Chairperson/Professor - Special Education

Job Details

Position OverviewThe University of Kansas (KU) Department of Special Education is seeking a strong, visionary scholar to serve as Full Professor and Department Chairperson in our nationally ranked Special Education program beginning July 1, 2023. The successful candidate will guide the Department during a period of change in higher education. We seek someone who has a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and will strive to meet the University of Kansas’ vision to be an exceptional learning community that lifts each other and advances society. The successful candidate will work collaboratively within the Department, School, and University to address three Institutional Priorities within the Jayhawks’ Rising Strategic Plan: creating a clear and ambitious direction to fulfill our mission to educate leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world. Additional information is available at

The KU Department of Special Education is the #1 ranked public graduate program by the U.S. News & World Reports, and has the #1 ranked online special education graduate program. The Department, located within the School of Education and Human Sciences (SOEHS), is ranked as the nation’s #7 public School of Education. The Department offers graduate students an array of graduate certificate programs, master’s programs, licensure endorsement options, a Ph.D. program and partners with other departments in preparing undergraduate early childhood and early elementary educators.

As the flagship research institution in the State of Kansas, our students come from diverse regional, national, and international communities. As a Department and University, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are an important part of our culture and university strategic plan. Applications from members of underrepresented groups are encouraged, noting the value that diversity brings to our organization, students, staff, faculty, and community. The successful candidate must be eligible to work in the U.S. by the effective date of the appointment.

KU is a Carnegie doctoral/research-extensive university with a $1.4 billion endowment and a faculty of 2,600. Current enrollment is 28,500 (19,000 undergraduate), with students drawn from 110 nations and all 50 states; 20.6% of KU students are members of marginalized groups. The 1,000-acre main campus is in Lawrence, Kansas, the center of a vibrant and culturally-rich community — a quintessential college town. Visitors, students, and new employees from outside the area enjoy discovering the many wonders of Lawrence, including a thriving downtown, diverse local and regional events, area lakes, vibrant arts and music scenes, and an indelible history. Home to nearly 95,000 people, Lawrence is located 45 minutes west of Kansas City and 30 minutes east of Topeka, the state capital. Along with the music, arts, culture, and sports experiences offered at KU and in Lawrence, the short drive to Kansas City provides quick access to historic jazz clubs, museums, world-class music and theatre venues, and professional sports teams. Job DescriptionAllocation of Effort

Provide leadership to and represent the Department (.50 FTE)

  • Lead the Department to create a vision and strategic plan for the next five to ten years.
  • Lead efforts to diversify the faculty and ensure equity, inclusion, and belonging in the Department.
  • Support faculty governance of the Department’s graduate and undergraduate programs.
  • Ensure the business of the Department is conducted within the guidelines set by the Department, School, and University guidelines.
  • Provide mentoring and perform evaluations to facilitate faculty success.
  • Engage in efforts to support faculty to secure internal and external support for research, teaching, and student funding.
  • Facilitate the recruitment of new faculty to maintain and further develop the Department and its personnel preparation and research activities.
  • Sustain and advance the Department’s collaborative relationships among students and faculty in research and scholarship, teacher education, and outreach activities.
  • Influence special education policy and practice through involvement nationally and in professional associations.
  • Develop and provide oversight of the Department budget.
  • Provide oversight of the development, review, and management of curriculum and course scheduling.
  • Ensure the timely preparation and submission of documents and reports required by the University and the School.
  • Supervise and support Department staff.
Develop and maintain an active scholarly research agenda and participate in research and grant activities (.20 FTE).
  • Create and implement scholarly work related to an area of focus in special education and related disciplines.
  • Produce research leading to new insights and advances for publication in refereed journals or other scholarly outlets.
  • Participate in and present original research at scholarly conferences and conventions.
  • Obtain external funding for research initiatives in collaboration with colleagues.
Teach undergraduate and/or graduate-level courses in special education, advise undergraduate students, masters, and doctoral students (.20 FTE)
  • Teach undergraduate, masters, or doctoral courses.
  • Advise master’s and doctoral students in Special Education.
  • Mentor master’s and doctoral students in the development of research skills and production of scholarly products; Participate as an active member of a doctoral specialization.
  • Serve on master’s theses, master’s projects, and doctoral committees.
Contribute to professional service at all levels (e.g., department, school, university, state, and national) (.10 FTE).
  • Collaborate with the Department of Special Education and SOEHS faculty, interdisciplinary university researchers, and other stakeholders to ensure program quality, maintain state and national accreditation and facilitate ongoing program and researcher agendas.
  • Participate in Department of Special Education, SOEHS, and University committees, faculty meetings, and retreats to ensure KU programs meet all professional standards and program quality expectations.
  • Collaborate with local, state, and national stakeholders to facilitate ongoing communication, advocacy, research initiatives, and educator preparation.
Required QualificationsEvaluation of the following requirements will be made through (1) descriptions of work experience and educational experience in letter of application and (2) record of accomplishments and productivity addressed in c.v.
  1. Earned doctorate in Special Education or closely related field.
  2. Experience with or potential for administrative leadership.
  3. Evidence of strong scholarly contributions to the field.
  4. Record of service to the profession
  5. Record of securing external funding
  6. Knowledge of higher education structures and regulatory processes and requirements.
Additional Candidate InstructionsScreening of applications begins November 15, 2022 and will continue until the position is filled. A complete application includes an online application, with the following attached;
  • Curriculum vita
  • Letter of application that identifies professional interests generally, specific interests, and background relevant to this position
  • Two samples of scholarly work
  • A list of three professional/academic references with contact information
In addition to the materials above, learning about each applicant's contribution and engagement in areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is an important part of KU's mission. As a result, applicants will be presented the following prompt at the time of application. The response must be within 4,000 characters or less.
  • Describe your experiences working with people from diverse backgrounds and explain how those experiences reflect your commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Applicants are also encouraged to include or expand upon how they have contributed to building a culture of belonging through diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives within the required application materials.

