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Job ID: 201069

Open Rank Professor - Director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
University of Kentucky

Date Posted Dec. 7, 2022
Title Open Rank Professor - Director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
University University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY, United States
Department 8M100: School Of Journalism and Media
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Associate Professor
    Assistant Professor
  • Communications/Journalism (all)
The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky’s School of Journalism and Media seeks a dynamic, forward-looking director to foster innovation and sustainability in rural journalism. This is designed as an open-rank (Extension Title Series, tenure-eligible, 9-month assignment) faculty search with an anticipated start date of Aug. 16, 2023. Tenure-eligible means candidates must first meet the prescribed criteria per Administrative Regulation 2:3 and statements of evidence to be granted tenure. This faculty position will also have an administrative appointment as Director of the Institute.

The Institute, first staffed in 2004, was created to help rural journalists define the public agenda in their communities through strong reporting and commentary, especially on issues that have local impact but few good local sources of information. Now that the digital challenge is decimating rural news media, the Institute is freshly focused on sustaining rural journalism that serves democracy. It recently held the National Summit on Journalism in Rural America, which asked, “How do communities sustain local journalism that serves local democracy?” and it continues to pursue answers to that question. It also interprets rural issues for metropolitan news media, conducts seminars and workshops, publishes research about rural news media, spotlights good examples of rural journalism, and helps journalists learn about rural issues, trends, and events in areas they’ve never seen, but with which they have much in common. It helps rural journalists learn how to exercise editorial leadership in small markets. The Institute is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional enterprise, with academic partners at the University of Kentucky and across the nation. It is home to The Rural Blog, a daily digest of events, trends, issues and ideas from and about rural America; and Kentucky Health News, a grant-funded project that has improved coverage of health care and health in the state.

A successful applicant will have substantial experience as a practitioner and/or researcher in local and rural journalism, evidence of excellence in teaching, and the potential to secure external funding. In addition to fulfilling the Institute’s mission, the director would teach one course per semester in the School’s journalism program, in community journalism or other reporting and writing courses in their area of expertise. Innovation in teaching is encouraged; for 14 years, the departing director’s students produced an online newspaper for a small community near Lexington. This position will act as the publisher and executive editor of the Institute’s publications including the website, The Rural Blog, Kentucky Health News, as well as oversee the Institute’s social-media activity. This faculty member will stay on the leading edge of knowledge in the field of rural and community journalism, through research, and write about it for state and national publications. This position will stay current on issues facing rural America to help rural journalists cover them, and to interpret them for national publications. Other duties include organizing and conducting workshops and other events to help rural journalists and their news outlets, and raise money for the Institute’s endowment and specific projects.

The anticipated initial distribution of effort for the first academic year will be as follows: 20% Teaching, 20% Research/Creative Activity, 30% Administration, 30% Service.
Applicants should hold a master's degree or higher in a related field; a terminal degree is preferred. Those without an advanced degree should demonstrate evidence of national or international leadership or acclaim. Members of under-represented groups are highly welcome and encouraged, as are those who would bring dimensions of diversity, equity and inclusion to the Institute’s mission and to the teaching, service and research missions of the School of Journalism and Media, the College of Communication and Information and the University of Kentucky.

Our Commitment to Diversity:
We are committed to recruitment, retention, and representation strategies and practices to increase the presence of underrepresented individuals. Our commitment applies to all candidates inclusive of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, age, marital status, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

About the School: The School of Journalism and Media is recognized for its accomplishments in academic scholarship and professional areas. The School offers B.A. and B.S. degrees in two areas of study: journalism (print/multimedia, broadcast/multimedia) and media arts and studies. The school is ACEJMC accredited. The School also participates in the graduate program of the college that includes the M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication.

Students learn first-hand working at the award-winning Kentucky Kernel newspaper, KRNL Lifestyle and Fashion magazine and the Kentucky Kernel Year in Photos. Also, there are great opportunities at WRFL, WUKY and the Student News Network, our award-winning student newscast. School alumni include Pulitzer, Emmy, Murrow, and Oscar winners and current media makers with ESPN, CBS, NBC, NPR, CNN, EA, and The Washington Post.

The School also promotes the free flow of information through its Scripps Howard First Amendment Center. Since 1981, the School has been the home of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

About the College:
The College of Communication and Information is composed of two schools (The School of Journalism and Media, School of Information Science), two departments (Department of Communication, Department of Integrated Strategic Communication) and an interdisciplinary graduate program. Nearly 1,700 undergraduate majors and 350 graduate students are led by more than 80 full-time faculty, who also teach in the university’s core curriculum and serve students perusing minors and certificates in the College. The College also houses UK’s independent student newspaper, The Kentucky Kernel, and the defending national championship Intercollegiate Debate Team.

About the University:
Located in the vibrant city of Lexington, the University of Kentucky is a public, land-grant institution that plays a critical leadership role in promoting diversity, inclusion, economic development and human well-being. The campus is home to 33,000 students, 1,754 instructional faculty, 894 non-instructional faculty, and 16,221 full-time staff. The university is one of just eight in the country with a major academic health center and a full spectrum of academic colleges and professional schools on one contiguous campus. As such, UK is an incubator for multidisciplinary research. These collaborations allow researchers to address the rapidly changing needs of a global society.

About Lexington:
The City of Lexington is a great place to live, work, and study. It recently appeared on USA Today’s list of the top cities to live in. With a population of roughly 320,000, Lexington offers both the warmth - and lower cost of living - of a small city, along with some of the amenities you would enjoy in a larger city, including the arts, cultural events, and a thriving dining scene.
The University of Kentucky offers a comprehensive benefits package.

Application materials should include a letter of application (please upload as Cover Letter), a curriculum vita, evidence of teaching excellence (please upload as Specific Request 1), and contact information for three references when prompted in the application. Please note that references will not be contacted without prior consent.
Application review will begin January 3rd, 2023, and continue until the position is filled.

Questions regarding the position may be directed to Search Committee Chair: Al Cross via email at

The University of Kentucky considers the health, safety and well-being of our entire community to be a top priority. In alignment with this priority, all new hires must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or obtain an approved medical or religious exemption as a condition of employment. For areas that fall under the federal CMS mandate, start of employment cannot occur until two weeks after receiving the full COVID-19 vaccination series or upon obtaining an approved exemption. Only vaccines approved by the World Health Organization can be accepted.
The University of Kentucky is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages applications from
veterans, individuals with disabilities, women, African Americans, and all minorities.

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