Positions at Luther Seminary

Administrative and Staff Positions

Administrative and Staff Positions

Staff Accountant
(3/10/2014)

The purpose of this position is: 

  • Monitor cash balances, forecast cash needs and report on sources and uses of cash
  • Perform monthly and quarterly closing processes  including balance sheet and income statement reconciliations
  • Prepare annual grant reports
  • Assist with annual audit requirements and ongoing financial reporting

I.      KEY RESULTS AREAS:

  1. Monitor cash balances, forecast cash needs and report on sources and uses of cash for cashflow purposes

  2. Perform monthly reconciliations and journal entries for operating, treasury, bookstore, petty cash and direct lending cash accounts.  Record journal entry transfers between cash and investment accounts as they occur.

  3. Maintain loan and notes payable agreements, perform monthly reconciliation of note payable and interest accounts as well as capitalized and operating leases.

  4. Perform monthly reconciliations and journal entries for investments, stock gifts, fixed assets, prepaids, accrued liabilities,and the amount due to the endowment

  5. Complete monthly payroll reconciliations and annual schedules for accrued vacation and wages.

  6. Perform quarterly reconciliations and journal entries for cash surrender of life insurance policies and funds held for others.

  7. Perform annual reconciliation of annuity and trust payable liabilities

  8. Prepare and file monthly sales tax as well as annual sales tax reports

  9. Maintain monthly electronic statements for cash and investment accounts

  10. Perform monthly reconciliation of gifts with Seminary Relations

  11. Produce management reports as needed

  12. Assist with preparation for the annual audit, prepare footnotes to the financial statements along with the supporting documentation

  13. Prepare annual grant financial reports and research questions as they arise.

  14. Assist with preparation of annual 1099's and 1098T's, perform electronic filing to IRS

  15. Perform daily tasks such as general ledger account creation and responding to financial inquiries

  16. Possibility of cross training to be to be able to perform payroll processing and accounts payable functions if necessary.

  17. Complete institutional research as necessary.

  18. Works closely with the Controller to meet their responsibilities which include the seminary's overall financial goals as reflected in growing net assets, improving reserve ratios (i.e. cash liquidity), identifying risks/opportunities and improving operational margins.

  19. Other duties as assigned.



II. JOB SPECIFICATION

A.Commitment to Luther Seminary's Mission and Vision.

B.Desired education and experience:
  1. Bachelor degree in accounting required CPA helpful

  2. Three to Five years general ledger and financial statement accounting experience


C.Desired knowledge, skills, and abilities:
  1. Knowledge of Microsoft office software including intermediate Excel skills

  2. Knowledge of Enterprise Planning Software, Jenzabar skills helpful

  3. Strong verbal and written communication skills

  4. Ability to accommodate competing priorities in work assignments and fulfill commitments in terms of both timeliness and substance

  5. Ability to work in an environment of change, seeking continuous improvement in all work processes

  6. Not for profit accounting knowledge helpful

  7. Knowledge of ELCA helpful

  8. Familiarity with other mainline Christian organizations also helpful.


Luther Seminary supports your success at work and in life and is committed to fostering diversity in its faculty, staff and students.

Come be a part of our engaging and innovative community!   Learn all about Luther Seminary at www.luthersem.edu.

To apply, please forward your resume and cover letter to employment@luthersem.edu.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.



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Vice President, Finance and Administration
(3/10/2014)

The Institution

Established in 1869, Luther Seminary is the largest seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the result of having consolidated six separate institutions through a series of mergers, the first in 1917, into a single seminary.  One of eight ELCA seminaries, Luther has educated one-third of ELCA pastors in addition to an increasing number of ELCA lay professionals, and leaders of many global Lutheran and ecumenical churches.  With a reputation of having a talented faculty in an innovative environment, Luther serves approximately 700 students, graduating about 150 each year in degree programs that include Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theology, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Ministry in addition to certificate, non-degree and special programs.  Approximately half of the student body is enrolled in the M.Div. degree program; 108 of those are pursuing that degree in a Distributed Learning environment.  The seminary also supports a Distributed Learning program for a Master of Arts degree in Children, Youth and Family Ministry.  The first M.Div. Distributed Learning Cohort graduated in 2012.  Nearly one-third of the student body represents 40 denominations outside the ELCA.  There are over 70 international students from 28 countries.

