A group of four geology researchers sit on top of a mountain and read field notebooks during a research trip

Director search

The University of Kansas seeks a director for the Kansas Geological Survey. The successful candidate will provide visionary leadership, guiding the faculty, staff and students of this state survey and designated research center to its next phase of achievement.

The University of Kansas seeks a visionary leader and scholar to serve as director of the Kansas Geological Survey. The director serves as the state geologist and establishes the research mission, vision, goals and culture of the KGS that address issues important to the state of Kansas. Applicants must have a distinguished record of scholarship/research, experience in leading organizations or large-scale initiatives, strategic planning and facilitation skills, and be an effective communicator to articulate KGS mission, vision, goals and culture to employees, the university, the state, external agencies, industry partners and others.

The directorship is a full-time, 12-month appointment with 85% effort focused on leading the KGS and 15% as a tenured faculty member at the rank of full professor in the appropriate academic department. The directorship is an initial five-year appointment that is renewable based upon comprehensive review. 

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are central to the university’s mission and a critical component of Jayhawks Rising, KU’s strategic plan. KU encourages applications from women, minorities, and individuals in underrepresented groups that have a commitment to contributing to a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging with our students, faculty, staff, industry and collaborative partners that are located across the globe. 


Application review begins

  • Jan. 1, 2022

Desired start date

  • July 1, 2022

By the numbers

faculty, researchers, students involved in KGS
U.S. Department of Energy awards to KGS in past 5 years
externally funded research expenditures at KU in FY2020

Finalists + public presentations

Each candidate will deliver a public presentation and take questions in Hambleton Auditorium, 1930 Constant Ave., on the first day of their campus visit. Candidate names and CVs will be posted here about 48 hours in advance. All KGS interested parties are invited to attend and share feedback following the presentations.

Search committee

The search committee is chaired by Jennifer Roberts, vice provost for graduate studies and professor of geology. Other members include:

  • Kelly DeBruin, budget & finance director, Kansas Geological Survey
  • Franek Hasiuk, associate scientist, Kansas Geological Survey
  • David Heinemann, member, Kansas Geological Survey Advisory Board
  • Tony Layzell, assistant scientist, Kansas Geological Survey
  • Carl Leuschen, director, Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, and professor of electrical engineering & computer science
  • Andreas Moeller, associate professor of geology
  • Ken Nelson, section manager, Kansas Geological Survey
  • Shelby Peterie, associate researcher, Kansas Geological Survey
  • Erin Seybold, assistant scientist, Kansas Geological Survey

About the Kansas Geological Survey

The Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) 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 the KGS serves as the state geologist and establishes the vision and goals of the KGS that address geological studies and research leading to a better understanding of the geology of Kansas, with special emphasis on natural resources of economic value, water quality and quantity, and geologic hazards. Four key research sections of the KGS include:

  • Energy Research: geology related to oil and gas exploration and other energy resources
  • Exploration Services: geophysics, seismic techniques, and earthquake monitoring
  • Stratigraphic Research: stratigraphy, mapping, and geoarchaeology
  • Geohydrology: groundwater and water quality

The KGS community is composed of more than 130 individuals, including faculty and staff researchers, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and professional staff. KGS campus facilities are in Parker Hall, Moore Hall, Hambleton Hall, and the Wichita Well Sample Library.

The director has unique opportunities to develop their own research program synergistically with KGS personnel and collaboratively with a large and diverse research staff at KU, both within and outside KGS. KGS is part of a dense network of collaborating research centers and academic departments at KU, including the departments of anthropology, geology, geography & atmospheric sciences, chemical and petroleum engineering, and the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research. New facilities at the Earth, Energy & Environment Center further support such collaborations.

KGS researchers have available a variety of tools, equipment, and labs for the applied geosciences, including a state-of-the-art shallow seismic-reflection system, ground-penetrating radar, a direct-push unit, three drill rigs, a well-logging unit, a distributed temperature sensing system, electromagnetometers, a core storage facility, the W. Lynn Watney Core Laboratory, a petrophysical core analysis lab, a soil and sediment laboratory, and an analytical chemistry lab.

Technical support includes editing, publishing, and cartographic services and full-service support for an array of computing platforms and software, GIS, and web applications. The KGS also houses and operates the Kansas Data Access & Support Center, an important source of state geospatial data.

KGS scientists are internationally recognized for their work in the applied geosciences. The KGS has a long history of internationally recognized excellence in research, which continues to the present, with staff being honored with awards, distinguished lectures, society fellowships and leadership positions, and acclaimed publications.

About the university

Founded in 1865, the University of Kansas is an R1-rated public research university with more than 50 graduate programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report. KU enrolls 28,500 students and employs nearly 2,900 faculty members across five campuses (Lawrence, Kansas City, Overland Park, Wichita and Salina).

Including KGS, the Office of Research oversees 10 university research centers, two state surveys and about a dozen core laboratories. Faculty and staff on all KU campuses generated $275.4 million in externally funded research expenditures in FY2020. Collectively, that activity fuels KU’s mission to be an institution “making discoveries that change the world.” It’s also among the reasons KU retains membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities — one of just 34 U.S. public institutions among 64 that are transforming lives through education, research and innovation. 

