The Opportunity

Grinnell College seeks an inspirational, student-centered, and justice-focused Jewish leader to support Grinnell’s diverse spiritual community.

Founded in 1846, Grinnell College is a private, highly selective, residential liberal arts and sciences college located on 120-acres in Grinnell, Iowa. The community embraces intellectual journeys of all kinds, and provides students the individualized guidance to dive deeper, define new directions, and find encouragement to follow their passions across the world. Grinnell College enrolls approximately 1,600 undergraduate students from every state, including the District of Columbia, and more than 50 other countries. Students have access to 42 areas of study, more than 500 classes, and an open curriculum allowing the freedom to choose courses that reflect broad interests distributed across the liberal arts.

The is a full-time, benefits-eligible, serving the Grinnell community from August through June each academic year. To learn about Grinnell College’s COVID policies, please visit: https://www.grinnell.edu/campus-life/health-wellness/coronavirus.

The Position

Role of the Associate Chaplain and Rabbi for Grinnell College

 Reporting to the dean of religious life and chaplain, the associate chaplain and rabbi serves as the rabbinical leader for the campus community and is responsible for planning and leading Jewish high holiday services. The next associate chaplain and rabbi will function as the advisor to Chaverim, the cultural and religious Jewish student organization, helping the Jewish students plan cultural and religious events throughout the academic year. This position is grounded in the support of students with the goal of student success.

As a visible and accessible advocate for the student experience, the next associate chaplain and rabbi will demonstrate a commitment to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion; be available as a counselor and an advocate to students, faculty, and staff; and provide support and guidance in response to crises. Additionally, the associate chaplain and rabbi will assist the dean of religious life in advising religious, spiritual, and social justice-related groups in campus program planning and implementation and will serve as a critical champion for partnership and collaboration in the form of dialogue, programming, and service across the College.

History of the Position

The associate chaplain and rabbi position has been a member of the campus community for nearly 25 years, and in a full-time capacity within the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice (CRSSJ) for 23 years. While the campus has not had a permanent associate chaplain and rabbi in over three years, Rabbi Susan Miller Rheins has been serving as interim associate chaplain and rabbi since fall of 2020.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

In transitioning to Grinnell College, the associate chaplain and rabbi will encounter the opportunities and challenges listed below, as shared by key community stakeholders.

  • The next associate chaplain and rabbi will lead, cultivate, and support a diverse Jewish community through religious, spiritual, and cultural services and programs. They will serve as an advocate for Jewish students across campus and assist in their sense of belonging to the Grinnell community.
  • As the formal advisor to Chaverim, the cultural and religious Jewish student organization, the next associate chaplain and rabbi will seek to mentor and provide leadership development and religious and cultural guidance. They will work in concert with students, define meaningful, appropriate goals and expectations, and afford these students opportunities to grow and learn from one another while expanding their leadership skills and service to the larger community. The associate chaplain and rabbi will connect current Jewish students and student leaders with active and engaged Grinnell alumni.
  • The next associate chaplain and rabbi will build strong relationships with other religious life staff and support student group leaders, developing a foundation of mutual respect and understanding on which constructive, creative partnerships can develop.
  • An accessible and present member of the CRSSJ staff, the next associate chaplain and rabbi will seek to establish relationships broadly on campus through outreach and collaborative work.
  • The next associate chaplain and rabbi will serve as a visible connector and resource for others throughout the Grinnell campus and be open to leading and participating in interfaith dialogue and service to the diverse and inclusive Grinnell community.
  • During times of crises, the next associate chaplain and rabbi will engage with other CRSSJ in providing confidential support to affected members and in generating an appropriate College response.
  • In partnership with the dean for religious life, the next associate chaplain and rabbi will promote coalition building through demonstrated understanding, programming, and services focused on the intersections of faith, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion and religion, spirituality, and ethical behavior.
  • The next associate chaplain and rabbi will be a visible advocate, protecting the right of religious freedom for all and work to secure equitable resources (space, funding, policies, etc.) needed for individuals and groups to observe and practice their beliefs.
  • With a focus on enhanced collaboration, the next associate chaplain and rabbi will join campus leaders in providing leadership and support around national dialogue of holistic and comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion, adding rich perspective and support to spiritual and religious identity.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining Grinnell College, the items listed below will initially define success for the new associate chaplain and rabbi.

