Department of Behavioral Science Chair Search

Department Chair
The College of Medicine seeks a dynamic academic and research driven innovative leader to serve as its next Chair for the Department of Behavioral Science and invites applications for the position.

This is a unique opportunity to build upon a strong and diverse foundation to substantially impact the behavioral health challenges facing the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. Therefore, we desire a visionary Chair with an understanding of the future of behavioral science for the Commonwealth and demonstrated leadership abilities.

The Department of Behavioral Science (BSC) at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine was founded in 1959 by William R. Willard, MD, the medical school’s first dean, and was the first of its kind in the United States. The department’s first Chair was Robert Straus, PhD, who was also a member of the founding committee for the medical center.

Although unique at the time, the decision to enhance the behavioral science content of medical education now has become an established priority for NIH and the Institute of Medicine. Behavioral scientists in most medical schools, though, are still either scattered throughout clinical departments, located in medical education units, or are placed in divisions within Departments of Psychiatry. As a free-standing basic science department, BSC is an academic teaching and research unit, administratively independent, but with strong collaborative ties to clinical departments and to other basic science departments.  

The department is multidisciplinary, with 33 Faculty Appointments across the disciplines of experimental psychology, social psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive neuroscience, behavioral pharmacology, epidemiology, anthropology, psychiatry, pediatrics, ethics history, pharmacology, sociology, and social work. Strong areas of research within the department include Oncology, Aging, and Drug Abuse, among others. However, the department is open to any Behavioral Science research background for this position. Departmental faculty members collaborate with many other academic departments in the College of Medicine and across the University. Having responsibility for “Introduction to Clinical Medicine,” the department has a primary role in medical student education. Additionally, Behavioral Science faculty members also teach in the College of Dentistry and the Honors College. Graduate education includes an interdisciplinary certificate, master’s degree, and doctoral degree in clinical and translational science. 

A successful candidate should be recognized for exceptional accomplishments as a researcher and academician in a behavioral science field. Additionally, the candidate will have a strong record of administrative experience as a department chair, division chief or program/center director; and ability to serve as a listener, decision-maker, humanist, servant leader, and effective advocate for the Department of Behavioral Science and its faculty.

Furthermore, the candidate should collaborate effectively; possess the desire to learn and share; and should have people-skills that promote, foster, and facilitate the trust of colleagues, the broader University, and those who might make philanthropic gifts to the University. The Chair should have impeccable integrity; be an effective and able communicator; be nationally/internationally recognized for achievement in research, educational, and service pursuits that would warrant appointment as a full professor; demonstrate upward movement in leadership or administrative positions in medical school or academic medical center setting; and have a proven record of recruitment and retention of talented faculty and staff, as well as mentorship of faculty, staff and trainees.

Reporting to the dean of UK College of Medicine, Robert S. DiPaola, MD, the Chair serves as the chief academic and administrative officer for the department. The Chair will have the opportunity to significantly enhance the academic and research missions of the department, to build upon its partnerships within UK Healthcare, the University, and with numerous external partners.

Terminal degree in a behavioral science field (e.g., psychology, behavioral science, social science, sociology, etc.) with a sustained record of scholarly activity.

How to Apply
Candidates should apply online at with a curriculum vita and letter of interest. Applications will be reviewed immediately, and applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

View Leadership Profile (PDF)

Upon offer of employment, successful applicants must undergo a national background check and pre-employment drug screen as required by University of Kentucky Human Resources. The University of Kentucky is an Equal Opportunity University that values diversity and inclusion. Individuals with disabilities, minorities, veterans, women, and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.