Auburn Selects Vice President for Applied Research
By Auburn
July 01, 2014


After a thoughtful and deliberate process that spanned many months, Auburn Seminary is delighted to welcome the Rev. Dr. Christian Scharen as Vice President for Applied Research. Dr. Scharen will be joining us on September 1.

Chris comes to us from Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he is Assistant Professor of Worship, Director of Contextual Learning, and Director of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project, a national longitudinal study of theological education and ministry. He has also taught at the Yale Divinity School and at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and he served as senior pastor of a Lutheran congregation in New Britain, Connecticut. Chris holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University, the Graduate Theological Union, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, and Emory University, where he received his Ph.D. in the area of Ethics and Society, with a concentration in Religion and American Culture. Throughout his career, Chris has been guided by his deep commitment to social change through leadership development.

We were blessed with a candidate pool of remarkable individuals. Faced with difficult decisions at every stage of the selection process, we focused on identifying the best fit for Auburn at this moment in our history. In Chris Scharen, we believe we have found someone ideally suited to the task of steering Auburn to realize the research goals that lie at the heart of our strategic plan. With Chris’s leadership, Auburn will implement a research agenda that emphasizes contextualized, action-oriented research — research that explores today’s interconnected issues of religious leadership, religious communities and structures, and the implications these hold for theological education.

Auburn thanks the members of our extraordinary national search committee, with particular gratitude to Robert Reber for the skill and dedication he brought to the role of search committee chair.

We are indebted to Barbara Wheeler for her legacy of research leadership at Auburn over many years. Tony Ruger and Sharon Miller provided superb service as interim co-directors of the Center for the Study of Theological Education during this period of transition.

We look forward with excitement to this next era of research at Auburn, as we work together with our partners across the United States, and around the globe, to equip religious leaders to work for social change in order to help heal and repair our world.

To read our press release, click here