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Tenure-track appointment: Thelma Finlayson Chair in Biological Control

Simon Fraser University, Biological Sciences
Burnaby, British Columbia
Closing date
Nov 18, 2023

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At the intersection of innovative education, cutting-edge research, and community engagement lies Simon Fraser University (SFU), Canada’s top-ranked comprehensive university. With three campuses located in beautiful British Columbia’s largest municipalities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey - our students, faculty and staff are privileged to live and work on the traditional unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), q̓íc̓əy̓ (Katzie), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Qayqayt, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen Peoples. Consistently ranked as one of Canada’s top employers, SFU’s excellence as an engaged university is derived from our shared commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The Opportunity

The Department of Biological Sciences (BISC) invites applications for a tenure‑track faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor in Biological Control and/or Pest Management to commence September 2024, or a mutually agreed-upon date. The successful candidate would hold the Thelma Finlayson Endowed Chair in Biological Control.

Desired research area

We seek to hire an early-career researcher pursuing fundamental research on the theory and/or application of biological control in natural or managed systems. Suitable areas of research might include evolutionary, ecological, genetic and/or physiological  approaches to host-natural enemy interactions in forest, agricultural, horticultural, urban or natural ecosystems. The applicant’s research should complement existing strengths in the Department ( Appointment will be made at the Assistant Professor level and the successful candidate will pursue a vigorous, externally funded research program that includes the training of graduate students. The new hire will be expected to contribute to development and teaching of courses in pest management and other core undergraduate and graduate courses in BISC’s program.  We encourage applications from researchers who will contribute to the Department’s efforts in supporting equity, diversity and inclusion.

The core duties of an Assistant Professor in BISC are as follows:

  • Research: Develop an extramurally funded research program devoted to advancing the field of pest management, biological control and organismal biology, including supervising and mentoring graduate students and highly qualified personnel in research training, and disseminating discoveries through peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and other forums appropriate to the discipline.
  • Teaching: Teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of pest management, biological control, and organismal biology, including contributions to core, large-enrollment lower-division courses, and curriculum and program development.
  • Service: Perform service to the Department and the University, such as serving on committees and participating in departmental initiatives.

The typical workload distribution for tenure-track assistant professors at SFU is 40% research, 40% teaching, and 20% service.

In carrying out these duties, the successful candidate will advance BISC’s goals to foster equity, diversity, and inclusion by working to eliminate the barriers that impede the ability of department members from historically underrepresented and marginalized populations to achieve their full potential. The successful candidate will foster a positive and inclusive working environment through respectful interactions with all faculty, staff, and students.

The responsibilities, terms and conditions of employment of research faculty are listed in the SFU-SFUFA Collective Agreement.

About BISC

The Department of Biological Sciences (BISC) was established at SFU in 1965, making it one of the younger Biology Departments in Canada. BISC remains a broad-based Biology Department with research interests of faculty ranging from cell and molecular biology, through organismal biology and physiology, to ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation. We currently comprise 34 research faculty and 9 teaching faculty, with ~650 Undergraduate majors and ~100 Graduate students. The Department has a number of research groups in behavioural ecology (eBERG), applied biology (including two applied Masters programs: Pest Management, Environmental Toxicology), cell biology (Centre for Cell Biology, Development and Disease - C2D2), aquatic conservation (Earth2Ocean), avian ecology and conservation (the Centre for Wildlife Ecology - CWE), and evolutionary biology (Crawford Lab of Evolutionary Studies).

The Successful Candidate

Strengths that will be an asset to a successful candidate include:

