Dean and VP, Western Seminary

Western Theological Seminary invites nominations and applications for the position of Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

About Western

Rooted in the historic Christian faith, Western Theological Seminary (WTS) is an evangelical and ecumenical community of faith and learning in the Reformed tradition that serves the church of Jesus Christ. The purpose of Western Theological Seminary is to prepare Christians called by God to lead the church in mission. In covenant with the Reformed Church in America, Western equips men and women for Christ-centered, biblically based, theologically integrated, culturally competent, and mission-oriented Christian leadership.

With a full time faculty of 22, WTS offers four degree programs: the M.Div. in both residential and distance-learning formats, an M.A., a Th.M., and a D.Min. In addition, it offers graduate certificate programs and a dual-track M.Div./M.S.W. program, as well as a variety of continuing education initiatives.

Some of the distinctive features of our seminary that inform our life together are our genuine respect for the depths of the Christian tradition, our commitment to the centrality of the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and our lively engagement with the cultures and communities we are part of and that surround us. These three features of our community of faith and learning are mutually enriching. These features find expression in daily worship together, a recent chapel renovation, the innovative way we teach Hebrew, many faculty publications, and the fact that we have two liturgical theologians on the faculty. They also find expression in our Community Kitchen (which serves over a hundred free hot meals daily to anyone who desires one), the Bridge (a downtown store which sells and supports the work of global artisans), the Friendship House (innovative housing where persons with an intellectual/ developmental disability live in community with seminarians), Journey (the continuing education branch of the seminary), our certificate programs in Urban Pastoral Ministry and Disability and Ministry, our intercultural immersion requirement for M.Div. candidates, our partnership with the Newbigin House of Studies of City Church San Francisco (for training those called to church planting and center-city renewal ministries), the many writings on the missional church by our faculty, and our growing cooperation with Latino/a theological education in our city. See www.westernsem.edu/about/mission/ for more information about the commitments and spirit of our seminary.

WTS developed a strategic plan in 2013 which seeks to engage and expand our commitment to forming leaders for renewing, empowering and planting new congregations and ministries. Five priorities of the plan are now beginning to be implemented.

They are:
1. Teaching and Learning for Culturally Engaged Leadership
2. Diversity and Cultural Competence
3. Partnerships for Church Planting, Empowerment and Renewal
4. Resourcing a 21st Century Seminary, and
5. Facility Expansion and Renovation.

See www.westernsem.edu/files/7914/1538/5960/Strategic_Plan_w_coverback.pdf for more information about our strategic plan.

Western Theological Seminary is intentionally committed to a diverse board, faculty, staff, and student body.

Position Description

The Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs shall be responsible to the President, and is a member of the President’s Council and Administrative Cabinet and, in that role, shares responsibility for the internal administration of the seminary. The Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs takes overall responsibility for the support and supervision of faculty, and for the design, implementation, and evaluation of all academic programs and policies. The Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs is responsible for the oversight of the Formation for Ministry department and the work of the library. This person is also a teaching member of the faculty and will teach on a regular basis.

The specific responsibilities of this position are:

SEMINARY ADMINISTRATION AND LEADERSHIP

  • Work with the President’s Council and Administrative Cabinet on matters of seminary priorities, budget strategies, long-range planning, personnel matters, and internal policies
  • Together with the president, represent and interpret faculty decisions and actions to the church and community.

FACULTY LEADERSHIP

  • Nurture participation in a shared and deepening vision for theological education among the faculty, nurture faculty development, and coordinate the faculty’s collective decision-making processes
  • Supervise and evaluate the faculty, and administer faculty reappointments, promotions, and post-tenure reviews
  • Recruit and supervise adjunct faculty as they are needed
  • Supervise, evaluate, and coordinate the work of the academic field secretaries
  • Make appointments to faculty and student committees, with approval of the president
  • Coordinate sabbatical leave proposals for their submission to the trustees

ACADEMIC PROGRAM LEADERSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION

  • Assist the seminary to focus and implement its academic programs in ways which will most effectively serve the seminary’s mission and the church’s needs
  • Represent the needs and concerns of academic programs as a member of the President’s Council
  • Provide leadership for the development and evaluation of curricula for the degree programs, and, in relationship to the appropriate degree program committees, develop the specific courses needed to implement those curricula
  • Oversee the development and maintenance of academic standards for all degree programs, including approval of transfer credits, course substitutions, requests for waiving of normal academic requirements, and monitoring students with incompletes or who are on academic probation
  • Oversee the articulation, revision, interpretation, and implementation of the academic policies contained in the WTS Handbook
  • Administer the assessment programs of the seminary with respect to student learning and curriculum effectiveness
  • Administer all processes for ATS program approval, accreditation evaluation, and necessary reports to other academic agencies
  • Work with the Dean of Formation for Ministry to develop and implement a strategic vision and develop effective day to day operations for the Formation for Ministry/Student Services department
  • Work with the Director of the Library to develop and implement a strategic vision and to develop effective day to day operations for the library

ACADEMIC OFFICE MANAGEMENT

  • Supervise the registrar and the academic office associate

TEACHING AND SCHOLARSHIP

  • Regularly teach courses in their field of expertise
  • Engage in scholarship and professional development, including active participation in scholarly societies and associations

    Qualifications and Attributes

    The Dean must be a person of strong Christian faith. While no specific denominational affiliations are required, the Dean must be sympathetic to the Reformed tradition, willing to become a member of the Reformed Church in America, be able to accept the Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) as the only rule in faith and life, and affirm in good conscience that the Reformed Church in America Doctrinal Standards (the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of the Synod of Dort, and the Belhar Confession) are historic and faithful witnesses to the Word of God. We will also be looking for someone who fits with and is genuinely excited about advancing the particular identity and mission of our school as described above.

    In terms of personal qualities, the Dean must be trustworthy, hold themselves with courage and humility before God, and be able to lead, encourage, and supervise faculty and staff in a way that builds up our community of faith and scholarship.

    Academically, as the Dean will be a teaching member of and leader of the faculty, the Dean must be a strong scholar with an earned a Ph.D. or its equivalent in a field appropriate to the theological curriculum, have teaching experience at an academic institution, and have a record
    of scholarship in their field. Faculty rank and tenure status will be determined according to the selected candidate’s qualifications and experience.

    Given Western’s commitments to gender parity, women in ministry, and racial-ethnic hospitality and diversity, the Dean must be similarly committed.

    As far as administrative experience and capacities, the Dean must have a record of demonstrated administrative ability in some position and experience in or potential for educational administrative leadership and vision. Given that the contexts of theological education are undergoing great change, the Dean should be currently aware of or be interested in developing expertise in those contexts of theological education.

    Western Theological Seminary welcomes nominations for this position. Please direct inquiries, nominations, and applications to:

    Rayetta Perez
    Executive Assistant to the President 101 East 13th Street
    Holland, MI 49423 rayetta@westernsem.edu
    Applications should include a cover letter and a curriculum vitae, and will be received until December 7, 2015. Women and members of racial-ethnic minority groups are encouraged to apply.

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