ABOUT BRITE DIVINITY SCHOOL
Brite Divinity School is one of the premier progressive institutions in graduate theological education. Located on the Texas Christian University Campus in Fort Worth, Texas, Brite Divinity School prepares leaders by focusing on excellent scholarship, pastoral training, and spiritual development through distinctive academic programs.
The faculty is composed of distinguished teacher-scholars who are leaders in the academy, the Church, and public life. In addition to academics, Brite provides comprehensive training and mentorship for ministerial candidates to preach, teach, and shepherd congregations, and it continues to offer educational programs and resources to clergy throughout their careers. Brite also prepares students pursuing vocations in related fields, such as hospital and military chaplaincies and non-profit leadership.
Brite Divinity School reports biennially to the Plenary Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest. It is a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Council on Theological Education of the Higher Education and Leadership Ministries.
Search Committee Members
- Monica Bradley, Staff
- Charles Johnson, Trustee
- Virzola Law, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
- Janet Long, Trustee
- Barbara McClure, Faculty
- Stuart McDonald, Chair, Board of Trustees
- Lance Pape, Faculty
ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT OF BRITE DIVINITY SCHOOL
The President is the executive leader of Brite Divinity School and reports to the Board of Trustees. Reporting to the President are the Executive Vice President and Dean and Chief Academic Officer, Vice President for Advancement, Vice President of Business and Finance, and Director of The Soul Repair Center. The President will be expected to lead with inspirational vision, discernment, empathy, and a sense of determination and purpose to ensure Brite's impact as a provider of the highest quality theological education. The President will be dedicated to the mission of Brite and lead with the integral purposes that Brite remain strong and its future promising.
In close collaboration with the senior leadership team, the President will have overall strategic, financial, and operational responsibility for Brite. The President will enhance the existing institutional strengths and foster new initiatives to continue to attract a diverse community of outstanding students, faculty, and staff, while developing effective programs to support their retention and success. The President will work closely with the Board of Trustees, fostering strong relationships and a collaborative approach between the Board members, the faculty, staff, and the Brite community.
The next President of Brite will join a community passionate about, and dedicated to, Brite and its distinctive place of service and preparation in the world of progressive theological education. Excellent programs designed to prepare students for Christian service led by distinguished faculty and staff, the strong relationship between Brite and Texas Christian University (TCU), Brite's location on TCU's campus, access to the Dallas/Fort Worth community, the institution's sound financial health, and the deep sense of purpose and relevance, are all sources of enormous pride for Brite Divinity School.
AGENDA FOR LEADERSHIP FOR BRITE’S NEXT PRESIDENT
Brite Divinity School is in the midst of vital transformation, and the new President will guide the Brite community as it further defines its goals and aspirations so that Brite can continue to thrive as a beacon of progressive theological education in today's world. Brite's integrated core values will help guide and shape the evolution and growth of Brite: Scholarship that engages churches, the academy, and public life; Justice that enhances diversity, flourishing and wholeness; and Practice that enlivens intellectual, spiritual, and professional growth. Among the most important priorities for the next President are:
Demonstrating Transformational Leadership, Vision, and Ambitious Strategic Planning
This is a unique moment in Brite's history; Brite is in the process of redefining its approach to graduate theological education, in terms of the scope of programming, the way in which programs are delivered, and ultimately, expanding the definition of how theological training can be applied in a variety of fields of service beyond traditional church pulpits. The President will be a courageous and transformative leader who will help set a vision for Brite that will propel it forward with distinction and relevance into the coming years. The President will enact an ambitious long-range strategic plan, crafted in consultation with the Brite community, and guide Brite's evolution. The new President will be creative and willing to take calculated risks while being anticipatory and proactive in the changing landscape of theological education.
Growing Enrollment, Restructuring the Curriculum, and Modernizing Instructional Modalities
The next President will be student-centric and understand the needs of current and future divinity students. As has occurred in many theological schools, Brite has been challenged by reduced enrollments in recent years. The next President will ensure enrollment growth at Brite, and therefore, will have a firm understanding of enrollment management strategies and the ever-growing challenges surrounding recruitment at divinity schools and seminaries across the nation. In partnership with Brite's Dean and faculty, the next President will oversee a curricular revisioning and the development of inspiring new programs to reach new markets that are mission consistent. Additionally, the President will lead Brite as it builds the technological infrastructure to meet the pressing imperative of offering programs in hybrid and/or virtual ways, in addition to traditional, in-person instruction.
