PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH PROFILE March 2011

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1 PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH PROFILE March 2011 THE SEARCH The Board of Trustees and Search Committee at Lexington Theological Seminary (LTS) seek nominations and applications for President of the Seminary. During this time of transformation at LTS, the seminary is pursuing a President who brings vision, energy, and an entrepreneurial spirit to our innovative approach to the theological education of men and women preparing for congregational ministry. According to the LTS Constitution, the president must be a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. THE LTS MISSION The Seminary s mission is to prepare faithful leaders for the church, to be a theological resource for the church s life, and to be a center of continuing education for clergy and lay leaders. LTS prepares students through innovative instruction, flexible curriculum, congregational experience and compassionate engagement with the needs of society. The Seminary s academic program is online, competencybased, congregation-centered and developmental in its commitment to prepare people for leadership in congregational ministry. Consistent with the Disciples of Christ historic commitment to Christian unity, the Seminary is intentionally ecumenical in its worldview, its program and the composition of the student body, faculty, staff, trustees and partner congregations with attention to racial, sexual, and cultural inclusiveness in its community and curriculum. THE SCHOOL Founded in 1865, Lexington Theological Seminary is the pioneer theological school in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The school is located in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky where much of the Disciples early history occurred. Originally known as The College of the Bible, Lexington Theological Seminary has provided important leadership in theological education. The Seminary played a key role in the establishment of The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and

2 Canada, offered one of the first courses on the ecumenical church, and established the first chair of religious education and the first program in clinical pastoral training in the United States. Approaching its 150 th anniversary, LTS is once again a pioneer. The seminary has developed a revolutionary new model for theological education. Because it takes classes to the learner through online education, the seminary s curriculum can now engage students in an accountable ministry throughout their entire education as opposed to the occasional and partial engagement in ministry that characterizes conventional seminary education, including many online programs. As a result, students see immediately the relevance of what they learn in courses, can better integrate it into their emerging identity and practice as pastoral leaders, and can more easily make effective adaptations for their cultural communities. By blending an apprenticeship model of education using seasoned mentor pastors and highly flexible online instruction by excellent teacher-scholars in a competency-based curriculum, the seminary s new degree programs focus powerfully on vocational formation into the pastoral life spiritually, intellectually, and practically. THE LTS MODEL The creativity, imagination, and courage of the seminary s faculty has led to an innovative curricular model that abandons the traditional semester configuration with three-hour courses and offers a structure more suited to students from a wide variety of life situations. The model is highly adaptable to individual circumstances, providing as much flexibility as possible for students through the use of variable length courses. Students can move through the system at different speeds on different schedules, and are enabled to give particular attention to the areas in which they most need to develop as leaders. The model is especially valuable in providing persons who feel a call to ministry the ability to respond to that call while working and serving where they live. Early results demonstrate that the model has also dramatically increased the diversity of perspectives and conditions of life present in LTS classrooms, which has correspondingly enriched the depth of education students receive. LTS is completing its first year of a distinctive Master of Divinity program that integrates the intellectual, spiritual and practical elements of ministry; moves students through a competency-based curriculum; combines online and webinar short courses with intensive on-campus courses; forms students for the pastoral life, and is based in congregations. The new model utilizes distance learning and limited residency in a 76-hour M.Div. program and two 48-hour M.A. programs. The residency requirement of one-third of the total hours of the programs is fulfilled by short-term experiences in Lexington twice a year. In addition to the degree programs, a 21-hour Certificate in Pastoral Ministry has also been created that requires no residency experience. The D.Min. Degree will be revised in the next two years. All degrees certificates, continuing 2

3 education, and audits will draw upon the core of the M.Div. courses. The Association of Theological Schools has approved the model for the M.Div., M.A., and MA.P.S. degrees. Under this new approach, a significant portion of the educational experience is outside the coursework. Every student must participate in an accountable ministry in a congregation. Every student is required to have regular meetings with a mentor who is a seasoned pastor in the same geographic area as the student. Students also participate in Covenant Groups that are composed of eight to ten students, a faculty member, and a pastor. The groups meet online and invite students to explore their lives and ministry. A video presentation, created for the Board of Trustees, provides an overview of the rationale for the new program: These sample lectures illustrate one component of how the seminary is reaching students: https://edvance360.com/lextheo/media/user/412/course_title_competency_a rea.swf https://edvance360.com/lextheo/media/user/1/history_of_baptism_flash.swf AGENDA FOR THE FUTURE The Seminary is one year into this new model for educating the future leaders of the church. The focus of LTS over the last three years has been building a strong foundation for this new curriculum and establishing financial stability. The Seminary is looking ahead with great anticipation. The following are key areas that the new president and the LTS community must address: Mission/Vision. As LTS reshapes its approach to theological education to meet the changing needs of students and congregations, the Seminary must articulate its mission and vision to its own constituency groups as well as to a broader audience. Lexington s president should lead the discussion regarding the challenge of attracting students to the ministry as a vocation and how LTS makes this vocation more attractive by providing an excellent education experience while meeting the students where they are. The president can facilitate collaboration of LTS and the church in communicating an understanding and appreciation of the importance of congregational ministry. Financial Sustainability/Equilibrium. LTS must be vigilant in its fiscal management. The Seminary has been successful in reducing the annual draw on its endowment (approximately $20 million) to just over 6% for this fiscal year. However, sustaining a 5% endowment draw, expanding major gifts and bequests, and contemplating the feasibility of a future capital campaign are all essential for long-term equilibrium. LTS will continually evaluate its programs and activities to be a responsible Christian steward of its assets. 3

4 Institutional Support. LTS is fortunate to have some of the most loyal and generous alumni in the country. The Seminary needs to improve its infrastructure for enhanced communication with donors and expanded friend-raising and fundraising efforts. As the Seminary s reach is extended through its distance education model, a natural opportunity exists to broaden its constituency base. The role of the President is crucial to institutional advancement. Program Development. Surprisingly few significant problems have emerged in the early months of implementation. Information gained in the first six months of the new program would indicate that there is significant potential with the evolving model. Expectations are that leadership will continue to make adjustments that will make it viable for many years and will further enhance our distinctive degree and non-degree programs. Student Enrollment. Through further development of its distance education model, the Seminary has the potential to expand the student audience to those ministers without previous seminary education, to professionals in fields such as medicine and law who may be interested in individual classes or certificate programs, and to those in remote locations across the country, and eventually the world. Partnerships. LTS expects to pursue greater collaboration with other schools and seminaries, in order to diversify LTS programs, enhance enrollment, and introduce cost-effective benefits for multiple institutions. Visibility. LTS should strengthen its role as a leading ecumenical and Disciples of Christ institution by reconfirming its core values and pioneer role with the church to a broad audience. The Seminary should become more visible as a significant and contributing voice of the church. This will require targeted outreach by the president, expanded collaboration and presence within the denomination, churches, and the broader community. Diversity/Inclusiveness. The president will share the Seminary s commitment to become a more diverse and inclusive institution with regard to: the racial / ethnic / sexual orientation / gender composition of the faculty, staff, student body, and partner congregations; the emphasis of the curriculum; and the movement of the Seminary from a regional to a national and eventually, an international institution. Community-Building. Among the Seminary s greatest strengths has been its ability to engage all constituencies students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends in collaborative work toward its mission. The president will encourage and reward a collegial environment that ensures mutual professional respect and mentoring support at all levels. Intentional leadership will be provided by the president in addressing diversity in all areas of the Seminary community. 4

5 PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS The Lexington Theological Seminary search committee has identified desirable qualities needed for leadership at this particular time in the Seminary s history. In addition to being committed to the witness and mission of the Church and demonstrating leadership within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the next president of the Seminary should bring the abilities (in no priority order) to: Lead the school with inspiration and an entrepreneurial spirit; Articulate the LTS mission effectively and engage internal and external constituencies in the work of the Seminary; Demonstrate experience and success in fundraising and establishing a wellrun development operation; Exhibit knowledge of responsible fiscal management; Nurture collegiality through effective communication and mutual respect; Embrace and expand diversity at all levels race, gender, culture, theology; Think organizationally and ensure administrative accountability; Bring a track record of successful leadership in a professional organization or educational institution; Understand and appreciate practical ministry and its integration with theological education; Understand and support academic process; Bring common sense, integrity and a sense of humor to the work of the presidency. APPLICATION PROCEDURES Applications will be treated in confidence and should consist of a cover letter, a resume or curriculum vitae, and the names / contact information of three references. Materials received by May 10, 2011 will be assured of full consideration and should be addressed to Ms. Leslie Geoghegan, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and sent electronically (MS Word preferred) to: Lexington Theological Seminary is being assisted by: Dr. Patricia (Tobie) van der Vorm, Senior Consultant Academic Search, Inc. 202/ Please visit the seminary website at Candidates from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. Lexington Theological Seminary is an equal opportunity employer. 5

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