The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) seeks a visionary, effective leader to serve as vice president for academic affairs. The vice president will lead the rabbinical seminary and will be a vital part of the senior leadership of Reconstructing Judaism, the central organization of the Reconstructionist movement.
The vice president for academic affairs (VPAA) oversees the entire academic and co-curricular program, providing educational leadership, hiring and supervising faculty, and serving as the rabbinical program’s chief administrative officer. The VPAA will be responsible for implementing a new curriculum that combines a rigorous academic program and intensive community building with intensive field training. The VPAA will partner with colleagues across the organization to ensure that the academic richness of the program is widely shared and that the maximum number of training opportunities is available for students. The VPAA is responsible for initiating and overseeing collaborations between the rabbinical program and a wide range of partners within the Reconstructionist movement and at other institutions. These collaborations showcase the talents of faculty, create learning opportunities for students and broaden our reach.
The VPAA leads the faculty and directly supervises several academic administrators who are responsible for recruitment and admission, student life, the library, registration and academic compliance, student employment and field experience. The VPAA represents the academic program within Reconstructing Judaism while also advancing the vision and mission of the larger organization and serves as an ambassador for RRC and Reconstructing Judaism in the wider world.
The day-to-day responsibilities of the VPAA, depending on skill set and experience, will be determined in consultation with the president and executive vice president of Reconstructing Judaism. Professional development will be available to strengthen the skill set and build on the experience of the new VPAA in any aspects of the position requiring support.
The vice president for academic affairs:
Guides the curriculum and oversees instruction and implementation of the field training program
o Solely or in collaboration, sets the agenda and chairs regular faculty and some committee meetings
o Oversees the completion and comprehensive implementation of the William H. Fern Program in Field Education, including generating assessment mechanisms
o Builds out new distance-learning components of the curriculum, including hybrid, synchronous and asynchronous components
o Oversees faculty-student committees that plan a rich co-curricular program
o Ensures the infusion of diversity in students’ learning and across the program
o Collaborates with faculty, administrators and staff members across the organization to create opportunities for student learning
Hires, leads and supervises the faculty
o Chairs search committees that hire new full-time regular faculty
o Hires adjunct teaching faculty
o Ensures instructors are outstanding pedagogues and respectful, engaged communicators who are skilled in facilitating open, safe classroom environments for students of a wide range of backgrounds; who are interested in and able to teach academic subjects while integrating professional and spiritual concerns; who are willing to attend community programs and serve on committees that shape the tone and substance of the community; and who respect others in a diverse, pluralistic religious landscape
Ensures the excellence of the educational program
o Supervises and provides a wide range of professional development opportunities for faculty
o Develops and implements assessment mechanisms to evaluate the quality of the program, including the new curriculum
o Reviews policies to align with best practices and strategic goals
o Infuses diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the program and community
Supervises the members of the academic administration
o Oversees the creation and implementation of the nonacademic curriculum, including jobs and field internships
o Oversees support for student formation, including new student orientation, advising, supervisory and probationary committees, and the graduation of seniors
o Ensures academic administration functions effectively, including creation of the academic calendar, multi-year course planning, fulfillment of graduation requirements, student reviews and more
o Robustly supports recruitment and admissions through public representation, individual meetings with prospective students, participation in admissions interviews and more
Administers and develops additional learning opportunities for rabbinical students and other learners
o Oversees joint offerings for rabbinical students (e.g., MA in non-profit management, counseling certificate)
o Actively seeks collaborative opportunities with other seminaries and educational institutions
o Explores entrepreneurial offerings drawing on RRC’s distinctive expertise
Ensures that RRC is administered effectively and efficiently
o Prepares and monitors the academic budget (approximately $1M) and ensures its implementation
o Oversees academic and regulatory compliance in hiring and employment
o Takes all appropriate steps to maintain accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
o Communicates and enforces internal policies and procedures (human resources, faculty benefits, etc.)
