Assistant Professor Soilless Plant Culture

Kentucky State University
Frankfort, KY, US

Job Details

 TITLE: Assistant Professor of Soilless Plant Culture, 12 Month Faculty

DEPARTMENT: School of Agriculture, Communities, and the Sciences

REPORTS TO: Chair, School of Agriculture, Community and the Sciences

EFFECTIVE DATE: Position will Remain Open until Filled



Internal Candidates are Encouraged to Apply


Applicants must be authorized to work for any employer in the United States. At this time, Kentucky State University is unable to sponsor or take over sponsorship of an employment visa



PRINCIPAL PURPOSE OF JOB:  This is a tenure-track, research, teaching, and extension position with Kentucky State University’s 1890 Land-Grant Program.  The faculty member is expected to conduct research in soilless culture and provide statewide extension support to train extension professionals about soilless plant culture with a particular focus on limited-resource and small farms, and low-income communities. 


The faculty member is expected to create research projects under the 1890 Research Capacity Funds and obtain competitive grant funding.  The research and extension focus should be on soilless plant production for use for food, fiber, medicinal, and/or ornamental purposes using both indoor facilities and outdoor facilities.  Therefore, research and outreach activities should cover situations for both farms with limited financial abilities and with well-funded farms.   This research will investigate plant nutrient uptake, precision nutrient application, hydroponics and irrigation/fertigation systems, etc.  Another research goal will be to develop plant nutrients from naturally occurring substances such as manures, composts, other organic ingredients, minerals, etc.  The faculty member is expected to publish in peer-reviewed journals, present research results in professional conferences, participate in professional/trade/governmental meetings, serve on departmental, college, and university committees, and other related duties as assigned.  

The faculty member is expected to teach courses that are potentially undergraduate, graduate, online and in-class.  The courses will be selected by departmental committees and/or the Chair and/or the Dean of the College, and will reflect the qualifications of the faculty member and the needs of the College.


  • Develop a research program related to soilless plant culture involving vegetables, small fruits, ornamentals, and other food/fiber/medicinal plants.
  • Establish and maintain a competitive research program on topics such as evaluation of alternative nutrient sources and substrates, water quality, and organic sources of nutrients for hydroponic production.
  • Conduct research in alternative designs for soilless plant culture including engineering aspects of such designs.
  • Conduct research in the facilities associated with soilless plant culture, such as indoor/closed facilities vs. high tunnels vs. greenhouses vs. outdoor protected 
  •  Conduct and publish research in the area of specialty. Deliver research presentations in professional conferences.
  • Develop an Extension program related to agriculture and community development by using hydroponics as a vehicle for establishment of profitable agricultural businesses among low-income rural and urban populations.
  • Pursue external funding to support nutrition and food safety education.
  • Build cooperative working relationships with other research scientists, extension specialists, area educators, teaching faculty, staff; youth program educators; university administrators, federal partners, other universities, and other potential organizations with expertise that can support program efforts.
  • Develop relationships, serve as a liaison to, and/or collaborate with, appropriate governmental and non-governmental organizations including community-based organizations that serve farms, military veterans, socially-disadvantaged populations, and consumers.
  • Maintain involvement with professional agriculture, horticulture, and hydroponics organizations, with active participation on committees and boards at local, regional and national levels.
  • Represent Kentucky State University as an 1890 Land Grant Institution to the public, including federal and non-federal agencies, and research, agriculture and industry interests

OTHER DUTIES: The position will conduct other duties as required.


QUALIFICATIONS: Ph.D. in a related field by the time of appointment.  Evidence of peer reviewed journal publications.  Demonstrated skills in securing grants or strong potential to secure extramural funding in soilless plant culture.  Experience and interest in mentoring and teaching students from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  

Licensing and Certifications: None.





  • Relevant extension and/or research experience beyond the Ph.D. degree.
  • Evidence of the ability to collaborate in research, teaching, and outreach activities.
  • Evidence of interdisciplinary collaborations with diverse audiences including faculty, stakeholders, and other clientele within and external to the university.
  • Involvement with recognized professional associations or organizations.
  • Ability to transfer information through scholarly publications, patents and presentations at scientific meetings and through technology transfer to agriculture and industry groups



  • Work in both indoor office work environment and outdoor field/farm environment.
  • Moderate physical effort required to move supplies and material in a farm, greenhouse, laboratory work.
  • Moderate physical risk that is associated with normal farm, greenhouse, and laboratory work.


