Director, Africana Research Center, and Associate Professor/Professor
Job Posted: 20 October 2023
Company: Pennsylvania State University
Closing Date: 4 December 2023 or 
Until Filled 
Location: University Park, PA


Link to application and full position listing



The Pennsylvania State University, College of the Liberal Arts, in University Park, PA, USA, invites applications for the position of Director of the Africana Research Center, which will be filled at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor with tenure within an appropriate academic department within the College. The anticipated start date is Fall 2024.

The mission of the Africana Research Center ( is to encourage and support research and scholarship on Africa and its Diaspora that will increase and share knowledge, enhance the lives of persons of African descent in the United States and throughout the Diaspora, and serve as a catalyst for promoting an enabling environment where cultural production and discourse on diversity can be nurtured to advance the research, teaching, and outreach missions of Penn State.

Some of the regular activities of the Center include organizing two major lectures, providing support funding for faculty and student research, and recruiting and hosting postdoctoral fellows.

We seek a thoughtful Director who will lead the Center administratively and intellectually by expanding the research and connections of the Center around campus, devising new research and outreach initiatives, engaging alumni to support the Center, and growing the community of scholars engaged with the Center, as well as maintain the Center's fellows’ program and other current activities.

The Director will be expected to maintain an active research agenda and to be part of their academic unit and disciplinary community. The normal teaching load for Penn State faculty is 2-2; a teaching release and supplement will be provided during the successful candidate’s term as Director.

Candidates for the Director of the Africana Research Center (Associate Professor rank) must have demonstrated excellence as a researcher, scholar, and teacher in a relevant field and have an established reputation in scholarly achievement. Duties will involve a combination of teaching, research, and service, based on the candidate’s qualifications.

Candidates for the Director of the Africana Research Center (Professor rank) must have demonstrated excellence as a researcher, scholar, and teacher in a relevant field, and evidence of a substantial record of advanced research as well as leadership in their field of specialization. Duties will involve a combination of teaching, research, and service, based on the candidate’s qualifications.

Qualified applicants for both ranks will have a Ph.D. in a relevant humanities or social science discipline by date of appointment.

For both ranks, an applicant’s research should align with the Africana Research Center’s interests in the African Diaspora broadly defined. Candidates should have an excellent publication record; a commitment to securing external funding; and a track record of excellence in teaching and mentoring students, as well as in academic service. Successful candidates must demonstrate experience in developing and maintaining institutionally sustainable research centers or other initiatives.

In addition, successful candidates must either have demonstrated a commitment to building an inclusive, equitable, and diverse campus community, or describe one or more ways they would envision doing so, given the opportunity.

Applicants must apply online at Penn State’s Job Posting Board and should include a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, and a list of three references. In the cover letter, applicants should discuss their experience in managing, creating, or supervising academic programs or research centers, as well as in pursuing external funding. They should also discuss their vision of a research center centered around the mission described above.

We will request letters of recommendation and teaching materials from candidates who advance in the search process. Review of applications will begin December 4, 2023, and will continue until the position has been filled.

Please direct questions about the process via email to committee chair Scott Bennett, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, at [email protected].

Penn State offers competitive benefits to full-time employees, including medical, dental, vision, and retirement plans, in addition to 75% tuition discounts (including for a spouse and dependent children up to the age of 26) and paid holidays. Please visit for more detailed information.

Penn State is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusion that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusion as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.


Pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Pennsylvania Act of 1988, Penn State publishes a combined Annual Security and Annual Fire Safety Report (ASR). The ASR includes crime statistics and institutional policies concerning campus security, such as those concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. The ASR is available for review here.

Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies. 


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. If you are unable to use our online application process due to an impairment or disability, please contact 814-865-1473.