Rarefied talent in data science, data technology, and analytics

Social Justice and Applied Data Ethics, Research Associate

Michigan State University

Job Description

Social Justice and Applied Data Ethics, Research Associate


Department/Unit Name: Philosophy


Search Committee Information

·       Search Chair: Elena Ruiz (PHL)

·       Affirmative Action Advocate: Sean Valles (PHL)

·       Additional Committee Members & Departments (list): Eric Juenke (Pol Sci), Rajalakshmi Nadadur (Gen Cen), Michael O’Rourke (PHL)


Program Description:

As part of its intentional commitment to amplifying the intellectual leadership of BIPOC artists, writers, and scholars of the global majority, the College of Arts & Letters announces a new postdoctoral or post-MFA fellows program in the Arts & Humanities. The goal of the program is to create a cohort of early career scholars who will contribute to and benefit from a diverse, vibrant, and inclusive intellectual community in the College. In the College of Arts & Letters, the postdoctoral/post-MFA fellows program offers full-time Research Associate positions who will pursue research and/or creative activities, teach a 1-1 course load, and engage in the intellectual life of the department. They are supported by a network of mentors who help them embark on an academic career and chart their pathway to intellectual leadership by way of sharing knowledge, expanding opportunities, and mentorship and stewardship. Successful candidates will also participate in College-cohort programming organized by a Mentoring Team that includes presenting in an inter-departmental colloquium series and opportunities for faculty development. The College understands the term BIPOC as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and the global majority to be broadly inclusive of people who are Asian, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, multi- heritage, or have been racialized as “ethnic minorities.”


To be eligible, applicants must have completed their PhD, MFA, or equivalent during or after the 2018-2019 academic year and prior to the start date. The 2- year fixed-term Research Associate positions will begin on August 16, 2023. Appointments will be made to applicants who show promise for tenure-track positions in Michigan State University’s College of Arts & Letters in accordance with MSU academic hiring process. Each appointment is for a minimum of 9 months, renewable for an additional year, contingent upon a demonstration of meeting the performance expectation in research and teaching, with an emphasis on demonstrated research productivity. Transitioning into a tenure-track faculty position at Michigan State University will require a series of structured, merit-based evaluations, which will include substantial peer input. MSU’s academic hiring process will be followed in appointing the candidates that advance into the tenure-track.


Job Description Posting Snapshot (~400 characters):

As part of this program the Department of Philosophy announces a national search for a postdoc fellow with the title of Research Assistant with expertise in the area(s) of Social Justice and Applied Data Ethics, broadly construed to include algorithmic fairness and accountability in data science, statistical analysis and interpretation, as well as predictive analytics and predictive modeling uses in social science research, including algorithmic bias, predictive policing (or the intersections of technology and design thinking), data feminism, data sovereignty and Indigenous governance of data, intersectional and decolonial data ethics, and social justice or diversity-driven approaches to data analysis and interpretation.


We are looking for a community-engaged scholar-activist with a strong background in data science whose work seeks to advance social justice goals across the advocacy spectrum (including LGBTQIA+, Black, Brown, Asian, Indigenous, and disability justice perspectives and their intersections), or for a data scientist/mixed-methods researcher with strong quant skills who will pursue a research program that supports these goals. No prior teaching experience or terminal degree in philosophy is required. Candidates with a background in STS (Science and Technology Studies), WGS (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), feminist science studies, sociology of knowledge, digital humanities, and/or other interdisciplinary approaches to critical science studies are especially welcome, as are socially engaged data science scholars and applied quantitative researchers in sociology, psychology, public health, engineering, computational mathematics and mathematical modeling with community outreach experience. 


The successful candidate will provide quantitative research support for structural justice-focused research initiatives under a newly proposed Center for Social Justice Research (CSJR) and will collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of researchers on projects of national scope that prioritize community-based data access and principles. Projects will require modeling support for investigating patterns of systemic racism, gender-based violence, environmental racism, voter suppression, health disparities, and policy responses. In addition to providing quantitative, statistical, and modeling support for CSJR, the center will provide mentorship and professional development opportunities for the successful candidate’s research program.


The successful candidate will have a 1:1 teaching load in the Department of Philosophy. The candidate will be invited to develop their own course that serves department needs in Engaged Philosophy, with a focus on social justice and data ethics that is pertinent to the candidate’s own research. We especially welcome primary teaching interests in interdisciplinary approaches to diversifying data-driven processes and metrics used to gather and interpret data for policy discussions of social inequities, such as polling, surveying, and interpretation/data analysis.


The Department of Philosophy’s distinctive brand is “Engaged Philosophy,” which aims to expand philosophy’s traditional agenda, making the field more richly responsive to the multitude of voices and values in human communities, engaging philosophical reflection with the problems and resources of other disciplines, and grappling with pressing problems, both theoretical and practical. Diversifying the profession is an aim articulated in the mission statement of the Department. Faculty are teaching and doing research in areas of philosophy that concern diverse populations, including African American philosophy, feminist theory, environmental justice, and social justice. Since 1998 the Department has exemplified “Engaged Philosophy” by striving to achieve national and international distinction in research and graduate education in three related areas: Bioethics/PHL of Healthcare and Medicine, Feminist thought (e.g., in Bioethics, Epistemology, and Social and Political Philosophy), and since 2011 Environmental Philosophy and Ethics. We are especially welcoming to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and crossdisciplinarity researchers and to inclusive frameworks that support a pluralistic conception of philosophical practice.


Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.


Required Degree:



Minimum Requirements:

All applicants should have the following:

A relevant terminal graduate degree, such as:

Ph.D. in Philosophy or an allied field, including social and statistical sciences.


Required Application Materials:

Qualified applicants should submit

·       A letter expressing interest in the position and describing qualifications and experience

·       A current curriculum vitae

·       A writing sample taken from current or past research, or that engages the public in knowledge sharing

·       A 1-page summary of the candidate’s philosophy of diversity, equity, and inclusion as it pertains their intellectual leadership in the areas of teaching/curriculum development, research/creative activities, service, outreach, advising, and/or administration. The statement should also include an explanation of related past or planned activities/endeavors as well as how the candidate will advance our goals of inclusive excellence.

·       The names of three references and their contact information.


Please note: three letters of reference will be requested at the time candidates advance to the second round of interviews and will be asked only of those candidates.


Together-we-will Statement

The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with limited exceptions. Learn more at: https://msu.edu/together-we-will/


Special Instructions:

Review of applications will begin September 15, 2022 and will continue until the position is filled. Applications must be submitted electronically to the Michigan State University Human Resources website http://careers.msu.edu. Posting number 8147856

For more information, contact Elena Ruiz, Chair of the Search Committee at ruizele1@msu.edu  

Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.





CAL Diversity Statement:


The College of Arts & Letters recognizes that only an academic and organizational culture, which actively seeks out and strengthens diverse voices and perspectives among its members results in true excellence. We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. The College of Arts & Letters is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that intellectual leadership is achieved through open access and pro-active inclusion.


MSU Statement:

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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Job Location
East Lansing, MI
Additional Job Details
Employment Type:
Full Time