  • Hold a PhD in pest management, biological control, insect biology or a relevant discipline.
  • Have demonstrated excellence in research in pest management and/or biological control. Criteria for assessment of excellence could include:
    • extensive experience conducting scientific studies in the specified research area,
    • high-quality scientific publications in leading peer-reviewed journals of the field,
    • awards and/or secured external funding (e.g., scholarships),
    • talks at conferences or departmental seminars,
    • collaborations with other researchers in their field of study.
  • Articulate a compelling vision for a research program that addresses questions of fundamental importance to the field and has clear potential to attract top-quality trainees, extramural funding, new scientific collaborations, and uptake by knowledge users.
  • Contribute to re-focussing and development of BISC’s Pest Management Masters program.
  • Demonstrate deep and broad knowledge of the field of pest management and/or biological control for engaged teaching of undergraduate and graduate courses in these areas.
  • Show clear potential for excellence as a mentor of graduate students and research trainees, especially those from equity-deserving groups.
  • Show strong potential for effective knowledge translation and community engagement (e.g., with provincial, national and international Pest Management organisations).
  • Demonstrate outstanding interpersonal and communication skills (oral and written, in English). These skills include, but are not limited to, strong listening skills, valuing and respecting diverse perspectives, and a collaborative disposition.
  • Show evidence of past contributions to enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion within research, service, and teaching, understanding of inclusive teaching and mentoring, and how the candidate would meet the needs of equity‑deserving students.
  • Show strong potential to be an engaged academic citizen, in part by demonstrating a record of volunteerism and participation in service activities, such as committee work, outreach initiatives, etc.
  • Demonstrate willingness to take on new roles with unfamiliar tasks and, in performing these roles, demonstrate curiosity, adaptability, and initiative by doing research, asking questions, being receptive to mentoring, and seeking constructive feedback.

The following qualifications are considered assets:

  • Postdoctoral research experience.
  • Experience conducting research in diverse environments or from different perspectives.
  • Demonstrated experience in increasing diversity in their previous institutional environment(s) and in curricula.
  • Leadership potential, demonstrated by leadership roles, formal leadership training, or leadership abilities.

How To Apply

Candidates should address their applications to Dr. Tony D. Williams, Chair of the Search Committee. Informal enquiries about this position can be directed to Tony Williams (

Applications should consist of a single PDF file inclusive of, and bookmarked for, the following components:

  • A concise cover letter (maximum two pages) that addresses the following items: 1) reasons for applying to the position, and 2) a narrative description highlighting evidence that the candidate meets the job qualifications and can effectively perform the listed job duties.
  • A complete up-to-date curriculum vitae that lists the candidate’s education and employment history, publications and conference presentations, funding and awards, student supervision, collaborations/partnerships, teaching experience, and service activities.
  • A research statement (maximum two pages) that describes the candidate’s research experience, goals, and a five-year plan for their research program.
  • Three examples of peer-reviewed published scholarly work.
  • A teaching statement (maximum one page) that describes the candidate’s teaching philosophy, teaching experience, and evidence of teaching effectiveness.
  • A statement (maximum one page) describing past or potential contributions to enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion within research, service, and teaching. With regards to the latter component, candidates should discuss their experience with, and/or understanding of, inclusive teaching and mentoring, and how the candidate would meet the needs of equity‑deserving students.
  • The names, titles, and email addresses of 3 referees who are qualified to assess the candidate’s research, service and, if possible, teaching capabilities. Referees will be contacted by SFU for candidates advancing to the later stages of the selection process.
  • Please indicate your legal status to work in Canada.

All application materials should be submitted as a single pdf via an online application form:

Full consideration will be given to applications received by November 10, 2023. Applications received after this deadline may be reviewed if the position is still open.

SFU recognizes that alternative career paths and/or career interruptions (e.g., parental leave, leave due to illness) can impact research achievements and commits to ensuring that leaves are taken into careful consideration. Candidates are encouraged to add up to half a page to their cover letter to highlight how alternative paths and/or interruptions have impacted them. SFU also recognizes the value of mentoring and research training, outreach, professional service, and nontraditional areas of research and/or research outputs.

In keeping with SFU’s strategic vision which pledges to foster a culture of inclusion and mutual respect and to celebrate diversity among faculty, SFU is committed to ensuring that no individual is denied access to employment opportunities for reasons unrelated to ability or qualifications. SFU is dedicated to building a diverse faculty by advancing the interests of underrepresented groups, including women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We strongly encourage individuals from these groups to apply.

SFU offers several benefits and services aimed at creating a more inclusive and accessible campus community for faculty; please see the Faculty Relations, Benefits and Service page for more details. SFU is also committed to ensuring that the application process is accessible to all applicants.  If you require accommodations or have questions about SFU benefits, services, accommodations policies, or equity considerations, please contact the Specialist, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Faculty Relations.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. Under the authority of the University Act, personal information that is required by the University for academic appointment competitions will be collected. For further details see the Collection Notice.

The position is subject to availability of funding and approval by the SFU Board of Governors.

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