Project Description

The work and mission of Philander Smith College is deeply rooted in social justice and equity — going back to its founding nearly a century and a half ago. In the early 2000s, the College reasserted its identity as a center for thought, leadership, and action in social justice, forming the College’s Social Justice Institute (SJI). Today, the college seeks a dynamic and innovative scholar-practitioner to serve as the Executive Director of the Social Justice Institute. Following significant research, development and strategic integration with partners Auburn Theological Seminary and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the College reimagined and reinvigorated the SJI with a vision for global impact. Themed “Justice Reimagined,” the Institute seeks to embrace and catalyze work in social justice across multiple domains: education, health, environment, community, economics, politics, and other relevant areas. 

Reporting to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Executive Director is tasked with actively engaging the campus community and the greater Little Rock and Mid-South Region, by galvanizing partnerships and opportunities to engage in important social justice and equity-minded initiatives that will improve the lives of those that have been historically marginalized and under-supported. While the SJI engages the wider world, its focus is impacting the community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the College—training, researching, convening, and serving as a resource. The successful candidate will be a scholar activist with a demonstrated commitment to the advancement of the Black Community and experience supervising professional and student staff.  


The Executive Director of the Social Justice Institute is charged with the following: 

  • Implementing the Think Justice 2.0: A Global Perspective Strategic Plan activities;
  • Fundraising, community engagement and outreach, building collaborations;
  • Forging partnerships with all campus constituencies;
  • Engaging local, regional, and national organizations and institutions committed to social justice issues;
  • Infusing social justice into the curriculum;
  • Designing and implementing student, faculty, and staff training; and
  • Developing/implementing innovative programs.


  • Formulate a vision for social justice that reflects a holistic, contemporary view and is cognizant with the direction provided by the President, Board of Trustees, and other partners;
  • Supervise and guide the work of Program Coordinator, administrative assistant, and several student staff.  
  • Infuse social justice into the curriculum by engaging and training faculty members;
  • Forge partnerships with local, regional and national organizations and institutions committed to social justice;
  • Design, implement, and evaluate faculty/staff training around social justice;
  • Collaborate with all of the Vice Presidents and Directors on how to infuse and sustain social justice in their respective divisions/departments;
  • Serve as the secondary spokesperson for social justice issues for the College (after the President); articulate and communicate the value of social justice for improving the quality of life for the campus; and promote community support for social justice issues in the state;
  • Serve as primary advisor to the President and Executive Cabinet on all social justice related issues;
  • Develop, implement, and supervise program and services that are consistent with the College’s mission and Institute’s strategic plan;
  • Develop and manage the fundraising strategies of the Institute, develop an annual budget for the President’s Executive Cabinet approval, and oversee the management of all funds (in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Advancement);
  • Motivate and provide professional development of direct reports; hire, supervise and evaluate staff; How many direct reports.  Let’s spell it out here.  One program coordinator and student staff?
  • Develop effective working relationships within campus and surrounding community to ensure that social justice is being addressed; and
  • Perform all other duties as assigned.


  • Excellent presentation and written and oral communication skills;
  • Exercise effective independent professional judgment;
  • Establish and maintain collaborative working relationships with local community, faculty, staff, students, and student organizations;
  • Relate successfully in one-on-one and group situations with persons representing diverse backgrounds and interests;
  • Able to develop short- and long-term strategic plans and implement them successfully;
  • Fundraising skills
  • Knowledgeable of budgeting; and
  • Able to provide professional development for faculty and staff.


  • Master’s degree (Doctorate degree is preferred) in Social Justice or closely related field;
  • A minimum of three years of full-time experience or equivalency in the area of Social Justice in a higher education setting or a relevant position in an organization serving racially minoritized communities;
  • Demonstrated experience effectively serving members of racially minoritized communities with intersecting identities;
  • Experience supervising staff and/or student workers. 
  • Experience in providing trainings and workshops for a range of campus constituencies focused on social justice; and
  • Experience collaborating with internal/external constituencies to advance social justice initiatives.


Philander Smith College has partnered with Keeling & Associates, LLC for this search. Applications should include a resume/curriculum vitae and a cover letter addressing your interest in and qualifications for the position. Application materials must be sent, preferably as PDFs, to with the subject heading “Philander Smith – Executive Director of SJI.” The search will continue until an appointment is made. 

Confidential inquiries and nominations should be addressed to the K&A senior consultant leading this search, Dr. Lili Rodríguez, at

Philander Smith College is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees based on age, race, sex, national origin, ethnicity, veteran status or religion.  Philander Smith College is a smoke-free and drug-free work environment.  Philander Smith College participates in E-Verify.