Luther Seminary educates leaders for Christian communities


       
  • called and sent by the Holy Spirit

  •    
  • to witness to salvation through Jesus Christ and

  •    
  • to serve in God's world


Luther Seminary has a budgeted income of $23M, nearly half of which is the result of gifts and grants from individuals, congregations, and foundations.  Approximately one-fifth of the budget is supported by tuition and fees, and the balance is drawn from the endowment, ELCA churchwide and synod support, and other sources.  The institution has a $75M endowment and a campus whose net asset value is approximately $25M. Luther Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The 2011-2012 update to Luther Seminary's strategic plan, "A Bold and Faithful Witness: Keeping the Promises of our Mission," launched in 2007, identified five goals for the institution:

       
  • Goal 1: Luther Seminary's graduates will be prepared to lead the church in apostolic mission.

       
  • Goal 2: Luther Seminary will attract and support people with the character, capacity, and commitment to accomplish the seminary's mission.


  •    
  • Goal 3: Luther Seminary will foster a culture that promotes our common mission.


  •    
  • Goal 4: Luther Seminary's resources, finances and facilities will be transformed to support the teaching, learning, and community that take place on campus and around the world.


  •    
  • Goal 5: Luther Seminary will be a responsive learning organization strengthened by a culture of assessment and accountability.


Recent History

In the fall of 2012, at the very end of the 3-day Fall Meeting of the Luther Seminary Boards (during which the financial "dashboard" used to portray the Seminary's health was presented as entirely "green"), the Directors and Trustees received the results of the Fiscal Year 2012 audit. It indicated a $4.1M operating loss for the year ending June 30 and an overdraft of the Endowment (for working capital) of $4M.

The VP for Finance and Administration tendered his resignation to the epically surprised and disappointed members of the Boards, who later agreed to accept the resignation of the CEO as well.  A group of financially literate members of the Boards then dug into the circumstance that had been regularly reported to them as sound, and even expansive, and discovered that the Seminary's accumulated operating losses of recent vintage amounted to $15M. These losses had exhausted the Seminary's cash reserves and precipitated a liquidity crisis which had been relieved by borrowing Endowment funds restricted for the support of operations in the accumulated amount (by December 2012) of $7M.
An Interim CFO was hired as of December 1, 2012, who determined that the Seminary was suffering a $5.7M structural deficit due to falling enrollments and tuition/auxiliary services revenues; rising costs of employment (Compensation and Benefits expense rose by a total of $2.3M in FY2012 and FY2013), and a growing deferred maintenance liability symptomized by emergency repairs of failing building systems and equipment. (Indeed, non-cash expenses for depreciation and abatement (of asbestos, etc.) were not reported to the community except by way of the audit.)

With the active participation of the Finance & Administration Committee of the Boards, a Turnaround Plan was formed to narrow the losses on presumptively stable revenues so as to break even in 42 months (in FY2017). New spending and contracting disciplines were instituted (to get control of the cash) and The Plan was designed to slow and eventually reverse the losses by expense reductions gentle enough to preserve the Seminary's ability to complete a curricular reform already underway and to use the marketing of it to regenerate enrollment growth.

Present State

Luther Seminary has outperformed its Turnaround Plan, largely on account of the remarkable responsiveness of its donors. In the final six months of FY2013, projected losses have been reduced from $4.5M to an actual $2.9M; $3.2M of the structural deficit was removed between January and June 2013; and the Seminary is projecting an operating loss at 6/30/14 of $860K as over and against a budgeted loss of $2.5M.

These successes have led the Seminary's chief creditor to expand its working capital bank line by $1.5M to $5M, none of which has been used as of mid-February 2014. Unexpected and unrestricted gifts in the amount of $1.7M have come to the Seminary so far in FY2014.

