Universiteit Leiden

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Director African Studies Centre Leiden / Full Professor

Vacancy number
Job type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
27 October 2020
Closing date
17 November 2020 Vacancy closed

The African Studies Centre Leiden invites applications for a

Director African Studies Centre Leiden / Full Professor

Key responsibilities
The African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) is a world leading institute of Leiden University that undertakes research and is involved in teaching about Africa and aims to promote a better understanding of and insight into historical, current and future developments in Africa. The African Studies Centre Leiden has three departments: the research & teaching department; the library; the professional support department. The director holds a fulltime position and is responsible for all three departments, with a high priority given to managerial responsibilities.

 The position of director of the ASCL requires and implies the following.

Selection criteria

  • Able to propagate a clear vision on African Studies and its future, and on the role of the ASCL in assuring the prominence of this field of studies in national and international circles. The new director will be expected to guide an innovative and inspiring research agenda and to promote African Studies in various fora, in academia and beyond.
  • Experienced in developing and implementing transdisciplinary, long-term research, teaching and curriculum development, and outreach strategies in consultation with staff and relevant stakeholders (incl. non-academic partners).
  • Ability to lead the development of the ASCL as an integral part of Leiden University.
  • Proven ability to communicate with diplomats at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and capable of sustaining existing fruitful relationships with that Ministry, at the same time critically engaging in current debates.
  • An understanding of the Dutch University system.
  • Capable of fostering an atmosphere of enthusiasm and shared responsibility. 
  • Proven commitment to communicating with African colleagues, including the ability to speak English and French.
  • A professor, or having proven professorial capacities, holding a PhD in the humanities, law, or the social sciences, with international acclaim as a scholar in African Studies. This should be evident from publications and citations, and a demonstrable interest in ‘area studies’ as a broad and multidisciplinary academic field.
  • Experienced in stimulating and leading research programmes and committed to inspiring both senior and junior researchers.
  • Experienced in teaching, and developing courses. A University Teacher Qualification (BKO) is desirable.
  • Proven ability to supervise PhD and advanced MA-students in African Studies.

Management/Administrative requirements:

  • Experienced in management, as well as in formulating internal policies. The director will be responsible for the organisational structure of the ASCL and its position within the broader University structure, including the process of cooperation between the ASCL Library and the University Library Leiden.
  • Able to develop a long-term vision for the ASCL supported by a financial strategy. Therefore, solid financial insight and expertise is a must. 
  • Successful in fundraising and encouraging staff in acquiring external funding.
  • Ability to develop a broad ASCL teaching strategy in close cooperation with the relevant faculties (Humanities, Law, Social Sciences) in Leiden and other partners (the Leiden, Delft, Erasmus Universities).
  • Administrative expertise; capable of transparent and communicative internal management of the ASCL (in collaboration with the ASCL’s Executive Board, and facilitated and guided by the ASCL Board, while assisted by the ASCL Support Staff).
  • A problem-solver and team player with an open and collegial management style.

Other requirements:

  • An excellent networker capable of maintaining and establishing strategic (academic, policy, business, NGOs) networks and contacts in the Netherlands (with the Scientific Advisory Council of the ASCL and with the NVAS), Europe (through a position in the Board of AEGIS, the European Association of African Studies Centres), Africa and elsewhere.
  • Ability and willingness to support and inspire the ASCL-coordinated teaching programmes in African Studies (Minors, MA and Research-MA).
  • Ability and interest in participating in LeidenGlobal, and the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus collaboration in global and area studies.
  • Proven experience in valorisation and communication with a non-academic audience.
  • Command of the Dutch language is obligatory and if the successful applicant is not Dutch-speaking, s/he is obliged to acquire a good command of Dutch within two years from taking up duty, for administrative and social purposes; the University will fund her/his Dutch training at the University’s Academic Language Center.

Our organisation
The African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) is the only multidisciplinary academic knowledge institute in the Netherlands devoted entirely to the study of Africa. In addition, collecting and disseminating knowledge and information about Africa is an important task. The ASCL does this, among other things, by publishing books and articles and organizing seminars and conferences. The ASCL was founded in 1947 and has approx. 50 employees. It has an extensive library that is open to the general public. The ASCL is an interfaculty institute of Leiden University.

Terms and conditions
We offer a fulltime temporary appointment for a period of 4 years with a view to a permanent contract depending on good performance. Salary range from € 5.749,- to € 8.371,- gross per month based on a fulltime employment (pay scale H2 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). The appointment date is January 1, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

Leiden University requires teaching staff to obtain the University Teaching Qualification. If the successful applicant does not already possess this qualification or its equivalent, he/ she must be willing to obtain this Qualification within two years.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

For more information, please contact Mark Rutgers, Chair Board of Governors ASCL, e-mail m.r.rutgers@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Please submit your application online no later than November 17, 2020 via the blue button in our application system. Applications should be in English, and electronically be submitted in a PDF document, named ‘Family name – Given name – vacancy number’. This document should include, in this order:

  • A CV including education and employment history, publications, and courses taught;
  • A letter of motivation including a personal vision of African Studies in Leiden, area studies in general, and being a director of the ASCL in particular (max 2 pages);
  • A research and valorisation agenda for the Centre and personally, including a vision on the future of the library (max 3 pages);
  • A teaching statement (1 page);
  • Names, positions, and email addresses of three referees (no reference letters at this stage).

The selection procedure will take place as soon as possible after November 17, 2020, and selected candidates will be invited for an interview on December 11, 2020. You are kindly requested to be available on this day.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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