Dean, School of Theology and Seattle Pacific Seminary

Washington, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Sep 11, 2020
Position Type
Administrative, Deans
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Seattle Pacific University seeks a Dean, School of Theology and Seattle Pacific Seminary
Click here to view position profile:
Location: Seattle, Washington 

The Position:
The Dean of the School of Theology will lead the School and its academic agenda. Primary duties in doing so include:

  • Provide leadership and development support for faculty and staff in the administration of the School’s programs.
  • Serve on the Academic Leadership Team and its Graduate Council.
  • Envision, develop, and implement undergraduate and graduate curricula and programs.
  • Represent the School to internal and external constituencies, including the Church, the Academy, and the Seattle community, by speaking at school, university, and public events.
  • Work with University Advancement in raising endowments and obtaining external grants that support the work of the School’s faculty and students.
  • Work to cultivate and grow the Advisory Board of Seattle Pacific Seminary and maintain the seminary’s ATS accreditation. 

The Dean is expected to start in summer 2021. 

Note: While there is no regular teaching load for the Dean, the Dean may elect to participate in student instruction. 

SPU is seeking a Dean who:

  • Embodies the role of leader, mentor, and pastor for the entire School of Theology including 21 full or part-time faculty and a cohort of committed adjunct instructors, two associate deans and four office staff, two center directors, and the Seminary Advisory Board. The Dean is a collaborative leader who demonstrates operational excellence.
  • Champions the School of Theology faculty, enabling their development and promoting their work in a university context that holds transformative teaching, rigorous scholarship, and humble service in equal regard. These faculty are teacher-scholars in service to God’s global church, striving to embody, promote, and include the full diversity of God’s people to authentically proclaim God’s salvation in both word and deed.
  • Promotes, protects, and extends a vision for Christian theological education in the 21st century. The Dean is an articulate spokesperson with a robust vision for the present and future of theological education in the Pacific Northwest and globally. The Dean will help all university constituencies, both internal and external, to deepen their understanding of what it means to be a Christian liberal arts university and to appreciate the distinctive gifts of a Wesleyan vision of Christian higher education.
  • Loves students. The Dean will have the heart of a teacher-pastor and a deep understanding of the spiritual and developmental needs of students (most of whom are in their late teens to late twenties). The Dean enjoys spending time with students, whether in an office, an instructional setting, at home, or in one of Seattle’s world-class coffee shops.
  • Represents the School of Theology to the faculty, staff, and administrators of Seattle Pacific University, offering pastoral and prophetic leadership in a variety of settings. The Dean serves on the University’s Academic Leadership Team and offers counsel to the President on a variety of matters. The Dean joins the entire School of Theology faculty as they help others across all academic units to understand their teaching and scholarship as a distinctively theological vocation. The Dean also partners with the Office of University Ministries in their co-curricular work of helping students learn more about, or grow deeper in the Christian faith.
  • Represents the School of Theology to a wide range of University-related constituencies. From local churches, to alumni, to donors, to the Seminary Advisory Board, the Dean will cultivate relationships that communicate the importance and value of Christian higher education at Seattle Pacific University and Seattle Pacific Seminary. The Dean is committed to the task of fundraising and obtaining external grants in order to support the work of the School’s faculty and provide scholarships for its students.
  • Is an innovative leader for the School of Theology — someone who is godly, wise, pastoral, visionary, church-centered, and academically astute.

Required Competencies:
PhD or equivalent is expected. Candidates must have demonstrated ability in strategic planning and program development along with appropriate experience in teaching and scholarship. Candidates are expected to be conversant with the broad Wesleyan tradition of Seattle Pacific University. 

Salary, benefits, and academic rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Dean of the School of Theology is on a 12-month contract with vacation. Benefits include health and dental insurance, disability, and life insurance, as well as a generous retirement program. A moving allowance is provided, and housing assistance may be available. 

About the Institution:
Seattle Pacific University (SPU) was founded in 1891 by Free Methodist pioneers who valued a non-sectarian approach to education that welcomed all those seeking scholarly excellence rooted in the Christian faith. Today, SPU welcomes students from around the globe to grow together and serve in a diverse community of thoughtful scholarship and outward-focused Christian faith. Its comprehensive academic program serves over 3500 undergraduate and graduate students. As a Christian university, SPU is historically orthodox, clearly evangelical, genuinely ecumenical, and distinctively Wesleyan, and seeks applicants who are committed to its Christian mission (SPU Statement of Faith and Mission). The University provides a world-class education in a world-class cosmopolitan urban center with rich cultural diversity and is committed to building an excellent and diverse teaching faculty. 

