Executive Director, Louisville Institute

The Louisville Institute seeks as its next Executive Director a visionary and energetic leader who is committed to advancing the vitality of faith communities and theological education in North America. The Executive Director of the Institute should be a person of passion, insight, and intellectual thoughtfulness, with experience and expertise in theological education, a dedication to the church, and the capacity to engage others in collaborative ventures.


Founded in 1990, the Louisville Institute is a Lilly Endowment-funded program based at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Institute has long been a leader in the study of religion in North America. Our mission to bridge church and academy through the awarding of grants and fellowships to those who lead and study North American religious institutions, thereby promoting scholarship that ultimately contributes to the flourishing of the church, remains in the forefront of our work. The Executive Director shall hold a Ph.D., Th.D., or S.T.D. and be deeply committed to the life of the Christian church. Preferred start date for the new Executive Director will be June 1, 2023.


The Executive Director of the Louisville Institute supports, advocates for, and oversees the mission of the Institute and its contribution to church and society, which is:

...to bridge church and academy through awarding grants and fellowships to those who lead and study North American religious institutions, practices, and movements, and thereby promoting scholarship that strengthens church, academy, and society, and ultimately contributes to the flourishing of the church. (May 2020/January 2021)

Through collaborative partnership, the Executive Director convenes researchers, pastoral leaders, and scholars from an expansive array of backgrounds for consultation and connection; helps to identify and support promising religious scholarship; and builds ongoing relationships between the Louisville Institute and seminaries, colleges, universities, churches, and other faith-based agencies with whom LI works. The Executive Director seeks to expand the potential of religious research to advance the vitality of faith communities, theological studies, religious studies, and theological education in North America.


The Executive Director brings:

  • Energetic, thoughtful, and visionary leadership, working creatively and collaboratively with a variety of constituents and stakeholders including the Advisory Board of the Louisville Institute, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and its Board of Trustees, the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc, pastors and other ministry practitioners, scholar educators, religious researchers, and persons preparing for the vocation of theological education;
  • Skills for building broad partnerships for projects and research, and for sustaining relationships that model collegiality and enhance interdisciplinary connection across multiple academic and religious contexts;
  • Knowledge of and a passion for theological education, its scholarly and pastoral importance, its professional culture, and the ways scholars and pastoral leaders serve and strengthen the wider church;
  • Established networks of just, inclusive and diverse relationships that will aid the Institute in its continued efforts to connect with underrepresented persons and communities across the church and academy;
  • Curiosity and insight about the future of theological education and the church, and the potential that convening diverse groups for study and collaboration can offer;
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills, a team-oriented management style, critical and strategic thinking, and the ability to manage multiple tasks, from details to the big picture.
  • Proven experience as a pastoral leader and/or theological educator.

The Executive Director leads by:

  • Collaborating with the Louisville Institute staff to carry out the mission of the institution and to envision its future possibilities;
  • Partnering with leaders of major institutions that serve theological education and church leadership, such as the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, The Forum for Theological Exploration, the Hispanic Theological Initiative, and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion;
  • Convening conversations among scholars in multiple academic disciplines researching dimensions of religious life, religious scholars, and practitioners in Christian ministry
  • Directing the ongoing implementation and development of the Vocation of the Theological Educator initiative (VTE);
  • Overseeing a communication strategy that places the Louisville Institute grant and fellowship programs, research, and collaborative efforts in a wider academic and church public;
  • Enhancing the reputation of the Louisville Institute through attending conferences and other effective leadership forums;
  • Evaluating, interpreting, and communicating the mission of the Louisville Institute and its sense of the “pulse” of innovative and emerging research and ministry
  • Working collaboratively with the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc.;
  • Envisioning and planning future endeavors in collaboration with various LI constituencies.


The Executive Director oversees the operations of the Louisville Institute by:

  • Coordinating the Louisville Institute staff and attending to all aspects of the LI mission;
  • Overseeing all grants and fellowships of the Louisville Institute;
  • Serving as a member of the senior administrators team of Louisville Seminary, reporting to the Seminary President;
  • Serving as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the LI Advisory Board;
  • Preparing and coordinating regular meetings of the LI Advisory Board;
  • Reporting regularly on the activities of the Louisville Institute to the LI Advisory Board.
  • Preparing reports for Lilly Endowment Inc. on both the programmatic and financial aspects of the Institute’s activities, programs, and impact;
  • Working collaboratively with Institute staff, the Institute’s Advisory Board, the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc., and Louisville Seminary leadership in the planning and execution of consultations and meetings associated with carrying out the work of the Institute.
  • Promoting and advancing the interests of the Louisville Institute by relocating to Louisville, Kentucky.


  • Executive leadership experience, including administration, budgeting and staff oversight.
  • Ph.D., Th.D., or S.T.D. in an appropriate discipline and theological education, and an attendant background in higher education and its administration and with grant programs.
  • Leadership experience in congregational or other types of pastoral ministry.
  • Commitment to the Christian faith and enthusiasm about the life and future of the Christian church.

The Louisville Institute’s Executive Director is appointed by the President of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as approved by the Board of Trustees of Louisville Seminary. The Executive Director of the Institute reports directly to the President of Louisville Seminary.


  • To ensure a safe learning environment for students and staff, as a condition of employment the selected candidate will need to provide proof of a completed COVID-19 vaccination prior to commencement of employment or an approved exemption and reasonable accommodation.
  • A background screening is required.


Applicants should send pdfs of a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and a list of references to Alton B. Pollard, III, President, Louisville Seminary, at: pollardedsearch@lpts.edu. The Search Committee will begin the review of applications October 15, 2022.

The Louisville Institute follows EEO guidelines and affirmative action procedures.