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Founding Director, Center for Racial Justice

Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Jun 30, 2022

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Position Type
Administrative, Student Affairs, Minority & Multicultural Affairs
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Founding Director, Center for Racial Justice

Penn State seeks applications for the position of founding director of the new Center for Racial Justice ( Center), a research center that will focus on studying racism and racial bias. The Center will support research and scholarship on related and relevant topics, disseminate information from that scholarship, and provide scholarly findings that lead to meaningful action and positive change.

About the Center for Racial Justice

The Center will draw upon Penn State's strategic plan and leverage the broad range of expertise across multiple disciplines spanning our 24 campuses. The Center will attract additional talented scholars with the objective of becoming a national leader in research focused on racism and racial bias. A key objective of the Center will be to translate this knowledge and inform decisions based on scholarly findings. This translation will benefit from other research partnerships across the University, including the Office of Educational Equity.

The Social Sciences Research Institute

The Center will sit in the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), one of Penn State's seven interdisciplinary institutes. SSRI's mission is to foster research that addresses critical human and social problems at the local, national, and international levels. SSRI does so by bringing together researchers from a range of disciplines, as well as providing consultation, financial support, shared accessible infrastructure, and services, to social and behavioral scientists across Penn State. As a university-wide interdisciplinary institute within the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, SSRI supports and promotes innovation and excellence in the social and behavioral sciences, and contributes to Penn State's university-wide culture of interdisciplinary collaborative research.

Penn State's campuses support a broad and diverse research portfolio in relevant fields including the arts, sciences, humanities, law, medicine, communications, education, and social sciences. By being housed within SSRI, the Center will take advantage of the reputation and scholarly excellence associated with Penn State's interdisciplinary research institutes, and will promote collaboration across multiple research strengths on vital scholarly questions and pressing societal needs. The Center founding director may come from any academic field, including the humanities, behavioral sciences, social sciences, or other relevant discipline.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Founding Director

With the support of an advisory committee, the founding director will help create a strategic vision and focus, develop a multi-year strategy and plan for the Center, and will be charged with implementing its mission. The founding director will be responsible for setting the course of the new Center that will:
  • Support cross-disciplinary, cross-methodological research activities;
  • Coordinate, partner with, support, and promote relevant research-based activities with other institutes, centers, initiatives, departments, and consortia across the 24 Penn State campuses;
  • Provide resources for faculty and research programs through mechanisms such as new faculty co-hires, creation of a fellowship program, funding of seed grants to foster interdisciplinary research, and applications for extramural funding;
  • Create opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows through scholarship and project support;
  • Drive service and outreach opportunities that promote the broad transfer of research findings; and
  • Support Penn State in its efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Required Qualifications

We seek a highly qualified, tenured individual with an outstanding record of academic leadership and research achievement. The successful candidate will hold a tenured appointment at the level of full- or associate professor in the most relevant academic department; joint appointments are possible. Candidates should indicate their tenure home preference in their application letter of interest. A Ph.D. or other doctoral degree in a relevant field is required.

Penn State and SSRI have a deep and profound commitment to diversity both as an end in itself, but also as a valuable means for eliminating inequities. As such, we strongly encourage applications from candidates who foster and promote the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Application instructions

To be considered for this exciting opportunity, qualified applicants must submit the following materials:
  • A letter of interest that addresses how the candidate meets the required qualifications for the position, how their body of work has influenced scholarship in the area of racism or racial justice, and their tenure home preference;
  • A current curriculum vitae (CV) or resume; and
  • A 1-2-page statement describing the candidate's vision for how the Center can accomplish its mission;

Penn State has retained W. Tucker and Associates, a national executive recruiting firm, to assist with this search. All nominations, inquiries, and application materials should be submitted in confidence to W. Tucker and Associates at the e-mail ID mentioned below. The Search Committee will begin reviewing applications on September 12, 2022 and will continue to accept applications and nominations until the position is filled. Candidates are encouraged to have complete applications submitted to the search firm assisting the university by Monday, August, 29, 2022.

Please direct all applications, nominations, and inquiries for the position to the search firm assisting the university at the contact information below:

Willie Tucker, Managing Principal

Stella Marks, Senior Associate

Penn State specific email:

Apply online at

CAMPUS SECURITY CRIME STATISTICS: For more about safety at Penn State, and to review the Annual Security Report which contains information about crime statistics and other safety and security matters, please go to, which will also provide you with detail on how to request a hard copy of the Annual Security Report.

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. jeid-ca4dc1979437464c8a1574c762fa5fed
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