Department Chair for Africana and American Studies - SUNY University at Buffalo
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Friday, August 13, 2021 08:16 AM

The Department of Africana and American Studies at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, is seeking distinguished scholars at the rank of Full Professor, to serve as Department Chair. Candidates at the rank of Associate Professor with a profile indicative of ready promotion to Full Professor will be considered. This is an exciting opportunity and time to be at the University at Buffalo as the University has planned significant new investments in this area.  Consequently, the Department Chair will be in a position to build the visibility, impact, reach, and stature of an already well-known department and College in the surrounding communities and beyond through new resources for hiring additional scholars.


About the University at Buffalo

Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo (UB) is a flagship institution in the State University of New York system. UB is the largest and most comprehensive campus in the 64-campus SUNY system with over 32,000 undergraduates, graduate, and professional students attending its 12 colleges and schools. It is a member of the Association of American Universities. UB’s research, teaching, and service encompass the world. It has partnerships with 96 universities around the globe. It boasts over 1,000 study abroad opportunities across seven continents and a campus community enriched by a large population of international students and faculty. UB ranks in the top 20 U.S. universities in international student enrollment, and international student life is rich with opportunities.

Situated on the border with Canada, UB is one of America’s most internationalized universities. UB enrolls a larger proportion of international students than any other university of its kind, and the campus life is rich in cultural programming. UB centers and institutes advance the study of an array of international topics, from language and literature to global health and cross-border trade. Leading-edge scholarship on issues of global significance is one of UB’s strengths. Partnerships with leading institutions around the world enrich UB’s academic and research programs. Cooperation includes student exchanges, joint research projects and the delivery of dual-degree programs.

Located on Lake Erie in upstate New York, Buffalo is the second largest city in New York and is one of the nation’s most advanced medical corridors. With a rapidly growing waterfront, Buffalo is only 20 miles from an international tourism destination, Niagara Falls. The city, and the surrounding Western New York region, is the largest population and economic center between Boston and Cleveland. Buffalo is ranked in the Top 100 Best Places to Live by U.S. News and World Report and has low unemployment, affordable quality housing, and offers a rich and vibrant range of cultural and arts attractions with over twenty theatre companies. There is much to offer for those who enjoy the outdoors with the oldest urban parks system in the US and the home to two major sports teams. Buffalo’s cuisine encompasses a variety of cultural and ethnic contributions.

For more information on University at Buffalo, please visit


About The College of Arts and Sciences

With 450 faculty experts, researchers, teachers and mentors, and 30 departments, 16 academic programs, and 23 centers and institutes, the College offers more academic options than any other unit on campus. Students have the resources of a major research institution – such as cutting-edge facilities and faculty at the forefront of their fields – combined with the support of a small university setting where individual student needs are recognized and respected.

Foundational to continued success are the opportunities UB gives students to learn outside the classroom. UB is investing in making these invaluable experiences a reality, through an Experiential Learning Support Fund and Hands-On Learning Spaces. The vision is simple at its heart: make a CAS education accessible to all while giving each and every student access to the best that UB, Buffalo and our world have to offer. The College is uniquely equipped to use its multidisciplinary expertise to create lasting solutions to real-world problems.

Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences are among the most accomplished and dedicated in their fields. More than two-thirds of the full-time faculty have been hired within the last ten years, representing a group of bright, passionate scholars who work to foster a spirit of curiosity, academic rigor and investment in student success through the creation of new knowledge.

The College of Arts and Sciences, in partnership with university senior leadership, is committed to creating and sustaining a research and learning environment that truly honors the contributions that diversity, equity and inclusion provide in making this a dynamic and exciting place to have a career. Supporting the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the College not only benefits our university, but benefits all of the peoples and communities the institution was created to serve. This commitment to diversity and inclusion aligns with our commitment to social justice and equity. Through ongoing investments across the disciplines in all three sectors (Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics), the College is focused on ensuring that its institutional culture, policies and practices foster an inclusive environment.

For more information about Strategic Initiatives at the College of Arts and Sciences, please click here.


About Africana and American Studies

Formerly known as the Department of Transnational Studies, the Department of Africana and American Studies examines the life and culture of people of African ancestry in the United States, the Caribbean, on the African continent and throughout the diaspora. The department is also devoted to the multidisciplinary study of the United States and the Americas with special attention on the dynamics of race, class, gender, sexuality, and empire.

UB Leadership sees this department as a gateway for students eager to explore the transnational linkages among Blacks throughout the diaspora and examine the experience of people of African ancestry within the United States and across the Americas, and to understand the complex social, economic, and political forces that shaped the ways of life and culture among people across the Americas. Emphasizing interdisciplinary opportunities for collaboration, research in the department seeks to reclaim the voices, histories, and cultures of marginalized peoples in the U.S. and around the globe and allow students to meet the challenges of membership in the world’s ever more deeply connected, yet always diverse, communities.

The Department Chair will grow and develop the department within its vision of the transformative power of agency and culture as instruments for social change and innovation. Candidates should have demonstrated commitment and a record of working collaboratively, and fostering diverse and inclusive environments, an interest in being active in the local tapestry of communities in Buffalo, as well as in promoting and supporting academic and teaching excellence.

Please visit the Department of Africana and American Studies website for more information.


Dean of the School, Robin G. Schulze

Robin G. Schulze, PhD, joined the University at Buffalo in July 2016 as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor in the Department of English. As leader of UB’s largest and most diverse academic unit, she drives UB’s commitment to prepare students to be active, knowledgeable, engaged citizens in a dynamic global community.

