New York, New York (Morningside Heights, West Harlem)
In 1836, a small group of lay people and ministers, feeling “deeply impressed by the claims of the world upon the church,” came together to found Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (Union). Today, Union lives out this call to service by training people of all faiths and none who are called to the work of social justice in the world. Union students are dedicated to an integrated journey of intellect, spirit, and community to discover and define the faith and values that will sustain their vocation. Pastor, community leader, professor, performer, doctor, lawyer, educator, artist – whatever it may be.
The city of New York, far from serving as a backdrop, gives students direct access to the flux and flurry of the complex interactions and struggles present in urban contexts. Union's founders placed the seminary in New York specifically because “large cities furnish many peculiar facilities and advantages for conducting theological education.” In the mid-1800s, this meant that just outside the doors of the seminary students encountered a microcosm of the nation's most pressing issues: an influx of immigration, a disturbing rise in poverty, and racial unrest in the aftermath of abolition. Though present in new forms, Union continues to face these same challenges.
Union's ecumenical and interfaith commitment grows deeper every year. Union students seek to address not only the questions facing Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, but also the questions facing the entire world as it becomes more global, international, and secular. Informed by the insights of liberation theologians and scholars who belong to more than one faith tradition, the seminary embraces the richness and realities of religious pluralism and seeks to amplify the bold voices of the historically silenced in a world of increasing inequality. Union aspires to provide an education that is foundational, interreligious, boundary-crossing, world-changing, counter-cultural, and communal.
Union is in an advantageous position with stable senior leadership, an engaged board, high faculty morale, strong finances, a dynamic and increasingly diverse student body, and expanding academic programs. Consistent with its strategic plan approved in 2014 and after four years of facilities planning, Union is poised to embark on execution of a campus master plan that will renovate the entire campus, making it accessible and green; addressing affordable housing needs in the Morningside Heights neighborhood; modernizing student dorms; creating new faculty housing, as well as private residences that will provide significant funding for campus repairs; and building modern, “smart” classrooms. At the center of the strategic plan is a commitment to providing ever-greater economic access to a Union degree and to expanding even further its social justice, inter-religious, church-engaged, globally active, and intellectually rigorous education. New academic programs include master of divinity tracks in Islam, Social Justice, and Interreligious Engagement; and Socially Engaged Buddhism and Interreligious Engagement; and the doctor of ministry program in Supervisory Spiritual Care Education that aims to enhance the practice of ministry among spiritual care practitioners serving in multicultural and interreligious health care contexts, which is the first new Union degree in many years and the first program of its kind in the nation. Union also recently began an affiliation with Episcopal Divinity School, allowing the school to continue as an Episcopal seminary through collaboration with Union at its campus in New York City beginning in fall 2018. In collaboration with its many stakeholders and community partners, Union is taking innovative steps to ensure its continued excellence well into the future through a reinvigorated campus and robust, accessible academic programs.
While the changing landscape and demographics of theological and higher education have been particularly challenging for most seminaries, Union has continued to thrive because of its commitment to progressive theology and visioning, serving an interfaith population, providing an integrated balance of ministerial and social justice-oriented programming, focusing on innovation, leveraging the unique opportunities presented by its New York City location, and championing diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Amid this positive backdrop of institutional strength and programmatic expansion, Union seeks candidates for the role of Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid (Vice President). The position has been newly elevated from its prior director-level status to reflect the prominence of these functions in realizing Union's goals. The Vice President provides administrative management oversight of admissions and financial aid processes, and a strategic vision to enroll outstanding students. The Vice President is responsible for developing an admissions and financial aid program built upon quantitative analysis, strategic decision-making, and an ethos of continuous improvement, while fostering a culture that emphasizes strong personal relationships, a high-touch, customer-service approach, communication and transparency, entrepreneurism, flexibility, and collaboration. The Vice President reports dually to the president and executive vice president, is a key member of the seminary's leadership team, and supervises one full-time staff member and approximately four to seven part-time, student/alumni staff. The Vice President will be empowered to optimize the organizational design/functional alignment of the team in consultation with the president and executive vice president, based on a clearly defined admissions and financial aid strategy developed by the Vice President, and on the understanding that additional capacity and/or redirected effort may be necessary to achieve the goals thereof.
Required qualifications and experience: genuine passion for and alignment with the educational mission of Union Theological Seminary; bachelor's degree required, master's-level theological degree preferred; proven track record of success and at least five years of leadership experience in admissions and financial aid; experience within an institution of theological education would be preferred, although experience in other mission-driven, progressive academic institutions would be welcomed; experience in other areas of student services will be considered, provided that it incorporates scalable, high-touch, personal relationship building, and a strong customer-service focus; holistic view of the connections among the areas of admissions, financial aid, academic affairs, and student life; proven experience in providing leadership, oversight, and strategic direction; experience leading change and fostering collaboration and a sense of shared purpose across units and functional areas; seasoned manager of people who is able to lead and support a diverse administrative team and is willing to roll up her/his sleeves; experience nurturing and motivating volunteers in building an effective admissions and financial aid program; high aptitude in managing and analyzing numerical data to inform strategic and tactical plans for admissions and financial aid; sophisticated understanding of technology that can achieve efficiencies in admissions and financial aid processes, including the strategic use of digital communications and social media to advance marketing strategies; demonstrated commitment to and knowledge about diversity, equity, and inclusion as critical components of academic excellence and student success.
Union Theological Seminary has retained Diversified Search to assist in this confidential search processes. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:
Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174