Executive Summary

Santa Clara University seeks a dynamic, collaborative, and strategic leader to serve as its first vice president for mission and ministry. Reporting to the President and serving on the President’s Cabinet, this executive position will strengthen and promote the Jesuit, Catholic identity of the University in ways that are pastoral and inclusive, thus reflecting the rich diversity of the University community. The vice president for mission and ministry will be responsible for the clear articulation and broad communication of Santa Clara University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission and character. In the diverse and dynamic region of Silicon Valley, the vice president will develop new strategies to meet the evolving needs of the campus, church, and local community, while strengthening Santa Clara University’s position as a nationally recognized Jesuit, Catholic university.


The vice president will lead the Division of Mission and Ministry, comprised of Campus Ministry, the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, and the Mission Church. Building on a strong campus commitment to the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission, the new vice president will oversee the development and implementation of initiatives to engage students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, alumni, and benefactors in deeper education and ongoing formation, helping these groups to make the mission their own and apply it concretely to their work and life. The position will collaborate closely with the new vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and other Cabinet members to accomplish shared goals that allow Santa Clara University to live more authentically its Jesuit, Catholic mission.

The Role of the Vice President for Mission and Ministry

The vice president for mission and ministry reports directly to the President and serves on the President’s Cabinet. In this executive leadership role, the vice president will collaborate closely with other members of the Cabinet in integrating mission across the University and build partnerships with the Jesuit School of Theology and the Jesuit Community as critical resources for mission. The vice president will oversee and collaborate with staff in developing and implementing initiatives that engage students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, alumni, and benefactors in deeper education and ongoing formation around the University’s mission; help these groups to make the mission their own, and apply it concretely to their work and life.

The vice president will lead the Division of Mission and Ministry with 30 part- and full-time staff. Six division directors will report directly to the vice president: managing director/chief operating officer of the division, director of the Bannan Forum, director of Ignatian spirituality, director of community-based learning, director of immersions, and director of campus ministry.


The vice president’s work will be informed and guided by the 2019 Mission Priority Examen Self Study and Peer Visiting Team Report. Notably, the Superior General of the Jesuits, Arturo Sosa, S.J., reaffirmed our Jesuit, Catholic identity after reviewing the Mission Priority Examen process and reports. In addition, the four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, will serve as priorities for the vice president to promote and integrate into the life of the University, as well as the stated priorities of University leadership regarding mission and identity.


The vice president’s responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Providing vision, leadership, and strategic planning for programs and initiatives that strengthen and promote the University’s Jesuit Catholic mission and character in ways that are pastoral, inclusive, and reflective of the rich diversity of the University community.
  • Developing new strategies related to mission that will meet evolving needs and strengthen Santa Clara University’s position as a nationally recognized Jesuit, Catholic university.
  • Building a cohesive division from three distinct units, managing change with care, and inspiring the team with shared goals around mission.
  • Creating an infrastructure for integration and collaboration among the leadership of existing mission-driven programs and units across the University.
  • Developing relationships that create opportunities for collaboration and engagement with campus departments, the centers of distinction, and various stakeholder groups to mission.
  • Working with University leadership and the SCU community to advance and actualize Santa Clara University's diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
  • Fostering deeper engagement and ongoing formation for faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders about the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission and character that allow for growth and development.
  • Cultivating links among the mission of Jesuit higher education, Ignatian spirituality, and the Catholic intellectual tradition with academic and co-curricular programs in appropriate and effective ways.
  • Fostering interreligious and intercultural dialogue on campus.
  • In collaboration with University leadership, developing, communicating, and broadly promoting a coherent, clear, and shared understanding of the University’s mission that reflects the particular location and context of Santa Clara University.
  • Serving as the University mission officer for internal and external audiences.
  • Partnering with University leadership in developing the University’s next strategic plan, especially in areas related to mission.
  • Advocating for, securing, allocating, and managing resources for mission-driven programs and initiatives.
  • Serving as liaison to the Mission Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Qualities

Santa Clara University seeks a creative and strategic leader who brings leadership experience in communicating mission across multiple stakeholder groups, building teams, guiding change in a dynamic organization, and managing staff and resources. The vice president for mission and ministry must possess in-depth knowledge of the Catholic intellectual tradition and Jesuit identity, as well as a deep familiarity with, and personal experience of, Ignatian spirituality.