Having resolved to repay the Seminary's overdraft of the Endowment, and realizing that however able Luther was in restoring the Seminary to Financial Sustainability it could not expect to amortize the $7M owing to the Endowment from Operating surpluses, the Seminary convened a Property Development Task Force (from among Directors, Trustees, Administration and Village leaders) in the Spring of 2013. On February 8, 2014, the Directors of the Seminary approved the first of what is expected to be several projects intended to fit the 47.5 acre campus better to Luther's emerging enrollment profile (which favors distance and on-line learning with brief but regular on-campus residence). This first transaction is expected to yield in excess of $8M in proceeds.

However, Enrollment and Tuition revenues have continued to decline, and Luther does not expect to reach break-even until FY2019, 24 months after its original 42-month ambition. Hence, Luther is in the process of commissioning a Revenues Growth Task Force composed principally of entrepreneurial staff to broaden the Seminary's ecumenism, its Life Long Learning programs, its auxiliary services to both campus and community, and to hunt down and execute inter-institutional collaboration that will lower expense and increase productivity. (The leading promise here is in IT.)

Board Structure

Luther Seminary's governance structure includes a Board of Directors, charged with providing leadership in establishing policies and priorities, and a Board of Trustees, charged with providing key leadership in developing the financial support necessary to fulfill the seminary's mission.  The structure is unique in that both boards meet together, and committees of the Board of Directors are comprised of members of both boards.  The Board of Directors is comprised of 24 members, 16 of whom represent Regions 1 and 3 of the ELCA and eight of whom are appointed to the Board by the ELCA Church Council.  The Board of Trustees is a self-perpetuating board comprised of 12 members who are appointed by the Board of Directors.

The Position

The Vice President for Finance and Administration (Vice President) is the chief financial officer of the Seminary and reports to, and serves at the pleasure of, the President.  The Vice President provides leadership, oversight, and stewardship for all aspects of the Seminary's financial resources while ensuring absolute institutional integrity on fiscal and human resource matters.  The Vice President serves as a strategic advisor to the President and the Board of Directors and recommends financial and administrative objectives, policies, programs and practices that ensure a sound financial structure for the Seminary.  Together with the President and the Academic Dean, the Vice President is responsible for planning the operating and capital budgets and for developing a long-term sustainable economic model that ensures the viability of the Seminary.  As the Seminary's chief financial officer, she or he is responsible for the management of financial matters and for risk management and compliance with audit, legal, and donor requirements, IRS, federal and state regulations, and financial aid.   The Vice President controls the flow of cash through the organization and maintains the integrity of funds.  The Vice President works closely with the Vice President for Advancement and the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees to ensure the integrity of constraints on the acceptance and use of donor funds. 

The Vice President oversees Finance, Information Technology, and Facilities, including physical plant and public safety, bookstore and dining service through four direct reports: Controller, Director, Business Office; Senior Director, Technology; and Senior Director, Facilities and Auxiliary Services.

The Vice President is a member of the President's Cabinet and serves as liaison to the Finance and Audit and Investment Committees of the boards.  The Vice President also works closely with key faculty committees and supports and collaborates with the Academic Dean.  The Vice President actively participates in Seminary budget policy decisions while promoting fiscal accountability, and is a significant contributor to advancing the mission and strategic direction of the Seminary. 

Additional Specific Responsibilities

  • Creating and implementing a broad and compelling vision for Finance and Administration and assessing its effectiveness;

  • Providing continuous evaluation of short and long-term strategic financial objectives;

  • Producing budgets, forecasts and other financial statements and reports and presenting them to the President, the Board of Directors, the Board of Trustees and the Seminary community;

  • Providing leadership that fosters a collaborative, transparent culture both within and across teams within finance and administration and encourages innovative thinking at all levels;

  • Providing executive management with advice on the financial implications of business activities, the costs of strategic priorities, and options for funding strategies;

  • Working with Audit and Controller's office to ensure that effective accounting controls are in place and ensuring compliance with GAAP and applicable federal, state, and local regulatory laws and rules for financial and tax reporting; 

  • Working with Audit and Controller's office to foster collaborative relationships with auditors;

  • Working with the General Counsel to negotiate major contracts for the Seminary; reviewing and executing existing major contracts;

  • Working with other key Seminary leaders, ensuring effective strategies to address emergency planning and risk management;

  • Engaging collaboratively with Luther's community affairs leaders to work productively with the cities of St. Paul and Lauderdale and the neighborhood of St. Anthony Park in which Luther is situated;

  • Creating and sustaining an environment of service excellence and innovation.