Enhancing Fundraising and Building Financial Capacity
As Brite's chief fundraiser and ambassador, the next President will spend a significant percentage of time on fundraising and "friend raising" to help ensure that Brite has the resources needed to evolve and thrive in pursuit of its many goals. The next President will be expected to lead a campaign of significance, embracing the many individuals, churches, and other organizations that support Brite currently, as well as engaging new donors and partners. With a strong endowment, Brite enjoys financial strength and has a history of careful fiscal management that has served it well over the years. The President must be a strong financial manager, knowledgeable about academic business models, keenly aware of the broader theological education landscape, innovative in forging new revenue streams, and capable of adjusting the business plan to improve Brite's financial security. An ongoing commitment to building the endowment will help Brite thrive in the current climate.
Building Community and Investing in People
The next President will be a visible and engaging presence on and off campus. The ability to collaborate, unify, and instill confidence in all constituents, including students, faculty, staff, administrators, Trustees, alumni, and Church and community partners, will be crucial. The President will model shared governance and employ inclusive and transparent methods in decision making and information sharing. The President will also think strategically about resources and building capacity to invest in faculty and staff in meaningful ways through competitive compensation and opportunities for professional development.
Advocating for Social Justice and Empowering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts
As the leader of Brite's distinctive, progressive, and intentionally diverse community, the next President will be uncompromisingly committed to attracting and fostering an inclusive and culturally competent community that will engage and uplift all types of diversity. The President will lead Brite as it seeks to ensure social justice remains a priority. The President will foster excellent and transformative experiences and outcomes in an inclusive community, where students, faculty, and staff alike can thrive and find meaningful belonging. The President will lead by example by actively inviting dialogue, listening, cultivating a growth mindset, respecting those with different viewpoints, being informed by data, and understanding that the work is ongoing, collaborative, organic, and ever evolving.
Raising Brite Divinity School’s Profile Nationally and Internationally
The next President of Brite must be able to communicate the uniqueness and value of Brite Divinity School as a destination for progressive theological education. The President will ensure that Brite's public perception and profile will inspire and continue to attract students, faculty, and staff of the highest caliber. With an excellent foundation on which to build, Brite is eager to, and deserves to, have its reputation better known nationally and internationally. Brite's next President will be a thought leader in theological education and will find ways to shine a light on Brite by contributing to important conversations about the evolving nature of theological education, the impact of the Church, and God's role in humanity's quest for meaning.
Engaging Deeply in Contemporary Issues Related to the Christian Church and Ecumenical Ministry
Brite's next President will be deeply engaged in connecting with myriad Church communities in Texas, the Southwest, the nation, and the world. Brite is one of seven seminaries or divinity houses in the United States that are in covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Brite's next President will be deeply engaged in the meaning and work of the Church, in all its forms, as it relates to the Church today, including an ecumenical approach, deep commitment to social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, and a conviction for the need for progressive theology. The President will have a strong desire to engage and lead within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) community. The President will be Brite's chief representative in the arenas of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Council on Theological Education and Leadership Ministries and the Plenary Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest.
Fostering External Partnerships in Meaningful Ways
The President will be eager to work closely with the Brite, TCU, Dallas/Fort Worth communities, and Church communities, and to provide leadership to ensure the well-being of these entities, recognizing the symbiotic relationship between them. The President will continue to strengthen Brite's long affiliation with TCU and seek to build deeper relationships between the two institutions, both programmatically and administratively. Additionally, the President will actively seek, evaluate, and pursue new partnerships that broaden Brite's impact. The President will foster partnerships and collaborations with churches, community-based organizations, foundations, businesses, governments, non-profits, and other institutions in the region and beyond.
