The Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee invite nominations for and expressions of interest in the position of President of Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Lancaster Theological Seminary is an inclusive, ecumenical community of faith and learning. It is one of six seminaries associated with the United Church of Christ, a progressive denomination committed to a just world for all. Lancaster Theological Seminary is known for academic excellence, celebration of differences across Christian faith traditions, and creative engagement on issues important to our world. At any one time, Lancaster Seminary’s student body may represent 20 or more different denominations as well as individuals without denominational affiliation.
Presidential Search Committee Members
Chair of the Presidential Search Committee
The Rev. Dr. Monica Dawkins-Smith, MDiv 2007, DMin 2016 Trustee and Alumni Representative
Ms. Rebekah Burch Basinger — Trustee
Dr. Greg Carey — Professor of New Testament, Faculty
The Rev. Ken Daniel — Trustee
Mr. Jon Gruber, Esq. — Community Member
Ms. Patricia Hopson-Shelton — Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees
The Rev. Dr. Vanessa Lovelace — VP of Academic Affairs, Dean, and Assoc. Prof. of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Staff, Faculty
Dr. Francine McNairy-Nelson — Trustee
The Rev. Freeman Palmer — Trustee, UCC Conference Minister
Ms. Jennifer Weitzel — Moderator of the Seminarian Community Council, Student representative
The Leadership Opportunity
The next President of Lancaster Theological Seminary will be called to build upon the Seminary’s long and proud tradition of educating leaders for church and society in a setting that is multi-denominational, inclusive and academically excellent during a remarkable time of uncertainty and change for all of theological education. The LTS community looks forward to working with the new President to address simultaneously a number of opportunities and challenges that include the following:
Shaping a Vision for the Future
The changing landscape for theological education is well known and widely documented. Leadership needs and expectations of the Church are changing, new avenues for ministry and service are emerging, and a new, more diverse generation of students is enrolling. Given these (and other) changes, the new President will be expected to work with the LTS community in shaping a vision for the future that will energize and focus the mission and role of LTS.
Developing a Strategic Plan
While vision and mission naturally focus on the “where” and “why” of the Seminary’s future, a strong, community-based planning process is needed to address the “how” of Lancaster’s work. The issues are many, and range from marketing and student recruitment, to curricular focus and emphasis, modes of instruction, and placement of graduates. The next President will have the opportunity to work closely with a talented and committed Board, faculty, and staff in developing this important blueprint for the future.
Continuing the Focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
LTS is deeply committed to becoming a more diverse community that is marked by equity and inclusion. LTS’s student body is now more diverse than the Seminary’s faculty and staff, so the new President will be expected to provide leadership as LTS works to become a more fully inclusive community that welcomes and celebrates the rich and increasing diversity of the human family.
Moving Toward a Stable Financial Model
Financial uncertainty seemingly is a way of life for independent theological seminaries like LTS. In part because of the generous gifts (mentioned at right), Lancaster has done relatively well in adjusting and balancing operating budgets. Even so, with the Seminary’s financial future marked by uncertainty, developing a sustainable financial model is a high priority as a medium-to-longer-range objective for the new President and new administration.
Increasing Philanthropic Support
Lancaster has benefitted in recent years from the generosity of many, including a few very large contributions that support the current budget and that have helped the Seminary absorb the impact of smaller enrollments. Some of these multiyear gifts will be completed soon so the new administration will face the challenge of moving quickly to identify and secure new philanthropic support for LTS operations and programs.
Completing a Campus Redevelopment Plan
The LTS community is understandably proud of and feels a strong attachment to the Seminary’s historic campus. At the same time, smaller enrollments, more online education, and the increasing costs of aging buildings have raised questions about the future use of the campus. The next administration will have the opportunity to address this sensitive and important issue.
Building Enrollment by Strengthening Marketing & Recruitment
As is true of nearly all seminaries, LTS’s enrollment has decreased in recent years, and has shifted from the weekday toward the weekend MDiv program. These changes have put pressure on Seminary finances, and, at the same time, increased faculty and administrative workload. They underscore the importance of a clear strategy and effective programs for marketing and student recruiting, and the importance of having a new President who will engage with and support these efforts.
Continuing the Focus on Students
LTS stands out as a student-centered institution. Faculty, staff and board members speak with care and pride about students and alumni. Students often choose LTS, and speak highly of their experiences here, because of the close, supportive and mentoring relationships that shape their Seminary education. Students strongly express the hope that the new President will continue and advance this tradition and find joy both in knowing and being known by students.
Building Community on Campus & Beyond
A close and supportive sense of community has long been a hallmark and strength of LTS. However, recent years of financial stress, changes in leadership, and uncertainty about the future have taken a toll. The Seminary community will look to our new President as a campus community builder for students, faculty and staff. The President also will be expected to build effective relationships with the greater Lancaster community, the region, and, very importantly, the United Church of Christ.
Applications & Nominations
Lancaster Theological Seminary has retained AGB Search to assist in the recruitment of its new President. Potential candidates are encouraged to contact Executive Search Consultant Dr. Loren Anderson at email@example.com.
