Director for Applied Research at Auburn
Job Title: Director, Applied Research
Department: Auburn Research and The Center for the Study of Theological Education
Reports To: Vice President, Applied Research
Status: Full-Time, Exempt, Salaried
Start Date: April 1, 2018
The Director for Applied Research will collaborate in directing Auburn Research and The Center for the Study of Theological Education, establishing in partnership with the Vice President for Applied Research the strategic vision, priorities, and methodology of a vibrant 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 preparation of leaders of faith and moral courage. The Director for Applied Research will be a member of Auburn’s senior leadership team, and report to the Vice President for Applied Research, with regular access to the Dean.
The Director for Applied Research will be expected to work collaboratively to shape, direct, and carry out an action research agenda that:
• Takes a broad view of the diverse contexts, within and outside of traditional and accredited institutions, in which faith practice and theological education now take place, and their implications for the education and formation of leaders of faith and moral courage today;
• Examines the role faith plays in social justice movements, employing analysis from multifaith and secular perspectives to pressing social concerns such as immigration and demographic shifts, racial justice, inequality, reproductive justice, climate change, in order to understand how to equip leaders most effectively;
• Is attuned to the broad range of theological perspectives and faith traditions, and understands the multifaith and secular contexts that leaders must negotiate;
• Supports the leaders of theological schools and other organizations as they experiment with innovations to meet the changing realities of faith leaders today and the communities they serve, continuing to address seminary leaders’ concerns about sustainable issues while also addressing current concerns about relevance, denominational identity, and pedagogy;
• Identifies the skills and capacities religious leaders in practice need to guide their faith communities in building and sustaining social justice movements, in order to deepen their understanding of the issues and their capacity to speak about these issues in the public arena; and
• Builds, integrates, and models best practices of research and evaluation in Auburn’s educational work and institutional life.
Toward these ends, the Director for Applied Research will:
• Work with the Auburn’s program team to develop both independent and collaborative research, building research teams and engaging consultants when appropriate;
• Work as part of an energetic team of Auburn colleagues, both within the research area, with Auburn’s program team, and across the institution to advance Auburn’s mission and priorities;
• Work with Auburn’s communications team to ensure that Auburn’s research is widely disseminated and promoted through writing, in print and digital, speaking, teaching, and consulting with religious leaders, congregations, communities, and the public at large;
• Harness the talents of allies and partners in the field of theological education and of researchers in the field through professional academic groups (AAR/SBL, SSSR, or similar), and ad hoc collaboration and convenings;
• Collaborate with partner organizations to determine the most effective methodologies for evaluating Auburn’s progress toward its aspirational and practical goals;
• Work actively with the Vice-President for Applied Research and the Strategic Philanthropy team to raise funds to support a robust research agenda;
• Manage the day-to-day operations of the research work, including supervising research fellows or assistants, overseeing research budgets and writing grant reports.
QUALIFICATIONS & REQUIREMENTS
Auburn seeks in its Director for Applied Research a leader with a demonstrated record as a scholar and educator in the fields of theological education, practical theology, sociology of religion, social science, or a related field. The ideal candidate will have:
• A Ph.D. and a proven record of research that employs both qualitative and quantitative research techniques, with a thorough knowledge of statistical analysis and SPSS;
• Experience in an academic or research institution, or in another context in which social science research is critical to the organization’s mission;
• Knowledge of, and respect for, the traditions of theological education and research, combined with an understanding of current issues in the field and an innovative spirit that embraces new approaches to equipping leaders to guide increasingly diverse religious communities;
• Exceptional written and oral communication skills, including the ability to present cogently and forcefully the substance and excitement of research in theological education to a variety of audiences both within and outside the field;
• Ability and enthusiasm to engage with, and build bridges among, a broad range of institutions across religious traditions, within and outside of the field of theological education, and reflecting diverse perspectives;
• An understanding of the broad landscape of religious life in the United States;
• Strong management, collaboration and team-building skills;
• An interest in and ability to embrace Auburn’s mission and core values;
• The resilience to thrive in a fast-paced, challenging entrepreneurial organizational environment;
• A passion for a more just world.
Please send your resume and thoughtful cover letter to the attention of The Rev. Dr. Christian Scharen, Auburn’s Vice President for Applied Research, at email@example.com. Please use the job title as the subject line of your email, and use the PDF format for all application materials. All inquiries and nominations should be sent to this email as well. No phone calls, please.
Auburn is a multifaith leadership development and research center working with secular and faith-rooted justice leaders on a national scale, as well as at the grassroots level, who exhibit the drive and potential to awaken the spirit of possibility within each of us to catalyze change and face the challenges of our fragmented, complex time.
Using innovative, research-based methodologies, Auburn equips bold and resilient leaders to frame the critical conversations of the day, and to mobilize the public to work across divides to create the world for which humanity longs. We provide them with education, research, support, and media savvy, so that they can bridge religious divides, build community, pursue justice, and heal the world. Learn more at AuburnSeminary.org.