  • Students within the Jewish community will find the new associate chaplain and rabbi is present, accessible, and available for advice and counsel; the Jewish identity is valued and supported.
  • The new associate chaplain and rabbi is an established, trusted, and respected campus leader, recognized as the “face” of Jewish community leadership, and engaged fully both within and outside the college community.
  • Strong collaborative relationships have been established across campus and in the community, especially with students, faculty, staff, academic and administrative departments, and the local Grinnell community.
  • Alongside the dean, the new associate chaplain and rabbi has helped to open and expand dialogue on religion and spirituality.
  • The new associate chaplain exhibits excitement and eagerness to support all Grinnell students in their identity development and engages students across all religious and spiritual traditions and none.

Qualifications

Qualifications and Characteristics

Master’s professional religious leadership training, with ordination, e.g., Master of Hebrew Letters is required. Five years of experience in professional religious leadership in a college setting preferred.

The successful candidate will have comprehensive Jewish spiritual and cultural knowledge; high personal, ethical, and professional standards; excellent verbal and written communications skills; outstanding leadership and interpersonal skills; strong background or appreciation for liberal arts education; and demonstrated respect for diversity of identities and experiences, an orientation toward equity and inclusion, and cultural competency in all aspects of campus life.

Several Grinnell stakeholders also indicated the following capabilities and attributes would be attractive in a successful candidate. The next associate chaplain and rabbi should:

  • have a keen desire to serve young adults—be student-centered, empathize with their concerns, respect their autonomy, and support holistic student development and wellbeing;
  • view one’s self as a resource and connector, proactively linking individuals to available resources throughout the campus and/or local community uniquely suited to support their needs;
  • maintain a presence—committed to being accessible, approachable, and engaged in the life of the college, its students, and other members of the community;
  • exhibit a natural zest for learning and curiosity that spans many religious and spiritual practices, not limited to the Jewish tradition;
  • comfortably practice one’s own Jewish religion while serving as a vocal advocate for freedom of religion for all;
  • foster and support a strong spirit of collegiality;
  • facilitate and build authentic relationships with individuals of all backgrounds and ideologies, including those who are non-religious;
  • be a strong and respectful communicator, as well as an active unbiased listener who readily builds trust and serves as a unifying force;
  • possess a strong cultural competence that supports institutional priorities around diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • demonstrate compassion and creativity to support an intellectually curious and socially-just minded community;
  • understand issues of mental health and the impact on students—embrace an active role in the continuum of care, supporting student wellbeing on a college campus;
  • be a religious leader who creates inclusive spaces to uplift voices that are not being heard, someone who is able to foster healing when others are feeling broken or impacted by trauma, and someone who can heighten awareness across individuals of multiple identities helping them to find common ground, foster interdependence, and celebrate together;
  • exhibit a genuineness that fosters engagement with others who are wrestling with difficult questions.

Institution & Location

Overview of Center For Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice

Mission

The Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice is dedicated to fostering and celebrating a diversity of practice and opinion regarding religion, spirituality, culture, ability, disability, and social justice policy. It encourages and supports engagement on campus, in the broader Grinnell community, and the global commons in the form of dialogue, programming, and service. The CRSSJ is committed to continuing current opportunities, as well as creating new opportunities for collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Core Values

  • student-centeredness
  • diversity in its many expressions
  • collaboration throughout the campus and beyond
  • critical thinking and dialogue
  • teaching, living, and working in ways that reflect a respect for integrity and honesty in work and personal life
  • physical and mental health and well-being
  • personal responsibility

Faith, Spiritual, Religion, and Prayer Groups

Black Church at Grinnell

The Black Church at Grinnell is composed of a group of students interested in planning a monthly Spirit-filled Christian worship service in an African American tradition. Guest preachers are invited from Baptist, Pentecostal, and other congregations recommended by the students. The Young, Gifted, and Black Gospel Choir (YGB) will sing, as well as the Praise Group.

Catholic Students Association (CSA)

The CSA is composed of a group of students interested in maintaining or rediscovering their Catholic faith through meeting other Catholic students, discussing important issues surrounding the church, and participating in volunteer activities.

Chaverim

Chaverim (Hebrew for companions), the Jewish student organization, is a diverse community in which students celebrate and learn about Judaism. Religious services, as well as educational, cultural, and social programming are held on campus. Members also participate in interfaith dialogue, multicultural activities, and promote diversity on campus. All activities are open to everyone. Chaverim is intended to be a place of safety and openness and a vehicle for intercultural exchange and growth. Weekly Chaverim Activities include Shabbat Table on Fridays at 6:00 pm.

Christian Science Organization (CSO)

The Christian Science Organization is composed of students, faculty, and staff who are striving to perceive the spiritual sense of the Scriptures and to apply this understanding to their daily lives, demonstrating the science of Christianity. At the weekly meetings, the group explores issues together and shares ideas and experiences relating to individual spiritual progress. 

