Faculty Director, Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture

Illinois, United States
04 Jun 2020
End of advertisement period
03 Aug 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

The University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

Open Date
Mar 11, 2020


The University of Chicago seeks an accomplished scholar to direct the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture (“CSRPC" or “the Center”) to sustain its vital and vitalizing role for the study of race and ethnicity across academic fields, and to develop an ambitious vision for the Center’s future. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to path-breaking research and bring leadership and creativity that will catalyze a collaborative reconceptualization of the Center’s mission and the University of Chicago campus. This directorship provides an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to one of the world’s great research universities, by facilitating thought leadership on race and the dynamics of racialization across a wide range of scholarship, diversifying faculty on campus, and serving as an influential voice on race. The Director will have a record of academic achievement that merits appointment as a tenured member of the University of Chicago faculty.

The Director should promote dynamic research and conversation transnationally and across racial and ethnic borders. With senior staff and committed colleagues, the Director will shape and implement a strategic vision, taking advantage both of the University’s distinct setting on Chicago’s South Side and of the University’s international presence in its global centers. The vision will be built on a history of supporting individual and collaborative research projects, hosting symposia, fostering curricular innovation, and collaborating with other centers at the university and with other institutions, organizations, and foundations across the city of Chicago.

The Director will work collaboratively with senior staff, faculty affiliates, deans, center directors, and university administration to promote the research agenda of faculty and students; and to ensure education and programming that is impactful and robust. They will serve as a visionary for the study of race within and beyond their own discipline(s), and serve as a collaborative institution builder and fundraiser, seeking opportunities to connect innovative research with external resources.

The University seeks a scholar who will take advantage of the Center, and the University of Chicago, as unique platforms from which to develop an inspiring and influential voice to participate in conversations about race that are local, national, and international.

The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture

Founded in 1996 by Professor Michael Dawson, the Center has endeavored to make race and ethnicity central topics of intellectual investigation at the University of Chicago by fostering interdisciplinary research, teaching, and public programming. University faculty affiliated with the Center seek to further develop the study of race and ethnicity by building upon existing bodies of scholarship while fostering innovative and expansive approaches to inquiry. The Center supports projects initiated by faculty affiliates, graduate students, undergraduates, artists-in-residence, and visiting fellows. CSRPC supports undergraduate education through the Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies major and minor (CRES), in which students examine, through courses and programs, the histories, languages, and cultures of racial and ethnic groups in and of themselves, in relationship to each other, and, particularly, in structural contexts of power.

More information about the specific work of the Center can be found at: https://csrpc.uchicago.edu/

Role of the Director

The Director will convene and lead faculty affiliated with the Center, and will manage the administrative structures necessary to support scholarship. The Center has a senior staff member who will collaborate with the director in developing the Center’s vision, programming, and strategic direction. They will guide staff responsible for the CSRPC’s academic and programmatic efforts, aligned with the long-term strategic goals of the Center and the academic culture of the university. The CSRPC has a highly skilled staff with a senior level staff director who will collaborate with the Director to set the vision for the center. The CSRPC has a long history of collaboration with peer centers across campus; chief among them the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, the Center for Identity and Inclusion, and the Arts + Public Life Initiative. In addition, the Center enjoys meaningful engagement and intersection with several of the University’s area studies centers. These include but are not limited to the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for International Studies, the France Chicago Center, and the Center in Delhi. The next Director will continue to foster and enhance these relationships and be responsive to new opportunities, particularly with academic departments and divisional leaders, to enhance scholarship, and support future academic leaders.

Opportunities for the Director

The next Director will have the opportunity to leverage the reputation of the CSRPC as an integral part of local, national, and global communities, and to invigorate conversation and collaboration about its future direction. They will provide the intellectual vision and leadership to advance the study of race and ethnicity and to realize the ambitions of the Center. Specifically, they will embrace the following opportunities:

  • Develop a transformational vision for the Center. The Director has a unique opportunity to join a well-respected and established Center and help reimagine its role for the future. There is a strong foundation on which the next Director can build to further enhance the research and scholarship of its faculty and students, and heighten the impact of the Center on the academic culture of rigorous inquiry and free expression at the University. They will facilitate the development of the Center’s transformation, and ensure there are organizational structures in place to raise the CSRPC’s profile both on campus and in the community, as well as nationally and internationally.
  • Further articulate the academic mission and enhance scholarship. As the Director facilitates the broader strategic plan for the Center, they will have the opportunity to engage faculty in refining the Center’s overall research profile and areas of scholarship in the study of race. The Director will work with faculty to better articulate the CSRPC’s mission to further develop the study of race and ethnicity, foster discussions about expanding the Center’s research to include an international focus, and deepen the study of race and culture specific to the United States. They also will seek opportunities to enhance the graduate and postdoctoral fellowship programs that draw from varied disciplines and provide expanded support for graduate students and postdocs with interests in race and ethnic studies research.
  • Recruit (together with the divisions/schools) scholars working on race and ethnicity. The University is committed to increasing the diversity of the faculty, and the next Director will have an opportunity to work with departments, divisions, and schools to develop a recruitment strategy that not only builds on existing areas of excellence at the University but also fills important gaps in the study of race and ethnicity. They will work collaboratively and effectively with chairs to find opportunities for synergy between the Center and the departments and make clear the value the Center can bring in recruiting outstanding scholars to the University.
  • Maintain the Center’s role as a harbor for generating ideas on race and culture. The CSRPC has a strong history of interdisciplinary research among faculty, but it also provides impactful programming on issues of race, politics, and culture. The Director will ensure the Center maintains its ability to serve as a connecting point to the South Side of Chicago, other Chicago communities, and the campus writ large.
  • Strengthen partnerships beyond the university. The next Director will be able to draw upon existing partnerships within the University and the external community to further the work of the Center, and will be expected to proactively seek new opportunities for connections and scholarship. They will communicate with a variety of audiences to create excitement about the Center and advocate for its mission. The Director will also serve as an influential voice on race matters and further initiate dialogue on a local, national, and international scale.
  • Attract broad, sustainable philanthropic support. The Director will maintain and leverage existing relationships and cultivate new opportunities with private donors, foundations, and other stakeholders in order to raise external funds for the Center. They will be an ambassador of the Center and the University, and work to identify and tap new sources of external support necessary to grow and sustain excellence. To that end, the next Director will also work with University administration to begin the process of establishing an endowment for the Center.


The University seeks a scholar with a track record of scholarly distinction and administrative success as well as an inclination and talent for collaboration. They should have a genuine attraction to the mission and unique culture of the University of Chicago, thriving in its atmosphere of vigorous inquiry.  

The successful candidate will have many of the following professional qualifications, skills, and experiences:

  • an established or emerging scholar, researcher, and educator appropriate for a faculty appointment with tenure;
  • an inspiring administrative leader who understands the role of cross disciplinary research within the pedagogical and research imperatives of the university, above all its role as a resource for faculty and students interested in the ties between race, ethnicity, politics, and culture;
  • a thinker committed to promoting dynamic research and conversation transnationally and across racial and ethnic borders;
  • an effective collaborator who understands intersectionality, and can apply theory to practice;
  • an outstanding advocate and mentor, with experience developing educational programming, and a reputation for advancing the field of race studies by developing the next generation of scholars;
  • an imaginative leader with a robust track record as well as the potential, drive, and creative vision about the future of race studies;
  • an excellent communicator who can effectively advocate for the CSRPC within the University community and external communities with an ability to work across boundaries and translate intellectual ideas to diverse audiences;
  • an engaged thought leader who can think broadly about the Center’s impact on the national climate and initiate dialogue on race beyond the university;
  • an individual with experience leading or operating within complex research institutions, interdisciplinary centers, or research institutes;
  • a compelling fundraiser, who can work with potential funders to demonstrate the value and potential impact of the Center’s work;
  • a creative and committed institution builder, who will serve as an influential voice within a diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and community, national, and international partners.

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