March 22, 2016

New Faculty Search Update

RevRosemary-9Dear Ones—

I’m writing to let you know more about an event you may already have heard about: Starr King’s search for a new faculty member.  It was wonderful to receive so many impressive applications from well-qualified people! Right now, we’re in the home stretch of the selection process, and we’ll be announcing the names of our final candidates in a matter of days—this coming Friday, March 25. I wanted to review what we’ve done so far, and let you know our hopes for what a successful search might look like.

In January, we announced that we were searching for an assistant professor of Unitarian Universalist Theologies and Ethics. We advertised the position nationally, in places like the Chronicle of Higher Education, the American Academy of Religion, the UUA website and the UU World online magazine.  At the same time, we formed a search committee that represented the broadest scope of our constituencies.  The committee is made up of myself; our Dean of Faculty, Gabriella Lettini; our acting Dean of Students, Lindi Ramsden; a representative of our board of trustees, Ted Fetter; a student representative, Raphael Warner, and a representative of the Graduate Theological Union, Valerie Miles Tribble, from the American Baptist Seminary of the West.

Together, we created a set of questions that would be asked of those candidates who reached the semifinal round.  Those semifinal candidates were interviewed via Skype; the committee then discussed those interviews, the credentials and references of the candidates, and ranked them in order to select the final candidates  Those two candidates will join us on campus this coming Monday, March 28th and Tuesday, March 29th.  A complete schedule is available and will be posted on Starr King’s Facebook pages, as well as on our website. I hope that those of you who are able will join us on campus to meet the candidates and talk with them, and that those of you who are unable to join us in person will connect via Skype.

Lastly, an important word about this final stage of the selection process.  An academic search is quite different than the congregational searches familiar to us in Unitarian Universalist ministry circles.  In an academic setting like ours, there is typically at least two finalists, and their names are public in advance. There is also a specific window for questions and interactions, and though there are requests for feedback, that feedback is only one small part of the decision making process. Unlike our churches, where the final decision rests with the congregation, a final decision in academia rests with the search committee and with the school’s Board of Trustees, who must ratify that committee’s recommendation.  We expect the school’s trustees to ratify the committee’s choice in the first week of April. I look forward to the announcement of our final candidates and, in due time, our newest faculty member.  So please join us as your schedule permits, and please keep us in your prayers as we continue this important work.

The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, President
Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, CA.

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