Key Selection Criteria

The Seminary seeks a respected and collaborative leader who can connect a high level of competence with the mission of the school and who will be a strategic partner to the President, Cabinet, and Boards in leading the Seminary faithfully into the future at a time of re-adjustment and recalibration.   The Vice President, Finance and Administration, will have the ability to be innovative in the context of the changing landscape of theological education.  She or he will be an independent thinker with the courage to be a transparent truth teller and change agent.  At the same time, the Vice President must be a bridge builder and respectful listener, able to establish credibility with faculty, and demonstrating a track record of under-promising and over-delivering.

The Seminary seeks a respected leader in financial planning, forecasting, and analysis with experience in administration.  The new Vice President will be an able and experienced manager and leader capable of motivating diverse teams of employees across the range of areas within the Finance and Administration portfolio.  The Vice President will have the skills and talent needed to develop and execute plans to enhance the Seminary and to manage change within a complex environment.  Experience in managing debt, cost reduction, and administrative simplification that can be applied to a Seminary environment will be an advantage.

The Vice President will be committed to serving Luther Seminary's mission and promoting its vision and strategy.  She or he must be unquestionably committed to academic excellence.  The successful candidate for this position will view this position through the lens of a vocational commitment to help lead Luther Seminary into financial health and stability.

Among other specific characteristics, the Vice President will be:


  • An independent worker who collaborates well with the President, the senior leadership team, and the Boards;


  • Able to work with a diverse group of faculty, board members, and staff on complex resource allocation issues that divide opinion;


  • An open-minded, strategic, and creative thinker and a good listener, able to offer alternatives and consider diverse opinions while keeping the health and financial well-being of the Seminary the foremost priority;


  • An effective and clear communicator, both in written and spoken communications, who is able to succinctly and directly explain finances in non-financial terms to diverse internal and external audiences;


  • A skillful and talented financial executive able to develop and execute plans to enhance and grow the Seminary;


  • A skillful leader capable of managing change and taking intelligent risks in a complex environment;


  • A seasoned manager of people who is willing to roll up his or her sleeves.  An accessible leader and team builder who will support the professional growth of internal resources; promote innovative thinking about problems, opportunities, and situations at all levels within the organization; and foster a transparent culture which allows individuals to risk both failure and success.


Other important skills and competencies include:

  • At least ten years in progressively responsible financial leadership roles, with comprehensive budget and financial planning experience and responsibilities within a large, complex environment.

  • Strong business acumen is required. Experience in a higher education with accounting knowledge specific to non-profits is desirable but not required.


  • An understanding of complex financial instruments, awareness of market trends, and proven experience developing financial strategies that support strategic priorities.  Experience in the area of real estate would be a plus.  Solid negotiating skills.


  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, with a strong preference for a CPA or an advanced degree such as an MBA and/or CPA equivalent;


  • The ability to set challenging and attainable goals, set priorities, and work with and inspire others to high levels of creative performance, and to leverage ideas into action; able to lead and navigate in a time of change;


  • Good judgment in recognizing talent and assessing where improvements are needed; an open and creative approach to problem solving and a willingness to address issues across areas and without concerns for "turf";
  •  

  • Demonstrated ability to recruit, retain, and reward high quality staff;  an engaged and open management style that delegates authority, empowers staff, sets high expectations, and holds departmental colleagues accountable;


  • Promote transparency, integrity and high ethical standards within the institution;


  • Demonstrated commitment to building community and vigorously promoting equity and inclusion.