Represents the faculty to the students
o Serves as a spiritual and/or ethical leader and presence for the community, modeling the formation of trusting relationships among students, faculty and staff
o Sets the tone of day-to-day academic life at the College
o Communicates faculty policy decisions and oversees their implementation
Serves as an ambassador for RRC and the Reconstructionist movement
o Functions as a key public spokesperson, thought leader and teacher
o Supports recruitment efforts by speaking and teaching at meetings and conferences and cultivating relationships with prospective students
o Teaches at affiliated congregations and at movement events
o Meets with leaders of other rabbinical seminaries and professional training programs to advance common goals and develop beneficial relationships
o Participates in multifaith academic gatherings
o Publishes academically and/or in popular forums
Participates robustly in advancing the mission of Reconstructing Judaism
o Is an officer of Reconstructing Judaism and an ex officio member its Board of Governors, attending all meetings of the board and some meetings of its Executive Committee
o Staffs the board’s College Committee
o Sits with other vice presidents on the president’s cabinet, which comprises the senior leadership of the organization
o Participates in fundraising for the academic program and for student scholarships
o Collaborates enthusiastically to create synergies
o Participates in strategic planning, assessment and other efforts to ensure continuous improvement
o Directly supervises the implementation of strategic plan goals around rabbinic education
o Supervises faculty participation in movement activities
• 5+ years of direct experience as a supervisor and team leader
• 5+ years of direct experience as a lead administrator of a complex system
• PhD in Jewish Studies or a related field and/or rabbinical ordination preferred, master’s degree required
• Knowledge of and experience in the North American Jewish landscape
• Familiarity with and appreciation for a Reconstructionist approach to Jewish life
$100,000 - $115,000 commensurate with years of experience and professional credentials.
The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College is the sole seminary of the Reconstructionist movement. Founded in 1968 to serve the Jewish people and the wider world, RRC is dedicated to teaching Judaism as an evolving religious civilization and to engaging with the riches of Jewish tradition to create meaning, connect to the sacred and bring individuals and communities to greater love, justice and peace. Its primary focus at the present time is the rabbinic program, which trains rabbis to serve Reconstructionist congregations and to serve the wider Jewish community as chaplains, campus rabbis, Jewish communal professionals, and educators, as well as in congregations not affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement. RRC is an integral part of Reconstructing Judaism, the central organization of the Reconstructionist movement, and both contributes to and benefits from the programmatic offerings of the larger organization.
RRC’s rabbinical program centers on nourishing, rigorous Jewish learning and immersive, intensive field education. The College’s new curriculum is distinguished by the unique Reconstructionist understanding of Judaism as a dynamic civilization characterized by vibrant diversity and ongoing change. The first three years of the program are based at the College, with deep grounding in Jewish beliefs, texts and traditions—and their constant evolution—and field preparation courses. The third year includes an intensive summer semester in Israel, which is being created in partnership with BINA. The final years of the program will be centered around immersive field internships at diverse locations, supported by online courses and supervision. Each year, all students will gather in Philadelphia for immersive retreats and workshops to learn together. Particular areas of strength include social justice organizing, multifaith studies, our Center for Jewish Ethics, Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations, and Ritualwell. The vice president for academic affairs will play a major role in implementing the new curriculum, developing assessment mechanisms for it, and ensuring effective integration across the breadth of the organization. The vice president is supported by a strong and effective academic administration.
It is a core principle of the College that our internal community should, as far as possible, exemplify the values and processes of the communities that we hope our alumni will lead and create. Students are involved in many of the decisions that affect them so that they learn how participatory decision-making communities can work. Diversity is a key value, along with honest and respectful disagreement and discussion. We have pursued extensive training on creating an anti-racist learning environment, which we expect to continue. Classes are managed to encourage and maximize respectful conversation and creativity. A wide variety of styles of worship and ritual practice are modeled. Spiritual practice, as well as integrating spirituality into social activism, are encouraged. Administrators such as the vice president for academic affairs are expected to interact with students regularly and to make themselves accessible to students as resources and mentors.
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