Over the last five years, Schulze has worked to keep the College strong. She has increased research expenditure in the College by twenty percent and has secured major investments to enhance the College’s disciplinary excellence, including funds to support the College’s first two female SUNY Empire Innovation Professors. While championing disciplinary excellence, she has also invested in programs that approach critical present problems from a variety of disciplinary vantage points. The College’s new department of Environment and Sustainability is a testament to that approach. She has been part of an ongoing deans’ initiative to raise PhD TA stipends across the University and improve PhD completion rates and time to degree. She has begun to build out, with philanthropic contributions, an Experiential Learning Center within the College that coordinates beyond-the-classroom opportunities for UB students, including national and international internships and project-based learning. The Center closes what Schulze refers to as the “opportunity gap” for UB students, and makes it possible for them to pursue formative experiences outside the classroom they might not otherwise be able to afford. She is Co-PI on UB’s first ever Mellon Foundation grant ($3.1M) to develop a department of Indigenous Studies at UB that honors the university’s long-standing commitment to training generations of native scholars, both undergraduate and graduate. The Arts Collaboratory and Distinguished Visiting Scholars program are also hallmarks of her deanship.

Schulze holds a Master in Music and a PhD in English from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and began her career as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Kansas in 1991. In 1994, she moved to Penn State, where she rose through all three academic ranks and became Head of the Department of English, a top-ten ranked graduate department, in 2007. In 2012, she moved to the University of Delaware and became the Associate Dean for the Humanities. At Delaware, she brought the humanities faculty together around a defining emphasis in the study of material culture that resulted in grant, foundation, and Provost-level support. As part of the initiative, she secured ongoing funding for what was then the University of Delaware’s signature digital public-history project, the Colored Conventions Project, directed by Professor Gabrielle Foreman. Working with the Vice Provost for Graduate and Professional Education, she served as Co-PI on a successful National Endowment for the Humanities Next Generation PhD Implementation Grant ($350K) to support a transformational inter-disciplinary doctoral initiative in African American public humanities and material culture. The initiative reimagined the humanities doctorate as a degree designed to give students technical humanities training through internships in libraries, museums, galleries, and archives and cross-training programs in digital humanities techniques, tools, and pedagogy.


The Opportunity

Reporting to the Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities, the Department Chair of Africana and American Studies, in addition to managing its degree programs for growth in enrollment in the department, will teach in the program, lead faculty in curriculum development, cultivate and carry out annual programming for students and faculty, complete programmatic assessments, work with affiliate faculty across campus to grow interdisciplinary research and teaching, and work with the Dean’s Office to improve its national stature, promote the African American Studies Program and enhance its Global Blackness perspective.

The Department Chair will lead by fostering a professional ecosystem that is grounded in a culture of inclusion, engagement, and participation for staff and faculty at all levels of their careers. The Department Chair will also have a central role in creating department strategy that attracts talented scholars to work at the University at Buffalo and will be given a substantial budget to grow faculty ranks.

The Department Chair will be a proactive leader with an ability to build bridges and foster a collaborative and cohesive department environment. A natural collaborator, they will demonstrate excellent consensus building skills with an ability to work across a range of interests and activities at the College, University and community levels. The Department Chair will collaborate and consult with faculty, deans, department chairs, and institute leaders to identify academic opportunities that expand and deepen the department’s impact at the university, on student success, and within the region.


Candidate Profile

UB is strongly committed to fostering excellence through diversity and enthusiastically welcomes nominations and applications from members of groups that have been, and continue to be, underrepresented in academia. We are looking for candidates whose work bridges disciplinary, geographic, and cultural divisions in the historic and contemporary African Diaspora as well as in the African American experience understood in a hemispheric and transnational context.

The Department Chair at University at Buffalo will possess many or most of the following attributes and competencies:

  • Academic record and credentials that qualify the candidate for the rank of Full Professor in Buffalo’s faculty. Senior Associate Professors with comparable records and credentials may also apply.
  • An earned doctorate in any field of Arts and Sciences with experience working in or with an African American Studies department or program. The candidate must have a successful record of scholarship related to the study of Black, African, or African American culture, history, or relevant research.
  • Distinguished academic career with nationally and internationally recognized contributions.
  • Demonstrated commitment and alignment with the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, advocacy, and social and economic justice.
  • Successful administrative and operational experience with teaching, research, budget management, and administration in university settings.
  • The gravitas, drive, scholarship, and professional credibility to earn the trust of internal and external partners.
  • An orientation for supporting and mentoring colleagues in ways that relate to their specific interests and championing their success.
  • Innovative, solutions-oriented approaches to change management.
  • Demonstrated managerial experience with leading, coaching, and mentoring teams, faculty, instructors, and staff.
  • Strong commitment for building inclusive communities and driving diversification of a department, school, and university community, especially with regard to women and under-represented students, staff, and faculty.
  • Demonstrable commitment to sustaining and developing high-quality student experiences and promoting remarkable student success.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills that engender confidence, build trust, and display respect.
  • Ability to find creative solutions to conflicts and an ability to build consensus around new ideas and initiatives.
  • Strong time management, organizational, and fiscal skills, and abilities.



Beth Schaefer and Marisa Chock of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


The University at Buffalo is committed to ensuring equal employment, educational opportunity, and equal access to services, programs, and activities without regard to an individual’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, gender, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, familial status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction status. Employees, students, applicants, or other members of the University community (including but not limited to vendors, visitors, and guests) may not be subjected to harassment that is prohibited by law or treated adversely based upon a protected characteristic.

The University’s policy is in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination and harassment. These laws include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as Amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, and the New York State Human Rights Law. These laws prohibit discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.


About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit