Provost

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Berea College invites nominations and applications for the position of Provost.  The College seeks a dynamic leader who embraces its historic mission, distinctive heritage, treasured values, regional affinities, and future promise. The Provost is the senior academic officer of the College and has administrative responsibility for planning, coordinating, and evaluating the educational programs of the College; for the oversight and integration of all educational support offices and outreach services; and in collaboration with the Dean of Faculty, for the recruitment, hiring, and professional development of the faculty. The Provost reports to the President, serves as a key member of the senior administrative team and as an integral part of the institution’s decision-making process. In the absence of the President, the Provost acts as the senior administrative officer of the College. The Provost must have proven leadership and management capabilities to oversee College programs as they support the campus, community, and the Appalachian region.

THE COLLEGE

Berea College offers a high-quality education to bright and talented students who have limited economic resources. Founded in 1855 in a slaveholding state by ardent abolitionists and radical reformers, Berea was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, designed expressly to educate women and men, black and white students, living and learning together. Today, Berea is consistently ranked as one of the leading private liberal arts colleges in the United States. In its 2020 rankings, for example, Washington Monthly ranked Berea the #3 Best Liberal Arts institution in the country as well as #1 Best Bang for the Buck for the South (it has been ranked the #1 Best Liberal Arts institution in 2011, 2016, 2017, and 2018). This recognition is earned by focusing on rigorous yet supportive academic programs and graduating a student body comprised of almost all Pell-grant recipients with little or no student loan debt. Berea is not just a college—it is an engine of social and economic mobility.

With an enrollment of 1,600-plus students, Berea offers each student a Tuition Promise Scholarship worth almost $200,000 over four years. No Berea student ever pays tuition because no Berea student could afford to do so. These Scholarships are in part made possible by the College’s endowment, with a market value of $1.22 billion on June 30, 2020.  Since Berea is not tuition-driven, fundraising has replaced tuition over the last century and continues into the present, enabling the College to make a no-tuition promise to all admitted students.  Last year, for example, more than 10,000 alumni, friends, and even current students (who contributed a share of their earnings from the Work Program) helped the College raise a total of $37.5 million. 

Although the majority of students come from Kentucky and Appalachia, the student body is geographically diverse: more than 40 states in the U.S. are represented as well as more than 70 countries. Berea’s student population is also ethnically and racially diverse: more than 40 percent of students identify as being of color. Berea’s historical emphasis on interracial education and community is manifest across campus, not just in its students but also in the faculty who teach and mentor them. 

Berea doesn’t just admit students; it hires every admitted student as one of eight federally recognized Work Colleges.  All students work in more than 100 positions across campus, and they use their earnings to pay for expenses such as toiletries and even housing and meals.  In addition to earnings, they get valuable workplace experience that can complement their academic major, helping them to launch their lives upon graduation. 

Featuring 133 full-time and 35 part-time faculty, Berea’s teachers and mentors come from prestigious graduate programs across the nation and world and contribute scholarship and creative works that make them even better in the classroom, lab, and studio. Ninety-three percent of the faculty hold the highest degrees in their field. Fifty-one percent identify as female, and forty-nine percent as male. Eleven percent identify as Black or African American, four percent as Hispanic/Latino/Spanish origin, and five percent as International; two percent indicate two or more races. A 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio reflects the institution’s commitment to providing students with an individualized and personal learning environment, countering trends in today’s education marketplace.  Faculty are well-supported at Berea through a sabbatical program as well as faculty development funds, which average more than $3,000 annually per full-time faculty member.

Berea bases all curricular and co-curricular activities on the College’s Great Commitments, a broad mission statement focusing on equality, inclusivity, service, work, the liberal arts, and Appalachia. Originally adopted in 1969 and last revised in 2017, all who encounter Berea see its fidelity to these Great Commitments:

  • To provide an educational opportunity for students of all races, primarily from Appalachia, who have great promise and limited economic resources.
  • To offer a high-quality liberal arts education that engages students as they pursue their personal, academic, and professional goals.
  • To stimulate understanding of the Christian faith and its many expressions and to emphasize the Christian ethic and the motive of service to others.
  • To promote learning and serving in community through the student Labor Program, honoring the dignity and utility of all work, mental and manual, and taking pride in work well done.
  • To assert the kinship of all people and to provide interracial education with a particular emphasis on understanding and equality among blacks and whites as a foundation for building community among all peoples of the earth.
  • To create a democratic community dedicated to education and gender equality.
  • To maintain a residential campus and to encourage in all community members a way of life characterized by mindful and sustainable living, health and wellness, zest for learning, high personal standards, and a concern for the welfare of others.
  • To engage Appalachian communities, families, and students in partnership for mutual learning, growth, and service.

As a continuous learning environment built upon Berea’s Great Commitments and learning goals, Berea College expects all its employees “to be active learners, workers and servers,” and to contribute to a workplace where human compassion, dignity, and equality are expressed and lived. To that end the College has codified the following workplace expectations:

  • Exhibit Enthusiasm for Learning
  • Act with Integrity and Caring
  • Value All People
  • Celebrate Work Well Done
  • Work as a Team
  • Serve Others
  • Encourage Plain and Sustainable Living

The College campus is the center of activity in the town of Berea. There is an unusual campus/city symbiosis arising out of Berea’s long history and its import to the town and region. The College’s beautiful 140-acre campus with new and historic buildings and appealing green spaces is the home for this vibrant learning environment. The longest continuously operating college farm in the country is adjacent to campus, consisting of 500 acres of organic land. And beyond that, the College Forest is one of the oldest sustainably operated forests in America consisting of 9,500 acres. Both the Farm and the Forest are important learning laboratories. 

With strong scholarship and grant support, 93 percent of recent graduates had either studied abroad, participated in a paid internship, engaged in faculty-mentored research, or taken a service-learning course—all recognized high-impact practices. Because 98 percent of Berea’s students are Pell recipients, these practices are even more high impact for its student population, as literature conveys.  Every Berea student upon matriculation receives a new laptop, and just before graduation, these computers are updated with the latest software so that students can take them out into the world beyond.  Additionally, Berea is focused on advancing sustainable living through numerous programs and policies, including a deep commitment to green initiatives, ecologically sustainable housing, and reduced resource consumption.  When it was opened in 2013, for example, the Deep Green Residence Hall was the greenest student living space in the world. 

Berea’s Athletics program, a shared direct report between the President and the Provost, features six men’s and six women’s intercollegiate teams and competes in the USA South Conference in Division III of the NCAA.

Berea College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

For more information about the College, see www.berea.edu/about/

LEADERSHIP

Berea College is led by a Board of Trustees comprised of 36 leaders from diverse backgrounds, geography, and professional distinction. The Board entrusted Dr. Lyle Roelofs with the executive leadership of the institution in 2012. He was inaugurated in April 2013 as Berea College’s ninth president. Dr. Roelofs brings a strong administrative and academic record to his service. He began his academic career at Haverford College in the Philadelphia area as a faculty member in the area of theoretical physics, culminating his service there as associate provost.  Roelofs went on to serve as provost and dean of faculty and interim president at Colgate University. He is a graduate of Calvin College with a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in physics and mathematics. He earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in physics, at the University of Maryland, and has more than 35 years of experience in teaching and research at the University of Maryland, Calvin College, Brown University, Haverford College and Colgate University.

Dr. Roelofs’ academic and scholarly research has resulted in substantial grants from such organizations as the Research Corporation, Pew Mid-Atlantic Cluster, and the National Science Foundation. Other honors include the Humboldt Research Fellowship and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Teaching Fellowship. He held an endowed faculty chair at Haverford College as distinguished professor of computational science.

Dr. Roelofs has many accomplishments in research and pedagogy, numerous publications in refereed professional journals, as well as invited papers and presentations at national and international seminars and colloquia. Beyond his academic interests, Dr. Roelofs enjoys reading, running (for exercise and the occasional distance race), cooking, and various outdoor activities including gardening and bird watching.

The Provost serves as second in leadership to the President, presiding in his absence and helping to lead the Administrative Committee, which consists of 11 officers of the College and the President.

THE LABOR PROGRAM

Central to Berea’s identity and educational enterprise is its celebrated Labor Program.  The College is the founding institution of the Work Colleges Consortium, an association of eight four-year residential colleges, each including an institutional work expectation applying to all of its students, and each integrating that program into the educational goals of the student experience.  At Berea College, all 1,600-plus students work for the College, from 10-15 hours per week, and are evaluated each semester for their accomplishment of the learning goals of the Labor Program. Each student also is provided with a work transcript in addition to an academic one. Students’ earnings enable them to cover the additional expenses they experience, and, as a result, many are able to graduate debt free, and as importantly, with much enhanced work skills well suited to a plethora of careers.