Guiding Brite Through Challenging Times
These are complex and evolving times in theological education, in the Church, and in the world. The President of Brite must be highly attuned to the challenges facing seminaries and divinity schools, the changing nature of the Church and ministry to congregations, and the ways a divinity school can provide meaningful and relevant programs to help serve God and humanity in a world fraught with tensions. The President must be able and willing to lead Brite as it takes a stand for social justice, equity, and diversity in its many forms. The President will be a wise, consultative, and astute leader, as well as an eloquent and compassionate communicator, especially during times of crisis. The President must be able to navigate these challenges, seek counsel when needed, keep a keen eye on the fiscal health of the institution, and serve as an exemplary leader under pressure.
DESIRED ATTRIBUTES FOR BRITE’S NEXT PRESIDENT
Brite Divinity School seeks a President who will embrace its distinctive mission, be a passionate leader in theological education, embody a courageous and entrepreneurial spirit, demonstrate the depth and breadth of knowledge needed to successfully shape a contemporary seminary/divinity school, and consult with and lead Brite's community with conviction and enthusiasm. The President will possess significant administrative experience, strong fiscal stewardship experience, and the ability to attract added resources and collaborative partners to Brite. The candidate of choice will be a servant leader with a highly relational approach, outstanding communications skills, humility, authenticity, self-confidence, integrity of the highest order, a strong work ethic, and a clear understanding of graduate theological education and the Church. While the Presidential Search Committee is eager to consider many possible pathways to the Brite presidency, candidates possessing a terminal degree will be preferred. Given Brite's long-abiding connection to The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), membership in The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination is preferred but not required.
The candidate of choice will be:
A faithful person and spiritual leader, committed to God, ecumenical Christianity, progressive theology, and the Church;
A strategic, creative, and visionary leader and systematic planner with a proven ability to develop a shared vision, articulate a clear and sustainable plan, implement the plan, and unify constituents behind it;
An entrepreneurial leader who can envision a transformed Brite Divinity School that honors its heritage while swiftly evolving to attract and meet the requirements of contemporary divinity students and Christian ministry;
Deeply committed to building a community that celebrates diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice;
Skilled in leading an organization through a time of significant change;
An outstanding communicator able to listen carefully, navigate varying political perspectives, and synthesize ideas shared by members of the Brite community, as well as to speak boldly and eloquently about Brite to a wide range of constituencies;
A gifted ambassador and fundraiser with experience finding traditional and non-traditional sources of funding, including but not limited to individuals, churches, foundations, corporations, and government sources;
Technologically savvy with a fluent understanding of pedagogical strategies and programming, including technological approaches to program delivery;
A genuine, enthusiastic, and highly visible leader who is interested in interacting with the various members of the Brite community and participating in the intellectual, spiritual, and social lives of the students, faculty, and staff;
A forthright, balanced, accessible, and committed supporter of the principles of shared governance, transparency, and inclusive decision-making;
A strong manager with the capacity to make timely, and sometimes difficult, decisions, to communicate those decisions with clarity and care, and to stress accountability;
And an energetic, optimistic, authentic, relational, compassionate, and ambitious individual with good humor who will provide respected, long-term leadership for Brite.
Presidential Search Profile
NOMINATION AND APPLICATION PROCESS
Nominations and applications should be submitted electronically as soon as possible. The Brite Divinity School Presidential Search Committee will begin to evaluate applications in July 2023. Although applications will be welcomed until the time that a new President is selected, candidates should submit materials no later than August 15, 2023, to ensure fullest consideration. The new President is expected to begin serving in early 2024.
Applications should include a letter of candidacy that responds to the agenda for leadership and the desired attributes for the President and a complete resume or vita. All application materials will be considered in full confidence. Please send all nominations, inquiries, and applications, electronically to:
Julie E. Tea, Managing Director
Julie Williams-Krishnan, Senior Associate
Kate Phillips, Senior Associate
Presidential Search Campus Update - June 23, 2023View Resource
Presidential Search Campus Update - July 28, 2023View Resource
Brite Divinity School is committed to providing a positive learning and working environment free from discrimination and harassment. TCU prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment and sexual violence), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ethnic origin, disability, genetic information, covered veteran status and any other basis protected by law, in the University's programs and activities as required by Title IX, Title VII, The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other applicable laws and regulations.