Please Upload the following documents : Cover Letter - 2 pg max, CV/Resume, and Transcript(s) - official or unofficial

Revised: 06/30/2023




KENTUCKY STATE UNIVERSITY is an Equal Opportunity Employer

The functions, qualifications, knowledge/skills, and physical requirements listed in this job description represent the essential duties of the job, which the incumbent must be able to perform either with or without reasonable accommodation. The Job Functions listed do not necessarily include all activities that the individual may perform. “The College of Agriculture, Community, and the Sciences strives for inclusive excellence and is interested in qualified candidates who can contribute to this effort through their research, teaching, and/or Extension programs.”




Our Mission

Kentucky State University is the state's unique, small, liberal studies institution with the lowest student-faculty ratio in the state system. The University shall serve as a residential institution with a range of traditional collegiate programs appropriate to its unique role.

Geographic Region
Kentucky State University's geographic region shall be state-wide for its liberal studies mission, its land grant functions, and its service to state government. In addition, Kentucky State University's primary service area for commuting students shall be for Franklin and contiguous counties.

Institutional Admission Standards
Kentucky State University shall admit students to the institution under selective admission standards to which exceed the minimum guidelines established by the Council on Higher Education, with only limited exceptions. Institutional policy for admitting under-prepared students, including the removal of academic deficiencies within a specified time frame. Through this approach, the University seeks to provide broad access and high-quality programs.

Degree Levels
Selected associate and baccalaureate degree programs shall be oriented toward liberal studies and selected career opportunities related to state government services. Kentucky State University shall offer selected master's degree programs based on demonstrated need, with priority given to a public administration curriculum to meet the needs of state government.

Strategic Directions/Program Priorities
The University shall focus on liberal studies programming. Drawing upon its African-American heritage, the University will promote the values and methods of interdisciplinary and multicultural education in its liberal studies offerings. All students shall participate in common curricula that explore the liberal studies. Drawing upon the multicultural strengths of the University, emphasis shall be placed on preparing minority students for careers in education and in other selected professions including business, computer science, nursing, human services, and public services. These strategic priorities translate into a core of liberal arts baccalaureate degree programs, in addition to degree programs at the associate [A], baccalaureate [B], and master's [M] levels that may include the following: education [B]; business [B]; computer science [A,B]; nursing [A]; home economics [B]; human services [B]; and public administration [B,M].

Enhancement of Instruction
The University shall emphasize teaching. Meeting student needs shall be paramount. The University shall focus on the needs of its students, which include, but are not limited to, full-time and part-time residential students, commuting students from its primary service area, and state governmental employees.

Service and Research Functions
Kentucky State University, as the 1890 land grant institution in the system, shall carry out its responsibilities under federal law and participate fully in appropriate U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, in accord with the mission of the University.

Kentucky State University shall be the major repository for the collection of books, records, and artifacts relative to the history and status of African-American citizens of the Commonwealth and elsewhere. The University shall make such materials available for casual and scholarly study.

Kentucky State University shall focus on meeting the applied research and service needs of state government.

Collaborative Ventures
The priority master's degree program offered by Kentucky State University shall be carefully articulated with related doctoral programs offered by the doctoral-granting institutions in the system. The University shall develop and employ telecommunication resources to communicate with other institutions in the fulfillment of its mission. Curriculum development shall emphasize the transfer of credits form other institutions toward degree completion.

Kentucky State University shall promote cost effectiveness in academic programming and institutional management. Strategic planning resulting in the elimination of duplicative or non-productive programs is essential while the development of carefully selected new programs compatible with the mission is appropriate. Measures of quality and performance shall be the foundation of the University's accountability system which promotes the continuous improvement of programs and services.

Efficiency and Effectiveness
Kentucky State University shall promote cost effectiveness in academic programming and institutional management. Strategic planning resulting in the elimination of duplicative or non-productive programs is essential while the development of carefully selected new programs compatible with the mission is appropriate. Measures of quality and performance shall be the foundation of the University's accountability system which promotes the continuous improvement of programs and services.

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