Submit Application & Nomination Materials Electronically
- Application and nomination materials should be submitted electronically to LTSPresident@agbsearch.com
- To receive full consideration, application materials should be submitted no later than January 6, 2021.
- All candidate names and information will remain strictly confidential until the search process reaches the final interview stage.
Application Materials Must Include:
- A letter of interest, which responds directly to the leadership opportunity and the desired leadership characteristics listed in the Search Profile,
- A curriculum vitae, and
- The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of five professional references (please indicate your relationship with each). No references will be contacted without prior permission granted by the candidate.
November 5, 2020
TO: The Lancaster Theological Seminary Community
FROM: The Rev. Dr. Monica Dawkins-Smith, Chair, Presidential Search
UPDATE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH
November 5, 2020
I am writing to you to provide an update on the Presidential Search process. The Presidential Search Committee met Friday, Oct. 23, to review and approve the search profile that will guide our Presidential search. It was prepared by our consultant from AGB Search and LTS and informed by the listening sessions AGB Search Consultant Dr. Loren Anderson conducted with members of the campus community. Thank you to everyone who participated in those sessions.
The search profile will be available online on the LTS website when we officially launch our search tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 6. The Search Committee urges you to review the profile and to reflect on the leadership opportunities and the desired characteristics for leadership described in the profile. We encourage you to suggest the names of those who might serve effectively as our new President, or others who might know of potential candidates. Please email the name(s) and contact information for potential candidates and/or nominators to LTSPresident@agbsearch.com. You may also refer names directly to our search consultant Dr. Loren Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The success of our search depends on building a strong and diverse pool of able and interested candidates, and your suggestions and nominations are a key part of that effort.
During November and December, we will generate a candidate pool through nominations received from you, educational and church leaders across the country, a national program of targeted advertisements, and from the work of our consultant. In December, the Search Committee will begin to review applications. In early January, the Search Committee will narrow the candidate pool in preparation for preliminary interviews. Campus interviews are anticipated by late February or early March.
The search is off to a strong start! I will send an update following the next Search Committee meeting in early December. Thank you, in advance, for your help in identifying candidates for our next President and participating in the process.
September 29, 2020
TO: The Lancaster Theological Seminary Community
FROM: Brian R. Bodager, Chair, Board of Trustees
UPDATE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH
September 29, 2020
I am pleased to provide you with this update on the search process for the selection of Lancaster Theological Seminary’s 13th president. We have engaged AGB Search to help us and a Presidential Search Committee has been formed, chaired by the Reverend Dr. Monica Dawkins-Smith, a trustee and alumna (MDiv 2007, DMin 2016). Click here to see the members of the Search Committee.
The Rev. Dr. Dawkins-Smith will be sending you a progress update after each meeting of the Search Committee. At its Sept. 23, 2020 meeting, the Search Committee reviewed the Charge to the Committee, adopted a schedule and timetable for the search, and discussed the search profile that will guide the search. That profile will include a statement of the leadership opportunities offered by the Seminary, as well as the leadership attributes and experience qualifications that will describe the successful candidate.
The weeks immediately ahead will be focused on completing the search profile. As a part of that process, our AGB Search consultant, Dr. Loren Anderson, will be hosting a series of virtual listening sessions for members of the campus community during the week of October 5 as well as providing an online survey. A detailed schedule for those events is currently being prepared.
The search will officially launch in early November. During November and December, we will focus on building the candidate pool. The Search Committee expects to conduct a round of initial interviews in early February, and to invite finalists for campus interviews in late February.
The Search Committee is well aware that our search will be strengthened by the involvement and support of our Lancaster Seminary community. We welcome your input. When the search goes public in November, we hope that you will review the search profile, and forward the names of potential candidates to our AGB Search consultant, Dr. Loren Anderson, at email@example.com.
Look for the next update from Rev. Dr. Dawkins-Smith following the October 23 Search Committee meeting. Thank you in advance for your support and your engagement in this important process.
Brian R. Bodager
Vision – Mission – Values
The Seminary’s collective aspiration:
As a Christ-centered community, we empower
individuals, leaders, communities, and churches
to thrive as we engage the emerging needs of God’s world.
The Seminary is guided by the inspiring vision:
Lancaster Theological Seminary is where
God transforms us to transform others and the world.
The Seminary’s mission is:
To educate and nurture leaders to join in
God’s liberating and redemptive work
so that all creation may flourish.
As a Christian seminary:
We value critical theological reflection in scholarship and practice.
We value diversity of perspectives and faith traditions.
We value students for who they are and who they are becoming, not just for what they know.
We value social justice.
We value faithful stewardship of time, talent, and resources.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education – reaffirmed accreditation for a 10-year period ending in 2024.
The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada The Commission on Accrediting reaffirmed accreditation for 10 years until 2024 for MDiv, MA in Religion, MA in Ministry & Leadership, DMin.
Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania / Division of Graduate and Professional Programs.
U.S. Department of Justice approval for enrollment of non-immigrant international students under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
Pennsylvania State Approving Agency (Division of Veterans & Military Education) approval for Veteran Education.
University Senate of The United Methodist Church.