Assistant Professor, Design History – Art and Art History – San José State University

Position Rank and Title: Assistant Professor (Tenure-track) with Specialization: Art History (Emphasis in the History of Modern Design)

School/Department Name: Department Art and Art History; Department of Design.

Compensation: Commensurate with qualifications, experience, and rank as established by the CSU Salary Schedule. See Benefits Summary for details about the CSU’s excellent employment benefits.

Target Start Date: August 2022

Application Deadline: February 1, 2022 (Applications accepted until filled or closed)

Position Description

The Department of Art & Art History and the Department of Design jointly invite applications for a tenure-track faculty position in Design History, with expertise in modern design and design-related technologies in a global context. The successful candidate will have responsibility for teaching and developing curricula for the art history components of undergraduate design education, especially through the teaching of design-in-context, allowing students to analyze their own art or design work more critically. Although based in the Department of Art and Art History, the qualified candidate would be expected to work closely with the faculty of the Department of Design to implement a series of integrated courses that explore contextual influences from the last 100 years of design. In this model, faculty will explore global and inclusive contextual influences with students through techniques, such as case studies of iconic designs; the analysis of diverse cultural contexts for designed objects; and writing assignments that align with students’ studio projects and underpin their creative practice. Such courses should assist students in contextualizing and analyzing their own design work more critically, thus elevating discussions around design and research.

The two departments (Art and Art History, and Design) are both committed to creative research and scholarship at the highest level. Our combined art and design facilities are unmatched in the CSU system, and our many graduates go on to prestigious careers in Silicon Valley and beyond. Although each department operates autonomously, under the larger umbrella of the College of Humanities and the Arts, both departments collaborate in significant areas of curriculum, exhibition, and facilities. The most prominent area of collaboration lies in the area of Design History, in which art historians teach a broad array of service courses to BA and BFA students in all areas of design. Design history faculty also collaborate extensively with the faculty in the Department of Design to develop new curriculum that best can serve the needs of contemporary design education. The successful applicant will be required to teach core required courses in the undergraduate Design programs and, ideally, should have research that is related to issues in contemporary design. The successful applicant will also have teaching, advising and mentoring responsibilities in the BA and MA Programs in Art History and Visual Culture, including teaching appropriate graduate seminars and advising MA theses.

The Department of Art and Art History, the Department of Design, and San José State University value diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Our excellence in research, teaching, and service can only be fully realized by faculty, students, and staff who share our commitment to these values. SJSU enrolls more than 36,000 students, many of whom are historically underserved, and around 45% are first-generation and 38% are Pell-recipients. SJSU is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPISI) Serving Institution. The university’s commitment to social justice extends from its vibrant, inclusive campus to an international network of over 275,000 alumni. As such, San José State is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty so our disciplines, students, and the community can benefit from multiple ethnic and gender perspectives.

Successful candidates will demonstrate evidence of a commitment to equity and inclusion through their research, teaching, and/or service. We ask that all applicants include a Diversity Statement with their application package. A guide to writing this statement can be found at SJSU Diversity Statement Guidelines, along with information about how these statements will be evaluated.

Required Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in Art History, or related field, completed by the time of appointment;
  • Experience teaching courses in the history of modern design;
  • Strong writing samples, such as provided by a PhD dissertation or recent publications;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of design problems issues across different cultures and historical periods;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the history of technology as applied to design as evidenced by publications and/or teaching;
  • Applicants should demonstrate an awareness of and sensitivity to the educational goals of a socially and economically diverse student population as might have been gained in cross-cultural study, training, teaching, and other comparable experience.

Preferred Qualifications

Priority will be given to candidates who possess one or more of the following:

  • Two years teaching experience at the university level.
  • Prior experience working with BFA students in Design.
  • Demonstrated scholarly achievement as evidenced by a record of academic research at the intersection of design and technology;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of cross-cultural issues as related to design.

Key Responsibilities

  • Teach existing and develop new undergraduate design history courses, with special focus on the needs of BA and BFA Design majors;
  • Advise undergraduate and graduate majors in Art History and Visual Culture; and participate in the development and administration of the Art History program area;
  • Work across disciplines between art and design to participate in emerging initiatives at the intersection of art, design, and technology with a focus on design history and criticism;
  • Maintain scholarly and professional activity as appropriate to the field of Design History.
  • The candidate will participate in shared governance, usually in department, college, and university committees and other service assignments.
  • The candidate must demonstrate awareness and experience understanding the needs of a student population of great diversity – in age, abilities, cultural background, ethnicity, religion, economic background, primary language, sexual orientation, gender identity, and academic preparation – through inclusive course materials, teaching strategies and advisement.

Application Procedure

Click Apply Now to complete the SJSU Online Employment Application and attach the following documents:

  • letter of interest
  • curriculum vitae
  • diversity statement
  • statement of teaching interests/philosophy
  • samples of scholarship, which may include unpublished manuscript chapters
  • research plans
  • three references with contact information or three reference letters [department determines what to ask for and when. Please note: Search committees can also choose to use SkillSurvey, a tool which draws upon five references to collect feedback on candidates.]
  • Inquiries may be directed to the Search Committee Chair: Anthony Raynsford,


San José State University: Silicon Valley’s Public University

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley — one of the most innovative regions in the world — San José State University is the founding campus of the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system and the first public university in the West. The 2020 #1 Most Transformative University in the nation according to Money Magazine, San José State is an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley, the Bay Area and California. SJSU is a top-200 school nationally in research funding and second highest in research productivity in the CSU system. This cutting-edge research, combined with its world-class scholarship, student-centered learning opportunities, and experiential and interdisciplinary programs, allows SJSU to provide transformative opportunities that advance the public good locally and globally.