The Department of African American and African Studies invites applications for an Academic Advisor position to be appointed as a 3-year fixed term Academic Specialist (12-month appointment) in the Department of African American and African Studies in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. This position is a 100% appointment in African American and African Studies and begins August 16, 2021.

The Academic Specialist will play a key role in collaboratively building the new AAAS Department, with core areas in Black Feminisms, Black Genders, and Black Sexualities Studies. A typical workload percentage for a 100% appointment in the College of Arts and Letters is 50% academic advising, 10% teaching or conducting educational activities, and 40% recruitment, retention, and outreach. The following responsibilities include, but are not limited to:


  • Provide academic and social support for current and potential AAAS students by advising students on course enrollment, assessing students’ progress toward degree completion, assisting students with graduate school applications, award nominations, and study abroad and away opportunities and participating in the development and implementation of projects related to student success.
  • Collect and organize data on department enrollments and student assessments to be used as a resource for new course development and scheduling.
  • Create student-centered departmental communications regarding advising needs.
  • Willingness to use and receive training in enrollment and curricular systems, including Campus Solutions and ESAF.
  • Attend AAAS meetings and College of Arts and Letters (CAL) advisor meetings, and participate in university-wide workshops, student information systems training, and college and university events related to undergraduate advising.


  • Teach a core course in AAAS as needed or develop relevant co-curricular educational opportunities for AAAS students.


  • Develop and maintain positive relations with K-12 schools and serve as the first point of contact for community interest in AAAS.
  • Plan, host, and implement AAAS student recruitment sessions and participate in university-wide student recruitment and retention efforts as an AAAS representative.
  • Possess and demonstrate excellent analytical and organizing skills, work well with a team, and be able to collaborate with multiple AAAS stakeholders both internal and external to campus, online and in-person.
  • Curate space in AAAS department and online to showcase AAAS student and faculty art and creative works.
  • Facilitate the success of AAAS student-initiated organizations and efforts when departmental administrative support is requested.
  • Conceptualize and implement recruitment, retention and outreach infrastructure that attracts current and potential MSU students to AAAS.

We are seeking candidates with a MA or a BFA with 4-5 years of experience in African American Studies, Education, Student Affairs, or related fields. Excellent written, oral, and dynamic presentation/ communication skills are essential. Energetic personality and strong work ethic are necessary. Strong organizational skills with an emphasis on long term planning and implementation are vital to the success of the applicant. Technical skills in word-processing, database management, PowerPoint, spreadsheets, and social media.

Candidates should possess an interest in contributing to the new build of the Department of African American and African Studies with areas of specialization include Black Feminisms, Black Genders, and Black Sexualities Studies in all aspects of curriculum. Candidates should possess a strong commitment and quality responsiveness to the unique needs and distinctive talents of underrepresented students, a majority of whom identify as Black at predominately white institutions, through adaptive curricular and co-curricular responsibilities beyond traditional advising. Demonstrated experience working in student affairs, public engagement, community outreach, residential life, academic advising or a related field and exceptional communication skills, the ability to lead projects, programming, and academic student celebrations from concept to execution, and capacity to engage in curriculum and departmental development are required.

Required Application Materials:

  • Cover letter
  • Current CV or resume
  • A statement of academic advising philosophy detailing specific experiences mentoring diverse students, supporting student success, engaging community outreach initiatives, and/or advancing wellness and wellbeing.
  • The names and email addresses of 3 potential referees who can comment on the candidate’s quality of student support, research, teaching, engagement and/or service.

Michigan State University is a national leader in agricultural research and extension programming. The Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) was initially founded as a PhD granting program in 2002 as a unit committed to making concrete connections between faculty scholarship, pedagogy, and social justice causes. An undergraduate minor was created in 2014 in order to extend the Black Studies experience to an increasingly interested undergraduate population. On July 1, 2019, AAAS became a department. The Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University areas of specialization include Black Feminisms, Black Genders, and Black Sexualities Studies in all aspects of the curriculum. The Department of African American and African Studies offers an undergraduate minor, terminal masters, and doctoral degree with plans to launch a new undergraduate major.

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. 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. We are an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer. 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. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans, and persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.

Review of applications will begin June 23, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. Priority will be given to applicants who submit complete applications by the start of the review period. Applications must be submitted electronically at the MSU Human Resources site at (Posting #708627).

For more information on this position, please contact the search committee chair: Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown, Inaugural Chairperson of the Department of African American and African Studies, Michigan State University, Email: