Director African Studies Center (ASC)

Michigan State University in Michigan

Date Posted July 8, 2014
Type Executive
Salary Not specified
Employment Type Full-time


African Studies Center (ASC)

Michigan State University


Michigan State University (MSU) invites nominations and applications for the position of Director of the African Studies Center (ASC). Building on the Center’s and the University’s significant accomplishments and history of commitment to Africa, the next Director will provide the strategic vision and collaborative leadership skills needed to further the Center’s and the University’s role as a dynamic leader in Africa-related international research, teaching and engagement. The position requires policy development and implementation capabilities, with the ability to work collaboratively with faculty, administrators, and other area studies and international thematic centers in promoting Africa-centered research, education, outreach, and service programs. Special emphasis is placed on playing a lead role in increasing MSU’s faculty-led, Africa-related research and engagement efforts.


The African Studies Center

Founded in 1960, the African Studies Center is located in International Studies and Programs (ISP) which is headed by the ISP Dean to whom the Director reports. ISP is home to several centers and offices in addition to the African Studies Center. These include the Asian Studies Center; Canadian Studies Center; Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies; Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Center for Gender in Global Context; the Muslim Studies Program; Office of Study Abroad; Office for International Students and Scholars; Office of International Research Collaboration; Advancement and Communications offices; Visiting International Professional Program; Office of China Programs; MSU Peace Corps Office; and the Japan Center for Michigan Universities. The ASC Director works closely with these units and other internationally-related centers and departments in colleges across campus, including the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages; the African American and African Studies Program; Center for Global Connections in Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources; International Health; International Studies in Education; and the MSU Press.

The ASC has a proud history of engagement with Africa. It is one of twelve comprehensive Title VI National Resource Centers on Africa designated by the U.S. Department of Education. It seeks to promote research and increase scholarly publications and programming regarding all of Africa. MSU can offer instruction in 32 African languages, teaching up to 12 each year. Two Ph.D. African studies librarians staff one of the largest Africana libraries in the nation. African Studies at MSU has been distinguished by its focus on Africa’s human needs: education for development, environment and development, ethics of development, food security and agriculture, gender equity, poverty alleviation, tropical disease, as well as the social sciences and humanities.


The Center and the Director provide strong support for key cross-college Africa-focused initiatives administered in ISP including MSU’s MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program ( and the Tanzania Partnership Program ( Other initiatives include support for an undergraduate major in Global and Area Studies with an African Studies concentration and specializations in African Studies for graduate and undergraduate degree students. The ASC also conducts outreach programs for educators, non-governmental organizations, governments, the media, and business communities. The Center frequently pursues strategic partnerships with African universities and institutes with the aim of developing cooperative and intensive research and curricular projects. The ASC’s affiliated faculty members are well-known for the ethical standards that inform their partnerships, research, and development work in Africa.


ASC has 200 affiliated faculty members in the humanities, social sciences, physical and biological sciences, agriculture, business, education, law, allied health, and other professional programs. In addition to student employees, the Center staff consists of five full-time positions: two Assistant Directors (one with a focus on outreach), Office Administrator, Senior Secretary, and Publications Assistant. See more detail about the Center at



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.


Specific duties include:

  • 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
  • Supporting key cross-college Africa-focused initiatives administered in ISP including MSU’s MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, the Tanzania Partnership Program and other initiatives as they emerge
  • Continuing the center’s success as an Africa-focused U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center
  • Increasing the Africa-related content of the curriculum
  • 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
  • Supervising the Center’s programs and staff
  • Representing the Center at MSU, across the nation, and internationally


The Director’s appointment will be 75% in the Center, with 25% in an academic department, the tenure home, to be mutually agreed between the successful candidate, the ISP Dean, and the host academic department. The appointment is on an annual (12-month) basis for a five-year period with renewal possible.



Candidates are expected to have an outstanding record of research and scholarship with experience working in and teaching about Africa. Candidates must have an earned Ph.D. or its equivalent and 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. Candidates are expected to have demonstrated administrative skills and ability to secure external funding from diverse sources. Other desired characteristics include experience with: a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center; establishing and sustaining strategic partnerships with universities and other institutions in Africa; and facilitating and catalyzing programs of collaborative, multi-disciplinary research. In addition to the above qualifications, preference will be given to those speaking an African language.  


The position is posted online at MSU’s employment website under posting #9098. All application materials must be uploaded at: The deadline for receipt of complete applications is extended until September 15, 2014. Late applications will be considered until the position is filled.


For additional information about the University and its extensive commitments in international education and programs, see,, and               


MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.


How To Apply

You can apply for this position online at