Grinnell Meditation

Grinnell Meditation is a mindfulness practice group for anyone who wants to connect to the present moment and cultivate awareness. Alternative meetings such as walking meditation, guided meditation, visualization meditation, outside sitting meditation, dharma talks, metta meditation, and walking meditation labyrinth are hosted whenever possible.

Hindu Festivals

Information regarding the celebration of holy days can be found within the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice.

Korean Christians at Grinnell

The Korean Christians at Grinnell is an organized group of students who meet and travel weekly to Iowa City for worship.

Muslim Student Association (MSA)

The Muslim Student Association meets weekly for discussion, fellowship, and to plan for special events.

Orthodox Christian

Christian Orthodox students gather with Father Basil Hickman, from the Greek Orthodox Church of Des Moines, Iowa. Father Basil Hickman is the adjunct religious leader in the Chaplain’s Office, sponsored by the Lilly Endowment Grant. The group celebrates Pascha each spring and organizes worship opportunities with Orthodox communities in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids.

Quaker Friends Silent Meeting

This group gathers every first and third Sunday during the academic year in the Mears Cottage living room at 1213 6th Avenue in Grinnell.

Council on Religious Life

The Council on Religious Life is a group that holds discussions on interreligious topics and current issues in the world. This group meets twice a month and holds campus-wide events that include discussion panels and multi-tradition study breaks. Everyone is welcome from any background, tradition, or religion.

Leadership

Deanna L. Shorb, Dean of Religious Life, Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice (insert photo)

Deanna Shorb grew up in Littlestown, Pennsylvania. She earned her BA from West Chester State University in Pennsylvania and certificate of drama from the Yale School of Drama. Shorb also attended the Yale Divinity School at Yale University, completing a Master of Divinity. Shorb enjoys singing, exercising, refinishing furniture, carpentry, and (most) home improvement projects.

Shorb’s has oversight of the CRSSJ, including supervision of the religious life staff. She is also involved in Christian leadership, confidential counseling for students, faculty, and staff, lifecycle events (such as weddings, baptisms, funerals/memorial services), advocacy, and co-coordinating and advising the Grinnell Advocates Program. For more than a decade, she has collaborated with faculty and staff colleagues—all volunteers—in the support of first-gen and low-income students at the College. She leads the CRSSJ team in anti-poverty initiatives and support on campus and in the community.

Overview of the Division of Student Affairs

Mission

The Division of Student Affairs advances the college mission and strategic plan by intentionally fostering and proactively promoting student learning and development within the residential liberal arts college community, where self-governance and personal responsibility are hallmarks. The mission is achieved by embracing core values.

Core Values

  • student-centeredness
  • diversity, social justice, and global citizenship
  • being curious, learning, thinking critically, reflecting, and pursuing passions
  • relationships, collaboration, and partnerships
  • providing challenge, support, empowerment, and accountability to students and colleagues
  • integrity, honesty, authenticity, well-being, and personal responsibility
  • hard work, dedication, and positivity

Leadership

Sarah Moschenross, Vice President of Student Affairs

Sarah Moschenross was named Dean of Students in 2015, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs (CSAO) in 2018, and Vice President of Student Affairs (CSAO) in 2021. Prior to coming to Grinnell, Moschenross served as the Director of the McNair TRIO Program at Knox College in Galesburg, IL and as a Residence Director at Coe College.

Moschenross’ primary responsibilities are to set the strategic priorities for and cultivate cocurricular student development by leading the offices of the Dean of Students including Residence Life, Student Support, and Student Involvement; Inclusive Initiatives including the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice, International Student Affairs, and Inclusive Leadership Development; Student Health and Wellness including Student Health Services, Mental Health Services, and Prevention; and Campus Safety.

Moschenross has taught in college classrooms on privilege and leadership, social change movements, intersectional feminism, and introduction to the liberal arts. She has also worked in academic advising, community service and service-learning programming, residence life, and in career counseling.

Moschenross has presented on topics related to the experiences of women in higher education, social justice allyship, difficult dialogues, and on various panels on higher education leadership. She has served as the State of Iowa Liaison for the Standing Committee for Women and on the directorate board of the Commission for Social Justice Educators for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Moschenross has been an active member of the Iowa Student Personnel Association (ISPA) and served as its president in 2019-2020.

A native of Iowa, Moschenross received her BS from Iowa State University in Child and Family Services and her MA from the University of Iowa in Student Development in Post-Secondary Education. She is currently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, earning her doctoral degree in Student Affairs Administration and Leadership.

