Director of Human Rights Practice - University of Chicago


The Director of Human Rights will establish a problem-based Human Rights Laboratory designed to engage students (undergraduate and graduate) in offering solutions to real-world human rights problems. This is a three-year position. 

The responsibilities of the Director of Human Rights Practice will center on the establishment and direction of a Human Rights Laboratory, including:

  • Working on a specific human rights problem through the development of a curriculum in human rights practice, including the teaching of two small clinic style courses per year of your own design;
  • Organizing and overseeing short-term practitioner residencies related to the work of the Laboratory;
  • Establishing new linkages between the Pozen Center and civil society and government-supported human rights entities globally, nationally and locally;
  • Ensuring the Laboratory-based project has an impact in its field beyond the university, and assisting in the operation of the Pozen Center’s current human rights internship program.

Salary is competitive.

Required Project Statement:

Applicants must present a 1500-word statement outlining the human rights question they want to address over their three years as Director of Human Rights Practice. This statement should open with the question the applicant seeks to pursue and then outline the nature of the problem and why it is pressing; discuss how the applicant would work with students with what forms of methods and practices in the Human Rights Laboratory to address the question and make the problem visible; offer a list of and rationale for short term residencies by at least three practitioners who would help advance work on the project; and briefly outline the ways in which the project would disseminate its work to intervene in public discourse and/or public policy debates by the end of the three year period.

Letters of Reference:  

Three letters of reference that speak directly to qualifications and ability to successfully realize the proposed project must be emailed by 5 March 2018 to

Additional Information:

We encourage projects from a variety of practices including arts-based projects that explore questions surrounding the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, LGBTQ and women’s rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, policing and other law enforcement practices, the right to shelter, public health, the right to water or land, homelessness, or statelessness. We are particularly interested in practitioners who use innovative new practices including social media, the visual arts, or big data.

A substantial program budget will be available to the Director to the build the Laboratory. We encourage applications from a variety of practitioners, including individuals with human rights experience in non-governmental organizations, non-profits, government (local, national, regional or international) and foundations along with writers, journalists, and artists. Successful applicants may hold a PhD or professional degrees (JD, MFA, MD, MPH, LCSW, MSW and RN/NP) or other evidence of professional stature (Guggenheim Fellowship, etc.). All applicants must have a least five years experience in human rights practice. Preference will be given to practitioners who have had experience working with students as part of their practice.

The Pozen Family Center for Human Rights celebrates its twentieth anniversary in 2018. The work of the human rights program at the University of Chicago is informed by an interdisciplinary commitment to the theory and practice of human rights among students and faculty across the university. A major gift from the Pozen family endowed the Center in 2014. Along with a robust curriculum that includes a human rights minor for undergraduates and a human rights certificate for PhD students, the Center has provided hundreds of students with fully funded summer human rights internships around the globe. Ph.D. students whose research and teaching has been supported by the Center are now teaching and staffing human rights centers and programs across the country. Additionally, graduates of the professional schools have moved on to careers in national and international human rights and humanitarian organizations. Interdisciplinary faculty-led research projects, workshops, and seminars have brought together scholars and practitioners on the Chicago campus and at the University’s Beijing and Delhi Centers around some of the most pressing human rights concerns of our day. Further details of the Pozen Center’s mission and activities can be found at