Assistant Professor – Decision Science/Risk Analysis, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, MSU

  • Michigan State University
  • East Lansing, MI, USA
  • Aug 16, 2023
Full time Education Science

Job Description

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University invites applications for a full‐time, 9-month tenure-track Assistant Professor with a 50% research, 23% teaching, 20% outreach, and 7% leadership/service assignment. The position start date is anticipated to be 8/16/2024.

The selected candidate will join the leadership of the Quantitative Fisheries Center (QFC; and along with other QFC faculty, staff, and students help advance the center’s mission of providing research, consulting/outreach, and education services to fishery and other resource management agencies with a focus on the Laurentian Great Lakes basin. The incumbent will be expected to develop an internationally recognized program of research, instruction, and outreach consistent with both the QFC Strategic Plan and Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Joint Strategic Plan. Similarly, the candidate will successfully compete for extramural research funds, participate in classroom and online education, and lead outreach and consultation services focused on agency partners throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes.

The area of research emphasis will be decision science and/or risk analysis. The incumbent will be expected to make broad scholarly advancements in the decision science/risk analysis fields with specific focus on applied fishery management pertaining to fishery targeted, invasive, and/or threatened fish/wildlife populations, and other environmental challenges that federal, state, provincial, and tribal resource agencies confront. Structured decision-making has been and is anticipated to continue as an area of emphasis and growth in the Great Lakes region because of the scale of the systems and problems, diversity of stakeholders, and degree of uncertainty associated with management challenges. Structured decision-making projects in the Great Lakes, such as invasive carp control and developing harvest policies for Lake Erie percid fisheries, have included quantitative modeling to evaluate consequences and tradeoffs of potential management actions, so candidates should have strong modeling/simulation skills.

Research should be targeted towards providing results with clear, tangible benefits to resource management agencies. The initial teaching assignment will comprise one graduate-level course focused on decision science/structured decision making every other year and one undergraduate course (possibly co-taught) every year consistent with the incumbent’s expertise and teaching needs of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Development and delivery of in-person or online workshops and short courses to agency partners is also expected. The selected candidate will advise both graduate students and post-doctoral research associates. Extension/outreach activities will be targeted towards working professionals (e.g., biologists and managers) of resource agencies in the Great Lakes basin and will involve leading or assisting with quantitative analyses, meeting facilitation, and leading a range of decision-science/risk-analysis projects. Leadership/service duties will include: service to the department, university and fisheries science profession, such as serving on university and agency boards and committees; conducting peer-reviews for scientific journals; participating on editorial boards; and serving on various review panels. Service on committees, boards, and/or task coordinated through the GLFC will also occur. In addition, leadership/service will involve active participation in QFC leadership and coordination of synthesis activities with faculty affiliated with a sister-institution (Center for Ecosystem Management) at the University of Guelph.

Required qualifications: An earned Ph.D. with specialization or experience with structured decision-making, decision analysis, risk analysis, or adaptive management. Quantitative expertise in developing simulation tools for decision analysis. Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with a team. Highly organized with attention to detail, good communication (both oral and written) skills, and meeting facilitation experience. Demonstrated ability to successfully collaborate with resource management agency personnel to confront applied resource management challenges.

Desired qualifications: Background in fisheries science or related field (e.g., wildlife science, ecology, biology, conservation biology) and 2+ years of post-doctoral research experience that included management agency collaborations. Demonstrated ability to lead structured decision-making or management strategy evaluation exercises on applied resource management questions. Strong publication record on decision science or quantitative science topics in high-quality journals. Expertise and experience in contemporary statistical modeling (e.g., Bayesian inference, state-space modeling, hierarchical modeling). Successful grant writing experience. Experience teaching courses or workshops related to structured decision-making, decision analysis, or risk analysis. Experience advising or mentoring graduate or undergraduate students on research projects. Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and evidence of success in achieving DEI goals.

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife is a vibrant community of scholars comprising >40 core faculty (tenure stream and fixed-term faculty, and academic specialists), >30 research associates, >80 graduate and 240 undergraduate students. Our Mission is to build local, national, and international capacities to conserve ecosystems that support fish, wildlife, and society through integrated programs in research, education, and engagement. We are committed to the integrative nature of natural resources conservation and management, with our expertise ranging from disciplinary areas with a long-standing history in the domain of fisheries and wildlife to those emerging more recently. The Quantitative Fisheries Center was established in 2005 to provide a research, outreach/service, and teaching program that contributes to greater capacity within fishery management agencies in quantitative methods; improved quantitative methods for assessing fish stocks; agency use of model-based approaches in decision making; and development of a better understanding of fish community and population dynamics. The QFC is supported by MSU, the GLFC, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and several state, provincial, and tribal agencies with fishery management jurisdiction over the Great Lakes. In 2018, the QFC received the Besadny award from the GLFC for outstanding work to enhance the understanding of Great Lakes fisheries by emphasizing the use of quantitative tools in teaching, outreach, and research and for serving as a trusted partner and a recognized leader both within and outside the Great Lakes basin.

Location: The position will be based at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, USA. Michigan State University (MSU) is one of the top research universities in the world and home to nationally ranked and recognized academic, residential college, and service-learning programs. MSU is a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, and scientists that provide regional, national, and international leadership in basic and applied research and excellence in teaching. In addition, consistent with its Land Grant origins, the MSU community pursues international engagement and provides strong extension programs that partner with diverse stakeholders to provide much needed research in the areas of food, energy, water and the environment. MSU enjoys a park‐like campus with outlying research facilities and natural areas. The campus is located in the city of East Lansing, adjacent to the capital city of Lansing. The Lansing metropolitan area has a diverse population of >500,000. Local communities have excellent school systems and place a high value on education. The University is proactive about its obligations under the ADA, and provides individual accessibility plans to students and employees with disabilities. Michigan State University is also proactive in exploring opportunities for employment for dual career families, both inside and outside the University, and respects all family forms. Information about MSU’s dual career support can be found at Information about WorkLife at MSU can be found at

Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University is committed to achieving excellence by creating and sustaining an accessible and inclusive culture that values cultural and academic diversity. We are an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer. The CANR is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that academic excellence is achieved through open access and proactive inclusion. Candidates are invited to view Fisheries and Wildlife norms at

Salary and Benefits: Salary will be commensurate with qualifications. MSU offers a generous benefits package (details at

To Apply: For consideration, submit your application online at to job number 884382. Upload the following required documents: a) letter of interest that includes qualifications for the position and statement regarding quantitative resource and decision analysis interests highlighting how your experiences align with the position; b) current curriculum vitae; c) statement of your philosophy, experience, and interests in working on management-related questions with Great Lakes resource management agencies (2‐page maximum); c) statement on teaching, highlighting your philosophy, approach, interests and experience (2‐page maximum); d) a description of how you will contribute to FW diversity, equity and inclusion goals (2‐page maximum); e) copies of official college transcripts; and f) contact information for at least three professional references. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Review of Applications: The search committee will begin reviewing applications on 1 November 2023 and continue until a suitable candidate is selected. Anticipated start date of the position is 16 August 2024.

Questions regarding this position can be addressed to the Search Committee Chair: Dr. Travis Brenden, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA,, 517-355-0003.

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. We actively encourage applications from, and nominations of, women, persons of color, veterans, persons with disabilities and other individuals who can contribute to the intellectual diversity and cultural richness at Michigan State University. MSU is committed to providing a work environment that supports employees’ work and personal life, and offers employment assistance to the spouse or partner of candidates for faculty and academic staff positions.