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Director Tempe, AZ

Arizona State University (ASU), seeks an innovative leader, skilled administrator, and accomplished scholar to serve as the next Director of the School of Social Transformation (SST), a unit of the Division of Social Sciences within The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Existing at the scholarly nexus between academia and activism, SST is a national leader in interdisciplinary scholarship, teaching, and engagement on issues of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

The School of Social Transformation (SST) was founded in 2009, bringing together diverse scholars, students and communities in African and African American studies, Asian Pacific American studies, social and cultural pedagogy, justice and social inquiry, and women and gender studies. As one of many transdisciplinary schools unique to Arizona State University, SST focuses on transformational knowledge, including creative research approaches to themes and questions embedded in broader historical, social and cultural contexts. SST is home to 48 tenure-track and 13 non-tenure eligible faculty members that serve 600+ undergraduate majors and over 100+ doctoral and masters-level students in 19 graduate programs spanning an array of research areas. SST faculty represent humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary fields (including creative arts), and they are distinguished nationally and internationally for their scholarship. The faculty seek to think and to train students to think, do research and teach in more complex ways about race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, social and economic justice, immigration status, and labor; to be accountable to the communities with which they engage; and to foreground social transformation on local, national, and global levels. The school’s location in Arizona, where demographic changes and social issues reflect the challenges taking place nationally, especially highlights the relevance of the school’s mission.

The next Director will lead SST at a time of renewed national reckoning around issues of race, gender, inequality, and social justice, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent Movements for Black Lives, including BLM. The Director of the School is expected to provide visionary leadership, working to attract, develop, and retain exceptional faculty and research programs; promoting excellence in graduate and undergraduate education; developing and building on interdisciplinary research and teaching initiatives; leading efforts in successfully obtaining external funding and maintaining and expanding the School's visibility and outreach initiatives. The Director's vision is expected to resonate with the design aspirations of the “New American University,” fostering growth and innovation in the School’s research mission, advancing entrepreneurial opportunities, and enhancing relations within and outside the university community.

The location offers the resources of a major metropolitan area (5+ million) in a state with spectacular natural scenery and recreational areas, sublime winters, and a culturally rich population. Learn more about SST and ASU at and, respectively. Learn more about what The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Division of Social Sciences  has to offer by visiting 

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in a field or discipline related to SST academics or foci
  • A scholarly and teaching record commensurate with the rank of Full Professor (at the time of appointment) in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Demonstrated effectiveness serving and reaching out to diverse student, faculty, and staff populations and communities
  • A record of leadership, for example, as a group or center leader or department chair or director

Desired Qualifications:

  • Potential to represent SST prominently in national and international conversations
  • Financial management skills and significant experience working with complex budgeting models; an astute understanding of university finances and the relationships between academic priorities, budgeting, and fundraising
  • Significant administrative and people management experience, preferably at a major research institution, with proven ability to execute ambitious, fiscally responsible, entrepreneurial initiatives
  • Experience with donor relations and fundraising

Arizona State University is a leading public university ranked #1 Most Innovative School by U.S. News & World Report six years in a row and is leading a bold reinvention of higher education as the New American University. ASU is a research-intensive university and has developed numerous new programs and units that defy and bridge disciplinary boundaries to enable the exploration and discovery of new knowledge while developing solutions to the most challenging issues of our time. Located on four campuses and two research parks in the Phoenix metropolitan area, ASU is one of the largest universities in the United States and has strong and simultaneous commitments to educational access, research, and teaching excellence. With the University’s location in the nation’s fifth largest city, the Phoenix region provides a rich context for applied research and community engagement around issues of human communication.

The College values our cultural and intellectual diversity, and continually strives to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment. We are especially interested in applicants who can strengthen the diversity of the academic community.

Nominations, inquiries, and applications can be submitted online below. A complete application will include: a curriculum vitae; a letter of interest describing how you meet the qualifications noted in the complete position description and your vision for leadership of an interdisciplinary school; a statement addressing how your past and/or potential contributions to diversity and inclusion will advance ASU’s commitment to inclusive excellence; and contact information, including email addresses, for five references (references may be contacted at a later stage of the search and only with the candidate’s approval).  Review of applications will begin immediately and will occur thereafter until the initial deadline of December 23, 2020. If not filled, applications will be evaluated every two weeks thereafter until the search is closed.

A background check is required for employment.

Ponneh Varho is leading this search with Marc St. Hilaire.

ASU is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For more information on ASU’s policies, please see:  and its complete non-discrimination statement at: Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

In compliance with federal law, ASU prepares an annual report on campus security and fire safety programs and resources. ASU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at . You may request a hard copy of the report by contacting the ASU Police Department at 480-965-3456.

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