouver, British Columbia to the north, the North Cascade Mountains to the east, and the San Juan Islands to the west.

About the Department

The Geology Department and Department of Physics & Astronomy are housed within the College of Science and Engineering. The Geology Department has 14 faculty, 160 undergraduates and 30 graduate students. The Department of Physics & Astronomy has 16 full-time faculty and about 120 undergraduate physics majors. B.S. degrees in Geophysics, Physics, and Geology as well as a Math/Physics B.A.Ed. degree are offered. The Geology department has a Master’s program, offering an M.S. degree in Geology. Both departments place strong emphasis on performing innovative research including meaningful student research opportunities. Members of the departments are also active in the development of new educational materials and innovative teaching methods. Both departments are partners in the Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center (AMSEC), the Science Math and Technology Education (SMATE) group, and the Institute for Energy Studies (IES); collaboration with these programs is welcome. 

The departments and college are committed to creating equitable and inclusive learning and working environments for their students, faculty and staff.  A number of faculty-led initiatives and committees focus on diversity and inclusivity in the classroom and beyond.  The college’s STEM Inclusion & Outreach Specialist maintains partnerships with faculty and inclusion programs locally and nationally that are devoted to recruitment and advancement of underrepresented students in STEM. Faculty support and mentor student clubs such as the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), Women in Geology (WIG), Physicists for Inclusion in STEM (PhIS), and Out in Science. More information is available at

Detailed information is available for the Geology Department at, for the Department of Physics & Astronomy at, and for CSE at

The College of Science and Engineering and the Geology Department and Department of Physics & Astronomy support Western's mission, which states that together with our students, staff, and faculty, we are committed to making a positive impact in the state and the world with a shared focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement. We encourage applications from women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, and other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and with diverse experiences interested in this opportunity.

About the Position

The Department of Geology and the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Western Washington University (WWU) invite applications for a tenure track Assistant Professor of Planetary Geology/Geophysics. This position has an expected start date of September 2020, and will be split evenly between the two departments, with Geology as the administrative lead department for purposes of annual review, tenure and promotion. Teaching assignments will also be split evenly between the two departments, and will be include courses in Geology and in Physics & Astronomy to support the Geophysics BS (, a program shared between the departments.

We seek applicants whose research program and teaching focuses on the role of physical processes in topics such as planet formation and evolution, planetary interiors, surfaces, or potential fields, small bodies, solar system dynamics, or related areas. The preferred candidate will be expected to develop and maintain a vigorous research program that complements existing strengths in remote sensing, planetary geology, seismology, magnetism, tectonics and/or stellar astrophysics. We seek applicants who will engage students in research, teach undergraduate and graduate courses, using student-centered instructional approaches, and foster an inclusive classroom and research environment.

The successful candidate will teach GEOL 352, Introduction to Geophysics, as well as other courses in both the Physics & Astronomy and Geology Departments to support the Geophysics BS curriculum. Candidates are also encouraged to develop new courses in either department within their specialty. The successful candidate will develop and maintain a research program involving graduate and undergraduate students and will seek extramural funding in support of research. Service commitments include student advising and participation on committees and in activities in both departments. The active use of equitable, inclusive teaching and mentoring practices, that extend opportunities to all students, is essential. 


Required Qualifications
  • Ph.D. in geophysics, physics, geology, or closely related field by the time of application, or ABD at the time of application. If ABD, all degree requirements must be completed by June 15 of the first year of employment
  • Commitment to establishing a vigorous research program in planetary geology/ geophysics involving graduate and undergraduate students
  • Ability to establish an externally-supported research program
  • Potential for effective student-centered teaching in solid earth geophysics (e.g. GEOL 352, Introduction to Geophysics), and appropriate courses in physics and/or astronomy
  • Demonstrated ability and commitment to cultivating research and learning environments that are equitable and inclusive of students with diverse social identities and backgrounds
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Preferred Qualifications
  • Post-doctoral research (or equivalent) experience in planetary geology/geophysics
  • Experience teaching undergraduate STEM courses
  • Demonstrated experience using and developing student-centered teaching methods
  • Demonstrated experience in fostering an equitable and inclusive research and learning environment


 Commensurate with experience and qualifications

Bargaining Unit

 United Faculty of Western Washington

Application Instructions

Applications must include (1) a detailed cover letter describing the applicant's background and addressing the required and preferred qualifications, (2) a statement of philosophy, interest, and experience in teaching, (3) a statement outlining proposed research plans, specifically addressing plans for student involvement in both departments, (4) a statement describing the candidate’s ability to work effectively with diverse students, faculty and staff, and commitment to cultivating learning environments that are equitable and inclusive of students with diverse social identities and backgrounds, (5) unofficial transcripts of undergraduate and graduate course work, and (6) a full curriculum vitae including the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers of three professional references.  Do not send letters of recommendation; they will be requested only for semi-finalists.   All application materials must be uploaded at as two PDF files: (1) CV and (2) cover letter, statements, and transcripts. 

Inquiries may be addressed to the search committee chair, Dr. Jackie Caplan-Auerbach at, or (360) 650-4153.

Closing Date Notes Review of applications will begin on December 20, 2019 and the position will remain open until filled. 

Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Office, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("The Clery Act"). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western's campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at The report can be found at: Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.

Job no: 497337
Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:

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