Assistant Professor of Indigenous Sustainability Studies

  • Bemidji State University
  • Bemidji State University, Birchmont Drive Northeast, Bemidji, MN, USA
  • Feb 17, 2021
Full time Education

Job Description

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  Initial review of applications will begin on Wednesday, March 17th, so applications should be submitted by that time for guaranteed consideration.

APPOINTMENT DATE:  August 17, 2021

JOB TYPE:  Two-year Fixed-Term



Bemidji State University (BSU) invites qualified applicants to join our team as an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Sustainability Studies. BSU’s vision is to educate people to lead inspired lives. To accomplish BSU’s vision, the University prioritizes creating a culture in which diversity is embraced and all people are safe, welcome, and validated. BSU also prioritizes increasing engagement with Indigenous communities to become a destination university.


BSU is located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota and occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji.  BSU balances rigorous academia with the opportunity to enjoy a fun, robust, outdoor culture.  The proximity to the lake and the surrounding north woods allows easy access to an assortment of recreation.  Major campus facilities are connected by all-season underground passages for safe and warm travel during the cold, winter months. 


Enrolling around 5,000 students, BSU offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. BSU’s Shared Fundamental Values include civic engagement and leadership, international and multicultural understanding, belief in the power of the liberal arts, and environmental stewardship.


The Center for Sustainability Studies at BSU invites applications for a two-year fixed-term position at the Assistant Professor level with a primary focus on Indigenous and Environmental Studies with a secondary focus on sustaining the wellness of individuals, communities, and Mother Earth. The candidate should have a solid foundation in Indigenous pedagogy, Indigenous methodology and curriculum. Indigenous peoples are the holders of unique languages, knowledge systems and beliefs and possess invaluable knowledge of practices for the sustainable relationship with Mother Earth. They have a special relation to and use of their traditional land. Their ancestral land has a fundamental importance for their collective physical and cultural survival as peoples. Indigenous peoples hold their own diverse concepts of development, based on their traditional values, visions, needs and priorities. We expect this faculty member will contribute expertise to the Environmental Studies undergraduate and graduate programs and maintain an Indigenous presence within the Liberal Education curriculum. 

Responsibilities of the Assistant Professor of Indigenous Sustainability Studies include:

  • Teaching a total of 24 credits each academic year.  Course responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, Indigenous Environmental Knowledge: Global Perspective; Sustainable Communities: Local Indigenous Perspective; Sustainable Communities: Global Indigenous Perspective; People of the Environment: Indigenous Perspective; Introduction to Environmental Science, as well as courses on food sovereignty and wellness and courses in support of the graduate program in Environmental Studies.
  • Leading, assessing, and developing the Indigenous Sustainability Studies (ISS) degree program. Acting in partnership with the Director of the Niizhoo-gwayakochigewin program to recruit, mentor, and retain undergraduate students, student interns, and graduate fellows; continue to provide support to student’s professional career development; increase enrollment in the ISS program; and increase Indigenous Knowledge and other related initiatives across campus (i.e. Land Acknowledgement, Indigenous Course Requirement, and Indigenous Studies Accelerated Learning, etc.). This will involve 3 credits per semester of release time. This assignment also includes engaging with local Tribal Colleges, organizing faculty development workshops, and collaborating with the McNair and Northstar STEM programs.
  • Designing and delivering on-campus and/or online courses, as needed.
  • Developing and teaching new undergraduate and graduate courses presenting both Indigenous Studies and Environmental Science perspectives.
  • Contributing to new approaches or expertise to advance the department’s program in Indigenous Sustainability Studies.
  • Engaging in academic advising and mentoring.
  • Engaging in scholarly research.
  • Contributing to interdisciplinary teaching and involvement in activities that support BSU’s Shared Fundamental Values.
  • Contributing to a collegial and supportive environment that advances the goals of the University.


Minimum qualifications for this position include:

  • Earned Doctoral degree from an accredited institution at the start of employment (will consider ABD status).
  • Experience with and understanding of Indigenous knowledge, methodology, and pedagogy. Graduate academic background in an area of the natural sciences, natural resources, or allied field.
  • Evidence of teaching in undergraduate education.


Preferred qualifications include:

  • Experience with and understanding of sustainable communities, wellness, and environmental science.
  • Interest/experience in curriculum and program development.
  • Teaching experience in higher education.
  • Experience working with Indigenous communities.
  • Skills/ability or desire to design and deliver online courses.
  • Desire to teach faculty development workshops.

Apply online:   



Dr. Carl Isaacson



If you have general questions about this posting or submitting an application, contact Teresa Hanson at





Bemidji State University is nestled among the pines along the shores of Lake Bemidji, just blocks from a thriving downtown community. In this Northwoods setting, students, staff, and faculty have a variety of activities at their fingertips. Possessing all the charm and character of a college town, Bemidji remains a tight-knit community of good neighbors and engaged citizens who always come out to cheer for the Bemidji State Beavers. While the city of Bemidji — named after the Ojibwe Chief Shaynowishkung (nicknamed Bemidji) — is home to a diverse population of more than 15,000 people, it serves a regional population of more than 100,000.


Located between three American Indian reservations – Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth, students at Bemidji State University have the opportunity to experience a dynamic local culture and history. Bemidji also sits at the center of the legends of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. The famous statues of Paul and Babe greet students as they drive in from the south along Lake Bemidji.


Though quaint and historic, the city offers the urban conveniences upon which college students rely. Bemidji State is conveniently located minutes away from affordable restaurants, cozy coffee shops, grocery stores, city parks and more. Small, locally owned shops and art sculptures line the streets of downtown Bemidji, while national chains can be found in and around the Bemidji area, including an uptown selection of department stores and restaurants.


The thriving downtown community presents ample opportunities for engagement off-campus. Among other things, there are fine-dining restaurants, cafes, and a natural foods co-op in downtown Bemidji. The historic Paul Bunyan Playhouse has a calendar of classic shows; restaurants and lounges offer weekly live music performances; the First Friday Art Walk provides a tour of new monthly art exhibits; and annual events such as the Loop the Lake Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Blue Ox Marathon, Bemidji Winterfest, and The Minnesota Finlandia bring the community together.


For those who love the outdoors, there are wooded, multi-use trail systems within minutes of campus and community parks with walking trails, playgrounds and a skate park. Lake Bemidji State Park and its miles of navigable trails is located directly across the lake from BSU, and the Buena Vista Ski Area — just 12 miles north of campus — offers downhill skiing and BSU-sponsored student transportation in the winter months. Further, the Mississippi River Headwaters is a mere 45 minutes from Bemidji.


For further information, visit our website at:


Review a "special report on how this former lumber town has rebuilt itself as a high-speed, regional center of enterprise" at Bemidji 2.0