SEARCH TEAM AND CONTACT INFORMATION


Cynthia P. Barth, Managing Director
215-656-3578
cynthia.barth@divsearch.com

Kim M. Morrisson, Ph.D., Sr. Managing Director
(215) 656-3546
kim.morrisson@divsearch.com

Manuel A. Gongon, Jr., Principal
(215) 656-3588
manuel.gongon@divsearch.com

Deborah Lim, Executive Assistant
215-656-3573
deborah.lim@divsearch.com


Diversified Search
One Commerce Square
2005 Market Street, Suite 3300
Philadelphia, PA  19103
(215) 732-6666 (Main)
(215) 568-8399 (Fax)



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President
(10/28/2013)

Reports to: Board of Directors
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

The Institution

Established in 1869, Luther Seminary is the largest seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the result of having consolidated six separate institutions through a series of mergers, the first in 1917, into a single seminary.  One of eight ELCA seminaries, Luther has educated one-third of ELCA pastors in addition to an increasing number of ELCA lay professionals, and leaders of many global Lutheran and ecumenical churches.  With a reputation of having a talented faculty in an innovative environment, Luther serves approximately 700 students, graduating about 150 each year in degree programs that include Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theology, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Ministry in addition to certificate, non-degree and special programs.  Approximately half of the student body is enrolled in the M.Div. degree program; 108 of those are pursuing that degree in a Distributed Learning environment.  The seminary also supports a Distributed Learning program for a Master of Arts degree in Children, Youth and Family Ministry.  The first M.Div. Distributed Learning Cohort graduated in 2012.  Nearly one-third of the student body represents 40 denominations outside the ELCA.  There are over 70 international students from 28 countries.

Luther Seminary educates leaders for Christian communities

  • called and sent by the Holy Spirit
  • to witness to salvation through Jesus Christ and
  • to serve in God's world

Luther Seminary has a budgeted income of $23M, nearly half of which is the result of gifts and grants from individuals, congregations, and foundations.  Approximately one-fifth of the budget is supported by tuition and fees, and the balance is drawn from the endowment, ELCA churchwide and synod support, and other sources.  The institution has a $75M endowment and a campus whose net asset value is approximately $25M. Luther Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. 

The 2011-2012 update to Luther Seminary's strategic plan, "A Bold and Faithful Witness: Keeping the Promises of our Mission," launched in 2007, identified five goals for the institution:

  • Goal 1: Luther Seminary's graduates will be prepared to lead the church in apostolic mission.

  • Goal 2: Luther Seminary will attract and support people with the character, capacity, and commitment to accomplish the seminary's mission.

  • Goal 3: Luther Seminary will foster a culture that promotes our common mission.

  • Goal 4: Luther Seminary's resources, finances and facilities will be transformed to support the teaching, learning, and community that take place on campus and around the world.

  • Goal 5: Luther Seminary will be a responsive learning organization strengthened by a culture of assessment and accountability.


Present State

In the fall of 2012, facing a difficult combination of challenges that included deferred maintenance charges related to aging buildings, the costs of delivering a wide variety of educational programs, a nationwide drop in the number of students attending seminaries, and a decline in the total market value of its endowment in the down economy, Luther Seminary found that it had been running multimillion-dollar deficits, spending down its endowment and borrowing from an appropriate portion of it for operating purposes. To address the deficit and begin to pay back the monies borrowed from the endowment, Luther Seminary's board began to look at options to trim at least $4 million from the seminary's then $27 million annual budget.

Interim leadership has begun to put the seminary's financial house back in order.  In the first six months of 2013, the seminary met its goal of reducing expenses by $3.2M.    The seminary laid off 18 of its 130 staff; 11 of 48 faculty members left as a result of retirements or new calls at the end of the academic year; a master's program in sacred music was suspended; and the seminary stopped admitting new Ph.D. students for at least three years.    Donors have been loyal and extremely generous; total gift income regularly exceeds plan and often amounts to as much as $5M annually in unrestricted gifts.    A five-year budget projection developed in consultation with the Directors and Trustees is aimed at achieving financial sustainability within its planning horizon.

Based on the current situation and on the experience of other seminaries, Luther lowered enrollment projections for 2013-14 to an admissions goal of 103 new M.A./M.Div. students versus 132 in the fall of 2012.  These numbers include 30 new M.Div. students in the Distributed Learning program compared to 13 the previous fall. Placement of Luther's recent graduates is very strong. Of students seeking placement, 98 percent are placed, in serious conversations, or waiting for the final vote of a congregation.

