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Director, Center for Black Studies (4370)
Northern Illinois University
The Center for Black Studies (CBS)
was established in 1971 as a hybrid (academic and student support services) program. CBS
supports the mission
of the university to promote excellence and engagement in teaching, learning, research, scholarship, artistry and outreach and service. CBS
is a home away from home for many students and student organizations in a free-standing facility built in 1993. The CBS
houses offices for its professional staff
, some student organizations
, a computer lab
and a SMART
classroom. The Center for Black Studies works collaboratively with other cultural and academic centers across campus to acknowledge and affirm the intersecting identities of Black students, faculty, and staff.
In 2021 NIU’s Center for Black Studies was named Cultural Center of the Year by the Association of Black Cultural Centers (ABCC) for the support provided to the campus community amid a global pandemic and racial injustice. In addition to national recognition, the CBS professional staff and faculty at the Center are actively engaged in national organizations, including, but not limited to, the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS),the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASAALH), and the National Association of Black Cultural Centers (NABCC).
has an academic program that offers a minor and certificate of undergraduate study in Black Studies,
, and sponsors domestic and global study abroad experiences to study the history, culture and lived experiences of people of African descent. The Center compliments the Black Studies academic program with student-centered retention programs that promote Black students’ success. In collaboration with student leaders, the CBS
staff sponsors lectures, workshops, conferences
and leadership activities. The CBS
plays an essential and unique role in advocating for Black students at NIU
. The CBS
staff also advises, mentors, and guides students and student organizations to enhance their campus experience. The Center supports recruitment efforts by hosting campus visits and opportunities for students to engage in community service/learning opportunities.
The Director is a strategic leader who is committed to advancing a Black Studies Center that promotes student success through academic, social cultural programming and experiences focused on the study of Black history and culture.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities
Cultural Center Oversight
- Provide leadership and oversight for the Center for Black Studies.
- Reports to the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer (VP/CDO).
- Oversee the recruitment, training, management, and evaluation of work assigned to professional and support staff, including the associate director, assistant director, academic counselor, office support, graduate assistants, and student workers.
- Serve on campus or University committees, communicate, and consult with other offices or campus officials when appropriate. These include but are not limited to the Committee for Academic Equity and Inclusive Excellence, Fulbright Nomination Committee, Undocumented Student Scholarship Committee, Student Experience Team, and DeKalb Public Library cultural events.
- Prepare and manage all CBS budgets.
- Seek and administer grant or external funding opportunities.
Academic & Curricular Programming
- Provide leadership, direction, and overall administration for the development, coordination, and implementation of cultural programming, student leadership programming, and Black student leadership development.
- Provide leadership and advice for the Black Studies academic program on development, review, assessment, course scheduling and faculty assignments, in collaboration with the associate director.
- Collaborate with the associate director and the Black Studies Faculty Advisory Council to develop short- and long-term goals for the academic program.
- Oversee the alignment of co-curricular programming to complement the Black Studies Academic Program.
- Conceptualize and develop long- and short-range strategic plans for the CBS and assess progress toward goal achievement.
Student, Alumni, Community Programming/Engagement
- Provide strategic leadership and oversight for the effective delivery of annual lectures and cultural programs, including CBS signature events (Kwanzaa, Black to School, Black History Month, the LaVerne Gyant Lecture Series in Black Studies, etc.)
- Represent the Center for Black Studies and serve as a resource person, creating links to other campus and community groups, especially in the DeKalb, Sycamore and surrounding communities and the Northern Illinois region
- Lead and Chair Center for Black Studies student programming and alumni advisory boards.
- Lead strategic initiatives to support the engagement of Black alumni.
- Lead efforts to cultivate and engage donors and other external funding opportunities that will advance the CBS academic and cultural programs.
Other related duties as assigned
- Other duties as assigned by the Vice President for Diversity Equity and Inclusion.
Minimum Required Qualifications
- Terminal degree in Black Studies or doctorate degree in related field (sociology, history, political science, psychology, English, higher education administration, etc.). Terminal degree must be conferred at the time of appointment;
- A total of three (3) years of administrative experience in higher education, student affairs, or related experience;
- Experience working and interfacing with a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff;
- Demonstrated experience developing courses and curricula based on the knowledge of African American culture, history, and current events related to the African diaspora;
- Demonstrated experience constructing courses, curricula, and learning outcomes based on Black culture, history, and current events related to the African diaspora;
- Demonstrated experience leading professional staff and graduate students;
- Demonstrated experience working collaboratively and building rapport with internal and external constituencies such as university leadership, faculty and staff, community, and school representatives;
- Demonstrated experience leading teams to solve a variety of problems, whether academic, project management, performance, financial, or other related issues;
- Demonstrated budgeting and financial management acumen;
- Demonstrated experience with program management and program assessment;
- Practical application and experience with databases, spreadsheets, word processing, and presentation software.
Exceptionally strong interpersonal and communication skills with sound judgment and decision-making.
- Terminal degree in Black Studies or a terminal degree in a related field with a master’s degree in Black Studies;
- Demonstrated experience working with Black student retention programs that promotes the Black student experience from an intersectional perspective;
- Teaching experience and/or research in Black Studies;
- Demonstrated experience developing, implementing, and sustaining student retention and success initiatives;
- Demonstrated experience cultivating alumni and donor relationships;
- Evidence of grant writing or securing funding through grants and other sources.
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