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Kentucky State University
Kentucky, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Jan 7, 2022

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Position Type
Executive, Chancellors & Presidents
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Inviting Applications and Nominations for
at Kentucky State University


The Board of Regents of Kentucky State University, a public, historically Black land-grant university has launched a national search for the 19th President of the University. The next President will have significant impact on the future of the University, its role in the community, and its impact in the region and state. As the executive officer of the University, the President provides visionary leadership and transparent stewardship to accomplish the mission and goals of the University.

Complete information is available in the Search Profile


About the University

Kentucky State University (KSU) is a public, comprehensive, historically Black land-grant university located in Frankfort. The University is committed to advancing the Commonwealth of Kentucky, enhancing society, and impacting individuals by providing quality teaching with a foundation in liberal studies, scholarly research, and public service to enable productive lives within the diverse global economy. 

     Founded in 1886 as the State Normal School for Colored Persons and named a land-grant college under the Second Morrill Act of 1890, Kentucky State University became Kentucky’s second state-supported institution of higher learning. 

     Today, the University is one of the most diverse institutions among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the nation and the most diverse among the state’s public universities. KSU is split nearly 50/50 between African American students and non-Black students. Additionally, this same ratio applies to the employees of the University.

     Kentucky State has an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students and 135 full-time faculty members. The University’s student-faculty ratio is the lowest among public institutions of higher learning in Kentucky. 

     Students have the opportunity to receive an associate degree in two disciplines; a baccalaureate degree in 22 majors, several of which have optional specializations; a master’s degree in eight disciplines; and a doctoral degree in nursing practice. KSU’s location in the capital city of Frankfort affords the University the opportunity to offer unique and outstanding state government student internships.

KSU is organized into three academic colleges:

  • The College of Agriculture, Community, and the Environment - School of Agriculture, Communities, and the Environment; School of Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences; School of Education, Human Development, and Consumer Sciences; School of Nursing; and School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics 
  • The College of Humanities, Business, and Society - School of Behavioral and Social Sciences; School of Business; School of Criminal Justice and Political Science; School of the Humanities and Performing Arts; School of Public Administration; and School of Social Work
  • The Whitney Young Honors Collegium - The Whitney Young Honors Collegium is an integrated liberal studies academic program that emphasizes the development of global student leaders who are innovative and committed to the learning process, experimentation, and community service learning. Five distinct Liberal Studies degrees are available through the Whitney Young Honors Collegium. The Bachelor’s Degree options include the Honors Program degree in Liberal Studies, a general study “completion degree,” and a student-designed major in liberal studies.

Accreditation Reaffirmation - In 2019, Kentucky State reaffirmed its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The University received the best possible review with the committee finding KSU in full compliance and offering no recommendations or requests for continued monitoring. SACSCOC reaffirmed Kentucky State’s accreditation for the next 10 years.

     Kentucky State demonstrates its high bar of excellence with national accreditation of many of its academic programs, including Education, Nursing, Social Work, Public Administration, Business Administration, and Music. 

Quality Enhancement Plan - As part of the reaffirmation process, Kentucky State developed a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP): “Learning that Works.” This program seeks to introduce students to essential skills for career readiness through a required freshman-level class, “Navigating the Technological World,” that focuses on the past, present, and future of technology. As part of the class, the students learn several approaches to critical thinking and problem-solving, including design thinking, systems thinking, and ethical thinking. The skills are acquired through a teamwork-based approach which culminates in a group project that seeks solutions for problems brought about by the contemporary, technology-driven world.

Prestigious Membership - In 2020, Kentucky State University became the first public historically Black institution, the first college in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and only the second Morrill Land-grant Act of 1890 institution to be granted membership in the prestigious Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). Founded in 1987, COPLAC has 29 current members. Membership is limited to public universities and colleges that demonstrate a dedication to liberal arts education as the best and most comprehensive preparation for a life of purpose and meaning within society. 

The Role of a Land-grant Institution - As a land-grant college through the second Morrill Act of 1890, Kentucky State conducts research, provides cooperative extension services, and teaches programs in the food and agricultural sciences that serve the state and nation. KSU’s 882-acre campus includes a 307-acre agricultural research farm and a 306-acre environmental education center. The School of Agriculture, Communities, and the Environment (ACE) offers two undergraduate and two graduate degree programs and multiple certificate programs. The ACE has nationally and internationally recognized research programs in aquaculture (fish farming), organic agriculture, sustainable biofuel feedstock production, alternative fruit and nut crops, ecological entomology, alternative pesticides and water quality, global information systems, agroforestry, goat production, biotechnology, obesity and human health, and apiculture. 

