Kentucky State Climatologist and Director of the Kentucky Climate Center

Western Kentucky University

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 15,567 students (29% first generation, 17% underrepresented minority) and just over 2,600 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:

Western Kentucky University (WKU) seeks a climate scientist for a tenure-track faculty position at the Associate or Full Professor rank to serve as the Kentucky State Climatologist and Director of the Kentucky Climate Center. The successful candidate may be appointed with tenure with sufficient experience. The position will include oversight of the Kentucky Mesonet, the statewide climate and weather monitoring network. The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, Meteorology, Geography, or closely related discipline. We seek a mid-career or senior scientist with substantial professional experience. The faculty appointment will be in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, with a joint appointment possible in the discipline of the successful candidate, if appropriate. Expertise for this position may include but not be limited to:  applied statistics, climate dynamics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, climate modeling, and medium/long range seasonal forecasting.

To capitalize on the growth and success of the WKU Meteorology Program, the department is also carrying out a parallel search for a tenure-track faculty position at the assistant professor rank. This Kentucky State Climatologist position will play a key role in integrating with the meteorology program and helping to further establish WKU as a regional hub for applied student learning and atmospheric science research.

Applicants seeking the Kentucky State Climatologist position must demonstrate strong organizational, leadership, managerial, and communication skills and the ability to build and cultivate external partnerships with public and private sectors. Applicants will be further expected to demonstrate a successful record of external funding and the ability to develop applied research and public service outreach programs that specifically relate to climate science. They will develop a focus on issues related to regional climate and atmospheric sciences, contribute toward teaching, and supervise M.S. graduate students in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences.

The Kentucky Climate Center, created in 1978, is an institutional member of the American Association of State Climatologists, and is a charter member of WKU’s Applied Research and Technology Program. As part of the Kentucky Climate Center, the Kentucky Mesonet operates a research-grade statewide infrastructure for weather and climate monitoring, and serves as the official source of climatological observations for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 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. The Kentucky Climate Center receives direct line-item funding ($750,000) annually for the Mesonet from the Commonwealth.

The operations of the State Climatologist with the Kentucky Climate Center and the Kentucky Mesonet interact with other programs and personnel at WKU, which include the B.S. Meteorology Program, the University Meteorologist, the university weather decision-support operations service, and various climatology, meteorology, and disaster science research facilities. Together, these units comprise a continually growing regional hub that is recognized for applied student learning and atmospheric science research with access to world-class infrastructure, robust technology, and limitless possibilities.

The successful candidate will have the associated duties and responsibilities:

Create and implement an expanded vision and mission of the Kentucky Climate Center and its programs by setting measurable goals for research and development, public service, outreach, and university engagement and developing short- and long-term strategies to achieve those goals.

Represent on behalf of the Kentucky Climate Center as Kentucky’s State Climatologist to state legislative committees and local elected officials, non-governmental organizations, and other public associations.

Develop and implement a strategic academic plan that interfaces public-private partnerships, collaborations with federal, state, and local agencies, competitive grant opportunities, and evolving demand for weather and climate services, with pathways for student success in continued growth sectors of the department, including the B.S. Meteorology Program.

Monitor Kentucky’s climate and disseminate relevant information regarding climate conditions and events to the general public via media interviews, press releases, web-based outlets, and social media.

Engage and negotiate agreements with local elected officials and stakeholders to formalize partnerships with the Kentucky Climate Center and the Kentucky Mesonet including the establishment of additional Mesonet stations.

Build and establish relationships to help support interdisciplinary, applied research and experiential student engagement opportunities.

Communicate on behalf of the Kentucky Climate Center and its programs with stakeholders, government entities, and the public. This includes testifying to state legislative committees and addressing local elected officials, non-governmental organizations, and other public associations.

Report to and consult regularly with the Kentucky Mesonet Advisory Board.

Contribute toward teaching and supervise M.S. graduate students in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences.

Contribute to Institutional efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion.



  • The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, Meteorology, Geography, or closely related discipline.


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 Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/University ADA Services (EEO). To request an accommodation, report/express a complaint, or ask questions regarding WKU”s Discrimination and Harassment Policy (#0.2040), please contact Mr. Joshua Hayes, EEO Director/Title IX Investigator/University ADA Coordinator, via email at or by phone at (270) 745-5121.

The University is also required to investigate complaints of sex and gender-based harassment, also a form of discrimination, and has designated the Title IX Coordinator as the individual responsible for coordinating the investigation and response to such complaints. The Title IX Coordinator for the University is Ms. Deborah Wilkins, who can be contacted via email at or by phone at (270) 745-5396. Additional information regarding Title IX is accessible via WKU”s website.

Information concerning educational programs offered by WKU are provided at:


Application Instructions:

The following items must be submitted through this electronic talent management system by January 15, 2022, although expressions of interest may be considered until the position is filled:

  • Letter of Intent
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Unofficial Transcripts
  • Statement of Service Objectives
  • Statement of Research that addresses current areas of expertise

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.



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