Research Associate-Fixed Term

Michigan State University

Job Description

Back to search results Apply now Job no:835897
Work type:Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Arts And Letters
Department: African American And African Studies 40001103
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location:East Lansing
Categories:Education/Training, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union

Working/Functional Title

Research Associate - Fixed Term AAAS

Position Summary

As part of its intentional commitment to amplifying the intellectual leadership of BIPOC artists, writers, and scholars of the global majority, the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University announces a new postdoctoral or post-MFA fellows program in the Arts & Humanities. The goal of the program is to create a cohort of early career scholars who will contribute to and benefit from a diverse, vibrant, and inclusive intellectual community in the College. In the College of Arts & Letters, the postdoctoral/post-MFA fellows program offers full-time Research Associate positions who will pursue research and/or creative activities, teach a 1-1 course load, and engage in the intellectual life of the department. They are supported by a network of mentors who help them embark on an academic career and chart their pathway to intellectual leadership by way of sharing knowledge, expanding opportunities, and mentorship and stewardship. Successful candidates will also participate in College-cohort programming organized by a Mentoring Team that includes presenting in an inter-departmental colloquium series and opportunities for faculty development. The College understands the term BIPOC as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and the global majority to be broadly inclusive of people who are Asian, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, multi- heritage, or have been racialized as “ethnic minorities.”  

To be eligible, applicants must have completed their PhD, MFA, or equivalent during or after the 2018-2019 academic year and prior to the start date. The 2- year fixed-term Research Associate positions will begin on August 16, 2023. Appointments will be made to applicants who show promise for tenure-track positions in Michigan State University’s College of Arts & Letters in accordance with MSU academic hiring process. Each appointment is for a minimum of 9 months, renewable for an additional year, contingent upon a demonstration of meeting the performance expectation in research and teaching, with an emphasis on demonstrated research productivity. Transitioning into a tenure-track faculty position at Michigan State University will require a series of structured, merit-based evaluations, which will include substantial peer input. MSU’s academic hiring process will be followed in appointing the candidates that advance into the tenure-track. 

The Post-Doc and/or Post-MFA two-year appointment in African American & African Studies (AAAS) will build and expand on the department’s specializations in Black Feminisms, Black Gender Studies, and Black Sexuality Studies via an integrated interdisciplinary approach to research and/or creative activities, teaching, service, and community engagement through artist-scholarship. AAAS faculty walk the talk of an integrated interdisciplinary approach to their scholarship as evidenced by the range of formal disciplinary trainings across existing faculty and the even wider range of approaches used to impact and innovate specialized academic conversations, inform, and shift public thought and opinion, and create wholly new communities from which to create and share knowledge. Such work requires disrupting traditional criteria of scholarly excellence so that discrete boundaries between research, creative work, teaching, and engagement become moot; in favor of educational productions experiences-performances that integrate the whole of Black life and living. Likewise, the concept of artist-scholarship is indicated as “postdoctoral and/or post-MFA” to acknowledge art-making and creativity as foundational to Black Studies, whereas faculty in AAAS are not made to choose one form over another for the sake of institutional legibility. We understand the invaluableness of being whole and making whole, defined for the purpose of this position & AAAS as being of weight and wellness (Bambara, 1980), found in ceremony and our capacious “yet-to come notions of connectedness and relationality” (King 2019, 203) characteristic of Black Studies. Artist-scholars are mindful to resist hegemonic cultures of conformity and surveillance that produce cartographic binaries and hierarchies of value that mobilize knowledge to further perpetuate inequality and marginalization (Alexander & Mohanty 2010). An integrated interdisciplinary approach to research and/or creative activities, teaching, service, and community engagement through artist-scholarship is one way our scholarly interests in AAAS are distinct and contribute to the transformation we want to see in forthcoming COVID 19 endemic higher education.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Degree


Minimum Requirements

All applicants should have the following: 

  • Ph.D., M.F.A. or D.F.A. Granted during or after 2018/2019. 

Desired Qualifications

Candidates must demonstrate commitment to and alignment with department vision and values. As a department that is newly building, we have found transformative justice and leadership development processes critical to creating new departmental policies, procedures, etc. We actively engage and practice dreaming and wellness, individually and together, as a department. Candidates must welcome and be ready to engage these change efforts with openness and care:

  • Research and/or creative work centered in Black Feminisms, Genders, and Sexualities Studies that is public facing & connected to community.
  • Interest in AAAS new build collaboration. 
  • Doctorate or MFA in a field related to Black Studies. 
  • Interdisciplinary and integrated research, creative work, teaching, and public engagement practices that are leading-edge in the doing of Black Studies.

Required Application Materials

Qualified applicants should submit  

  • A letter expressing interest in the position and describing qualifications and experience 
  • A current curriculum vitae 
  • A writing sample taken from current or past research, or that engages the public in knowledge sharing
  • A 1-page summary of the candidate’s philosophy of diversity, equity, and inclusion as it pertains their intellectual leadership in the areas of teaching/curriculum development, research/creative activities, service, outreach, advising, and/or administration. The statement should also include an explanation of related past or planned activities/endeavors as well as how the candidate will advance our goals of inclusive excellence.  
  • The names of three references and their contact information. 
  • Please note: three letters of reference will be requested at the time candidates advance to the second round of interviews and will be asked only of those candidates. 

    Together-we-will Statement

    The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with limited exceptions. Learn more at:

    Special Instructions

    Review of applications will begin Wednesday, February 7, 2023 and will continue until the position is filled. Applications must be submitted electronically to the Michigan State University Human Resources website http://careers.msu.edu. Posting number 835897. 

    For more information, contact Chamara Jewel Kwakye, Chair of the Search Committee at chamara@msu.edu.  

    Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.

    Review of Applications Begins On




    Department Statement

    The College of Arts & Letters recognizes that only an academic and organizational culture, which actively seeks out and strengthens diverse voices and perspectives among its members results in true excellence. The College of Arts & Letters is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that intellectual leadership is achieved through open access and pro-active inclusion.

    MSU Statement

    Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

    Advertised:Jan 10, 2023 Eastern Standard Time
    Applications close:Jan 10, 2025 Eastern Standard Time

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