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Chair, Department of English

Howard University
Washington, D.C.
Posted Date
Nov 28, 2022

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Howard University

Chair, Department of English Search

Howard University (HU) invites applications and nominations for the position of Chair of the Department of English. When there is an opening for Department Chair, it is our standard practice to open the search to external candidates, as well internal candidates, to ensure the largest pool of top candidates.

The Department of English in the College of Arts & Sciences at Howard University is home to a dynamic undergraduate program for majors and minors, a U.S. News & World Report ranked graduate program, and a cadre of scholars who teach and publish imaginatively in literary and cultural studies as well as creative writing. The Department is part of the culturally diverse and intellectually vibrant Washington, D.C. community, with ample academic resources inside and outside the university. With newly endowed chairs named for Department luminaries Sterling Allen Brown and Toni Morrison, the Zora Neale Hurston Summer Writers’ Workshop, and the literary journal Amistad, the Department is poised to build on its well-earned reputation for excellence in the literary and creative arts. The Department is committed to training the next generation of undergraduate and graduate students for careers in the humanities and beyond, and to providing faculty with a cohort of peers committed to the scholarly productivity that interrogates and addresses the various problems of the human condition.   

At this critical juncture in our history, the Chair will have tremendous opportunities to help chart a bold vision for the future of the Department and its relation to the humanities. Accordingly, we seek a dynamic, energetic, and committed leader with a strong record of collegial academic leadership; student, faculty, and program development; and financial management and fundraising success. The ideal candidate is an active intellectual leader, adept at building and supporting multi-disciplinary partnerships with a diverse community, knowledgeable in contemporary higher education issues (especially in relation to the humanities), and collaborative in terms of leadership style. The Chair is expected to uphold a diverse and inclusive climate in the Department through shared governance, to advocate for the department’s faculty and programs, and to represent the department nationally in the profession. Additionally, the Chair must demonstrate an understanding of and high regard for the special and historic mission of HBCUs in general and Howard University in particular.

The Chair represents the Department as part of the college’s leadership team and is responsible for the Department’s faculty and staff recruiting, development, retention, resource attainment, financial management, and stakeholder relationship management. Working in partnership with the senior administration of the College of Arts & Sciences, the successful candidate will be expected to embrace and contribute to the mission of the University.

Desired Qualifications

§ Earned doctorate or terminal degree from an accredited institution; PhD in English with a specialization in African American literature preferred, but allied disciplines will be considered;

§ Record of professional accomplishments and scholarship that meet the qualifications for appointment to the rank of professor in the College;

§ Strong and sustained record of teaching excellence and interdisciplinary initiatives;

§ Strong and sustained record of research and creative accomplishments;

§ Administrative, personnel, and budgetary experience at the department level;

§ Evidence of a commitment to and success securing external funding and fundraising;

§ Evidence of a strong commitment to helping students obtain a broad-based education;

§ Evidence in curriculum development including a commitment to collaboration and innovative pedagogies;

§ Evidence of strong interpersonal and communication skills with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members;

§ Demonstrated ability to manage a complex academic organization and work effectively with colleagues across the University’s schools/colleges;

§ Evidence of effective community involvement, outreach, leadership, and demonstrated ability to forge partnerships and build productive relationships with both campus and external constituencies including alumni;

§ Evidence of recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty and staff, as well as teambuilding, supervision, and staff support for professional development; and

§ Demonstrated commitment to student centeredness and optimization of student learning.

Established in 1867, Howard University is a federally chartered, private, doctoral/research extensive university located in Washington, D.C., and is widely recognized as one of the world's most prestigious institutions of higher learning. This renowned urban research university offers a world-class curriculum that includes undergraduate degrees in 80 subject areas, master's degrees in 75 majors, doctoral degrees in 31 disciplines and professional certification in 5 fields. The only comprehensive American university with a predominantly African American constituency, Howard University is committed to preparing its students to not only be respected leaders in the national and global communities, but to also promote social justice and democracy the world over. Howard has historically educated more African American PhDs than any other university. It has a track record, for more than a century as the home to the single, largest concentration of Black scholars in the world.

Procedure for Candidacy

Applications should the following:

1. Cover letter addressing the qualifications above;

2. Current curriculum vitae;

3. Two-page statement of research accomplishments, interests and future plans;

4. Two-page statement of administrative philosophy and goals; and

5. Names of four references who will be prepared to write letters upon request.

Completed applications should be complied as a single PDF file and emailed to the Chair of the search committee: Dr. Mbye Cham at

Applications will be accepted until February 1, 2023. The desired start is in July 2023. Additional details and information can be found at

The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, marital status, religion, disability or protected veterans’ status. Veterans and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Inquiries regarding provisions for persons with disabilities or veterans’ status, Equal Employment Opportunity and Title IX should be directed to the Office of Employee Relations and Equal Employment Opportunity at 202-806-1280.


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