Only complete applications will be considered. Other documentation may be requested from candidate finalists. Finalists will be required to submit to a background investigation. The preferred position starting date is July 1, 2023.
Contact Information to ApplicantsCommittee Chairperson: Lisa Wolf-Wendel, Ph.D. ([email protected]). Advertised Salary Rangecommensurate with experience Application Review Begins15-Nov-2022 Anticipated Start Date01-Jul-2023


Working at the University of Kansas 

Join the University of Kansas, and you’ll become part of a Jayhawk family that spans the globe. Wear your KU shirt in London, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Nairobi or anywhere else, and you will likely hear a resounding “Rock Chalk!” from a stranger. Of course, the appropriate response is an enthusiastic “Jayhawk!” Because, after all, they’re not really strangers, they’re family.

The Jayhawk community is united by more than 150 years of tradition and by our commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge, transforming the academic experience, and creating solutions through innovative research. KU’s mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.  

The University of Kansas is the state’s flagship university and one of just 66 invited members of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). We consistently earn high rankings for academics and recognition as a premier research university.

KU faculty and staff embrace our role as the state’s flagship university, AAU member and R1 institution that serves the state, nation and world. We celebrate the energy and compassion that infuse the Jayhawk spirit; and, we remain true to KU’s historic values: the elevating force of education, the transformative power of research and the healing power of service.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging 

The University of Kansas is committed to a learning and workplace environment that is representative of our nation and global society, accepts and values everyone, appreciates our common humanity and understands that our multiple differences are the cornerstone of academic preparation, professional excellence and distinction. KU must be a place where all people feel they belong and have access to resources and support that help them attain their educational and professional goals.

We recognize there are inequalities and privileges generated by historical and persistent intersecting differences by race, ethnicity, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, abilities, religion, regional background, veteran status, citizenship status and nationality. And we hold ourselves accountable for policies, processes and programs that appreciate these and other differences and create more fair, safe and just learning, working and living environments for KU students, faculty and staff.


KU offers a broad array of undergraduate and graduate study programs, and we fulfill our mission through academic and research programs of international distinction, coupled with outstanding libraries, teaching museums and information technology. These resources enrich the academic experience for students from all 50 states and 112 countries, and provide enrichment resources for KU faculty and staff.


The university attains high levels of research productivity and recognizes that faculty are part of a network of scholars and academicians that shape a discipline as well as teach it. KU staff are integral to our research success, participating in and supporting discoveries that expand knowledge and improve lives.


The university and our employees serve society through research, teaching and the preservation and dissemination of knowledge. KU's academic programs, arts facilities and public programs provide cultural enrichment opportunities for the larger community. And, KU offers educational, research and service programs throughout the state. KU employees are encouraged to participate in and serve the campus and surrounding communities in a way that is meaningful to them.

International Dimension 

KU offers more than 100 programs of international study and cooperative research for KU students and faculty at sites around the world. The university offers teaching and research that draw upon and contribute to the most advanced developments throughout the United States and abroad. At the same time, KU's extensive international ties support economic development in Kansas.


The University of Kansas, our students and employees are committed to excellence. We foster a multicultural, inclusive environment in which the dignity and rights of individuals are respected. Intellectual diversity, integrity and disciplined inquiry in the search for knowledge are of paramount importance.

Our City and State 

KU sits atop Mt. Oread in the center of Lawrence, a town full of natural beauty and culture. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine named Lawrence one of the best college towns in the United States. Lawrence is home to more than 100,000 people, and has a charming, Midwestern friendliness that welcomes visitors and celebrates diversity. In addition to KU, Lawrence is home to Haskell Indian Nations University, the premiere tribal university in the United States.

Lawrence’s historic and thriving downtown features restaurants, nightlife and local shops offering unique finds that you won’t find anywhere else. The town has more than 50 parks, an encompassing mixed-use trail, and quick access to biking/hiking trails along the Kansas River and around Clinton Lake. A five-minute drive from Lawrence, Clinton Lake offers fishing, boating, beaches, camping and other outdoor activities.

Located just 40 minutes west of Kansas City, Lawrence offers the appeal of a mid-size, suburban town with quick access to the amenities of a large city, including an international airport. The Kansas City metro area is home to world-class museums and cultural activities, Jazz clubs and other nightlife venues, expansive shopping options, and exciting professional sports with the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals and Sporting KC.

Kansas is in the center of the country, making it convenient and cost effective to fly or drive to destinations throughout the United States. Far from flat, the Flint Hills, just 90 minutes from Lawrence, offer panoramic vistas that showcase the breathtaking beauty of America.

Making KU Your Home 

Something about Lawrence is magnetic. Long-time residents are never surprised when a KU student or employee from out of state decides to make Lawrence their permanent home. And, even those who do leave often find themselves returning to “the nest” at some point in the future. In fact, Lawrence has been named by several publications as one of the best places to retire.

At the University of Kansas, you’ll join a global Jayhawk family and find a place to call home.

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