Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences

About Western Kentucky University:

Western Kentucky University (WKU) is a student-centered, applied-research institution committed to providing its students with a transformative academic and social experience and to elevating its surrounding communities. Founded in 1906, WKU is the second largest undergraduate institution in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with approximately 15,035 students (29% first generation, 18% underrepresented minority) and just over 2,500 faculty and staff employees.

Western Kentucky University is committed to empowering its campus community to embrace diversity by building equitable and inclusive learning, working, and living environments. At the heart of our mission, we seek to provide holistic education and employment experiences that prepare students, faculty, and staff to become effective scholars, contributors, and leaders in our diverse and evolving communities.

Located 65 miles north of Nashville, TN, and just over 100 miles south of Louisville, KY, WKU's main campus is in Bowling Green, KY - a city with approximately 70,000 residents. Our population is ethnically diverse, with more than 85 languages spoken in and around Bowling Green, and people from 35 nationalities call our community home.

Western Kentucky University seeks to attract talented faculty and staff who are inspired individually to contribute to WKU's strategic plans and ongoing success. We offer comprehensive wellness and health benefits to employees and their families, including domestic partners and other qualified dependents and take pride in providing a workplace culture that supports balancing the responsibilities of work and family life. Paid-time off for holidays, vacation and sick leave, and a tuition discount program for employees and dependents are also provided. Learn more about WKU and Bowling Green at

Job Description:

The Department of Earth, Environmental, & Atmospheric Sciences (EEAS) at Western Kentucky University is seeking highly qualified applicants for a 9-month tenure-track Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences position beginning August 2024.

We seek an environmental scientist who can introduce a new specialty area to our Department that increases the breadth of EEAS in meaningful ways and expands our current growth trajectory. Expertise for this position may include, but not be limited to, natural resources management and resilience, renewable energies, sustainability science and metrics analysis, life cycle and technical assessments, brownfield restoration, or green development and environmental planning. The successful candidate is expected to contribute toward expanding teaching and research dimensions in Environmental Science in support of the B.S. degree in Environmental, Sustainability, and Geographic Studies (ESGS) and the M.S. degree in Geoscience, integrating innovation and inclusive practices to expand the mission and goals of the department and its programs.

The WKU ESGS program is centered on innovative applied learning and research, with a strong reputation for excellence and robust student success. The ESGS program is experiencing a period of rapid growth in majors, with over 85 declared undergraduate majors at present and is regularly referenced by university leadership as an example program modernizing curriculum and being innovative in curriculum design to meet the evolving interests of students and future workforce needs. Latest data reveal the program has a 91% job placement rate. With the support of EEAS students and faculty, WKU has earned national and international sustainability certifications, including being recognized among the first universities in the U.S. to earn the Green Ribbon School designation by the U.S. Department of Education.

ESGS is one of multiple programs housed within EEAS, which also includes B.S. degrees in Meteorology and Geological Sciences, an undergraduate certificate in GIS, and an interdisciplinary graduate program that broadly encompasses the Geosciences, with an emphasis on applied research. The Geosciences M.S. also recruits from the Department's programs through the JUMP (Joint Undergraduate Master Program), wherein exceptional students can complete both the undergraduate and graduate degrees within five years. The successful candidate will build upon the successes of these programs and expand existing curriculum to prepare students for jobs and research sectors of the future.

EEAS maintains modern research facilities, outfitted with industry-standard hardware and software technologies in multiple research centers. Through these collective centers, the ESGS program has cultivated a number of contemporary initiatives and services that support multi-disciplinary collaborations across the university and its community and industry partners.

The Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies (CHNGES) serves as an applied research and student engagement center and is founded in the environmental geosciences with its focus at the nexus of water, sustainability, climate, and human-environmental interactions. CHNGES houses multiple labs, including, HydroAnalytical, a commercial water quality analysis lab, and an environmental education/eye-tracking studio. Through the center, students work on grant-funded and contracted work for the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local and international governmental agencies and private industries, among others.

The Crawford Hydrology Laboratory (CHL) is a nationally leading laboratory for groundwater flow investigations with an emphasis on, karst landscapes and aquifer systems.  Originally established in 1979, the center provides a range of technical, field, and laboratory services to a diverse, national and international clientele, including federal, state and local agencies, environmental consulting firms, and other academic institutions. CHL faculty and staff maintain close connections with Mammoth Cave National Park and serve on the board of the UNESCO Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve. 

The Disaster Science Operations Center (DSOC) is the newest multi-disciplinary applied research unit in EEAS that allows students to produce multi-media weather content and real-time hazard monitoring by integrating critical decision support and disaster security access and opportunities across public, private, government, and academic sectors through student-centered experiential learning and applied research. DSOC is anchored by interdisciplinary operational collaborations at WKU for anticipated risk, incident management, and all-hazards monitoring and communications. The Kentucky Climate Center and Kentucky Mesonet infrastructure, also housed in EEAS, offers statewide environmental monitoring and research of weather and climate data. The Kentucky Climate Center maintains active affiliations with the National Centers for Environmental Information, the National Weather Service, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, and other non-federal organizations, and is actively engaged with the Midwest Drought Early Warning System.


  • Earned Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geography, or a closely related field at time of appointment is required.
  • Must demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching and research at the undergraduate and master's levels.
  • Will be expected to develop a strong externally funded research program to support student success.
  • Must demonstrate excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills.

Additional Information:

Kentucky state law requires all public institutions of postsecondary education to conduct pre-employment criminal background checks to determine suitability for employment.

Western Kentucky University (WKU) is committed to a policy and practice of providing equal employment and educational opportunities to all individuals. In accordance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Revised 1992, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, no form of discrimination or harassment will be tolerated at WKU on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, age, uniformed services, veteran status, genetic information, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, or physical or mental disability in admission to career and technical education programs and/or activities, or employment practices.

Persons with disabilities, who need reasonable accommodations to participate in the application and/or selection process, should notify the office of Institutional Equity. To request an accommodation, report a complaint, or ask questions regarding WKU's Discrimination and Harassment Policy (#0.2040), please contact Ms. Ena Demir, Executive Director/Title IX Coordinator via email at or by phone at (270) 745-6867. Ms. Demir is also responsible for coordinating the University's response to complaints related to sex and gender harassment. Additional information regarding Title IX is accessible via WKU's website.

Information concerning educational programs offered by WKU are provided at:

For information related to job postings, please email

Application Instructions:

The following items must be submitted through this electronic talent management system by November 1, 2023, although expressions of interest may be considered until the position is filled:

  • A succinct cover letter that describes how the applicant is suitable for the position, particularly as it relates to qualifications, experience, and vision/strategy
  • Current Curriculum Vita
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Pedagogical statement of teaching experience and approach (no more than two pages)
  • Statement of research expertise and trajectory (no more than two pages)
  • Statement of DEI, addressing the applicant's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (no more than two pages)

Search Committee Chair Amy Nemon may be contacted at for further details.

Names and contact information of three reference providers will be collected during the application process. Reference letters will be requested by the Search Committee through an online process at a later date.

You will receive email confirmation once you have successfully completed the application process.

published: 06 September 2023     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.