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Director Kansas Biological Survey & Professor of Ecology & Evol Biology

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Position Overview

The Kansas Biological Survey (KBS; is a designated research center at The University of Kansas (KU). Established in 1911, it reports to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. The Director of KBS serves as the State Biologist and establishes the research mission, vision, and goals of KBS that address environmental issues important to the State of Kansas. The director is also jointly appointed as a tenured faculty member of the KU Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EEB).

The KBS community comprises 75 individuals, including faculty and staff researchers, postdocs, graduate students, and professional staff. KBS campus facilities are located on the West Campus of KU in Takeru Higuchi Hall, the West Campus greenhouse, and adjacent facilities that house environmental research laboratories and remote sensing/GIS programs.

KBS also manages the 1,497-ha KU Field Station (, an active site maintained for environmental research and teaching in the sciences, arts, and humanities utilized by researchers within KU and across the country. The core area of the Field Station is located 20 minutes north of Lawrence and consists of 726-ha with eight km of public trails. The Field Station also includes the 187-ha Baldwin Woods Forest Preserve, as well as the 584-ha Anderson County Prairie Preserve, which is held by The Nature Conservancy and managed for research by KBS.

The director has unique opportunities to develop their own research program synergistically with KBS personnel and collaboratively with a large and diverse research staff at KU both within and outside KBS. KBS is part of a dense network of collaborating research centers and academic departments at KU, including the Departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Geology; Geography & Atmospheric Science; Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering; the Kansas Geological Survey; and the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum, among others.

As a premier international research university, The University of Kansas is committed to an open, diverse, and inclusive learning and working environment that nurtures the growth and development of all. KU holds steadfast in the belief that a variety of values, interests, experiences, and intellectual and cultural viewpoints enrich learning and our workplace. The Kansas Biological Survey actively seeks applications from members of groups underrepresented in higher education.

Job Description

KBS Director (80%)

Develops and articulates the research mission and goals of the Kansas Biological Survey (KBS) by fostering positive working relationships internal to the University as well as with external organizations including the State of Kansas to develop and support cooperative research activities.

The director provides administrative and scientific leadership as well as oversight of the financial affairs and personnel and business practices of KBS. The director is actively engaged in strengthening the financial resources available to KBS.

The director stimulates the expansion and diversification of externally sponsored research funding by fostering and catalyzing the development of ideas, people, and infrastructure necessary for success at the state and national levels.

The director seeks excellence in the recruitment and retention of the highest quality academic and research support staff and students from diverse backgrounds.

The director maintains active involvement in research, service, and natural resources-related issues in Kansas and can develop their own research program in conjunction with those activities.

The director plays an active role in guiding policy on environmental issues in the state of Kansas, and as appropriate, for other university and governmental units and professional societies.

The director fosters the intellectual growth and development of undergraduate and graduate students in cooperation with degree-granting departments and supports their training and professional development activities.

The director fosters and supports a culture of safety, ethical research practices, and compliance among KBS and affiliated researchers and staff.

The director communicates the scientific and financial needs of KBS to officials in the Office of Research and KU’s upper administration to manage, maintain, and enhance the quality of the operations, space, and major research infrastructure assigned to or held by KBS.

Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (20%)

The director serves as a tenured Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology with a 20% appointment. Tenured faculty members are expected to meet satisfactory standards of performance in all three areas of responsibility— teaching/advising, research, and service—and to carry out those responsibilities in accordance with the Faculty Code of Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct and reflecting a 20% appointment. In a given year, contributions to research, teaching/advising, and service may be balanced, or added emphasis may be placed on one or more components.

Because the majority of the academic staff at KBS have joint faculty appointments in EEB, a joint appointment in EEB for the KBS director facilitates and strengthens regular communication and additional opportunities for collaborative research . This ongoing communication and cooperation between KBS and EEB has developed into a partnership that includes another KU research center, the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum. This triumvirate, called “Bio-3”, is a collaborative and integrative force that has generated strong ties among the faculty and staff in the three units, and has promoted cooperative research projects as well as an atmosphere of shared responsibility for research and education.

Required Qualifications

Doctorate degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, or related field.

Eligibility for faculty appointment as a full professor with tenure in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

National recognition and scientific leadership in biology, ecology, environmental science, or related field, as demonstrated by a record of refereed publications, professional service, and success in securing external sponsored project funding.

Demonstrated administrative experience including financial management and development of personnel and programs.

Excellent communication skills as demonstrated through application materials and interview.

Experience working with multidisciplinary constituencies.

Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as articulated in the candidate's responses to the application questions regarding diversity.

Preferred Qualifications

At least five years administrative experience including budgeting, personnel management, and program development.

Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of aquatic and terrestrial resources and their management.

Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of biological inventories and surveys, water and resource management, ecosystem dynamics, plant-soil-microbe interactions, remote sensing and GIS, and/or other areas of research expertise represented at KBS.

Demonstrated aptitude for innovative and entrepreneurial management.

Prior involvement in research, teaching, and/or administration at a research-active field station.

Experience in graduate or undergraduate teaching in a discipline related to KBS research programs.

Administrative experience in a comprehensive doctoral-degree granting university.

Contact Information to Applicants

Cari Alfers,

Additional Candidate Instruction

A complete application package includes: an online application, cover letter, curriculum vitae, a written statement (not to exceed three pages) summarizing your vision for research, research development, and administration, and names and contact information for three professional references. Only complete application packages submitted online will be considered. In addition to the materials above, learning about each applicant’s contribution and engagement in areas of diversity is an important part of KU’s mission. Thus, the following questions will be presented at the time of application. Each response must be within 4,000 characters or less.

Please describe your experience, approach or methodologies to create and implement inclusive teaching and advising practices, pedagogical techniques, and course materials.

Please provide an example outlining how you demonstrate(d) your ongoing commitment in working with diverse groups/populations in your current and/or previous role.

The deadline for applications is February 15, 2019. If you have any questions about this position, please e-mail Cari Alfers, Administrative Associate Sr., KU Office of Research,; 785-864-3567.

Visit the KU Office of Research website for more information: