Position Description: Executive Director of Collegium

The Executive Director (“Director”) of Collegium serves as the primary steward of Collegium’s mission, “to help faculty at Catholic colleges and universities better understand the mission of Catholic higher education, and to invite and help prepare them to become leaders in advancing that mission in creative ways.” S/he bears the responsibility, in consultation with the Collegium board, to keep the organization strategically focused on educating future generations of mission-committed faculty leaders and is responsible at the executive level for implementing Collegium programs, particularly Collegium’s signature program, the summer colloquy on faith and intellectual life. It is his or her responsibility to ensure that Collegium is regarded as the most effective and in-depth faculty development program in Catholic higher education. 

The Director, in her or his scholarship, teaching, and faith commitments, should exemplify the values of Collegium and be able to communicate them clearly and credibly to member institutions, potential member institutions, participants, and the broader public.  

As the key person responsible for the intellectual direction of Collegium, and the shaper of the framework for the colloquy and related efforts, the Director must understand the history of Catholic higher education and be able to creatively envision the future of Catholic intellectual life.  S/he keeps abreast of developments and scholarship that impact Collegium’s work and employs these as needed to revise a colloquy curriculum that fulfills the organization’s mission.  S/he must be able to articulate the program and colloquy’s rationale for mentors and participants and provide intellectual leadership to frame the broader arc, and the specifics, of the summer colloquy curriculum.  Over time the Director is expected to contribute to the scholarship on Catholic intellectual life and mission in higher education, whether through articles or new works in the footsteps of As Leaven in the World (2001) and Becoming Beholders (2014). His or her understanding of the Catholic intellectual tradition should be cognizant of its deep roots and history, with an eye to articulating it in a compelling way to faculty of other or no faith traditions. The Director should seek to creatively envision Collegium as it adapts to the changing circumstances of Catholic higher education in the future.

The Director should understand the range and scope of Catholic higher education, both in terms of its many charisms and the diversity of institutional types and have a grounding in the array of Catholic spiritual traditions that shape the colloquy as an intellectual and a spiritual experience.  He or she should be able to understand and navigate the politics of Catholic life in the United States as they impact Collegium’s mission, and to show a clear path forward without tripping on those politics. In keeping with the strategic priority of the board, the Director should demonstrate a commitment to foster diverse leadership for Catholic higher education.

The Director’s role requires an excellent sense of how to direct the larger colloquy and the small groups from an affective, interpersonal perspective, to be able to work with experienced mentors to strategize and move conversations forward in a purposeful fashion that is attentive to the particular needs of the group at any time.  An important aim of the colloquy has been to foster friendship and open inquiry, as well as serious intellectual engagement, and the Director should be adept at cultivating that environment.  The Director should ensure the colloquy welcomes people of all or no faith traditions and see to it that the work of the many academic disciplines is represented there. 

Year-round, the Director will have the following responsibilities:

  • Choose the venues for summer colloquies and negotiate pricing and other arrangements at those campuses 
  • Select readings, speakers, mentors, and spiritual directors, and revise the summer colloquy schedule as appropriate
  • Review and select faculty applicants 
  • Assign small groups and empower mentors 
  • Develop assessment tools for the summer colloquy
  • Organize, with the Board chair, fall board meetings and spring conference calls
  • Steward relationships with presidents, mission officers, and other leaders in Catholic higher education
  • Engage alumni and member school liaisons
  • Develop and supervise budgets 
  • Deliver an annual performance evaluation and other reports to the board
  • Manage the content of Collegium News and the Collegium website
  • Serve ex-officio on the ACCU finance committee, which stewards Collegium’s endowment
  • Advance strategic initiatives determined by the Collegium Board

Collegium benefits from an endowment of $1.25 million, built largely through a series of foundation grants since 1992 totaling about $1.1 million.  While grant writing has been limited in recent years, the Director may, in furtherance of strategic initiatives, need to develop additional sources of grant funding.

The Director is accountable to the Collegium board, and also works collegially with its members on projects they choose to undertake.

The Director serves in a part-time capacity, which currently required about 5-8 hours per week, plus more extended time during the Colloquy and in the lead up to it, and on trips for occasional talks, recruitment, and to award the Visionary Award. Currently, the Director’s work is supported by an Assistant Director who provides day to day support in areas such as conference planning, faculty recruitment, scheduling, website maintenance, alumni/ae relations, database upkeep, publication of Collegium News, the Collegium small grants program, alumni/ae awards, annual board meeting planning, and special initiatives designated by the Collegium Board. 

It is understood by the Board that the structure of the position for the new Director may be somewhat different than the structure that exists for the current Director.  These types of details will be considered in Stage 2 of the position search as part of the proposal required from candidates on the search short-list.

Any questions about this position description should be sent to Rob Bellin, Chair of the Search Committee:

Collegium is an equal opportunity employer.