About the Program: The Penn State University Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity & Sorority Research and Reform believes that the Jewish fraternal experience is uniquely positioned to optimize student learning, success, and student safety within their communities. The unique founding and heritage of Jewish groups is a critical narrative to be told and is currently missing from the national Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion movement. We seek to give voice to the Jewish fraternity and sorority movement, decrease structured campus antisemitism, and enhance the quality of the Jewish fraternity and sorority experience.
Our aim is to create safer and stronger fraternity and sorority communities through research. Instances of antisemitism have increased over the last decade and student leaders as well as student organizations such as sororities and fraternities have been targets of this violence. Headlines about campus antisemitic incidents craft a narrative that these are harmful, dangerous, and enduring issues in our society and on our college campuses. Yet, there are minimal studies on understanding the experiences of Jewish students which provide limited resources for professionals charged with supporting them.
The Piazza Center has formed a research collective in partnership with Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority, Penn State’s Local Chapter of Beta Sigma Beta, Sigma Delta Tau Sorority, Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, and Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity to investigate antisemitism in sororities and fraternities. Together, we believe that historic Jewish organizations have and continue to serve a vital and distinct role on college campuses in support of students who hold Jewish identities as well as students who value and support Jewish cultural traditions, religion, and heritage.
Already, the Piazza Center has published one book chapter in the forthcoming text Confronting Antisemitism on Campus by Peter Lang Publishing as well as a peer-reviewed journal article in the Georgia College Student Affairs Journal. We are seeking an emerging scholar to continue to research and build evidence to explore across three studies: (1) identity development, (2) sense of belonging, and (3) experiences with antisemitism.
The Piazza Center’s Scholar Program1 works with practitioners, post-doctoral, and doctoral candidates to build capacity and expand research for professional practice. The research mentoring program will integrate into an existing cohort of virtual scholar-practitioners. Scholars will be matched based on their passion to serve on research teams under the supervision of the principal investigator. The lead for the antisemitism research initiative will be Dr. Pietro A. Sasso (Piazza Center Faculty Fellow).
About the Center: Penn State launched the Piazza Center in January 2019, in an effort to become the nation’s principal home for identifying sound professional practice in fraternity and sorority advising. The center produces actionable data to give practitioners the evidence needed to enact significant change on their campuses and within their organizations. The Piazza Center is poised to empower higher education to make the fraternity and sorority experience safer and more meaningful based on comprehensive research.
- Must hold or be enrolled in a terminal degree program
- Identify as ethnically or religiously Jewish or hold advanced knowledge of antisemitism and intersecting college student identities
- Membership in Jewish Fraternity or Sorority
- Understanding of research methodology and design (qualitative- ground theory or phenomenological; quantitative- survey)
- Experience in various data collection approaches
- Capacity to perform data analysis related to quantitative or qualitative methods
- Experience disseminating research in the form of presentations at national conferences or research reports to stakeholders
- Ability to work independently and remotely with others in the context of a research project timeline
- Strong presentation and writing skills with a knowledge of APA 7 style
- Some exposure to the scholarship of the fraternity/sorority experience
- Previous practitioner experience advising/supporting fraternities and sororities
- Support dissemination of existing research
- Commit to a two-year timeline of data collection and research dissemination
- Attend professional conferences related to research project dissemination (AFA, NASPA, etc.)
- Agree to present at virtual conferences and facilitate webinars
- Author timely thought pieces for dissemination to media stakeholders
- Collaborate with the Faculty Research Fellow on projects or with other principal investigators
- Attend regular research meetings and ad-hoc meetings
- Mentorship from principal investigators or Faculty Research Fellow
- Opportunities for co-authorship of scholarly reports, white papers, articles, and peer-reviewed journal articles
- Potential compensation for data collection and analysis
- Additional exposure to the publication process and developing a research program
- Professional networking with the fraternity/sorority movement and community of scholars
- Collaboration opportunities on future scholarly projects
- Collateral appointment as “visiting fellow” at the Center for Research Advancing Identities & Student Experiences at Stephen F. Austin State University
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, based on demand or capacity. To apply, send a curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter as an expression. Include your preferred or general research expertise (methodology, areas of scholarship) and professional experience. Include a rationale for the further study of the Jewish fraternity and sorority experience and how your expertise may contribute to this research initiative.
Please contact Stevan Veldkamp, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Pietro Sasso, Faculty Research Fellow for general inquiries. To apply, send your cover letter and CV to PiazzaCenter@psu.edu.
1 This program was conceptualized with support from the Rutgers University Center for Minority Serving Institutions as well as other fellowship program models.