Academic Unit Head, Department of Biology

James Madison University
Harrisonburg, Virginia
October 15 2018
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

James Madison University invites applications for the position of Academic Unit Head (AUH) for the Department of Biology, to begin July 1, 2019.

Our Biology Department seeks a unit head with a strong understanding of both the national trends in biology education and the future of the biology field. The unit head will lead the department as we pursue our vision to become a School of Life Sciences, which includes implementing an exciting new direction for our majors' curriculum to reflect the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the biosciences.

The Biology Department at James Madison University resides within the College of Science and Mathematics, one of eight academic units across the university. The College of Science and Mathematics is comprised of the following departments: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, and Physics. The Biology Department currently serves over 1000 undergraduate majors and 19 Masters' students. The 55 full-time faculty and 6 staff members are engaged in teaching and research in a broad range of sub-disciplines. We offer a wide variety of courses for biology majors, general education and pre-health profession majors, including a 4-semester, lab-intensive core curriculum. Our department provides outstanding educational experiences for biology and biotechnology majors and supports the preparation of students interested in pre-health professions, nursing, and health sciences disciplines. We maintain a rigorous, student-centered research enterprise including undergraduate and graduate students. Innovative curricular revision in the past several years has culminated in the implementation of a large-scale introductory CURE which has gained visibility as a national model for innovative approaches to gateway course revision. Faculty commitment to diversity and inclusion is reflected in the recent selection of the JMU Biology department to participate in the HHMI Inclusive Excellence initiative to catalyze further advances in faculty development and student support over the next five years. We house the Center for Genome and Metagenome Studies (CGEMS) that provides resources to support leading-edge research and training in the methods and principles of genomics, metagenomics, transcriptomics, and bioinformatics for students at all levels. Our facilities include a brand new gross anatomy dissection laboratory, state-of-the-art undergraduate anatomy laboratories, a vivarium, light microscopy facilities, an herbarium, and greenhouses. Additional information on the department can be found at

With state-of-the-art instrumentation housed in two new facilities- the BioSciences Building (2012) and the anatomy wing of Burruss Hall (2017), a new, NSF-funded introductory-level curriculum, and a dynamic, collaborative faculty with an exciting vision for the future, the department seeks a unit head with the following qualifications: Candidates must be eligible for the rank of Full Professor and have a PhD in Biology or a closely-related field. The successful candidate should have a clear understanding of the national landscape of Biology education and research and have the potential to lead the department in its mission. The candidate must demonstrate a strong commitment to our research and educational activities, have the ability to advocate for faculty and students, and possess the skills to foster excellence in the department. The successful candidate is expected to have a history of productive, scholarly research programming that includes undergraduate mentoring, excellent communication, management, and leadership skills, and a demonstrated ability to build and foster collaborative working relationships within the College of Science and Mathematics and other external entities. The Biology Department is a large and complex unit, and the successful candidate must be able to manage large groups of people and delegate authority. The successful candidate must have a demonstrated commitment to building an inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Experience mentoring graduate students, especially Masters' students, budget authority experience, experience with faculty evaluation, mentoring experience with junior faculty, and curricular/program development experience are preferred qualifications.

Review of applications will begin on November 15, 2018 and will continue until the position is filled. Salary is commensurate with experience. Employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a criminal background investigation. To apply visit or go to and reference posting number F1212, complete the faculty profile and attach a curriculum vitae, cover letter, a statement of leadership (other document #1). You will be asked for a list of four references on your application. The cover letter should summarize the candidate's experiences with the required qualifications. The 2-3 page leadership statement should describe how you would capitalize on opportunities for an undergraduate-focused biology unit in the national biology landscape.

For questions regarding the position, please contact the search committee at

James Madison University is an equal opportunity employer committed to creating and supporting a diverse and inclusive work and educational community that is free of all forms of discrimination. This institution does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, parental status, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status. Anyone having questions concerning discrimination should contact the Office for Equal Opportunity: (540) 568-6991.

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