Department Head, Department of Modern Languages

The Department of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University invites applications for the position of Department Head. The successful candidate will provide leadership for a dynamic department with approximately 25 full-time regular faculty across multiple ranks who specialize in the areas of literary and cultural studies, second language acquisition and applied linguistics, and technology-enhanced learning. The Department currently offers undergraduate courses in 8 languages; majors in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish; minors in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish; and a Foreign Language and Culture Certificate program for all languages. In addition, the Department offers three graduate programs: a Masters in Applied Second Language Acquisition (with links to Chatham University for our ESL students); a Masters in Global Communication and Applied Translation (coordinated with the Department of English); and a PhD in Second Language Acquisition. Faculty in Modern Languages also have a history of productive collaborations with other programs departments: a number of course offerings are essential for the interdisciplinary Linguistics major housed in Philosophy; faculty regularly collaborate with History faculty in relevant areas of research and teaching, including the interdisciplinary Global Studies major; faculty in Second Language Acquisition regularly collaborate with faculty in the Department of Psychology; and, a number of faculty members collaborate with colleagues in University of Pittsburgh’s various modern languages departments, Department of Linguistics, and College of Education. The Department is also recognized on campus for its educational excellence, as evidenced by numerous teaching awards, including by graduate students, and pioneering work in the domain of pedagogy, including technology-enhanced pedagogy.


The Department of Modern Languages is housed in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, which is home to more than 60 majors and minors across 11 academic departments and programs. The College supports faculty in their research and educational activities and offers support for student research at both undergraduate and graduate levels through various funding opportunities. The College boasts strengths in research across disciplines that can be applied to real-world problems, including top-ranked programs in Psychology and Statistics.


Carnegie Mellon University is a global, research-intensive university with over 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and approximately 5,000 faculty and staff. The University is proud of its culture of interdisciplinary inquiry and its tradition of supporting innovations in faculty research and educational activities through numerous initiatives and funding opportunities. As a testament to its breadth of academic achievement, the University is home to the #1 ranked programs in Computer Science and Drama.


The University is located in Pittsburgh, PA. Its urban campus is adjacent to thriving neighborhoods with numerous artistic, cultural, and culinary attractions, sporting events, and green spaces for year-round outdoor activities. The city and surrounding suburbs are serviced by Pittsburgh International Airport, Amtrak, regional coach services, and local public transportation. The Pittsburgh area is also home to a number of the highest ranked public and private K-12 schools in Pennsylvania.



The Role


The Head is appointed by and reports to the Dean of Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, represents the Department to the College and the University, and is responsible for managing the Department, its faculty, its staff, and working with its students’ concerns. In addition, the Head advances the Department’s mission for research, scholarly excellence, and education. As such, the successful candidate will provide a coherent vision for the Department’s different areas of research and teaching, serve as an advocate for all programs in the Department to ensure that they are excellent and sustainably so, support the faculty in their diverse research activities, and collaborate with faculty to shape both short-term and long-range strategies for future departmental development. At Carnegie Mellon, the Head has substantial budgetary discretion.


Outside of the Department, the Head is responsible for promoting the Department’s research and educational activities, for connecting the intellectual and educational mission of the department to the broader mission of Carnegie Mellon University, and for helping to foster relationships with other departments and units across campus. Other responsibilities include: budget oversight and resource allocation; faculty and staff performance evaluations; serving on the reappointment, promotion, and tenure committee at the College level, as well as on College Council; and typically teaching 1-2 courses per year.



Opportunities for the Next Head


This is an exciting time to be at Carnegie Mellon University. A leader in research and educational innovation, the University offers numerous opportunities for faculty in Modern Languages to engage in forward-thinking research and education in the humanities and social sciences. The next Head of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University will join a team of established scholars and educators with a proven record of engaging in innovative research and teaching activities. The successful candidate will be able to contribute to shaping the future of existing and newly emerging opportunities within the Department and across all CMU campuses, in Pittsburgh, nationally, and internationally, including:


  • Continuing to innovate undergraduate majors, minors, and certificate programs that respond to student needs and the mission of modern language education in the 21st century, namely shaping educated, multilingual global citizens;
  • Further developing the mission of the Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room as a space for engaging in innovative teaching opportunities, digital humanities scholarship, and technology-enhanced learning research and pedagogy;
  • Strengthening ties between the Department’s graduate and undergraduate programs;
  • Continuing to support and enhance links between Modern Languages and interdisciplinary programs in Dietrich College, including English, History, Philosophy, Psychology; Statistics;
  • Building on links with programs outside of Dietrich College, including Human Computer Interaction, the Language Technologies Institute, and the College of Fine Arts;
  • Promoting and enhancing the Department’s central role in achieving the University’s mission for global competence;
  • Creating a vision for and leading the Department’s participation in the newly-launched Humanities@CMU Initiative within Dietrich College.



Qualifications and Personal Characteristics


Candidates must have a record of academic achievement in at least one research area covered by the Department, including literary and cultural studies, second language acquisition/applied linguistics, and technology-enhanced learning to merit appointment as Full Professor at Carnegie Mellon University; experience in administration and/or program direction; a commitment to working with diverse groups of students, faculty, staff, and other university constituents; excellent interpersonal skills; and a commitment to promoting the further growth of interdisciplinary research and teaching in the humanities and social sciences, in addition to developing connections to the other Pittsburgh campus colleges and linkages to our national and international CMU campuses.


Carnegie Mellon University is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its community on a range of intellectual and cultural dimensions.  Carnegie Mellon welcomes applicants who will contribute to this diversity through their research, teaching and service, including women, members of minority groups, protected veterans, individuals with disabilities, and others who would contribute in different ways.


Carnegie Mellon University also seeks to meet the needs of dual-career couples and is a member of the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) that assists with dual-career searches.



Application Procedure


Applications should be submitted to Interfolio using the following link: Applicants will be asked to provide: 1) a letter of interest outlining their qualifications for the position, with specific reference to the opportunities for the next Head listed above; 2) a current CV; and 3) the names and contact information for three references.


The review of applications will begin December 1, 2019 and will continue until the position is filled.


Questions can be directed to the search committee co-chairs, Rémi A. van Compernolle ( and Andreea Ritivoi (

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