Director, African Studies Center
Michigan State University (MSU) invites applications for the position of Director for the African Studies Center (ASC). The ASC is a premier program with longstanding reputation and has made major contributions to MSU’s nationally and internationally known history of impactful engagement in Africa. The Center and the Director is expected to provide strong support for key cross-college Africa-focused initiatives administered in ISP including the Alliance for African Partnerships (https://aap.isp.msu.edu/) and the Tanzania Partnership Program (https://pscd.isp.msu.edu/programs/tanzania-partnership-program/). Other initiatives the Director is expected to support include an undergraduate major in Global and International Studies with an African Studies concentration and a minor in African Studies.
The African Studies Center (ASC):
The African Studies Center is located in International Studies and Programs (ISP) which serves as a hub for international programming and research on campus. It has made significant contributions to research, teaching, and outreach at MSU on/in Africa since its establishment in 1960. It is one of only 10 Title VI National Resources Centers (NRC) for Africa and one of 13 centers for African Language and Area Studies (FLAS) nationally under the U.S. Department of Education. The ASC works closely with the area, thematic, service units, and programs in ISP. Area and thematic units include the Alliance for African Partnership, the Tanzania Partnership Program, the Asian Studies Center, Asia Hub, the Office of China Programs, the Canadian Studies Center, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Center for Gender in Global Context (GenCen), and the Muslim Studies Program. ISP also hosts the Office of International Students and Scholars, the Office for Education Abroad, Visiting International Professional Program, Global Innovations in Development, Engagement, & Scholarship (Global IDEAS), and other programs. The ASC also actively partners with colleges and other centers and units located on campus.
The ASC is home to distinguished scholars and a vibrant and diverse community of undergraduate and graduate students. Center-affiliated faculty hold tenure stream and fixed-term positions in colleges across the campus and they actively design and participate in the ASC programs. The Center has over 200 affiliated faculty members in the humanities, social sciences, the physical and biological sciences, agriculture and natural resources, business, law, medicine, the residential colleges, education, and other professional programs. Since 1982, the ASC produced more Ph.D. dissertations on Africa than any northern hemisphere institution, and by 1990 MSU had the largest number of faculty (> 150) studying Africa, and offered more African languages than any U.S. university, producing a large alumni network.
Appointment and Responsibilities:
The ASC Director is responsible for providing effective leadership and management of staff, programs, and activities of the Center. The Director is also responsible for promoting ASC-related research, educational programming, and outreach across the campus and for fostering faculty-led international partnerships with other similar programs around the globe. The Director works collaboratively with key university stakeholders across campus to provide strategic vision and leadership for the university’s diverse African-related research and programming agenda. The Director works closely with center affiliated faculty and academic staff across the campus and globally to advance ISP’s and MSU’s Africa-related global research that furthers ISP’s strategic pillars of Innovating Global Solutions, Creating Global Citizens, and Generating Global Investment.
Furthermore, the Director position requires commitment to strengthening the research and educational missions of the center and university by seeking externally funded programmatic and research grants and by facilitating interdisciplinary global research and international strategic engagement among faculty teams. Ability to work collaboratively with faculty and administrators of academic units across the university and with other MSU area studies and international thematic centers to promote global research, education, outreach, and service programs is essential.
The Director’s appointment will be at least 51% and not more than 75% in the ASC, with the remaining percentage in the tenure home academic department. The exact percentages of each appointment will be negotiated between the successful candidate, the ISP Dean, and the candidate’s tenure home academic department. The appointment is on an annual (12-month) basis for a five-year period, with the possibility of renewal.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities:
- Leading the center's continued success as an Africa-focused U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center with Foreign Language and Areas Studies Program funding
- Developing relationships and strengthening Africa engagement across the State of Michigan and nationally
- Increasing the Africa-related content of the curriculum at MSU
- Enhancing MSU's position as a leader in African language instruction, particularly critical less commonly taught languages
- Strengthening connections with MSU Africa-related international alumni and friends
- Collaborating with key cross-college Africa-focused initiatives administered in ISP including Alliance for African Partnerships, the Tanzania Partnership Program and other initiatives as they emerge
- Catalyzing interdisciplinary research on priority Africa-related areas and topics
- Expanding and diversifying external funding for Africa-related international research and programs
- Working closely with the ISP Advancement office on foundation and other related initiatives
- Developing and supporting strategic country and international partnership initiatives
- Supervising the Center's programs and staff
- Representing the Center at MSU, across the nation, and internationally.
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, age, disability or protected veteran status.
- PhD or its equivalent and must meet the standards for appointment to the rank of advanced associate or full professor (with tenure) in an academic department or school in one of MSU’s colleges
- Outstanding record of research and scholarship with experience working in and teaching about Africa
- Candidates are expected to have demonstrated administrative skills and ability to secure external funding from diverse sources
- Experience with a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center
- Experience with establishing and sustaining strategic partnerships with Universities and other institutions in Africa
- Experience facilitating and catalyzing programs of collaborative, multi-disciplinary research
- Ability to speak an African language
Required Application Materials
Interested individuals should submit a CV, cover letter, and list of references.
Review of applications will begin on September 30, 2023, and applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Review of Applications Begins On
Remote Work Statement
MSU strives to provide a flexible work environment and this position has been designated as remote-friendly. Remote-friendly means some or all of the duties can be performed remotely as mutually agreed upon.
The African Studies Center is one of a suite of highly respected international studies programs at MSU, whose purpose is to offer a truly global education while engaging in cutting edge research on the world's most pressing challenges.
With 96 Core Faculty members in 46 different departments, we have the capacity to look at Africa from many perspectives.
Supporting Future Experts
One of our consistent priorities is to bring into being the next generation of African experts, be they academicians, policy makers or applied practitioners on the continent of Africa itself.
Teaching African Languages
It’s our job to develop, disseminate and to teach African languages. We have established one of the largest African language programs in this country, teaching on average about 12 African languages per year, with the capacity to take students from beginning level to advanced level.
Disseminating Information to the Public
We have an obligation to present to the public information that is clear, concise and contextualized about the social, political and economic dynamics of the African continent. Toward that end, we have a full-time PhD outreach director that works with local teachers to incorporate African material into our local school curriculum, as well as pedagogy in teaching faculty members how to use that curriculum.
Working with the Community
We work with local community organizations that have an African focus. We work with our partner institutions across the state of Michigan, as well as nationally.
Creating New Knowledge
We create new knowledge through our support for research, our support for print publications, and our support for digital media presentations. In keeping with our land grant tradition, we have the obligation to apply the knowledge that we generate toward solving the complex interlocking and global problems that confront the African continent today.
For additional information about Michigan State University and its extensive commitments in international education and programs, please visit the following website: www.isp.msu.edu.
Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.