Kansas Geological Survey scientist teaches geoscience concepts to K-12 students during an outreach event.
Kansas Geological Survey scientists record observations at the base of a rock cut.
Kansas Geological Survey scientist supervises a drilling rig.

Position responsibilities

The director serves at the pleasure of the Vice Chancellor for Research. For day-to-day operations, the director reports to the associate vice chancellor for research. The five-year term is renewable based upon the satisfactory completion of a comprehensive review.

Leadership (60%)

  1. Foster collaborations and positive working relationships with KGS staff, academic departments and divisions of the university, the Legislature, local government, state and federal agencies, the private sector, and the public. This includes, but is not limited to, providing leadership and counsel for other government bodies regarding resource and environmental issues, economic development, and management of natural resources.
  2. Provide oversight of the financial affairs, personnel, and business practices of the KGS. The director is actively engaged in strengthening the financial resources available to KGS.
  3. Serve on various committees and advisory boards for the state of Kansas (e.g., the GIS Policy Board and the Kansas Water Authority) and, as appropriate, for other university and governmental units and professional societies.
  4. Ensure that the highest quality scientific and support staff are recruited, developed, and retained to enhance the research and service mission of the KGS, with special attention to diversity and equal opportunity.
  5. Develop plans with KGS scientists and Geological Survey Advisory Council (GSAC) membership to expand and diversify the KGS funding portfolio and set KGS priorities.
  6. Communicate regularly about budgetary, scientific, and professional issues with the scientific leadership of the KGS. 

Research, service + program development (25%)

  1. Sustain and enhance the environment for creative research and service at the KGS to meet the needs of the state, the university, and the geoscience profession.
  2. Provide administrative and scientific leadership and vision in the areas of energy, water, and mineral resources; environmental issues; data collection, analysis, and access; basic and applied research in the geosciences; and public access, dissemination, and archival collection of research results and natural resources data.
  3. Establish policies for maintaining balance between research and service goals and objectives, work with state government and university leadership to address the diverse funding needs of the KGS, and interact with staff in the development and review of programs and personnel to ensure that the KGS fulfills its mission. Planning and implementation must be responsive to the needs of Kansas and sensitive to the state’s public policy issues.
  4. Maintain an awareness of significant developments in geoscience research and relevant technology to anticipate the directions of geoscience research and applications. Integrate this knowledge with an understanding of the needs ofKansas so that new advances are incorporated into long-term research planning.
  5. Work with researchers within the KGS and across the university to expand the KGS portfolio of externally sponsored projects and creatively identify other funding sources.
  6. Maintain involvement in geoscience research and be publicly visible in Kansas and national natural resource discussions.

Professor (0.15 FTE)

The director serves as a tenured faculty in an appropriate academic department. 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 15% 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. The exact allocation of effort between research, teaching/advising, and service will be determined in consultation with the home department. For evaluation for the .15 FTE as professor, the following expectations are relevant both to day-to-day activities in each unit and to post-tenure review.

Teaching/Advising: Each year, the director will have a role in determining, in consultation with their home department chair, any courses that will be taught. An expected teaching load would be one course every other academic year. When teaching, it is expected that office hours are established, posted and consist of at least one hour per week while teaching to meet with students by appointment.

Research: It is an expectation of this position that a professor will engage in a program of research and share work with colleagues and/or the public at large, through publication or other activities as detailed in the faculty evaluation plan of the department.

Service: It is an expectation of this position that a professor will fulfill their share of service duties needed to facilitate the efficient operation of the department, the school and the university, as well as serve in a regional, national, and/or international level for activities within their discipline. Activities that foster effective relationships with alumni and other constituencies may also constitute as service.

Required qualifications

Evaluation of the following requirements will be made through (1) record of accomplishments in application materials, (2) descriptions of experience in application materials, (3) interactions during on-campus interview, and (4) information from professional references.

  • Doctorate in the geosciences and at least 10 years of professional experience in the geosciences.
  • Prior administrative and/or leadership experience, which may be demonstrated to include budgeting, personnel supervision and evaluation, and/or program development.
  • National recognition in a field of geoscience research, as demonstrated by a record of refereed publications, external funding, professional service, scientific leadership, and/or other qualifications suitable for a joint appointment with tenure in an academic department of the university.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a university setting with a wide constituency, including staff, academic faculty, the public, government officials, service organizations and the private sector as identified in application materials, references and interview.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of natural resources and environmental aspects of their use as reflected in research, publications, scholar activities, or professional experience.
  • Excellence in oral and written communication, as demonstrated by professional publications, presentations, and interactions during the interview process.
  • Eligibility for faculty appointment as a full professor with tenure in the appropriate academic department.

Additional candidate instructions

A complete online application will include a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and names and contact information for three references. In addition to these materials, learning about each applicant’s contribution and engagement in areas of diversity is an important part of KU’s mission. As a result, applicants will be asked at the time of application to respond to the following question in 4,000 characters or fewer:

  • Describe your experience working with people from diverse backgrounds and explain how those experiences reflect your commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Apply now

Complete online application includes letter of application, CV and 3 references.
Apply now