The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) is seeking a dynamic professional to serve as president. The successful candidate will be a leader with demonstrated expertise and success in strategic planning; financial management and advancement; board and leadership team engagement; and fostering association engagement and innovation.
The AJCU is the national organization that represents Jesuit higher education among its various constituencies; provides a forum for the exchange of information and experiences in Jesuit higher education; and encourages and facilitates collaborative initiatives among its member institutions. Those initiatives include fostering Jesuit, Catholic identity and mission; educating for a faith that does justice; supporting national, international and online collaborations between campuses; representing Jesuit higher education at the federal level; and sponsoring professional and leadership development programs.
This position provides essential leadership to the AJCU and its membership community. In close collaboration with the Board of Directors, the president will lead and support the organization in pursuit of its goals and strategic plan. The AJCU is a member of the Washington Higher Education Secretariat (WHES), which serves as a forum for Chief Executive Officers of national higher education associations.
The AJCU is the successor to the Commission on Colleges and Universities of the Jesuit Educational Association (JEA), which since 1936 had served as the umbrella organization for both Jesuit secondary and postsecondary education.
In 1970, the AJCU became its own national organization with the following purposes: 1) continued study of new educational problems in light of Jesuit policy and practice, 2) continued effort to improve educational effectiveness of Jesuit colleges and universities, 3) effective promotion of inter-institutional cooperation, especially among Jesuit institutions, 4) a unified influence in national organizations, programs, and developments, 5) effective assistance in participating in Federal and other national programs supporting research and educational projects, 6) effective dissemination to member institutions of important information, and 7) to be a forum for the exchange of experiences and information.
Under the leadership of the current AJCU president, Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., who is retiring after seven years of exemplary service, the AJCU has guided the nation’s 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the inaugural Mission Priority Examen, a self-study and peer review process for reaffirming the schools’ Jesuit, Catholic priorities for mission. He has also played an integral role in the development of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU), for which he serves as one of two representatives from the North American region.
A key priority for Fr. Sheeran has been overseeing the Ignatian formation of lay leaders at Jesuit colleges and universities. Over the past six years, the Jesuit Leadership Seminar and the Ignatian Colleagues Program have grown in size and scope and have earned wide praise and respect for their impact on Jesuit campuses. Most recently, the AJCU launched its newest program: a pilot forum for trustees at Jesuit colleges and universities to learn more about leading with purpose and mission.
During his time in Washington, Fr. Sheeran has been an outspoken advocate for undocumented and DACA students on Jesuit campuses.
Of emphasis in this coming era will be to help the AJCU and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States develop policies and practices for sustaining Jesuit identity at all 27 schools while also providing executive leadership in four areas that are vital to the success of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities:
1. Universal Apostolic Preferences
Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, recommended four areas of consideration for all Jesuit ministries, institutions, and organizations over the next 10 years. Known as the Universal Apostolic Preferences, these four areas have been approved by Pope Francis and received enthusiastically throughout the world:
• Show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment
• Walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice
• Accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future
• Collaborate, with Gospel depth, for the protection and renewal of God’s creation
2. Mission Priority Examen (MPE)
At the request of the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, the U.S. Provincials (regional leaders of the Jesuits) and the presidents of the schools constituting the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) have established a self-study and peer review process for reaffirming the Jesuit, Catholic mission priorities of U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities. The AJCU president will provide executive leadership of the Mission Priority Examen program including the process, timeline and coordination of activities between the provincials and the presidents. The AJCU president serves as chair of the Mission Priority Examen Coordinating Committee, calling all meetings, writing the annual report, and maintaining all records of the Mission Priority Examen process, thus providing an appropriate balance of involvement between the provincials and the presidents, allowing for the autonomy of each of the Jesuit colleges and universities.
3. AJCU Leadership and Formation Programs
The AJCU president will need to develop partnerships and embrace prudent fiscal stewardship to support the association’s revenue generating ventures, and demonstrate vigilance to grow, maintain and invest in a robust and distinctive set of programs and services that advance the Association’s mission:
- Government Relations
- Ignatian Colleagues Program
- Jesuit Leadership Seminar
- Mission Consulting
- AJCU Communications
- AJCU Publications
- AJCU Conferences
- AJCU Alumni Programs
4. The International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU)
Launched in 2018, the IAJU serves as a formal network, linking institutions and serving as the vehicle for advancing the implementation of a strategic agenda worldwide. The AJCU is critical to the IAJU’s success. The AJCU president will assure cooperation and a fiscal responsibility/independence as a representative of the U.S. institutions.
Committed to a common mission—to inspire students for service and justice in a diverse and changing world, and to respond to a hunger to make the world more just and humane—the president of the AJCU is the public face of the nearly 500-year old Jesuit tradition animated by the nation’s 27 Jesuit colleges and universities. Although they are similar in their Jesuit values and traditions, the institutions vary in makeup, including major research universities, comprehensive universities, smaller colleges and universities that merge the liberal arts and professional studies, and one strictly liberal arts college.
Leading the AJCU in a way that is in line with its mission and existing strengths, the AJCU president works with a close-knit and passionate Board of Directors— Jesuit and lay colleagues from across the nation and around the world—to articulate and implement a strategic plan that will ensure the AJCU’s continued success. Critical to the AJCU’s success is the leadership of a president who, first and foremost, exemplifies good judgment and embodies an energetic conviction about the intrinsic worth of Jesuit education. In this way the president will personify the Association and will advocate its cause to internal and external constituencies.
Although the preference is that the AJCU president would be a member of the Society of Jesus, the position is also open to lay candidates, preferably former presidents of Jesuit institutions, or senior leaders, such as executive vice presidents or provosts, with a deep and unwavering commitment to leading and supporting Jesuit higher education and the Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus. The president will be an exceptional communicator capable of garnering the support to sustain and advance the AJCU’s collective college and university mission. The AJCU president is expected to embrace the Catholic intellectual tradition and Catholic social teaching, while also understanding trustee governance, declarations of shared purposes, sponsorship, as well as with the hierarchical Church and its ecclesiology.
As the AJCU’s representative in Washington D.C., the president should be knowledgeable of research and insights affecting higher education including diversity, equity and inclusion; student support and success; internationalization and global engagement; and leadership development and governance issues. The president must also be aware of and prepared to advocate on issues related to—but not limited to—governmental regulations; immigration and internationalization; federal student financial aid; student wellbeing, safety and success on our campuses; and the legal and financial environment of higher education.
The president must be a person who can listen well, think strategically, and ultimately lead in the face of challenges that come with the forces of change taking place in higher education today. The AJCU president must work to recognize and be attentive to the needs of 27 institutions—each with its own resilience and eagerness to embrace leadership and change as a proud institution of Jesuit higher education. Last, the AJCU president needs to be committed to working with and for the 27 presidents in communicating the hopes and expectations to alumni and elected and appointed officials in Washington, across the country, and around the globe.
Under the leadership of AJCU Board Chair, Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola University Maryland, the Board of Directors invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the role of president. The position has an expected start date of July 1, 2020.
Recruitment will continue until the position is filled (March 1, 2020 is a soft deadline). Information about how to nominate a candidate or to apply for this opportunity should be directed to:
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.
Chair of the AJCU Board of Directors and President of Loyola University Maryland
4501 North Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21210
E-mail: [email protected]
Salary: Dependent on education and experience.