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Wayne State University
Office of the Vice President for Research, Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute
Website URL:
Posted: 06/24/2021
Director of the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development
Salary: 160,000 - $195,000

We are seeking a senior behavioral and social science or public health scholar in the field of Child and Family Development for the position of Director of the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development (MPSI). MPSI is an independent research institute and the Director reports to the Vice President for Research. The focus of MPSI's research is on child development in the urban context with an emphasis on African American children and families. The Director position would also carry with it a tenured Associate or Full Professor in the appropriate department at Wayne State University.

Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

About the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute and the Director position
The Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute (MPSI), founded in 1920, recently celebrated a century of nursery schools in the nation to bringing renowned faculty and students to its campus, MPSI has always sought to improve the development, health and well-being of infants, children, youth, young adults, and their families, through research, education, outreach, and the MPSI Early Childhood Center: with 12 faculty,
$2.5M in annual research funding, 14 pre-doctoral trainees, and yearly outreach to over two thousand people in community programs. A decade of accelerated growth and accomplishment positions
Wayne State University to hire the next Director for the MPSI, launching a new century of achievement and impact. The MPSI website can be found at and its 2017-2022 strategic plan at: 2020 Biannual Report: https://

Research at MPSI focuses on urban populations who endure community, environmental, biomedical, psychosocial, systemic, and other stressors influenced by the sociocultural context, including but not limited to structural inequality. This work is translated into practice to improve the lives of urban youth and their families. Faculty promote interdisciplinary research in developmental science across Wayne State University – bridging schools, departments, disciplines, and individuals – to provide challenging undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral research training in pre-natal, child, adolescent, emerging adulthood, and family development. Faculty, staff, and students also engage the community through public outreach, professional development, scholarship, and educational activities for the common good. The Director of MPSI will be a tenured Associate of Full Professor in the appropriate department.

About the University
Wayne State University is a premier, public, urban research university located in the heart of Detroit. The 200-acre traditional and high-tech campus is in the heart of Midtown, offering unparalleled access to cultural experiences, community involvement, and corporate career opportunities. Wayne State University is the third largest institution of higher learning in Michigan and the most diverse campus in the state with nearly 27,000 students from every U.S. state and nearly 80 countries. Wayne State is home to 13 colleges offering over 350 degree programs. Additional information about the university can be found at:
The Director will report to the Vice President for Research and will have the following duties:

•    Assume leadership role in vision, direction, scholarly community, engagement in campus and community partners, and raising national profile of MPSI
•    Work with Development staff to engage in fund raising and engage the MPSI Board of Visitors
•    Oversee MPSI’s budget, research infrastructure, and space
•    Provide direction for MPSI’s extensive community engagement programs and interdisciplinary pre-doctoral training program
•    Supervise the Executive Director of the MPSI Early Childhood Center Research
•    Maintain an active synergistic research program
•    Support a culture and climate for MPSI faculty, students, and community partners that actively promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion as necessary components of excellence
•    Provide leadership and mentoring for the MPSI faculty, with an emphasis on expanding sponsored research

Public Profile
•    Serve as the liaison to the MPSI National Steering Committee and the Internal Advisory Board, while supporting and encouraging continuous improvement recommendations
•    Contribute to efforts to enhance the restoration, revitalization, and public awareness and public access of the Charles Lang Freer House (a national historic landmark), which houses the Institute faculty
•    Lead efforts for increased, sustained community engagement that are both culturally competent and mutually beneficial for MPSI and the community

•    Work with the Director of the Institute of Gerontology (IOG), to coordinate programs and resources between MPSI and the IOG
•    Expand partnerships with faculty across the university to enhance Wayne State University’s research in urban child and family development
•    Represent MPSI on university committees

Qualifications for the Position
•    Doctoral degree and faculty appointment in a behavioral or social science field, such as psychology, social work, education, sociology, family medicine, obstetrics, public health, epidemiology, or another related field.
•    Demonstration of applicable prior leadership experience and accomplishments
•    Record of quality research, including external funding, in urban child and/or family issues
•    Commitment to promoting and sustaining diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership, teaching, and mentoring in a collaborative environment

Please submit your letter of application, curriculum vitae, and contact information of four professional references to, posting #045400. The review of applications will remain open until the position is filled. For additional information about this opportunity or questions about the application process, please contact Jeffrey Kentor, Search Committee Chair, at:
Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer
The Affirmative Action Plans for Minority/Female and Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities is available in their entirety on the OEO website.

Wayne State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, which complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. Wayne State University is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.
EEO is the Law

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