The vice president must also have the following skills, qualifications and attributes:

  • A Master’s degree at minimum; preferably a Ph.D., D.Min or equivalent.
  • Graduate training in theology, philosophy, pastoral ministry or spirituality.
  • 15+ years of relevant experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience that includes program administration, leading/supervising teams and individuals in managerial contexts, and budget oversight.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the Jesuit, Catholic mission and identity in higher education.
  • Understanding of Jesuit and Catholic intellectual tradition.
  • Proven experience leading faculty and staff formation for mission in higher education.
  • Experience with the Spiritual Exercises and Ignatian spirituality, which takes shape within the academic environment for faculty, staff, students, and other University stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience of the Jesuit commitment to respectfully engage religiously diverse faculty, staff, and students.
  • Understanding of the role of programs and curricula that include community-based learning and immersion experiences as essential to Ignatian pedagogy and solidarity with the world.
  • Proven experience in collaborative team-building, strategic planning, program implementation, and assessment.
  • Exceptional and dynamic communication skills, which can be applied to promote Santa Clara University’s Jesuit mission and identity in multiple settings, contexts, and across diverse audiences.
  • Ability to build collaborative relationships in various settings with the Cabinet, Trustees, Jesuit community, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other external audiences.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in Jesuit higher education.
  • At least 5 years of experience in mission and/or ministry programs at a Catholic university.
  • Experience in fundraising and university advancement.


The search committee seeks a diverse pool of applicants and welcomes applications from a broad range of backgrounds, including members of the laity as well as religious congregations.

Candidates should provide, as three separate documents, curriculum vitae, a letter of application describing their interest in the position and how the candidate's professional experience has prepared them for this position, and the names and contact information of five professional references. Candidates will be informed before references are contacted. To apply, visit the SCU Career Site.

For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be submitted by January 15, 2021. Confidential inquiries may be addressed to Laura Nichols, Search Committee Chair, at [email protected].


About Santa Clara University

Founded in 1851 and located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university and the oldest operating institution of higher education in California. The University is situated on the traditional territory of the Ohlone and Muwekma Ohlone people. The campus was built around Mission Santa Clara de Asís, established in 1777 as the eighth of the 21 original California missions founded by Father Junipero Serra. Mission Santa Clara remains the University's anchor and spiritual center. Santa Clara University is committed to the Jesuit, Catholic tradition of educating the whole person — mind, body, and soul — and preparing students to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. Offering more than 50 majors, minors and special programs, Santa Clara University's goal is to shape the next generation of leaders and global thinkers. In fall 2019, the University enrolled 5,694 students at the undergraduate level and 2,975 students at the graduate level. The community also includes over 919 faculty, over 1,082 staff members, and more than 104,511 living alumni. Santa Clara's six schools and colleges demonstrate a commitment to undergraduate and graduate learning that stresses an understanding of the social, environmental, and ethical implications within all academic disciplines, and the ability to solve real-world problems. Santa Clara University is one of 27 members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). The Jesuit institutions share a commitment to addressing common themes including the service of faith and promotion of justice.


Mission and Vision

Santa Clara University requires its students to learn beyond the classroom and learn from the community. The University also challenges students to understand the moral and ethical implications of their academic work and to bring creativity to bear in solving real-world problems.



The University pursues its vision by creating an academic community that educates the whole person (cura personalis) within the Jesuit and Catholic tradition, making student learning the central focus, continuously improving the curriculum and co-curriculum, strengthening scholarship and creative work, and serving communities in Silicon Valley and around the world.


Santa Clara University will educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion, and cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world.


Fundamental Values

The University is committed to the following set of core values, which guide the institution in carrying out its mission and realizing its vision:

Academic Excellence

Santa Clara University seeks an uncompromising standard of excellence in teaching, learning, creativity, and scholarship within and across disciplines.

