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Vice President for Applied Research
Announcement of Search for
Auburn, a seminary that equips leaders to bridge religious divides, build community, and pursue justice in our complex, multifaith, media-driven world, is launching a national search for a Vice President for Applied Research. The Vice President for Applied Research will chart a course for the future of research at Auburn in support of the theological education enterprise. S/he will shape and direct an action-oriented research agenda that continues Auburn’s tradition of renowned research while responding to the challenges and opportunities of the changing religious and cultural context in America and globally.
For almost 200 years, from its founding in upstate New York to its global presence today, Auburn has prepared religious leaders “hardy enough for the frontier.” Auburn’s early history was marked by a commitment to theological openness, educational excellence, and engagement in addressing the great social issues of the day: slavery, poverty, children’s rights, women’s suffrage, and the education of women and African-Americans. During the Great Depression, Auburn moved to New York City and reinvented itself, changing from a degree-granting institution to an innovator in continuing theological education and a pioneer in theological research. Today, Auburn’s mission embraces a broad range of religious traditions and expressions of faith. Its work is animated by the question of how to equip leaders with the skills and resilience needed to meet the challenges of a new moment – one that is multifaith, multiracial, and “majority minority,” and includes constituencies like “nones” and millennials.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for “a new architecture for a new world” that is “more Frank Gehry than formal Greek . . . a dynamic mix of materials and structures.” Auburn, too, is building a new architecture, both for itself as an institution and for the movement of which it is a part. Auburn’s theory of change focuses on the role of leadership in building a multifaith movement for justice. Through a dynamic mix of pedagogy, content, structure, and partnerships, Auburn targets, trains, and elevates leaders of faith and commitment, equipping men and women of moral courage with the skills and resolve needed to tackle and sustain the work required to create a just world.
Auburn’s vision: We claim the possibility and God’s promise of a world in which difference is celebrated, abundance is shared and people are hopeful, working together for a future that is better than today. Leaders of faith and moral courage are essential to catalyze and advance this new world through building multifaith movements for justice.
Auburn’s mission: We equip bold and resilient leaders of faith and moral courage to build congregations and communities, bridge divides, pursue justice and, in so doing, heal the world. A seminary with multifaith commitments and Christian roots, Auburn educates through innovative pedagogies and methodologies, public platforms and applied research.
Auburn works to realize this vision and mission through distinctive programs in, and collaborations among, the areas of research, education, media, and action.
As Auburn approaches its 200th anniversary in 2018, its strategic plan sets forth a blueprint for Auburn’s future: to equip religious leaders to work for social change in order to heal and repair the world. Building on decades of experience in bridging religious differences through education, Auburn is becoming a leadership development think/act tank that connects faith with the most pressing public issues of our time. To realize this goal, Auburn is shifting from an organizational structure in which research, education, media, and action take place in separate silos to one that recognizes the interdependence of its programs and activities.
As a key player in the strategic plan, research at Auburn is also undergoing a transformation. For twenty years, Auburn’s Center for the Study of Theological Education has focused on research and consulting to support the accredited seminaries and rabbinical schools of North America. This endowed center has become a trusted national authority on a range of issues facing theological education. Longitudinal research with the stakeholders of theological education — students, faculty, administration, trustees, and the public at large — has resulted in the publication of 27 studies and background reports about such issues as student debt, seminary finances, public perceptions of seminaries and religious leaders, the preparation of future faculty, and the leadership of theological schools. Going forward, with the leadership of the Vice President for Applied Research, Auburn’s research agenda will emphasize contextualized, action-oriented research that explores today’s interconnected issues of religious leadership (in both traditional and newer manifestations), religious communities and structures, and the implications these hold for theological education. This effort promises to transform Auburn, as well as influence the field of theological education.
The Vice President for Applied Research will be the principal architect of Auburn Research, establishing the strategic vision, priorities, and methodology of a research agenda that reflects Auburn’s mission and is responsive to the needs of the field. S/he will direct and carry out research that has an impact on the education of religious leaders both nationally and internationally. The Vice President for Applied Research will be a member of Auburn’s senior leadership team, and report to the Executive Vice President, with access to the President.
The Vice President for Applied Research will be expected to shape, direct, and carry out an action research agenda that:
• Identifies what educational substance and methodologies will best equip religious leaders to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse communities they serve;
Toward these ends, the Vice President for Applied Research will:
• Direct and engage in both independent and collaborative research, building research teams and engaging consultants when appropriate;
Auburn seeks in its Vice President for Applied Research a leader with a demonstrated record as a scholar and educator in the fields of theological education, sociology of religion, social science, or a related field. The ideal candidate will have:
• A Ph.D. and a substantial record of research that employs both qualitative and quantitative research techniques;
Auburn has formed a national search committee. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. The desired starting date for this position is July 1, 2014.
All inquiries, nominations and applications, including a resume and cover letter, should be directed in confidence to:
The Rev. John Vaughn
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