THE ACADEMIC DIVISION

The Provost leads the Academic Division of the College in close consultation with the Dean of Faculty, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success, the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Director of Academic Assessment. The work of these academic leaders is supported by four administrative staff, including two Executive Assistants to the Provost.   As the leader of the largest division of the College, the Provost is uniquely positioned to facilitate coordination and cooperation with other divisions, especially Labor and Student Life.  

The College features bachelor’s degrees in 33 majors, including many arts and science disciplines as well as select professional programs. Its nursing program ranks among the best in the commonwealth of Kentucky, as well as the oldest nursing program west of the Allegheny Mountains. Berea also has historic programs in education studies, technology and applied design, and agriculture and natural resources.

In addition to completing one or more majors, all Berea College students complete a robust General Studies program that includes five interdisciplinary core classes and a vibrant Convocations program. Berea’s curriculum offers rich high-impact learning opportunities. The College has nationally recognized programs in service-learning, internships, undergraduate research, and Entrepreneurship for the Public Good.  Nearly half of Berea’s 2020 graduates studied abroad at least once; more than half completed a funded, credit-bearing internship; and more than half had taken a service-learning course. 

The Provost has oversight of Hutchins Library, noted for its partnerships with faculty and integrated bibliographic instruction program, and of an array of vital offices, centers, and spaces that help the College adapt its commitments to the 21st century, including

  • the Center for Teaching and Learning
  • the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service
  • the Francis and Louise Hutchins Center for International Education
  • the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education
  • the Black Cultural Center
  • the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center
  • the Women’s and Gender Non-Conforming Center
  • el Espacio Cultural Latinx
  • the Office of Internships and Career Development
  • the Office of Student Success and Transition
  • and the Willis Weatherford, Jr., Campus Christian Center. 

Graduates distinguish themselves in a variety of fields, including social service, government, ministry, the arts, business, education, medicine, and science, and many go on to earn graduate degrees.

THE APPALACHIAN REGION

Located in the gorgeous foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Berea is a town of 15,000 residents, situated 40 miles south of Lexington, Kentucky, and 130 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee. Berea is a hub for creativity—it is home to a thriving population of weavers, instrument makers, furniture artisans, jewelry designers, glass workers, potters, painters, sculptors, and musicians. The story of Berea’s artisan community is interwoven with Berea College.

With numerous arts-and-craft and culinary festivals scheduled throughout the year, Berea is a tourist destination. The area’s climate features moderate winters and warm summers, which supports College activities and the area’s active artisans and musicians. Berea has a pedestrian-friendly culture supported by miles of bike trails, sidewalks and regularly held 5K runs and other fitness events. Both College and town are committed to the practice of sustainability and conservation.

The Berea area features attractive real estate options, a low cost-of-living, multiple good school districts, local and specialized health care and a hospital. Its location on a major interstate highway provides easy access to employment centers and lively metropolitan areas.

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The successful candidate for this position will be a person of strong character who is deeply committed to Berea’s mission of co-educational and interracial education for underserved populations.  The Provost is an advocate for the centrality of the teaching and learning process; a colleague of faculty and staff who is able to listen and to lead; a supporter of and advocate for the Great Commitments; and a consensus-builder who seeks to be a collaborator in problem-solving. The Provost must be a proven teacher and scholar and an administrator of unimpeachable integrity and accomplishment who will be assertive in support of the liberal arts and the College’s mission.

For more information about this position and to access the full position description, please go to the following link:   Berea College Provost Application

                                                                                                    

NOMINATIONS AND APPLICATIONS

Nominations and applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but to ensure fullest consideration, please complete your application by October 15. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to: Berea College Provost Application.  To apply, please submit a cover letter, résumé, and five professional references. References will not be contacted until later in the search process.

Berea College, in light of its mission in the tradition of “impartial love” and social equality, welcomes “all peoples of the earth” to learn and work here. The College provides equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment regardless of their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin, political affiliation, disabling condition, or service in the uniformed services, in accordance with applicable law. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.