Duke University Seeks Next Director of the Social Science Research Institute

NEW Deadline extension: Applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent along with a current CV by Oct. 8, followed by a 1-2 page vision statement for SSRI’s next phase by Oct. 22.

Duke University is embarking on a search for the next director of the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). The director will succeed Tom Nechyba, who has done an excellent job of building and strengthening the infrastructure for social science research and, together with the Information Initiative, has launched an exciting new Master’s degree in data science. Given the broad range of outstanding potential candidates at Duke who are qualified to take the helm of SSRI, the Provost has elected to conduct an internal search. Nechyba will conclude his service as director on June 30, 2019. The new director will begin formal duties on July 1, 2019, and will have ample opportunities to engage with Director Nechyba, along with SSRI faculty and staff, during the spring 2019 term.

We seek a tenured faculty leader who can build on SSRI’s current portfolio, which includes an array of support mechanisms for sophisticated social science research undertaken by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates (e.g., methods workshops, one-on-one consultations, assistance with protected data), administration of the Education & Human Development theme in Bass Connections, several Institute-affiliated centers, a number of research partnerships with community organizations, and the new Masters in Interdisciplinary Data Science. Additionally, the new director will be charged with further building interdisciplinary collaborations and intellectual exchange among social scientists at Duke and beyond.

Broadly, the new director will have the responsibility to:

  • oversee ongoing evaluations of SSRI activities and foster additional synergies among SSRI’s current endeavors;
  • through inclusive decision-making and judicious deployment of SSRI funds, nurture new collaborative research communities that link social scientists with each other across departments and schools, as well as with non-social scientists when salient problems cut across the social and behavioral sciences, the humanities, and natural sciences;
  • in consultation with relevant stakeholders (senior university/school leaders, faculty, staff, students, and community partners), develop an intellectual vision to enhance the SSRI’s imprint locally as well as its significant reputation outside Duke;
  • foster diversity and inclusion within all of SSRI’s activities, and within the wider ambit of the social sciences at Duke;
  • ensure robust and effective mechanisms of faculty governance for SSRI and its affiliated centers;
  • in partnership with the Provost’s office, school deans, and other UIC directors, help develop and carry out university-wide priorities for interdisciplinary research, teaching, and engagement, including fundraising for those priorities;
  • serve as a mentor to social science faculty interested in interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach, and to SSRI’s staff;
  • represent and advocate for SSRI through internal and external communications;
  • provide executive management to the staff and consciously promote a workplace culture consistent with the Institute’s mission and interdisciplinary vision and characterized by inclusive decision-making, continuous improvement, and high performance;
  • in collaboration with the Office of Interdisciplinary Program Management, provide strong stewardship of SSRI’s financial resources.

The SSRI director reports to the Provost through the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Strong candidates will have a proven track record of promoting interdisciplinary collaboration, working cohesively with a wide variety of faculty and administrators, and communicating effectively with the multiple constituencies that make up the social sciences at Duke. The ideal candidate will have an outstanding record as a scholar and educator, and will understand the need for Duke scholar-teachers to engage with multiple audiences on significant social problems, while supporting student and external engagement.

To conduct this important search, Provost Sally Kornbluth has appointed the following committee:

D. Sunshine Hillygus (Chair)
Professor of Political Science
Director of the Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology

Christopher Andrew Bail
Douglas and Ellen Lowey Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy

Lori Snyder Bennear
Juli Plant Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy

Gary G. Bennett
Bishop-MacDermott Family Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, Global Health and Medicine
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Sarah Elizabeth Gaither
Assistant Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience

Judith Kelley
ITT/Terry Sanford Professor of Public Policy
Dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy

Seth G. Sanders
Professor of Economics
Interim Director of the Center for Child and Family Policy

Philip J. Stern
Gilhuly Family Professor, Associate Professor, History

Jonathan B. Wiener
William R. and Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law

Applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent along with a current CV by Oct. 1Oct 8, followed by a 1-2 page vision statement for SSRI’s next phase by Oct. 15Oct 22.

Applications may be sent to the committee by email to mindy.miller@duke.edu, or to Box 90003 or 219A Allen Building. The search committee, after evaluating the applications and conducting interviews, will submit its advisory recommendations to the Provost and the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Faculty members who are thinking about applying may direct questions to the search committee chair, Sunshine Hillygus, or the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Edward Balleisen.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, genetic information, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.