With over 200 full-time faculty, and over 450 staff, SPU’s promise of value and difference lies in its commitment to its students, who learn to anticipate and shape the future; see the world with compassion; experience academic rigor; explore — or grow deeper in — Christian faith, and study in the heart of a global community. 

SPU offers 71 undergraduate majors and 59 minors. There are 31 master’s degree programs, five doctoral degree programs, and eight graduate certificates offered by the School of Business, Government, and Economics; the School of Health Sciences; the School of Psychology, Family, and Community; the School of Education; Seattle Pacific Seminary; and the College of Arts and Sciences. These programs serve 574 master’s students and 204 doctoral students. Both undergraduate- and graduate-level programs integrate internships and research throughout their curricula. Learn more at

For the fourth year in a row, SPU was ranked a “Best National University” by U.S. News & World Report, reflecting the University’s emphasis on undergraduate teaching and research wherein students work alongside faculty, as well as its growing graduate programs in business, education, fine arts, psychology, nursing, and theology. SPU faculty and staff members provide students with a holistic, diverse, and multidisciplinary learning environment, fostering critical inquiry and preparing students to be lifelong learners, stronger in their intellect, and in their relationship with Christ. 

SPU enables faculty and staff to project their faith, multiplying God’s love and compassion through students who are being equipped for meaningful lives of service. The University values both discovery and instruction and encourages faculty to find their own balance between research and teaching. Class sizes put faculty closer to students, allowing them to build rewarding relationships through personal mentoring and individual instruction. Faculty and staff uniquely equip students for their futures, using Seattle to guide engagement with technology, trade, urbanization, and more. 

About the School of Theology and Seattle Pacific Seminary:
Since its founding in 1891 as Seattle Seminary, Seattle Pacific University has equipped men and women to engage the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Comprising both undergraduate and graduate programs, the School of Theology embraces a threefold model of theological education called "Academy, Abbey, and Apostolate." This interplay of critical scholarship, spiritual edification, and Christian service is informed by SPU's Wesleyan heritage that strives to join academic knowledge with personal and social holiness. 

At the undergraduate level, the School of Theology offers a Christian Theology major and seven minors. The faculty also contributes to the liberal arts education of all SPU undergraduate students through the sequence of University Foundations courses. At the graduate level, Seattle Pacific Seminary offers a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, six Master of Arts (MA) degrees, several dual-degree programs, and a Graduate Certificate in Christian Studies. Seattle Pacific Seminary offers the only university-based M.Div. in the Pacific Northwest. The location is in one of the world’s centers for cutting-edge technology and innovation and is an ideal context for training leaders for the 21st-century global church. 

In addition to the academic programs, the School of Theology operates two Centers (the Center for Biblical and Theological Education and the Center for Worship) and administers a range of grant-funded university and community programs (including Pivot Northwest, Immerse Youth Academy, the Leitourgia Project, and The Church Digital Transformation Project). In addition, the School of Theology organizes two annual public lectures: the Palmer Lecture, which brings scholars of international reputation to campus, and the Paul T. Walls lecture, which is offered by the holder of Professorship in Wesleyan Studies. 

Seeking to be faithful to the gospel, the School of Theology faculty prioritize serving the needs of the church and the world. Collaboration takes place with one another and with faculty across the university as teacher-scholars in a shared vocation. Wesleyan heritage is rooted but ecclesially ecumenical, and is always seeking to grow in diversity and inclusion in Christ. Drawing from its Holiness heritage, SPU seeks to help communities of faith embrace their shared identity in Christ, and to follow him in exposing divisions and healing wounds. According to its mission statement, the School of Theology “aspires to embody God’s diverse kingdom” as evidenced in its commitments to inclusive community and racial justice. Seattle Pacific Seminary of Seattle Pacific University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association of Theological Schools. 

To Apply:
Confidential review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled; parties who apply by November 2, 2020, will be given first consideration. Please submit your resume and cover letter outlining your interest in and suitability for this position. In your letter, please be sure to describe your ecclesial identity and include your response to the SPU Statement of Faith. To apply online, go to 

To make recommendations or for more information:
Dick Merriman, PhD
Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 330-933-4809 

It is the policy of Seattle Pacific University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations. As a religious educational institution affiliated with the Free Methodist Church of North America, Seattle Pacific University is permitted and reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion.