Careers at UMass Amherst

Director Research & Engagement

Apply now Job no: 523250
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Dean - Humanities & Fine Arts
Union: PSU
Categories: College of Humanities & Fine Arts

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Slavery North Initiative

Slavery North is a one-of-a-kind academic and cultural destination where scholars, thinkers, artists, and cultural producers build community and produce research and cultural outcomes that transform our understanding of the neglected histories of Transatlantic Slavery in Canada and the US North. Slavery North seeks to advance social justice by recuperating and interrogating the complex histories of Transatlantic Slavery and European colonization of the Americas, thereby recovering and centering the cultures, experiences, lives, and resistance of enslaved peoples in Canada and the US North. At the heart of Slavery North is a fellowship program that will welcome national and international students, artists, and scholars, providing them with the space, funding, time, and community to produce transformative research outcomes. 


Job Summary

The Director of Research and Engagement (Art History - Slavery North) is responsible for managing all aspects of Slavery North’s fellowship program and developing strategies to increase national and international awareness of the program and the work of its fellows and researchers throughout the realms of the arts, fines arts, and academia. The Director develops and implements strategies to reach these goals through a variety of outcomes including podcasts, curation of art exhibitions, colloquiums, and media work focused on the mandate areas of Slavery North, as well as the supervision of research conducted by Slavery North’s cohorts with emphasis on art historical disciplinary perspectives.


Essential Functions

  • Manages all aspects of the fellowship program. Coordinates with Slavery North team to recruit, retain, and promote research fellows, including updating fellowship materials and supporting fellows while on campus.  Maintains both professional and confidential relationships.
  • Directs and guides fellows in preparation for their individual lectures. Coordinates with the Event and Media Relations Manager and the Institute’s Administrative Assistant and Coordinator to schedule fellows’ research talks; develops and implements media strategy to share Slavery North outcomes with the academic community and beyond.
  • Manages Director’s research website. Serves as managing editor for the online academic student art history journal and other content on Slavery North mandate areas. Creates and disseminates website newsletter which cross-promotes transatlantic slavery studies and art history-related issues and content to both an academic and general public audience.
  • Advances the mandates of Slavery North and preserves scholarly records through means of visual communication both through traditional print culture and digitization or other technologies/techniques as they are developed.
  • Along with Institute’s Administrative Assistant and Coordinator, co-supervises RA primary research and database entry for the Slavery North digital archive. Supervises undergraduate and graduate student employees in their primary/archival research activities in art history adjacent scholarship.
  • Curates mandate-related art exhibitions and plays a significant role in formulating the overall direction of Slavery North’s artistic and cultural research outcomes. Selects, assists, and supports contemporary artists in their participation in Slavery North art exhibitions and cultural events. Works with the Director to develop, produce, and implement exhibition-related programming and educational materials.
  • Recommends and prepares fellows for Slavery North podcast participation. Directs and supports fellows to prepare and submit social media posts about their research to the Event and Media Relations Manager.
  • Fosters and actively participates in the collegial dialogue, sharing of professional opinions, and advancement of ideas and scholarship related to the mandates of Slavery North through the disciplinary perspective of Art History.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Master's Degree in the Fine Arts, Humanities, or relevant discipline and more than 5 years' related experience OR Bachelor's Degree in art history or equivalent and more than 7 years' related experience.
  • Expertise in Transatlantic Slavery Studies, the Visual Culture of Slavery, Black Diaspora Studies, African American Studies and/or African Canadian Studies or related field(s)
  • Graduate-level research (e.g. thesis, exhibition, or other significant relevant outcomes etc.) and/or other research publications amounting to a record of written and/or edited scholarly outcomes on Transatlantic Slavery in Canada and/or the US North
  • Demonstrated research knowledge of Transatlantic Slavery in Canada and/or the US North.
  • Experience in curation of art exhibitions.
  • Experience with web design and maintenance, digital newsletter design and distribution, and academic editing and journal management; Expertise and knowledge of email and marketing automations platforms.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively both collaboratively in a diverse group and independently with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to liaison with multiple university and other constituents on behalf of the fellows and the Institute.
  • Expertise in organizing, promoting, and overseeing academic competitions.
  • Expertise in organizing events and activities, liaising with personnel, and supporting students, scholars, and/or artists in academic settings.
  • Ability to represent the Institute professionally amongst a wide array of people from different backgrounds including community leaders, visiting scholars, academics, general public, media, and University administrators.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with other University offices to carry out the goals and missions of the Institute.
  • Class D driver’s license or equivalent.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Experience in working with students, scholars, and artists in an academic setting.
  • History of demonstrated contributions to, engagement with, and/or interest in the issues related to Institute mandate areas:
  • Adaptable, organized, compassionate person who is able to welcome, engage with, and support a diverse group of national and international constituents.
  • Problem-solver, positive, and enthusiastic about supporting students, scholars, and artists and championing academic education and research, art, and cultural production.


Additional Details

The position is funded by a one-year grant, with the option of renewal.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Typical office environment but will manage the assignment and management of fellow workspaces. Ability to travel independently and work in various locations on- and off-campus to set up and oversee the successful outcome of Institute events and meet with Institute partners, stakeholders, media outlets, and others.


Work Schedule

  • 37.5 hours per week.
  • Flexible schedule.
  • Some night and weekend work will be required.


Salary Information

Level 29

PSU Hiring Range


Special Instructions to Applicants

Upload your resume, cover letter, and a writing sample demonstrating research knowledge in Slavery North mandate area(s) along with your completed application. Our team will check references at the final stage of the interview process. Please be prepared to provide contact information for at least three (3) professional references. This position will remain open until filled or the advertised closing date, whichever occurs first. Early submissions are recommended.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, caste, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, natural and protective hairstyle and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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