There are several major initiatives underway regarding academics.  A Blue Ribbon Committee on Faculty Organization and Structure, comprised of six faculty members and one board member, was created by the board in May 2013 and charged with determining the optimal faculty organization and structure for Luther Seminary in both the short term and the long term.  The committee plans to have a report for the boards and faculty by December.

Leadership at the seminary has been rethinking the way that theological education is being delivered with the goal of continuing to maintain high quality education while creating a more efficient and flexible program.   An effort led by the faculty to redesign the curriculum has been underway for more than a year. Faculty members are working effectively and collaboratively to create a new, innovative model that will help redefine theological education.  The implementation team, made up of faculty, students and staff, is hard at work addressing all the implementation details of the new curriculum. The plan is to implement a new curriculum in the fall of 2014. The seminary also begins the process of self-study this year in preparation for an accreditation visit by a team from the Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commission in March 2015.

The seminary is looking for ways to generate additional revenue and minimize financial risks, including exploring the use of existing property.  Committed to keeping Luther Seminary at its present location in St. Anthony Park, a highly desirable area of St. Paul, the seminary is searching for ways to further leverage its valuable property and more effectively use the land in a manner that will benefit the seminary as well as the community. 


Board Structure

Luther Seminary's governance structure includes a Board of Directors, charged with providing leadership in establishing policies and priorities, and a Board of Trustees, charged with providing key leadership in developing the financial support necessary to fulfill the seminary's mission.  The structure is unique in that both boards meet together, and committees of the Board of Directors are comprised of members of both boards.  The Board of Directors is comprised of 24 members, 16 of whom represent Regions 1 and 3 of the ELCA and eight of whom are appointed to the Board by the ELCA Church Council.  The Board of Trustees is a self-perpetuating board comprised of 12 members who are appointed by the Board of Directors.


The Role of the President

The President of Luther Seminary will provide strong, strategic, visionary leadership to the Seminary in the fulfillment of its mission to educate public leaders for the 21st century church. The President is directly accountable to the Board of Directors.  Charged with overseeing the academic, administrative, and fiscal life of the Seminary, the President provides leadership for all of Luther Seminary's constituencies in promoting academic rigor, stewardship of resources, commitment to community, diversity, and the formation of leaders trained with a deep biblical and missional understanding to lead and serve in God's world.

The President must exercise vision and creativity in finding ways to articulate Luther Seminary's values and to ensure curriculum development that maintains the Seminary's academic strength.  S/he will play an active role in institutional advancement as it affects enrollment and fundraising and manages the annual budget.  The President will work closely with the Board on strategic issues facing the Seminary.  S/he will serve as principal ambassador to Luther Seminary's key external constituents including alumni, donors, and the congregational, synodical and churchwide expressions of the ELCA.  On matters affecting the administration of the Seminary, the President will work with key administrators through the mechanism of the President's Cabinet to implement the Seminary's vision. 

The new President must be prepared to lead the Seminary as it addresses challenges and develops new opportunities.  Key to such leadership will be the President's creation and implementation of a strategic framework for the long-term vitality and success of the Seminary, working collaboratively with the Board and critical Seminary constituencies.  Luther Seminary must also increase its financial capitalization and non-tuition revenue if it is to continue to be financially sustainable.  The new President will be expected to provide enthusiastic leadership and personal attention to generating operating and capital funds and to creating a business model that achieves the right mix of tuition and non-tuition revenue streams to assure appropriate ongoing surpluses for reinvestment capital and endowment growth.
 
Building upon Luther Seminary's strong existing foundation, the new President must provide leadership for a conscious, intentional process of change as the paradigm of success evolves in a theological education environment that is adapting and adjusting to new student, alumni, and missional needs and opportunities.  To be successful in this environment, Luther Seminary must effectively integrate mission, values, and strategy; must attract and educate a diverse student population; and must build essential intellectual and financial capital.  The skills needed will be those of a team builder who focuses consistently on the integration of mission and academics and on the flexible adaptation of the expression of the Seminary's mission to the realities of a changing time.