Search for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

Santa Clara University prizes scholarship and creative work that advances human understanding, improves teaching and learning, and adds to the betterment of society by illuminating the most significant problems of the day and exploring the enduring mysteries of life. In this search, Santa Clara University's commitment to academic freedom is unwavering.


Engaged Learning

Santa Clara University strives to integrate academic reflection and direct experience in the classroom and the community, especially to understand and improve the lives of those with the least education, power, and wealth.

Commitment to Students

Teachers and scholars, mentors and facilitators all endeavor to educate the whole person; nurturing and challenging students intellectually, spiritually, aesthetically, morally, socially, and physically, preparing them for leadership and service to the common good in their professional, civic, and personal lives.


Service to Others

The University promotes a culture of service, not only to those who study and work at Santa Clara University, but to society in general, especially to its most disadvantaged members as work is done with and for others to build a more humane, just, faith-filled, and sustainable world.


Community and Diversity

Santa Clara University cherishes a diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni(ae) "a community that is enriched by people of different backgrounds, respectful of the dignity of all of its members, enlivened by open communication, and caring and just toward others."


Jesuit Distinctiveness

Santa Clara University treasures our Jesuit heritage and tradition, which incorporates all of the University’s core values. This tradition gives expression to our Jesuit educational mission and Catholic identity while also welcoming and respecting other religious and philosophical traditions, promoting the dialogue between faith and culture, and valuing opportunities to deepen religious beliefs.



Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J. became the 29th president of Santa Clara University in July 2019. Prior to his appointment as president, he served as dean of Santa Clara University's Jesuit School of Theology, an international center for the study of theology and ministry located in Berkeley. For eight years, Father O'Brien served at Georgetown University, including five years as vice president for mission and ministry. He has served on the boards of four Jesuit universities—Fordham University, Seattle University, Marquette University, and Boston College—and on the faculty of the Jesuit Leadership Seminar, a summer program which forms leaders at Jesuit universities from around the country.


During his first year in office, Fr. O’Brien has prioritized improving access and affordability of Santa Clara University's distinctive education; fostering a culture of respect, transparency, and accountability on campus; completing the University's $1 billion comprehensive campaign; and extending outreach to Silicon Valley and neighboring communities.


Fr. O’Brien is assembling a new leadership team at the Cabinet level to support his priorities. He recently named Lisa Kloppenberg as provost and vice president for academic affairs and Eva Blanco Masias as vice president for enrollment management in 2020. Under his leadership, a search is currently underway for the inaugural vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion in tandem with the vice president for mission and ministry.



Santa Clara University offers students more than 50 majors, minors, and special programs for law and teaching. Santa Clara University has six nationally recognized schools and colleges:

▪   College of Arts and Sciences

▪   School of Engineering

▪   Leavey School of Business

▪   School of Education and Counseling Psychology

▪   School of Law

▪   Jesuit School of Theology


The College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Leavey School of Business offer undergraduate degrees. The graduate programs span business, engineering, education, counseling psychology, law, theology, and pastoral ministries. All of the Schools and the College have activities that include a focus on global learning and social justice. Over one-third of the University's students participate in at least one program abroad during their time at Santa Clara University.


Centers of Distinction

Santa Clara University has three Centers of Distinction that encourage the pursuit of knowledge in service of humanity and create opportunities to share the Jesuit values and talents within SCU, throughout the communities, and around the world.

Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education

The Ignatian Center brings together Santa Clara University's most characteristically Jesuit programs to communicate and share the University's core values both on and off campus. The Center also sponsors community-based learning opportunities, local and international immersion trips for greater empathetic engagement, and additional programs to participate in important dialogue.

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Markkula Center supports campus engagement with ethical issues and brings the University's resources to bear on real-world problems faced by individuals and organizations in Silicon Valley and around the world.

Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Miller Center focuses on accelerating entrepreneurship to end global poverty and protect the planet. Founded in 1997, Miller Center leverages the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley with the University’s Jesuit heritage of service to the poor and protection of the planet.