Institutional Overview

Institutional Background/History

Grinnell was founded in 1846. They are a private, coed, residential liberal arts and sciences college in Grinnell, Iowa. Around 9,000 people live in the town. About 1,700 students attend the College. Grinnell is committed to contributing to the common good and is consistently ranked among the nation’s best liberal arts colleges.

https://www.grinnell.edu/about/grinnell-glance

Grinnell, Iowa

Grinnell is a place where artists find inspiration, where architecture tells grand old stories, and where anyone can find their crew. With Farmer’s Markets, Art galleries, and Movies on Main Street, the city has a reputation for being one of the best college towns in America. But what really makes Grinnell unique is the quiet charm and welcoming crowd.

For more information: https://www.grinnell.edu/campus-life/grinnell

 

Mission

When Grinnell College framed its charter in the Iowa Territory of the United States in 1846, it set forth a mission to educate its students “for the different professions and for the honorable discharge of the duties of life.” The College pursues that mission by providing an education in the liberal arts through free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas. As a teaching and learning community, the College holds that knowledge is a good to be pursued both for its own sake and for the intellectual, moral, and physical well-being of individuals and of society at large. The College exists to provide a lively academic community of students and teachers of high scholarly qualifications from diverse social and cultural circumstances. The College aims to graduate individuals who can think clearly, who can speak and write persuasively and even eloquently, who can evaluate critically both their own and others’ ideas, who can acquire new knowledge, and who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.

Core Values

Excellence in Education for Students in the Liberal Arts

  • Varied forms of learning, in and out of the classroom and beyond the campus
  • Creative and critical thinking stimulated by the free, open exchange of ideas
  • Education that reflects on its own process
  • Excellent teaching as the highest priority of the faculty
  • Active scholarship in traditional and interdisciplinary fields
  • Need-blind admission of students with strong academic potential

https://www.grinnell.edu/about/at-a-glance/mission

Strategic Plan

For information on the 2019 – 2020 Strategic Action Plan: https://www.grinnell.edu/sites/default/files/docs/2019-10/2020%20Action%20Plan%20FINAL.pdf

Leadership

Anne Harris, President

Anne F. Harris, an energetic leader and gifted teacher, was appointed the 14th president of Grinnell College following a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees. The news was shared via video during a virtual gathering on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. President Harris, who succeeds President Raynard S. Kington, joined the College in 2019 as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College.

During her tenure at Grinnell, President Harris has quickly become a trusted and admired member of the College community. Among her many accomplishments, she has worked in partnership with more than 200 faculty members to fulfill Grinnell’s academic mission. She led a number of initiatives to complement the excellence of the College’s academic programs and to enhance the health and well-being of the Grinnell community. She co-directed the College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, supported the development and implementation of a First Year Experience, chaired the search for a chief diversity officer, and oversaw the implementation of a $1 million Mellon Foundation Humanities in Action grant.

Before her time at Grinnell, President Harris was a professor and vice president for academic affairs at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where she also held numerous faculty and administrative appointments over more than 20 years. Her work has been marked by leadership in the areas of diversity and inclusion, academic program and community development, and financial stewardship and fundraising. Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and classical languages from Agnes Scott College where she earned Phi Beta Kappa honors. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in art history from the University of Chicago. A prolific researcher and author, she has published numerous articles and juried and invited papers. She is a co-author of a textbook of medieval art history coming out in 2021.

https://www.grinnell.edu/about/leadership/president

Academic Programs and Faculty

Grinnell provides individually advised learning for the intellectually motivated, a place where freedom and academic rigor coexist and complement each other, and the curriculum has only one class that is required for all students.

  • 9:1 student-faculty ratio
  • 500+ course offerings every year
  • Most classes have fewer than 20 students
  • Degrees in 27 major fields with 16 concentrations
  • 3,000 internship opportunities in the United States and abroad
  • 40% of students complete a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP)

https://www.grinnell.edu/about/grinnell-glance

The Student Body

20% identify as international. 24% identify as people of color. In total, the student population represents 50 states and 50 countries. More than half of students will study off campus. The top 10 home states are:

  • Illinois
  • California
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Wisconsin
  • Texas
  • Missouri
  • Massachusetts
  • Washington/Colorado

https://www.grinnell.edu/about/grinnell-glance

 

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Long-term disability
  • Prescription Plan
  • Travel/accident Insurance
  • Tuition assistance (employee and dependent)

For more information: https://www.grinnell.edu/about/offices-services/benefits-insurance

 

 

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Anne-Marie Kenney, amk@spelmanjohnson.com.  Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Grinnell College website at https://www.grinnell.edu/

Grinnell College is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe and nondiscriminatory educational environment for all College community members. It is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in matters of admission, employment, and housing, and in access to and participation in its education programs, services, and activities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, veteran status, religion, physical or mental disability, creed, or any other protected class.