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Job ID: 155798

Assistant or Associate Professor in Product Design
University of Kentucky

Date Posted Mar. 12, 2021
Title Assistant or Associate Professor in Product Design
University University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY, United States
Department 8N700:Product Design
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Assistant Professor
    Associate Professor
  • Design - Product Design

The Department of Product Design in the College of Design invites applications for multiple open-rank, full-time faculty positions in the recently launched Product Design Program. Tenure status and rank will be commensurate with candidates’ experience.

These positions provide unique opportunities for faculty to help shape this new program in its formative years and create a learning environment that is responsive to current and future design contexts. The Department seeks to build a design community that is reflective of the world in which we are designing and as such we are committed to increasing the diversity and representation of faculty from historically underrepresented groups. Such candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Further, the University of Kentucky was recently recognized on the Forbes list of "Best Employers for Diversity" in 2020, an accolade the College of Design leadership intends to extend through this program.

The Product Design Program seeks pioneering, forward-thinking candidates with diverse design experience and perspectives who can leverage the College’s reputation and strengths in its existing programs (architecture, interiors, historic preservation, and urban & environmental design) and become a significant contributor to forging a new future for the College. A passion for teaching is paramount, as well as a strong ability to translate design concepts and skills in the classroom, studio, and workshop settings. Faculty appointed with tenure or to a tenure track are also expected to maintain an active agenda of scholarly research, professional practice, and/or creative work appropriate within an R1 research institution that establishes or sustains their profile in the field of product design.

As the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Product Design Program aims to make undergraduate design education accessible to-and inclusive of-a wide audience of prospective students and is structured to deliver skilled, thoughtful designers to the state as well as the regional and national levels. Graduates will have a comprehensive understanding of the process of design, the ethics of design, and the impacts of design. A key curricular differentiator of the program is its shared coursework with the newly launched undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering (BME), signifying Product Design’s commitment to designing for positive impact and human quality of life. This overlap between programs is unique in design and biomedical engineering education and leverages regional expertise in the health and medical industries; candidates with medical or healthcare design experience would be integral to this shared programmatic area. A near-future graduate degree in Product Design will further enhance shared opportunities between these two programs while expanding to others across campus.

The program aims to address expansion in both the breadth and depth of design discipline by offering broad exposure to design practice (physical, digital, service, and system design) while offering pathways for students to focus their studies as desired. In addition to set coursework, the curriculum includes a modular group of courses with variable credit that allows for an intensive, specialized investigation of advanced topics (both at the undergraduate and future graduate level) and allows the program to both respond to and forecast developments in the design industry. This concept provides the opportunity for faculty to develop short duration course modules related to niche or research interests that are beyond the required curriculum. Students would be empowered to also suggest special topics for deeper dives into contemporary ideas/materials/trends/etc. Current module categories include: Design Competencies (e.g., furniture design, packaging, typography, animation, etc.); Design Management (e.g., project budget, team organization, design for manufacturing, etc.); Social Impact & Innovation (e.g., service design, humanitarian design, community health, etc.); Advanced Materials & Processes (e.g., mobile app development, sensors, coding for designers, robotics, smart textiles, VR/AR, etc.); Professional Development (e.g., public speaking, portfolio, web development, etc.); and Healthcare (e.g., healthcare systems, assistive devices, clinical observation, medical devices, point-of-care instruments, etc.). At the undergraduate level these modules will serve to enhance studios and the senior thesis, and/or combine to form future undergraduate certificates.

As the College of Design’s newest addition, the Department of Product Design’s undergraduate program fulfills a key University of Kentucky directive to expand educational access through new programs and new faculty lines across the College. Additionally, the College of Design is poised for significant growth and change, driving the design of a new state-of-the-art facility, which will include expanded fabrication labs, studio spaces, and cross-disciplinary opportunities.
The College of Design has partnered with world-renowned architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang for this adaptive reuse project of the Reynolds Building, a 140,000-square-foot former tobacco warehouse. This building was built in 1917 and is located in a growing innovation district on the boundary of city and campus, which includes the School of Art and Visual Studies, the College of Education, and room for future campus development. Upon completion of this project the Product Design Program, along with the entire College of Design, will occupy the new building.

For more information about the College of Design and the University of Kentucky, please visit:

The faculty position commences August 16, 2021 and includes an initial two-year contract, with appointment in the Department of Product Design. Salary is competitive and based on the candidate’s qualifications and experience.
Interested candidates must complete an online application that demonstrates their potential for successful university teaching, an active design portfolio, and collegial participation in service activities. Applications should include the following materials:
1) A letter of intent that addresses the listed qualifications (Cover Letter)
2) Curriculum Vitae
3) Statement of teaching philosophy (upload under Specific Request 1)
4) A PDF file with samples of professional work and student work, or a website address (upload under Specific Request 2)

When prompted in the application, please submit the name and contact information of three (3) references. Please note that references will not be contacted without permission of the candidate.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the positions are filled. Questions regarding the positions should be directed to Jon Mills, Chair of the Department of Product Design:, or Charlotte Leedy, Executive Administrative Assistant: or (859) 257-7619.

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