Finally, almost every assumption undergirding seminaries and the way that theological education has been delivered in the ELCA is being challenged.  Recognizing that seminaries need to develop new curricula, find new ways to relate to accreditors, and develop new business models that are distinctive to the field of seminary education, in August 2013, the ELCA Church Council authorized the formation of an advisory council to address in a holistic way issues on theological education, leadership development, candidacy, call and rostered leaders. The Council authorized the Theological Education Advisory Council to gather board chairs and presidents of ELCA seminaries, ELCA colleges and universities with embedded seminaries, a synod bishop from each seminary board and others to share counsel on priorities and strategic plans, current and new collaboration initiatives and degree program design innovations.  This taskforce has been asked to examine implications for leadership identification and preparation systems.  Within this context, Luther Seminary's next President must be prepared to lead the seminary's participation in a conversation about the future of theological education in which all the options are on the table.


Key Challenges and Opportunities

As Luther Seminary faces the future, the President will need to focus on several key priorities:

  • Engage this distinctively Lutheran institution in determining what is required to prepare public leaders for the 21st century church's increasingly diverse communities; in adapting the Seminary's culture and strategies to this mission; and in ensuring that the issues involved are clearly stated and openly discussed. 

  • Together with the Board and Cabinet, ensure that there is a sustainable financial model in place for Luther Seminary's future that balances an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to theological education with prudent fiscal management and stewardship in an environment of scarce resources.

  • Strengthen collegial and collaborative relationships with both internal constituencies at Luther and external constituencies across the ELCA.  Establish relationships with Luther Seminary's faculty, donors, board, staff, and students.  Position Luther Seminary as an important voice at the table in the ELCA's discussions about how theological education should be delivered in the future.  Together with the board, faculty and administrative leadership, begin to develop a shared vision of how Luther Seminary will continue to serve the church, leveraging the future potential of its new curriculum within the context of the Seminary's approach to missional work.

  • Assess, strengthen and empower the Seminary's senior administrative team (Cabinet), ensuring that its work is characterized by transparency, competence, collaboration and courage.


Key Selection Criteria

Luther Seminary seeks a transformational and action-oriented leader to lead the Seminary forward into and through a time of change. The successful candidate must embody the qualities of integrity, competence, compassion and faith essential to an institution committed to the formation of public leaders who will serve Christian communities.  S/he must possess a strong work ethic and an enthusiasm for building strong, long-lasting, and productive relationships that will advance the goals and mission of Luther Seminary and build the resources needed for the Seminary to attain its objectives.

The President will be an effective and politically astute communicator who will recognize the importance of building consensus and providing leadership on the basis of influence, credibility, respect, and listening skills.  As a leader and a team player, the President will recognize that results are accomplished through and with others.  In this context, s/he must work closely with the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees, the Cabinet, the faculty, staff, and the churchwide and synodical constituencies of the ELCA.

In recent history, Luther Seminary has been led by Presidents who have been both doctorally prepared and rostered ELCA clergy.  Given the changes that are occurring in theological education, the Board will entertain a broad array of skillsets that will provide the credibility and the leadership required in this time of change.   To that end, they will proactively consider candidates within the ELCA, as well as those who are members of full-communion partner denominations; candidates who are doctorally prepared but may not have an M.Div.; and candidates who have an M.Div. but may not be doctorally prepared.

Specifically the new President must demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • Commitment to ministry and mission -- The President will have discerned a Call to a life which fully embraces the central element of the Seminary's mission, "To educate leaders for Christian communities called and sent by the Holy Spirit to witness to salvation through Jesus Christ and to serve in God's world."  S/he will possess a deep regard for the theology and practices of the Reformation idea of Vocation.  S/he will bring a record of intentionality in building community, reflect and act theologically, possess intercultural competency, value diversity, and proactively communicate that to the Luther Seminary community.

  • Integrity -- Evidence of the personal and professional character essential to the leadership of a seminary of the ELCA. The President must be guided in thinking, in acting, in leading, in living, and in stewardship by a sensitivity to the values of Luther Seminary and by integrity in all business dealings.

