Job ID: 235945

Founding Director of Nuclear Science and Engineering Graduate Program

Abilene Christian University

  • May 10, 2024
  • Founding Director of Nuclear Science and Engineering Graduate Program
  • Nuclear Science and Engineering
  • Abilene Christian University
    Abilene , TX
  • Open until filled
  • Available immediately
  • Director/Manager
  • Nuclear
    Engineering - Other

Abilene Christian University

Founding Director of Nuclear Science and Engineering Graduate Program


Academic Career & Executive Search is pleased to assist Abilene Christian University in its search for Founding Director of Nuclear Science and Engineering Graduate Program. 

For full consideration, please apply by June 19th.

A tremendous opportunity awaits an accomplished educator and researcher to shape the future of the Nuclear Science and Engineering graduate program at Abilene Christian University (ACU). The director of the Nuclear Science and Engineering graduate program will spearhead program development and management, leveraging on the ABET-accredited engineering program and long-standing physics and chemistry programs with a strong history in nuclear physics. ACU is already at the forefront of research and innovation and nationally recognized for its rigorous academic excellence and extensive opportunities for unique student experiences in scholarship and service.

The director may choose to contribute to the Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing (NEXT) lab as a NEXT lab senior researcher, joining a highly motivated team and working alongside faculty, staff and students at ACU. NEXT is part of the Natura Resources Research Alliance along with Georgia Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, and The University of Texas at Austin, and is working to build a molten salt research reactor in the new $23 million Science and Engineering Research Center on campus. These efforts are supported by $30.5 million in sponsored research agreements.

This position reports to the dean of the Onstead College of Science and Engineering.


  • Ability to collaborate across organizations within and external to the university to develop programs and curriculum.

  • Ability to manage a productive research group.

  • Ability to recruit faculty and students to the program.


  • A Ph.D. in nuclear science, engineering, or a closely related field.

  • Experience building curriculum for nuclear science and engineering programs.


  • Experience in academic departmental leadership.

  • Experience building curriculum for graduate nuclear science and engineering programs.

About the Institution

Founded in 1906, Abilene Christian University (ACU) is one of the largest private institutions in the Southwest with a student population of 6,219. ACU has two campuses. The main campus is located in Abilene, TX and their branch campus, which is the hub for the university’s online programs, is in Dallas. ACU has six academic colleges (College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Onstead College of Science and Engineering; College of Biblical Studies; College of Business Administration; the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, and the College of Graduate and Professional Studies) offering more than 79 majors, 164 areas of study and 12 accelerated degree programs. ACU is nationally recognized for student academic programs and experiences. In the U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 “Programs to Look For” benchmark, ACU was ranked in the top 10 for Service Learning, First-year Experience and Learning Communities.

ACU is affiliated with the Churches of Christ and emphasizes Christian values and principles in its academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities. The university has a strong commitment to community service and encourages students to engage in volunteer work and outreach programs.

About the College

The Robert and Kay Onstead College of Science and Engineering (OCSE) is at the forefront of discovery and innovation. The college has five departments: Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Engineering and Physics, and Mathematics.

The establishment of the Onstead College of Science and Engineering highlights ACU’s significant investment in science and engineering within the past 10 years, including the renovation of two existing buildings and the construction of two new facilities. The Halbert-Walling Research Center, a 54,000-square-foot facility opened in 2017 and serves as the home for the Department of Biology, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Center for Pre-Health Professions. The new Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) opened in September 2023. This $23 million, 28,000-square-foot facility features a 6,000-square-foot research bay with a 25-foot-deep by 80-foot-long shielded trench and a 40-ton bridge crane, as well as a training control room, conference room, office spaces, machine shop, and a series of specialized labs for radiochemistry, molten salt systems and instrumentation. The SERC houses ACU’s NEXT Lab advancing applications of molten salt nuclear technologies and designing and building the first university-based molten salt research reactor.

Living in the Area

Abilene is a city with a population of over 125,000 located in West Central Texas approximately 150 miles west of Fort Worth. The city was established in 1881 as a shipping point for cattle ranching and became a key hub for the Texas and Pacific Railway. Abilene is a dynamic city with a blend of historical charm, modern amenities, and natural attractions. The city is home to six institutions of higher learning and nearly 15,000 students pursuing higher education. These universities and colleges contribute to the city's vibrant cultural scene and provide educational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

Abilene offers plenty of activities for all ages including museums, parks, theaters, and shopping centers. Designated as The Storybook Capitol of America, the city's cultural offerings include a Storybook Art Adventure Trail, the Grace Museum, which showcases regional art and history, and the Paramount Theatre, a historic venue for live performances and film screenings. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the natural beauty of the area at places like Abilene State Park, Fort Phantom Hill Lake, and the Abilene Zoo. Additionally, the city hosts annual events and festivals that celebrate its heritage and culture, such as the West Texas Fair & Rodeo and the Western Heritage Classic.

Abilene is one of the best places to live in Texas offering residents an affordable and sparse suburban feel. Cost of living is 19.8% lower than the national average and housing is 48.7% less expensive than the national average. Despite being a smaller city, Abilene has a diverse economy with several significant businesses and industries including a major healthcare provider, Hendrick Health, Dyess Air Force Base and three universities. In addition, Abilene's central location in Texas makes it a transportation hub for the region. The Abilene Regional Airport serves the Abilene area with air carrier service. Companies involved in transportation, logistics, and warehousing benefit from the city's location along major highways and railroads.

To Apply 

For full consideration, please apply by June 19th.

To be viewed by the search firm, you must apply directly at:

Please apply through the application link and do not email applications.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received and should include a cover letter and curriculum vita. Ideally cover letters should not exceed two pages. All applications are treated confidentially.

All applicants must be professing Christians and willing to support the Christian mission and purpose of Abilene Christian University while employed by the university.

Inquiries, referrals, and nominations are also treated confidentially.

Inquiries and questions: Please send to

Nominations and referrals: Please send the nominee’s name, title, and contact information if available to

ACU is committed to maintaining a safe and secure campus environment and protecting the university's financial and physical assets. Therefore, Abilene Christian University conducts background checks on all candidates for employment in security sensitive positions. 

Institution’s EEO Statement

ACU does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, disability, genetic information, national or ethnic origin in employment opportunities, in keeping with applicable state and federal law.


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