Opportunity Profile: NPTS President and Dean

CHICAGO, IL (January 19, 2010) – Following is the text of the Opportunity Profile for the position as president and dean of North Park Theological Seminary.

Opportunity Profile
Seminary President and Dean

The Board of Trustees of North Park University (NPU) and the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) announce the search for the next President and Dean of North Park Theological Seminary (NPTS).

The search is being conducted in response to Dr. John (Jay) E. Phelan’s decision to conclude his service following 14 years in this role and to transition to a faculty appointment in the seminary. Phelan’s distinguished tenure provides a firm foundation on which the next President and Dean can advance an ambitious future for the seminary.

NPTS: An Education for the Head, Heart, and Hands

North Park Theological Seminary dates to 1891 when it was founded by its sponsoring denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Students at the seminary receive an integrated education of academic rigor, spiritual formation, and applied training. Additionally, the shaping role of lived-community encompassing students, faculty, and staff is a high value. Through all of this NPTS seeks to cultivate among all students personal holiness, apostolic identity, intellectual integrity, evangelical witness, and ethical commitment.

NPTS has seen a solid advance in the past decade in enrollment, faculty, and degree offerings. Roughly 250 students are enrolled in degree programs (approximately 200 on campus and 50 distance learners), reflecting ethnic and gender diversity. Two major scholarship programs have significantly enhanced the seminary’s ability to attract a wide variety of high-quality students. While many of the students have an ECC connection, NPTS serves the mission of the whole Christian Church with many church backgrounds represented in the student body.

In addition to a three-year Master of Divinity, NPTS offers focused masters degrees in Ministry, Christian Formation, and Theological Studies. Dual degree programs, particularly in business and management, enable students to earn graduate degrees from both the seminary and the university. A Doctor of Ministry degree in preaching is available through a cooperative program with other area seminaries.

Alumni of the seminary serve with distinction in a variety of vocational ministries including as pastors, educators, missionaries, youth pastors, camp directors and administrators. The seminary’s full-time faculty is comprised of 22 highly qualified individuals across the full array of seminary disciplines.

The Seminary in the Context of North Park University

The seminary is a dimension of and is situated on the campus of North Park University in the city of Chicago. The seminary reaps many intellectual, cultural, and spiritual benefits by its university context and campus aesthetic, as well as its setting in a world-class city. In turn, through its various programs and the expertise of faculty, staff, and students the seminary enhances the overall program and life of the broader university.

The seminary is housed in a four-story building in the center of the 35-acre award-winning university campus. Students at NPTS enjoy many of the university’s amenities and services including academic facilities, student housing, an undergraduate and graduate library, technology services and computer lab, media services, recreation facilities, and physical plant among others.

All North Park University programs are rooted in a common mission and vision through which students prepare “for lives of significance and service.” The core identity of NPU is described as “distinctively Christian, intentionally urban, and purposefully multicultural.” The seminary shares the university’s mission and core identity, and also has a particular mission statement (see above) to support its refined focus.

NPU is governed by a Board of Trustees, which oversees all program units and is elected by the ECC. The President and Dean of the seminary reports to the university President and serves on the senior leadership team of the university. Working alongside the university President, the seminary President and Dean guides development and implementation of a strategic vision and direction for the seminary. NPU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, and NPTS is further accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

The Seminary in the Context of the Evangelical Covenant Church

North Park was founded by, and remains integrally connected to, the ECC, a rapidly growing multi-ethnic denomination of some 800 churches in the United States and Canada, with partnerships in more than 30 countries of the world. NPTS embraces students from a variety of ecclesial backgrounds while 60 percent have an ECC connection.

The seminary President and Dean has an important role in connecting the seminary with the larger mission of the ECC. The President and Dean serves as the primary liaison between the seminary and the ECC in areas related to the education of ministerial candidates. The President and Dean sits on the ECC Council of Administrators (a senior leadership group) as well as the Board of the Ordered Ministry, the ministerial credentialing body of the ECC. The President and Dean is formally called to the position by the ECC Annual Meeting. One requirement for the position is ordination in the ECC.

