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Technical Lead, The Commons / Information Technologist II

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 677808
Work type: Support Staff
Pay Grade: 13
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Arts And Letters
Department: Al Dean Administration 40000794
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Full Time (90-100%), Administrative Professionals- AP, Administrative/Business/Professional, Union

Working/Functional Title

Technical Lead, The Commons

Position Summary

The College of Arts & Letters (CAL) and the MSU Libraries seek an Information Technologist II to fill the Technical Lead role supporting the development of The Commons, a nonprofit academic professional network serving scholars across the disciplines and around the world.  This is a full-time, 24-month end-dated position, with the possibility of renewal. 


The successful candidate will be an up-and-coming leader in academic WordPress development, with a commitment to building and maintaining a large-scale scholar-focused network. The candidate will also have outstanding organizational and interpersonal skills, deep intellectual curiosity, and the ability to work both independently and collaboratively on a distributed team.


Specific areas of responsibility for this position include:


  • Prototyping and developing new platform integrations and features
  • Tracking and resolving bug reports and other user feedback
  • Designing and implementing a federated, scalable architecture for network growth
  • Ensuring full adherence with network accessibility standards and consistently improving platform user experience
  • Creating full documentation both for code developed and for network deployment processes
  • Working with the Commons team to shape the project’s roadmap, prioritize development goals, and deliver on those goals.


The Technical Lead will report to the Director of the Commons. The Commons is a trusted nonprofit network that allows scholars and practitioners to create professional profiles, discuss common interests, develop new publications, and share their work. The Commons network comprises three disciplinary hubs (currently including Humanities Commons, but soon to be joined by Social Science Commons and STEM Commons) and multiple nodes supporting scholarly organizations and institutions. Commons accounts are free and open to anyone regardless of credentials or institutional affiliation. Learn more about Humanities Commons at, and more about the Commons’ expansion at


The College of Arts & Letters (CAL) and MSU Libraries promote an academic and organizational culture that actively seeks out and strengthens diverse voices and perspectives among its members to achieve excellence. We are interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that intellectual leadership is achieved through open access and proactive inclusion. We seek candidates with integrity and a strong work ethic, who possess an understanding of what it takes to continuously improve and maintain research projects within a major academic research institution. We particularly welcome applications from women, people of color, LGBTQI individuals, and others who are traditionally underrepresented in the academy. We invite you to apply even if you have not currently mastered all the skills listed. We seek someone with the ability to collaborate and to expand their technical skill set in creative ways; we’re happy to discuss whether you’ve got the skills we need for this role.

Unit Specific Education/Experience/Skills

Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in Computer Science, Information Systems, Business or related information technology field, with coursework in an information technology specialization related to the area of employment; three to five years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in an information technology area related to the duties to be performed; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Demonstrated experience in the following is required:

  • Developing, testing, and managing WordPress/BuddyPress plug-ins and themes, including for custom implementations like Commons In A Box
  • Working with PHP-based application frameworks
  • Working with SQL databases, schemas, and query customization
  • Using AWS-based or other cloud-based systems
  • Working with system-level LAMP or LEMP server environments
  • Developing and implementing REST APIs for two-way data exchange
  • Deploying Solr or ElasticPress to deliver faceted search results
  • Establishing and adhering to best practices in open-source software production, including use of GitHub, design and implementation of testing and code review, etc.

Desired Qualifications

Further experience in the following is highly desirable:

  • Developing containerized applications with Docker or other frameworks
  • Working with Fedora and/or other open-source digital object repository platforms
  • Working with identity management solutions including Shibboleth, SimpleSAML, LDAP, and COmanage
  • Web presentation layer development
  • User experience design, testing, and evaluation
  • Mobile first application development
  • Development in a test-driven environment

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Application Materials

Cover letter

Current curriculum vitae or resume

A statement that highlights your alignment with project goals

Email addresses of three potential references.

Work Hours


Description of End Date

This is an off dated position funded for 24 months from the date of hire with possible extension contingent upon funding renewal.

Bidding eligibility ends on 10/20/2020 at 11:55 PM

Advertised: Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Eastern Standard Time

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