Julia Thompson Smith Chaplain and Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Agnes Scott College

  • 26 Nov 2018 10:26 PM
    Message # 6934110

    Julia Thompson Smith Chaplain and Director of Religious and Spiritual Life

    Agnes Scott College


    Office: Dean of Students

    Reports to: Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

    Work Period: 11-month

    Hours: Full-time

    Overtime: Exempt

    Job Grade: 9

    GENERAL SUMMARY: The chaplain/director of religious and spiritual life is a student-centered, creative and strategic leader who provides direction for spiritual and religious life at Agnes Scott College within the guidelines of federal, state and local laws and office, division and college policies and procedures. The chaplain serves as one of the many faces and voices of religious and spiritual life at college gatherings, ceremonies, and occasions that call for prayer, spiritual support and guidance. At times, the individual plays a healing role on campus. The chaplain is visible, available and accessible, offering assistance during crises and challenges, as well as providing connection, comfort, and counsel where needed in times of both celebration and challenge. The chaplain reports to the vice president for student affairs and dean of students and works with a broad range of campus constituents, students, faculty and staff, community leaders, members of professional organizations, and establishes strong church relations with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 

    The chaplain/director is also responsible for meeting the needs of all faiths by encouraging a wide spectrum of religious traditions on campus, fostering dialogue about social justice, and overseeing religious clubs/organizations on campus. Key responsibilities include engaging in outreach to students, providing pastoral care, planning, and the administration of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. Given the religious diversity represented on campus, a strong collaboration with the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Diversity and Inclusion is essential to support the religious and spiritual growth and development of our students and the campus community. The opportunity to teach seminars and/or courses in religious studies or related fields may also be afforded.



    • Responsible for the development and implementation of comprehensive interfaith and multi-faith programs that champion the religious and spiritual needs of our students.
    • Conceptualize and develop a vibrant, inclusive religious, spiritual and ethical life environment in which reflection and free inquiry are valued.
    • Support the engagement of interfaith liaisons to the campus community by establishing and maintaining connections between the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and local religious leaders.
    • Facilitate and support the religious and spiritual needs of the Agnes Scott community, by working in partnership with representatives from the Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant communities, as well as religious, spiritual, and interfaith organizations in the Decatur and greater Atlanta areas.
    • Identify and respond to the religious and spiritual needs of students by providing reliable communication and appropriate guidance; serve as a resource to individual students in their spiritual and/or religious inquiry as part of their identity development offering resources and opportunities to further exploration and learning.
    • Act as liaison with the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, Presbyterian College Chaplains Association and the Synod of South Atlantic.
    • Utilize awareness of the greater Atlanta community to encourage Agnes Scott students to access available resources, and local and varied faith communities.
    • Lead ongoing planning and assessment for the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.
    • Manage the fiscal and budgetary process for the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.
    • When necessary, make hiring recommendations, train and supervise religious life staff, as approved.

    Programming and Advisement:

    • Coordinate innovative and collaborative programs that engage in ecumenical and interfaith dialogues, discussions, and experiences.
    • Provide leadership and coordination for a variety of programs and has primary responsibility for all aspects of the Faith and Learning lecture and activities related to it.
    • As a member of the Faith and Learning Committee and Student Affairs Division, promote a multi-religious ethos, contributing to its on-going strength and development; work in close cooperation with other campus constituents, and encourage honest and authentic relationships between different faith communities by exploring modes of engagement.
    • Participate in campus-wide events and promote multi-faith awareness and appreciation; initiate new educational programming that fosters individual and community understanding of spiritual and religious diversity and its influence on a global society.
    • Work to enhance the understanding between members of different religious faiths, deepen appreciation for religious diversity, and increase cooperation between different religious communities.
    • Develop and host a variety of programs that center upon religious, spiritual and ethical values.
    • Advise the Interfaith Council, by providing education, guidance, and support with programming and community involvement.

    Pastoral Care and Service:

    • Lead worship services on a regular basis in the Julia Thompson Smith Chapel, offer prayers on behalf of the community and ensure they embrace the diversity of Christianity across nationality, culture, and denomination.
    • Recruit and involve students in the planning, execution and evaluation of worship services.
    • Provide pastoral care to students and other members of the campus community.
    • Encourage the expression of religious and moral convictions in compassionate service to others by involving students in civic engagement.
    • Participate in various ceremonial occasions of the College - i.e. New Student Orientation, Alumnae Weekend, Senior Investiture, and Baccalaureate (providing prayers of invocation, benediction, etc.).
    • Create welcoming and inclusive environments and programming in the Julia Thompson Smith Chapel and the Multi-Faith Room.
    • Provide pastoral care as well as a pastoral presence on campus.
    • Meet regularly with students.

    Office and Divisional Responsibilities:

    • Collaborate with the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Diversity and Inclusion office projects, strategic planning and staff development.
    • Represent the Religious and Spiritual Life Office and the Division of Student Affairs by serving on College committees, as necessitated.
    • Work collaboratively with campus constituencies advocating for the needs of students who identify as religious and help to implement appropriate supports including coordination with dining services, residence life, and other offices, departments and individuals to ensure resources and services.
    • Attend and actively participate in office, departmental, and divisional staff meetings, retreats and trainings.
    • Collaborate with offices within the Division of Student Affairs and other departments to ensure cohesive programming and services.
    • Maintain a high degree of visibility to students, faculty, and staff.
    • Manage complex and sensitive issues with compassion and confidentiality.
    • Complete other duties as assigned by the vice president for student affairs/dean of students.


    Education: Bachelor's degree and Master of Divinity degree required. Ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) required.
    Experience: Three (3) to five (5) years of experience or the equivalent combination of education, training and experience.


    • Demonstrated experience with inter-religious work in the context of serving young adults, preferably in a higher education environment.
    • Demonstrated experience in planning, implementing and assessing programs.
    • Demonstrated successful experience with preaching and pastoral abilities, leading worship services, public prayers, retreats, educational workshops, or other related experiences.
    • Proficiency in counseling skills.
    • Effective communication, interpersonal and intercultural skills.
    • Dedicated commitment to student growth and development.
    • Ability to work collaboratively and successfully across cultures and styles at all levels of the organization.
    • Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and experience ministering in diverse and multi-denominational contexts, within an academic setting.
    • Ability to effectively interface with a wide variety of constituents including students, faculty, staff, prospective students, parents, alumni, and community members.
    • Demonstrated ability to work independently and to maintain confidentiality.

    Preferred Qualifications:

    • Doctorate in religious studies, ministry or another related discipline is desirable.
    • Working knowledge of liberal arts institutions and student affairs
    • Familiarity with administrative workings of a modern office, and experience with common office equipment and software (e.g., Microsoft Windows & Office, internet, and general computer knowledge).


    • Irregular and on-call hours may be required.

ACSLHE | pronounced AXLE | ©2022