  • Experienced and competent senior leadership - Demonstrated in settings that call for blending an unswerving commitment to mission, values, and ministry with an academic and business approach while serving as a catalyst for appropriate transformation.  The President should possess strong conceptual, strategic, communication, financial and business acumen; analytical and synthesizing skills; the ability to lead the Seminary through a process of continuous change; and the capacity to collaborate and facilitate as well to be decisive and to move from analysis to action.  S/he should recognize the importance of delegation and the use of appropriate accountability systems to introduce change and achieve results in a timely manner. 

  • Effectiveness in building strong, productive relationships that endure over time -- The ability to build constructive, leadership relationships with the Board, faculty, staff, students, alumni, supporters, the external community, and leaders of colleague institutions is critical; the capacity to coalesce key constituencies and to build mutual respect among those constituencies when decisions are needed that may not be universally affirmed will be vital to the President's effectiveness.  The ability to give strong professional leadership to building relationships that transform into significant tangible and financial support for the Seminary is essential.

  • Commitment to academic quality -- The President should provide evidence of appreciation for scholarly attributes, quality teaching, academic achievement, and a commitment to excellence in theological education.  S/he will champion and be an advocate for a faculty that is academically rigorous. Such a commitment may be reflected in academic experience that includes evidence of doctoral study.

  • Success in fundraising -- The President should have experience in and demonstrate appreciation for the importance of institutional advancement, fundraising, and other strategies for growth of non-tuition revenue that will enable the Seminary to achieve its goals. The President must have the ability to see and take advantage of opportunities.  S/he must be able to tell the Seminary's story and to create enthusiasm for the mission and vision of the Seminary among diverse constituencies.

  • Strategic Skills -- The President will be a forward-thinking, strategic leader who will bring energy, leadership and management skills, together with the capacity to organize and lead a planning process that is open, reflective, communicative, and continuous.  S/he must have the ability to delegate and the capacity to work collaboratively with and through others to clarify, prioritize, and implement a consistent organizational vision and strategy that will position Luther Seminary to respond proactively to an increasingly competitive theological education market.  The President must possess an entrepreneurial spirit and the capacity to take considered risks balanced by business acumen and pragmatism and accompanied by the ability to encourage active imagination among faculty, students, board and staff in thinking about the future.


Additional Personal Characteristics and Competencies

To be successful in this role, the new President must demonstrate:

  • A vocational commitment to follow Christ's admonition to supply to the world a life of meaning and purpose in service to the common good, and to illustrate in work and words the Lutheran understanding in which that life is grounded. Subscribes to the Lutheran Confessions, is diligent and faithful in the exercise of his/her vocation, and has a life and conduct that are above reproach.

  • Personal strengths of intelligence, confidence, persuasiveness and persistence.  The demonstrated ability to make unpopular decisions and to do what is right accompanied by firmness and capacity to withstand criticism.

  • The humility and capacity to put other priorities ahead of personal need for approval or deference.  Seeks out and values constructive criticism.

  • The ability to form, sustain, and deepen relationships of trust and mutual respect that are strong enough not to break when accountability is required or when hard decisions have to be made.  A genuine warmth and interest in others accompanied by the ability to listen carefully and the drive to understand others' points of view.

  • The willingness and discipline to do what the job requires in proportions that meet the needs of the institution, even when those tasks fall outside one's comfort zone.

  • A professional and personal demeanor that is open, trusting, consistent, and clear.

  • A leadership style that is approachable, accessible, relational, and inclusive.

  • A commitment to partnership and collaboration with internal and external constituencies.

  • A sense of optimism and a sense of humor.


SEARCH TEAM AND CONTACT INFORMATION


Cynthia P. Barth, Managing Director
215-656-3578
cynthia.barth@divsearch.com


Kim M. Morrisson, Ph.D., Sr. Managing Director
(215) 656-3546
kim.morrisson@divsearch.com


Manuel A. Gongon, Jr., Principal
(215) 656-3588
manuel.gongon@divsearch.com


Deborah Lim, Executive Assistant
215-656-3573
deborah.lim@divsearch.com



Diversified Search
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