The University of the South — Vice-Chancellor and President

The University of the South, familiarly known as “Sewanee,” seeks nominations, applications, and expressions of interest in the search for its 18th Vice-Chancellor and President.

Sewanee is distinctive in its academic reputation, its setting, and its sense of community. As a premier liberal arts institution with one of the leading Episcopal seminaries in the country, the University is deeply committed to excellence in teaching; to close and lasting relationships among students, faculty, and staff; and to significant faculty contributions in scholarship, research, and creative activity. Located atop the Cumberland Plateau, the University’s collegiate Gothic architecture and 13,000 acres of land (referred to as “the Domain”) reflect natural beauty and grandeur and offer unique educational opportunities. Sewanee’s motto—Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum (referred to as “EQB”)—embodies the deep sense of community that ties students, employees, residents, and alumni to the University and the Domain. EQB translates as, “Behold how good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.” All of these attributes blend to make a special combination of people, place, and academic programs.

The search for the University’s next leader unfolds at an inflection point in the story of higher education in particular and in the story of the American nation in general. History and experience tell us that durably free societies must possess an educated citizenry—a populace that values free inquiry, is open to reason, and believes in mutual respect and the dignity of every person. Sewanee’s mission to inspire and to shape lives of consequence and compassion is especially relevant and resonant in this 21st century moment, and the next Vice-Chancellor would ideally be an advocate and defender of the power of enlightened, critical thinking, and of an ethos of neighborliness near and far. The goal is not to produce some kind of unanimity of opinion—an impossibility in any case—but to articulate and make real the role of the life of the mind and the values of curiosity, grace, and empathy.

The next Vice-Chancellor will join Sewanee as it pursues academic excellence, strives to fulfill the ideals of EQB in its community, leverages the unique setting of the Domain and impacts the work of the Episcopal Church. This individual will be expected to immerse themselves in the University’s culture, study its history, and understand its present circumstances so they can partner with the University community in shaping a vision for the future. Sewanee’s commitment to intellectual impact and community engagement extends from the classroom into the world through programs such as the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Education for Ministry, and the Office of Civic Engagement. The Vice-Chancellor must bring an understanding of broader trends in higher education and the world while also advancing the distinct opportunities at a leading academic institution set in the South. Sewanee is situated near a number of growing Southern cities in a region rich in culture and diverse in its people. The University’s next leader must position Sewanee as a central figure in the evolving South.

Sewanee’s next Vice-Chancellor and President will be an experienced leader with the executive capacity to lead both an academic and a residential community. As the chief executive of a storied intellectual community and the de facto mayor of the municipality it calls home, the Vice-Chancellor will possess substantial and successful experience leading one or more diverse, multilateral, mission-driven organizations or institutions. Such experience within higher education is particularly germane, and an earned terminal degree is preferred. Leaders from other sectors who demonstrate significant understanding of and resonance with higher education, its goals, values, and potentialities will also be considered. Regardless of professional background, the incoming Vice-Chancellor will demonstrate a passion for and history of supporting the academic mission of an institution and the success and educational experience of its students. Above all, the Vice-Chancellor must possess the essential qualities of an inspiring and visionary leader; be attuned to the pressing issues of the day and how they impact the University and its multifaceted community; and be committed to building and maintaining strong interpersonal relationships.

A detailed leadership profile is available at WittKieffer.com.

All applications, nominations, and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a letter of interest addressing the themes in the profile and a CV or resume. WittKieffer is assisting the University of the South in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by Sept. 30, 2022. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Ryan Crawford, Dennis Barden, Darrien Davenport, and Julia Bradley at SewaneePresident@wittkieffer.com

The University provides equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment. No person shall be discriminated against in employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, veteran’s status, or religion (except for those positions in The School of Theology and the Chaplain’s Office where religious affiliation is a necessary qualification).

Related: