Position Description & FAQs: Academic Specialist in Diversity and Civic Engagement

Brief Position Description:

The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Michigan State University (MSU), seeks applicants for academic specialist position in diversity and civic engagement. The successful applicant will establish strong collaborative programs with diverse community, faculty, and student partners inside and outside MSU to enhance our groundbreaking civic engagement curriculum and commitment to recruitment and retention of a diverse student body. This involves designing, implementing, and improving programs that increase the diversity of our student body, teaching courses in our civic engagement curriculum, and supporting continued college-wide enthusiasm for engaged citizenship and pedagogy.

Master’s degree, demonstrated experience with historically marginalized populations and ability to develop/implement programs supporting networks of these populations required. Desired: 1) familiarity with retention and mentoring initiatives; 2) understanding of research on recruitment and retention of historically marginalized students; 3) past implementation of successful relationships, projects, and initiatives with diverse community/university partners; 4) working knowledge of democratic and generative engagement, civic identity, and agency; power and privilege; and structural inequity; 5) five years experience; and 6) excellent project management skills.

Salary commensurate with training and experience. Application review begins 1/15/2015 until position filled. Position starts 8/15/2015.

For more more in-depth position description and to apply, visit the MSU Applicant page. Click on Search Postings at left, enter 0302 in Posting Number field, click Search and follow prompts. All applicants must apply using this application portal. Candidates must submit 1) letter of intent detailing career goals/interests, 2) curriculum vitae, (3) portfolio documenting leadership in community partnerships, teaching experiences, and programs; and (4) full names/contact information (phone numbers, e-mail, postal address, fax numbers) of three individuals to submit confidential reference letters (letters solicited automatically). Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.  MSU actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans, and persons with disabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about the Position:

1. What is the anticipated salary range?

No salary range has been set, as it will be based on the experience and training the finalist brings to the position. It will be competitive with other academic specialist positions at the university and will likely be set in the range of $60,000 to $65,000.

2. What are you looking for in a portfolio?

Through the portfolio, we hope to gain a better understanding of an applicant’s journey and accomplishments working with diverse communities on and off campus. Your portfolio may include everything from personal communications to formal documents. Portfolios tend to have two parts. First, the portfolio should include a narrative that puts the accomplishments applicants have achieved into context. Second, it should include documents that illustrate that narrative in a way that allows search committee members to understand the arc of an applicant’s work that brought them to apply. Portfolios should balance the need to be long enough to assist the search committee in making a comprehensive evaluation of an applicant’s career without overwhelming the committee in its work with oblique materials. The MSU HR application system allows text documents, including web links to other online materials pasted in the body of documents, and pdfs to be uploaded. Applicants are encouraged to be creative in working within the application system and to work closely with MSU HR personnel in preparing their submission.

3. What is an academic specialist at MSU?

From the MSU Academic Specialist Handbook:

The principal responsibilities of the academic specialist fall into one or more of three functional areas:

  1. Academic advising/teaching/curriculum development
  2. Research
  3. Service/Outreach

The academic specialist normally is identified with the one functional area into which the majority of duties fall. Characteristically, the academic specialist performs activities in one or more functional areas in addition to the primary area. The academic specialist has a collegial relationship within the academic community by fostering an exchange of ideas, views, and perspectives. The academic specialist has a responsibility to the University to strive for academic excellence and to be held accountable for academic integrity. For more on academic specialists at MSU, view the handbook online here.

4. Is this a 9-month or yearlong position?

This is a 9-month, academic year position.

5. Why has the RCAH developed the position?

The RCAH, as an innovative residential college in the arts and humanities inside of a major world grant research university, works to initiate and participate in positive social change in local, regional and international communities. The college seeks to ensure its students, faculty, staff and culture are consistent with the communities with which we work. As such, the goal of this position is to recruit, support and retain a diverse student body through innovative programs that include engagement with diverse communities inside and outside of the university.

6. How long is the position funded?

The position is located in the university’s continuing system, meaning that it is expected to be continually funded within the RCAH budget.

7. Will the successful applicant be expected to teach?

Yes, the finalist can expect to teach two to three classes annually. While the teaching load will most likely include courses in the college’s civic engagement sequence, the finalist will have the opportunity to teach a range of courses. The college, as a small residential college inside a large research-intensive university, prides itself as an innovator in teaching and learning driven by the latest research and creative endeavors.

8. Is educational attainment below a master’s degree acceptable if the applicant has extensive experience?

The position requires a master’s degree at a minimum. Applications that do not meet that minimum requirement will not be forwarded to the search committee by MSU’s HR Department.