University Chaplain and Director, Religious Life – (1801749)

The University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life (UCDR) is responsible for all functions of the Office of Religious Life (ORL). The ORL supports the spiritual and religious growth of students and other community members, encourages the development of interfaith literacy and dialogue, promotes reflection upon ethical questions and issues of values and character, and prepares students to lead in a religiously pluralistic world. To these ends, the UCDR oversees, coordinates, and integrates the programs and services of Affiliated Chaplains and Directors on the Vanderbilt University campus.

Vanderbilt Chancellor Nick Zeppos and Dean of Students Mark Bandas have identified diversity, equity, inclusion, and mental health as top priorities for the institution and by extension the offices of the Dean of Students. Candidates must be able to articulate and demonstrate excellence and continued growth in knowledge, awareness, skills, and experience engaging with these priorities in a higher education environment.

The University Chaplain and Director reports to the Associate Dean of Students and acts in support of the overall mission and presence of the ORL and the Dean of Students Office.

The position consists of two interrelated tracts of responsibilities, Administrative and Ministerial/Pastoral (providing Chaplain duties):

As the Director of Religious Life, the UCDR oversees all administrative concerns of the office including: oversight of staff, management and allocation of budgets, adherence to University policies and practices, collection of assessment data, development and implementation of office policies and provides relevant resource material to the campus community on matters of faith and religion.

The ORL works with the Office of Student Organizations to approve new religious groups seeking registration and/or religious Registered Student Organizations that have revised their bylaws. Central to the mission of the ORL is support of the Interfaith Council, a student umbrella organization comprised by leaders of registered student organizations representing a wide variety of faith traditions. Registered student organizations are expected to abide by University policies including the university’s non-discrimination policy. Please see https://www.vanderbilt.edu/student_handbook/university-policies-and-regulations/#equal-opportunity.

The UCDR serves as the primary resource and contact for all Affiliated Chaplains and Directors, and maintains a working and supportive relationship with each of the affiliates and their governing institution/organization. Every five-year period, the UCDR, in collaboration with the University Committee on Religious Affairs (UCRA), revises, as needed, and submits for signature, a Covenant of Vanderbilt University Religious Ministries and Supplementary Material between all affiliated ministries and the University.

The UCDR works closely with the UCRA and will regularly report to and comply with the Committee on matters pursuant to its charge. The UCDR and Associate Dean for Social Justice and Identity (SJI) will collaborate with the UCRA to schedule two Committee meetings per semester and set agendas for each Committee meeting.

The ORL has or shares budgetary and management responsibility for several important programs and initiatives, including a number of long-standing legacy programs. Note: these legacy programs are part of the Office of the Dean of Students within the Area of Social Justice & Identity (SJI).

The UCDR maintains a close relationship with the Vanderbilt Divinity School (VDS) and collaboratively engages with its academic and social life. The UCDR, as well as ORL staff, may also serve as VDS Field Education Supervisors for VDS student interns.

As the University Chaplain, the UCRD supports the religious and non-religious members of the Vanderbilt campus through openness to faith claims from all traditions, and by creating and implementing protocols supporting individual and group rights to exercise their religious practices freely, promote tolerance and understanding, and respect privacy. The ORL ensures that all religious organizations and their professional representatives comply with the University’s policy on Solicitation and Religious Activities, as well as the University’s policy on non-discrimination as found in the Student Handbook. The University Chaplain will promote and support efforts that encourage and equip individual religious/spiritual Registered Student Organizations, increase interfaith dialogue and encourage multi-faith encounters.

The ORL participates in the campus Student Care Network (https://www.vanderbilt.edu//studentcarenetwork/). Under the direction of the UCDR, the ORL attends to student well being by providing pastoral care, counseling and support. The UCDR and staff of the ORL are the University’s religious and pastoral presence in times of crisis and are considered first responders during times of critical need. The UCDR will maintain a flexible working schedule to offer an engaged presence during such difficult moments. As University Chaplain, the UCDR may administer visits to students, faculty or staff when they are hospitalized, and conduct and/or organize memorial services or services of special remembrance in the event of a campus death or in recognition of a greater social event. The University Chaplain is available for one-to-one pastoral care, group reflection exercises, group bereavement support, and discussions on religious discernment and spiritual formation. The UCDR may hold spiritual retreats, community meditations, and worship or prayer services.

The University Chaplain is expected to embody the professional code and conduct of a religious professional by maintaining an active connection between their sending agency or body of ordination. Membership with at least one of the national professional campus chaplaincy organizations (such as NACUC or ACURA) is encouraged, as is attendance at yearly national conferences. The UCDR will also strive to foster and maintain relationships with various religious communities throughout the city of Nashville and, when possible, engage in community service activities. When called upon, the UCDR will honor and serve the needs of their professional guild, or denominational affiliation and will maintain the religious, ethical and observant rudiments of their tradition.

It is expected that the University Chaplain will be kept aware of current social trends, movements, controversies and directions to make relevant commentary and interface between matters of faith and culture.

Additional Information
This is a full-time position (40 hours per week)

Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Background screens will be performed, and education will be verified prior to employment. Please be prepared to provide required information and/or documentation.

Vanderbilt is a smoke-free workplace in compliance with the Non-Smoker Protection Act, Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-1801-1810. In accordance with that law and Vanderbilt policy, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed areas on Vanderbilt property.

Apply online at https://vanderuniv.taleo.net/careersection/.vu_cs/jobdetail.ftl?job=1801749&tz=GMT-05%3A00

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.


Work Remotely: no

Basic Qualifications
This position requires a Master of Divinity degree and a minimum of eight years of relevant experience in university chaplaincy, campus ministry and/or direction of religious/spiritual life in higher education (if possible, with emphasis on social justice and identity as well as student wellness).

Preferred Education, Skills and Experience:

  • DMin, PhD or equivalent
  • Ordination, if Christian (or equivalent, if non-Christian)
  • Completion of one Basic Unit of Clinical Pastoral Education
  • Technological literacy
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Exceptional leadership skills
  • Interfaith literacy and multicultural competence
  • Must value all views on faith, religion, spirituality and non-theistic worldviews
  • Must excel in networking and community building skills
  • Must have executive skills pursuant to budgets and strategic plans
  • Must be able to clearly differentiate role as a confidential resource (not requiring a mandatory report) and one that would require mandatory reporting.
Position Start Date: December 1, 2018
Send resumes and cover letter to:

Apply online at https://vanderuniv.taleo.net/careersection/.vu_cs/jobdetail.ftl?job=1801749&tz=GMT-05%3A00

About Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt Chancellor Nick Zeppos and Dean of Students Mark Bandas have identified diversity, equity, inclusion, and mental health as top priorities for the institution and by extension the offices of the Dean of Students. Candidates must be able to articulate and demonstrate excellence and continued growth in knowledge, awareness, skills, and experience engaging with these priorities in a higher education environment.