Assistant Professor in Pacific Islander Studies

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Job description

Proposed Faculty Rank: Assistant Professor

Department: 00161 – College of Education-Dean

Track: Tenure Track

New Position to Begin: 07/01/2018


The College of Education (COE) at the University of Utah is searching for a tenure-track position in Pacific Islander Studies. Applicants are encouraged to apply who have a strong commitment to research and teaching that supports the preparation of K-12 teacher education and/or administrators who are working in schools or other settings with historically underrepresented groups, including Pacific Islanders. Per capita, Utah has the largest number of Pacific Islanders in the continental United States with a vibrant and engaged Pacific Islander community. The current search is intended to support community-engaged scholarship and enhance the course offerings within the College of Education and increase collaboration with other faculty hired through the Pacific Islander Studies Initiative at the University of Utah (most recently, faculty hired in the College of Humanities and the School for Cultural and Social Transformation). For information about the Pacific Islander initiative please see We seek applicants with an emphasis in culturally relevant education, cultural or sustainable pedagogy, Pacific Islander or Indigenous education, decolonizing education, and/or equity frameworks.

The successful applicant will have an opportunity to work with other faculty and staff at the UU on the further development of the university-wide Pacific Islander Studies initiative and participate in the development of new courses for the COE. The department assignment is flexible as it will depend on the teaching and research interests of the person who is selected for the position. The two departments that are participating in the search, however, include the Department of Education, Culture and Society (ECS) and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy (ELP). Both ECS and ELP have a diverse cross-disciplinary group of scholars who are committed to the highest quality instruction and cutting-edge research that addresses class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, culture, and language.

Description of the ELP and ECS Departments

Department of Educational Leadership and Policy (ELP): This department ( houses a K-12 school administration program as well as a higher education program, while offering Masters, Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees in each. The various master’s programs have a strong social justice emphasis linking theory with practice, while providing a broad foundation for leadership positions along the K-12 and higher education spectrum. The Ph.D. program is designed for students who seek careers as university professors, researchers, or high-level analysts in educational organizations.

The ELP Department is closely linked with the Utah Education Policy Center. The purpose of the Policy Center is to improve the quality of educational policies, practices, and leadership in Utah K-20 schools to increase educational access and opportunities for all children and adults in Utah, particularly for those who have been marginalized. The ELP Department collectively values and actively promotes a commitment to equity and social justice. Faculty and students engage in research, outreach, service, and teaching to improve the educational conditions and opportunities of underserved students and their families. In addition, department faculty are active and often serve in leadership roles in national professional associations such as ASSHENASPAAERAUCEA and ELA.

Department of Education, Culture and Society (ECS): This multidisciplinary department ( offers Ph.D., M.ED., M.A., and M.S. programs that specialize in curriculum studies, multicultural/social justice education, English as a second language (ESL), community-engaged scholarship and educational foundations (e.g. anthropology, sociology, history, and the philosophy of education). Scholars in the department are active collaborators with the Division of Ethnic Studies, the Division of Gender Studies, and the College of Education’s Urban Institute for Teacher Education (UITE) that houses our K-12 teacher licensure programs. Across doctoral and master’s curricula, students are exposed to a range of critical theoretical and methodological approaches while retaining an emphasis on policy and practice. The department offers teacher licensure and endorsement courses related to issues of urban education, multicultural education, and K-12 language education as part of our commitment to develop culturally and linguistic responsive, socially just educators that can envision and enact transformative educational practices.


Applicants need to have earned a doctorate in education or related field with specialties in areas such as educational foundations, ESL, bilingual/multilingual/multicultural education, K-12 school administration or other related area. Priority will be given to candidates with a demonstrated commitment to conducting research with ethnically/racially/ linguistically diverse students, families, & communities. Desirable areas of research/teaching interest may include: school leadership, student affairs leadership, school reform, content-based instruction for English learners, schooling issues in Pacific Islander education (or other diverse populations such as migrant/indigenous education) and or K-12 education. Preference will be given to candidates who have expertise in qualitative or mixed methods research, experience working with English learners in K-12 settings, evidence of ability to conduct research leading to publication and external funding opportunities.


Teaching responsibilities typically include two graduate-level and two undergraduate courses per year in teacher education, ESL/bilingual education, multicultural education, school leadership, higher education or a closely-related field, with a focus on Pacific Islanders. The candidate will be expected to develop or tailor graduate courses to their area of research interest, mentor and advise doctoral and master’s students, serve on preliminary exam and dissertation committees, apply for grant funding, and collaborate with faculty within the department and across campus as well as with local districts and the communities they serve. Given the involvement in program-building for the Pacific Islander Initiative, the position may include some targeted course release for program-building.

Qualifications Required:

  1. An earned doctorate by the date of hire, July 1, 2018, with a specialization in teacher education, ESL/bilingual education, multicultural education, school leadership, higher education or a closely-related field.
  2. A record of, or the potential to achieve:
    1. High quality research (including field-based applied or policy research)
    2. Scholarly publications
    3. Quality teaching and supervision of graduate students
    4. Outreach and service to local and national communities
  3. Experience working in settings with students and communities from diverse backgrounds and a demonstrated commitment to improving access and equity for underrepresented populations in higher education.
  4. Evidence of the capacity for collaboration within both the department and college; with educational leaders and policy makers at the local, state, and national levels; and with leaders in higher education.
  5. Epistemological stances that contribute to informing education research, policy, and practice for members of traditionally underrepresented groups, in particular, Pacific Islanders.
  6. Strong methodological skills in qualitative, quantitative, and/or mixed methods and the various research designs associated with these methods.

Additional Information Available

Department of Education, Culture & Society

Department of Educational Leadership and Policy

College of Education

University of Utah

The University of Utah is a Research-1 public institution, with over 23,000 undergraduate and over 8,000 graduate students, that supports scholarship, community-based research, and teaching. Salt Lake City is home not only to a large Pacific Islander population but to a diverse and robust array of communities, facilitating numerous opportunities for interaction with a range of civic and political organizations, given the city’s role as the governmental and social nerve center of the state.

How to apply

nitial screening of applications will begin immediately with the intention of completing the search by the beginning of January, 2018. The position will remain open until filled. Anticipated start date is August 16, 2018. Salary and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience.

Each candidate should submit the following application materials electronically through the University of Utah Human Resource Department portal:

  1. A letter of application describing your areas of expertise and research, teaching, service to the field, and how your work aligns with the Department’s mission and values.
  2. A current curriculum vitae.
  3. Samples of three (3) scholarly publications.
  4. Evidence of teaching excellence.
  5. Complete contact information for three references.

For queries contact: Dr. Andrea Rorrer at

EEO/Diversity Information

The University of Utah is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate based upon race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, status as a person with a disability, genetic information, or Protected Veteran status. Individuals from historically underrepresented groups, such as minorities, women, qualified persons with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply. Veterans’ preference is extended to qualified applicants, upon request and consistent with University policy and Utah state law. Upon request, reasonable accommodations in the application process will be provided to individuals with disabilities. To inquire about the University’s nondiscrimination or affirmative action policies or to request disability accommodation, please contact: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 201 S. Presidents Circle, Rm 135, (801) 581-8365.

The University of Utah values candidates who have experience working in settings with students from diverse backgrounds, and possess a strong commitment to improving access to higher education for historically underrepresented students.


The University is a participating employer with Utah Retirement Systems (“URS”). To be eligible for retirement contributions, you must be hired into a benefit-eligible position. Employees with prior URS service may elect to enroll in the URS within 30 days of hire. Regardless of whether they are hired into a benefit-eligible position or not, individuals who previously retired and are receiving monthly retirement benefits from URS must notify the Benefits Department upon hire. Please contact Utah Retirement Systems at (801)366-7770 or (800)695-4877 or the University’s Benefits Department at (801)581-7447 for information. This position may require the successful completion of a criminal background check and/or drug screen.

The University of Utah MPA Program, established in 1976, recently celebrated 30 years of success. The first MPA degree was awarded by The U. in 1977. Since then, the U.'s MPA Program has established a strong local, regional and national reputation, producing alumni in all fields of public and nonprofit administration.