Scholarships and Gifts - Kentucky State and Bulleit Frontier Whiskey recently announced a partnership that includes an annual scholarship of $25,000 to students in the Master of Science in Environmental Studies program over a five-year period. Diageo North America, the holding company of Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, has made a broader $10 million commitment to fund permanent endowments at 25 HBCUs to develop future leaders and help shape a more equitable society, which includes a $1 million gift to Kentucky State.

Addressing Needs of the State - Made possible by the recently passed Kentucky State Senate Bill 270, a partnership between Kentucky State University, Simmons College of Kentucky, and West Louisville has been established that will help address issues of health education, wellness, and food insecurity in West Louisville and will prepare more teachers of color. Building off of the success of Kentucky State’s dual-credit courses to high school students at Frankfort High School and West Jessamine High School, this partnership will enable West Louisville students to earn an associate’s degree from Kentucky State by the time they graduate high school. Research shows that dual-credit courses benefit low-income and students of color, citing a report by the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education (CPE).   

     In addressing the food desert in West Louisville, where the nearest grocery store is 10 miles away and no restaurant is nearby, Kentucky State’s agriculture program will work with the community to develop various gardening practices to help alleviate the problem until a grocer for the area can be identified and implemented.  The University also will work with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) to assist in the delivery of public assistance, social support services, and health and nutrition services to the area. 

Athletics - Kentucky State intercollegiate athletic teams, Thorobreds, participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, and indoor and outdoor track and field. Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, softball, and volleyball. 

The Opportunity

The President of Kentucky State University will be a visionary leader and strategic thinker who will bring outstanding administrative experience, strong character and integrity, and a commitment to the mission of the University. The successful candidate will value Kentucky State’s culture, community, and heritage, especially its role as one of the nation’s leading HBCUs.  

     The President will have a proven leadership style that evokes trust, welcomes collaboration, reflects confident decision making, and effectively engages the talents and experiences of the administration, faculty, and staff. This executive officer will enhance the connectedness of each part of the University community and will booster Kentucky State’s commitment to scholarship, multiculturalism, and diversity. 

     The President will foster a vibrant and empowered working and learning environment that reflects the University’s commitment to being a student-centered institution and promotes activities and programs designed for student success as well as students’ personal and academic development and mental health. This leader will have an appreciation for the faculty’s work in teaching, learning, creativity, and scholarship, and a willingness to support and enhance these endeavors.

     Together, with the abilities to balance and prioritize, the President will possess discernment and judgment to assess, modify, and find a coherent path on which the University can pursue its mission and goals. A confident and perceptive administrator, the President will be able to ask the tough questions, make the difficult decisions, and pursue a strong strategic course of action that ensures the institution successfully moves forward. This administrator will understand the importance of working collaboratively with others and finding common ground among diverse viewpoints, while bringing about data-driven results through decisive, adaptive, and innovative actions. 

     The President will be an experienced, transparent financial steward who has overseen complex budgets and has worked with a governing board to develop and implement strategies to sustain and, over time, fortify an institution’s financial position. This executive officer will seek partnerships that strengthen and expand programs and, as the principal  fund raiser for the institution, will maintain established and develop new relationships, both public and private, that result in increased financial resources to achieve goals.

     Both articulate and compelling, the President will support the significant role the institution plays in the community at large. Fully embracing the role of Kentucky State’s chief ambassador, the President will become engaged in the community, region, and state to advocate for the University and to share its story of success. 

     The President currently has nine direct reports: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Senior Vice President for Brand Identity and University Relations, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Vice President for Student Engagement and Campus Life, Director of Government Relations and Economic Innovation, Director of Athletics, General Counsel, Chief of Staff, and Business Manager of Executive Operations.

     The President reports to and serves at the pleasure of the Kentucky State University Board of Regents, the University’s governing body. The Board consists of 11 members, including a staff representative, student representative, faculty representative, and eight Governor-appointed members. The President will collaborate, communicate, and counsel with the Board of Regents to create a team that works seamlessly to advance the mission of the University.

Responsibilities and Duties

In serving as the chief administrative and educational officer of the University, the President will perform such duties and responsibilities as may be prescribed by the Board of Regents as follows:

  • To make and provide interpretation and implementation of Board Policy, through the promulgation of administrative regulations, for all aspects of the academic and other functions of the University, coordinating it with whatever individual, groups, or organizations may be required 
  • To recommend major policies and other major actions to the Board of Regents for its final action and to be the official medium of communication between the Board of Regents and the various segments of the University and their official bodies
  • To make final decisions for which the President has received delegated responsibility over a wide range of activities from the Board of Regents; such actions are ordinarily taken after consultation with various concerned individuals, groups, or organizations
  • To enforce the Board Policies, administrative regulations, and guidelines of the University
  • To recommend to the Board the employment of administrative faculty and vice-president-level and above staff
  • To employ all other non-administrative faculty and employees of the University whose compensation shall fall within the approved University Classification and Compensation System
  • To recommend to the Board changes in administrative structure and organization of the University that enhance and align with its mission
  • To recommend to the Board faculty tenure and administrative promotion decisions
  • To prepare annual budgets after consultation with and input from the Board and others as appropriate, and to recommend all other budgets and any modifications of these budgets as needed to the Board
  • To appoint University-wide committees
  • To manage the University through officials who report to the Office of the President
  • To provide leadership in the development of academic instruction, research, and service programs by making initiatives to the Faculty Senate and to the faculties of academic units and their planning committees concerning changes in curriculum or academic policies which are the responsibility of the faculty
  • To serve as an ex-officio member of all faculties and all faculty committees, to call and preside over the meeting of the University faculty and such advisory groups as the President chooses to appoint, and at his/her direction to call meetings of the faculties of the several colleges and schools of the University
  • To be responsible for all University functions relating to student affairs and the life of students at the University, as well as intramural and extramural or intercollegiate athletics
  • To be responsible for all aspects of the relations of the University to the community and for providing information about the activities of the University
  • To be responsible for public relations
  • To maintain continuing relations with governmental agencies at city, county, state, and federal levels as required by the mission of the University
  • To be responsible for relations of the University with alumni
  • To be responsible for raising funds from the federal government, state and local public sources, corporations, private individuals, foundations, and other sources 
  • To supervise programs for constant maintenance and improvement of their quality, for effective service to students, for the adequacy of research, and for their accountability to the people of the Commonwealth, to the students, and to grantors or donors
  • To be responsible for the University’s role in construction and renovation, in maintenance of buildings and grounds, in the acquisition of essential new facilities, equipment, and library materials, and in space allocation and utilization
  • To prepare and submit to the Board of Regents an annual report on the work and general status of the University
  • To delegate as appropriate the responsibility for carrying out any of the above functions 


The successful candidate will have an earned terminal degree from a regionally accredited institution and at least seven years of progressively responsible leadership experience in an academic or professional role. 

Essential Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to work with the Board or Regents and University community to develop a vision and strategic plan and ensure its successful implementation  
  • Proven professional experience with financial planning and management, fundraising, and strategic planning 
  • Demonstrated success in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within an institution of higher education 
  • Excellent listening, interpersonal, oral, and written communications skills 
  • Ability to work effectively and collegially within a University system to negotiate with a wide array of constituencies 
  • Commitment to a student-centered and student- supported campus climate with expectation of quality and excellence
  • Ability to make timely decisions based on data analytics that will strengthen the future of the institution 
  • Knowledge of leading-edge trends in higher education, especially related to technology, emerging job fields, and student success outcomes 
  • Experience developing effective relationships with a full range of external constituents, and a commitment to community engagement
  • Experience as a catalyst for change with proven change management skills, including the ability to galvanize and inspire employees as changes are made



Application packet must include: a) A letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and qualifications of the position, shared governance, diversity, and the importance of HBCUs; b) Current curriculum vitae, and c) At least four references with full contact information including e-mails (References will not be contacted without consent from applicant.)

Submit application packet (preferably as PDFs) to

Additional information will be requested upon receipt of application.

Review of applications begins immediately. For best consideration, submit applications by March 15, 2022. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


Submit nominations to with complete contact and e-mail information for the individual being nominated.

Kenny Daugherty, President of Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting, is assisting Kentucky State University with this search. Request a conversation at

Kentucky State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and educational institution and does not discriminate on the basis of age (40 and over), color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender expression, gender identity, marital status, national origin, political belief, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status in the admission to, or participation in, any educational program or activity (e.g., athletics, academics and housing) which it conducts, or in any employment policy or practice. 

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