At the Center of Innovation

Santa Clara University is distinct in its blending of a 169-year commitment to faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice, with an ongoing focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. The University's Silicon Valley location puts students in the heart of a global center for advanced technology and innovation. Santa Clara University students learn from professors who are business leaders and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, as well as through real-world internships that give them direct, hands-on experience in emerging technologies.

Academic Excellence

Over the past 10 years, Santa Clara University has attained new levels of academic achievement. Expanding academic offerings by creating nearly 20 new degrees, certificates and online degree programs, the size, diversity and caliber of the student body has increased. Many academic programs have been ranked among the top in the country. Santa Clara University has an average class size of 21 students, and the student to faculty ratio is 10.5 to 1. In U.S. News and World Report, Santa Clara ranked No. 53 among nearly 400 national-level universities in the publication's "Best Colleges" edition. Santa Clara was also recognized for its undergraduate teaching (No. 25); undergraduate entrepreneurship programs (No. 12); undergraduate business programs (No. 67); undergraduate engineering programs (No. 132); and as a “best value” school (No. 104) . Santa Clara University's Ethics Bowl team prevailed over more than 200 other colleges and universities last year to win the 22nd Annual Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Championship. In five of the last six years, Santa Clara University has been named a top producer of Fulbright awards. In 2018, eight Santa Clara University students or recent alumni were selected as Fulbright Scholars. In 2019, four seniors were awarded Fulbright Scholarships, and one student won the prestigious Coro Award. Three Santa Clara University graduates have received a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship in the past nine years, and one alumna was selected to be in the inaugural class of Stanford University's Knight-Hennessy Scholars.


Student Life

The Division of Student Life invests in programs and services that directly impact the student experience. The Division provides transformative experiences for first- and second-year undergraduates; delivers innovative learning opportunities that integrate the intellectual, social and personal development of students throughout their time at Santa Clara University; advocates for the development and sustainability of an inclusive and respect-filled campus community; and responds to the welfare needs and conduct issues of students. Santa Clara University's approach to student life reflects its Ignatian values of respecting its students as individuals and working with them to maximize their personal development and academic pursuits.


Complementing current academic programs, Santa Clara Athletics is a key component of the Jesuit philosophy of the education of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Through participation in intercollegiate athletics and recreation, students learn critical life lessons and values, including sportsmanship, discipline, teamwork, overcoming adversity, preparation, trust in others, and selflessness, to name just a few. With 20 intercollegiate sports, Santa Clara University's NCAA Division I teams have a history of excellence in the West Coast Conference and on the national stage, with national championships and student athletes going on to become All- Americans, Olympians, World Cup champions, and Hall of Famers. With the building of the Stephen C. and Patricia A. Schott Athletic Excellence Center, student athletes will have a new dedicated space to work out, train, practice, eat, and study together, while also opening much-needed facility options for events and for all students participating in clubs and intramural sports.


Key Student Facts

Undergraduate applications have grown by nearly 60% over the past 10 years. For the Class of 2024, Santa Clara University welcomed 1,274 first-year students from a pool of 16,500 applicants. These students come from 37 states, Washington, DC, Guam and 30-non US regions. The university enrolled a transfer class of 199 students from a pool of 1,000 applicants.

The Class of 2024 includes 56% men and 44% women; 2% are African American, 24% are Asian American, 15% are Hispanic/Latino, less than 1% are Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 40% are White, 10% are two or more races, and 2% are not indicated; 10% percent are the first in their family to attend college; 9% are Pell eligible.

Ninety-five percent of first-year students return to Santa Clara University for their second year. The four-year graduation rate of Santa Clara undergraduate students who entered in 2014 was 87.9% – the highest rate among comprehensive universities nationally. Last year, the University achieved its highest six-year graduation rates on record. The six-year graduation rate for the cohort entering in 2013 was 91%. Santa Clara University's high retention and graduation rates continue to reflect Santa Clara University's long-standing excellence in degree outcomes.




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