Penn State Staffing Up on Child Maltreatment

Youth Services Insider caught this oddly enough on a website about Arizona health jobs: Penn State is looking to fill seven tenure-track positions with faculty whose principal research interest is child maltreatment.

The university’s need for redemption is well known after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, in which a longtime member of the college football program was able to sexually abuse children on the campus while officials covered things up, ostensibly to avert negative publicity.

The seven new jobs are described as a “cluster hire” by the university’s Network on Child Protection and Well-Being, which was established in the wake of the scandal and began hiring staff in January of 2013.

The jobs are spread around six different Penn State departments. The notice stresses a desire to hire people with a diversity of experiences in the child welfare and research systems.

Click here to read the whole job description. Here are the six departments hiring, and the nuts and bolts of what they are looking for:

Department of Biobehavioral Health: “Successful candidate should have an ongoing research program on the physiological sequelae of child/adolescent maltreatment, with a special focus on the neurobiological processes and health consequences in individuals exposed to early maltreatment.”

Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education: Hiring someone that “engages school-based personnel to screen, detect, and intervene effectively when confronted with signs of potential child maltreatment in school settings, including sexual abuse, violence, and other forms of maltreatment.”

Department of Human Development and Family Studies: Looking for someone whose “research focuses on the prevention and treatment of child maltreatment, including sexual abuse, violence exposure and other forms of maltreatment.”

Department of Pediatrics, Penn State Hershey Medical Center: Looking for a “practitioner/scientist in clinical child psychology to develop evidence-based initiatives and create new knowledge regarding therapeutic interventions for children who have been abused.”

Department of Psychology: Hiring two faculty members. One will have a research background “on the dynamics of child maltreatment from a biobehavioral perspective,” and another with a research background on “preventive or therapeutic interventions for children, parents, and/or adults affected by child maltreatment.”

Department of Sociology and Criminology: The Criminology program is hiring someone with expertise in the “criminological aspects” of maltreatment. Possible avenues of research: demographics of recidivism, victim-offender relationships, multiple and repeated victimization, and situational influences on abuse (including strategies for reducing offense rates by changing opportunities rather than people).

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John Kelly
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John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.