Agenda for Leadership

The NPTS faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as the broader communities of North Park University and the entire Evangelical Covenant Church, are eager to welcome the seminary’s new President and Dean. In order to best advance the mission of the seminary, we expect the new seminary President and Dean to:

•    Provide visionary leadership for high quality theological education relevant to a rapidly changing world and burgeoning church
•    Lead imaginative thinking about needed innovations in seminary education for the 21st century
•    Develop strategies and implement mission-driven plans to continue the seminary’s forward momentum
•    Strengthen and expand the financial foundation of the seminary to meet its long-term operational, capital, and endowment needs
•    Offer a winsome voice, an appealing pen, and a congenial presence as the public face of the seminary
•    Enhance the seminary’s sense of community and its growth in diversity
•    Foster the seminary’s relationship with the ECC
•    Serve effectively as a member of the University Senior Leadership Team and as the primary administrative liaison with the Seminary Committee of the North Park University Board of Trustees
•    Advance the excellence of the seminary’s degree programs and the quality of the student experience at North Park
•    Foster an engaging environment of academic rigor, spiritual formation, and applied training in which faculty, staff, and students may flourish, reach their potential, and serve the church effectively
•    Encourage the professional development of faculty and staff

Desired Attributes of the New President and Dean

The next President and Dean of North Park Theological Seminary should present a combination of personal and professional qualities that directly address the agenda for leadership presented above. He or she will fully embrace the seminary’s mission and its unique identity within the broader NPU community. In addition, the successful candidate will:

•    Be a deeply spiritual follower of Jesus Christ with a vibrant faith
•    Be a mature, confident, congenial, humble, and authentic person
•    Have ministerial credentials in the ECC
•    Have a graduate degree from an accredited seminary comparable to North Park, and hold an earned doctorate (Ph.D. preferred)
•    Have teaching, pastoral and administrative experience in both church and educational contexts
•    Demonstrate and articulate a dynamic vision for the future of theological education
•    Demonstrate an ability to raise funds and embrace doing so on behalf of NPTS
•    Possess business and management savvy to oversee the seminary’s financial and organizational affairs effectively
•    Combine strong capabilities as team-builder, administrator, change-agent, and strategic thinker
•    Demonstrate a love for empowering people to reach their potential
•    Be passionately committed to the world-wide mission of the church and its implementation by the ECC
•    Clearly understand and avidly support church ministry in multiple cultural and ethnic communities and genuinely appreciate emerging expressions of evangelicalism
•    Exhibit personal and professional integrity, leadership transparency, and deep appreciation for community within the work setting
•    Understand, embrace, and articulate the seminary’s place within the broader university context as a benefit to student learning

The Nomination and Application Process

The Seminary Leadership Search Committee welcomes nominations and applications for the position of seminary President and Dean. To nominate an individual, email his/her name and a brief background statement to the committee chair, Scott Bolinder, via Ms. Karen Mears.

Applications should include:
1. A letter of candidacy or nomination responding to the desired attributes identified above
2. A complete résumé or vita
3. Brief essays (2-3 pages each) on the following topics:
a. Your personal journey of faith
b. Your commitment to and support for the mission and educational program of NPTS and its relationship to the ECC worldwide
c. Your perspective on and vision for the future of theological education generally, with application to the specific context of NPTS
d. Your understanding of and personal commitment to the three-fold core institutional identity of North Park (as “distinctively Christian, intentionally urban, and purposefully multicultural”) and your personal life experiences and expertise which will assist you to advance this identity as seminary President and Dean
4.    Names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of five references (for future contact), all of which will be held in full confidence

If possible these should arrive for committee review by February 15, 2010, though applications will be received and considered until an appointment is made. Our expectation is that the person selected will be approved by the NPU Board of Trustees in May 2010 and by the Annual Meeting of the ECC in June 2010. Ideally the new seminary President and Dean will assume the appointment on July 1, 2010.

All application materials should be submitted electronically to the committee chair, Scott Bolinder, via Ms. Karen Mears.

Applicants may locate additional information on the university, seminary, and church at the following web locations:
North Park University
North Park Theological Seminary
Evangelical Covenant Church

In addition, click here to access supporting materials of interest to candidates.

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