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The University of Kentucky seeks nominations and applications for the director of the Gaines Center for the Humanities (a 50% appointment). The Gaines Center was established in 1984 with a generous endowment gift by Joan and John Gaines. It provides an intensive educational experience in the humanities for students from various majors in the last two years of their undergraduate careers. It also serves as a collaborative home to a wide range of faculty from many academic units on campus and offers public programs with and for the university and the wider community, such as the Bale-Boone Symposium in the Humanities and the Lafayette Seminar in Public Issues. These functions require the Gaines director to be a scholar with considerable enthusiasm and a broad and lively interest in the humanities and community affairs.

The Gaines director will serve as a mentor to the Gaines Fellows and oversee the fellowship program. This includes supervising and overseeing the interdisciplinary humanities seminar for junior fellows and the senior fellows’ thesis projects (for 24 undergraduate student fellows). Alumni fellows of the two-year program have won many national and international awards, including scholarships such as Marshall, Truman, Jack Kent Cooke, Udall, Rhodes and Javits.

The director will oversee all Gaines-affiliated faculty. They will collaborate with faculty and staff from across campus and with community partners to maintain and advance the center’s mission.

The director will also supervise the Gaines Center associate director and administrative support staff members. Additionally, the director is responsible for fundraising, maintaining a strategic plan aligned with the university’s strategic plan, the UK-PURPOSE, and for overseeing the center’s three historic buildings. The annual operating budget for the Gaines Center is approximately $700,000. Please see the Gaines Center website for more information on the center, the fellowship program, humanities events and advocacy and more:

The position of director also includes appointment as the John R. Gaines Endowed Chair in the Humanities and executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Foundation — a foundation affiliated with the university that provides support for programming and advises the Gaines Center on strategic issues.

Qualifications and expectations: The director of the Gaines Center must be a tenured associate professor or professor with national or international recognition for scholarly achievement in the humanities or a closely related discipline. They must also have a passionate commitment to excellence in undergraduate education. The ideal candidate should be able to articulate a sophisticated, creative and visionary understanding of the humanities, humanistic education and their role in a democratic society. The Gaines Center director will be expected to maintain an active research program and teach up to one course a semester in their home discipline. The director will hold an appointment in an academic department aligned with the appointee's scholarly background and research interests; they will meet the appointment, promotion and endowed chair requirements of the home college. The director will serve a six-year term, with the possibility of reappointment. The Gaines Center for the Humanities is administratively housed in the Office of the Provost.

Application process: To apply, please send a letter of interest that highlights related experience, including a statement that outlines the types of humanities courses and public programming the candidate proposes for the future of the Gaines Center. Along with the letter, the candidate should include a curriculum vitae and a list of three references. All materials should be submitted to Michelle Castro in the Office of the Provost at Candidates selected as finalists will be asked to submit two additional letters of recommendation, including one from their department chair. Review of applications will begin January 22, 2024, and will continue until the position is filled. For questions regarding the search, please contact Dr. Katie Cardarelli at

Kathryn M. Cardarelli, Ph.D. 
Senior Associate Provost for Academic Affairs