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Director, Kentucky Geological Survey

and State Geologist of Kentucky

University of Kentucky


David Dale Owen, appointed in 1854, was the first director of KGS.

The University of Kentucky is seeking applicants for the position of Director of the Kentucky Geological Survey and the 13th State Geologist of Kentucky.  This is a senior-level research and administrative position at the university reporting to the Vice President for Research. The successful candidate will hold a joint appointment as a faculty member in an allied department at UK. It is a full-time faculty position with a generous array of benefits.


The Director is responsible for administration of the Survey including research activities, program prioritization, budgeting, personnel, and productivity; direct supervision of senior staff, including an Associate Director and research heads; and the professional conduct of the Survey’s activities within and outside the University of Kentucky. Active participation in geoscience research is strongly encouraged. The Director is also responsible for KGS legislatively mandated programs that include: the Well Sample and Core Library, Groundwater Data Repository, Groundwater Monitoring Network, Oil and Gas Data Repository, Kentucky Seismic and Strong Motion Network, and geological investigations of the state and its mineral, fuel, and water resources and geologic hazards. Additional duties include:


The minimum requirements for this position are a Ph.D. and 10 years of related experience in geology or a closely related field. Candidates should have a current portfolio of research and scholarship that would meet the requirements of a faculty appointment at Kentucky’s flagship university. Strong communication skills are an essential qualification for this position.
Applicants must have knowledge of one or more areas of geology, and a demonstrated record of success in research and program administration. Areas of specialty relevant to Kentucky, such as energy resources, karst hydrogeology, and natural hazards are desirable.

Applicants must be experienced with geological research programs and the requirements for personnel, facilities, equipment, and support to ensure successful research endeavors on a statewide basis. Expanding the KGS research portfolio will be a top priority for the next Director.

Qualities Desired

The applicants should have leadership skills, experience supervising and managing researchers and research projects, writing grant proposals, creating budgets, and presenting results of research to scientific and professional audiences; and good communication skills to foster cooperative, open, and productive relationships with coworkers, subordinates, and superiors, outside experts, and government and industry officials. The Director should demonstrate and advocate for unbiased, science-based research and public service programs. The candidate should understand and embrace the unique role of a geoscience research and public service organization located within a land grant university setting and be committed to fostering and developing diversity within the organization.

Reasons to Become the Next State Geologist of Kentucky

About KGS

KGS holds an annual seminar, Kentucky’s largest gathering of geologists each year.

Originally established in 1854, the Kentucky Geological Survey has served the Commonwealth of Kentucky for 161 years. During that time, only 12 state geologists have overseen the organization, a legacy of continuity in leadership. In 1992, KGS became a full administrative unit of the University of Kentucky by an act of the Kentucky General Assembly. The survey is mandated under Kentucky Revised Statutes to conduct research into the geology, mineral and fuel resources, groundwater, and hazards of Kentucky; publish the results of this research for the benefit of the Commonwealth; and collaborate with university departments and state agencies. KGS has an advisory board consisting of 12 members nominated by the president of the university and appointed by the Kentucky governor. KGS works closely with several departments and cabinets of state government and agencies of the federal government dealing with mineral resources, energy, groundwater, natural hazards, data preservation, and geologic mapping.

The Kentucky Geological Survey has a state-appropriated budget of ~$4M and received approximately $1 to $2 million in externally sponsored research over the past five years. KGS has a staff of 45 persons (35 in scientific and technical positions, 10 in administrative and support roles). Of the scientific positions, 10 have Ph.D. degrees, 19 have master’s degrees, and 6 have bachelor’s degrees. Seven of the Ph.D.’s are adjunct faculty in the UK Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and one is adjunct faculty in the Department of Geography. A number of survey personnel serve on university, state, and federal committees, boards, and commissions. The state geologist is an ex officio member of the Kentucky Board of Registration for Professional Geologists, as required by KRS 322A, and a permanent member of the Governor’s Geographic Information Advisory Council.

KGS also employs many university students, participates in thesis and dissertation supervision, and supports visiting scholars from China. KGS, with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has scientific exchange agreements with four Chinese earthquake and seismology agencies: Lanzhou Institute of Seismology (Gansu Province), Fujian Earthquake Administration (Fuzhou), Institute of Engineering Mechanics (China Earthquake Administration-Harbin), and the Institute of Crustal Dynamics (Beijing).

The Kentucky Geological Survey is organized by research areas and service groups reflecting the most important geoscience needs for Kentucky. The sections are Energy and Minerals, Water Resources, Geologic Hazards, Geologic Mapping, Geoscience Information Management, Communications and Outreach, and Administration. Facilities include the Rock, Fuel, and Water Laboratory; Well Sample and Core Library; and the Western Kentucky Office. Along with scientific research and public service on topics of interest to Kentucky, KGS is responsible for state-mandated programs: Kentucky Oil and Gas Data Repository, Kentucky Seismic and Strong Motion Network (managed jointly with the UK Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences), Kentucky Groundwater Monitoring Network, and Kentucky Groundwater Data Repository.

To provide timely and comprehensive reports of progress to stakeholders, KGS manages its own publication series: Bulletins, Contract Reports, County Reports, Information Circulars, Digital Publications, Guidebooks, Geologic Maps, Information Circulars, Maps and Charts, Reports of Investigations, Reprints, Special Reports, Theses, and Open-File Reports. We maintain an on-site publication sales office, but most publications are disseminated over the Web.

KGS is a national leader in online data dissemination. The responsibility to disseminate geoscience data is carried out by providing access to databases, publications, and interactive map services via the Internet. KGS makes all of this data available free on the web, serving thousands of constituents around the world.

Location and Facilities

The UK Mining and Mineral Resources Building, Home of the Kentucky Geological Survey

The Kentucky Geological Survey is located on the main campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Its main office is in a modern facility at the center of campus shared with the Department of Mining Engineering and the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute. It is within short walking distance of the UK Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, a department with strong ties to KGS. KGS also has two satellite facilities. A Well Sample and Core Library, newly constructed in 1997, houses collections of rock materials for public inspection and is located about 30 minutes from campus.  The Western Kentucky Office is located in Henderson, Kentucky near Evansville, Indiana.

Questions and How to Apply

To request more information on the department/position or to recommend a candidate click here to contact the Search Committee.

To request more information on the application process please contact:  Human Resources at (859) 257-9555, option 2 or

Interested applicants need to submit an application via the UK Jobs Website at

Applications must include the following:

This position is open until filled; applications will be reviewed beginning February 2016.

The University of Kentucky is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to a policy of providing equal employment opportunities to all candidates.


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