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 with 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.

Grinnell College seeks a student-centered, collaborative, and justice-focused interfaith leader as its next dean of religious life and college chaplain. This is an on-site and in-person role; the anticipated start date is spring 2024. This position is a 12-month, full-time, non-faculty appointment.

The Position

The dean of religious life and college chaplain (dean/chaplain) serves Grinnell College as a religious and spiritual leader and plays a vital role in tending to the diverse spiritual needs of the campus community through worship and various programs. Reporting to the assistant vice president for student affairs and serving as a member of the division of student affairs senior leadership team and a member of the council on diversity, equity, and inclusion, the next dean/chaplain will provide visionary leadership and oversight of dynamic programming and services within the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice (CRSSJ). Additionally, the dean/chaplain advises religious, spiritual, and social justice-related groups and will champion partnership and collaboration through interfaith dialogue, programming, and service across the College. The CRSSJ fosters a welcoming and supportive environment where religious and spiritual practice and exploration can occur. The dean/chaplain provides leadership for a staff of five and oversees just over a $100,000 budget.

The dean/chaplain leads or facilitates opportunities for prayer, reflection, meditation, worship, and retreats; supports the observance of religious holidays; and leads spiritual exercises at important moments in the life of the College, such as convocation and commencement. Additionally, the dean/chaplain offers pastoral care to campus community members, providing support and guidance during times of crisis. They will promote opportunities for spiritual engagement and enhance the importance of religious and spiritual practices and inter- and intra-faith dialogue across all faith traditions. As a visible and accessible advocate for the student experience, the next dean/chaplain will play a substantial role in ensuring that all aspects of the College adopt more equitable and inclusive practices for students and community members both on and off campus.


A master’s of divinity or comparable professional degree demonstrating training and experience in one or more faith traditions with evidence of proven leadership within a faith community, congregation, or campus setting is required. Additional knowledge, experience, and capabilities needed for success include: significant and progressive supervisory, planning, and management experience; broad understanding of world religions and appreciation for individuals of all faiths, or none; ability to integrate spiritual engagement with all aspects of campus life and experience facilitating interreligious dialogue; demonstrated work with diverse constituencies (students, parents, faculty, staff, and community partners); evidence of advocacy and agency—leading and addressing challenging issues facing the immediate community and world at large; sophisticated understanding of social systems and change; training and experience providing pastoral counseling and support; ability to inspire trust and confidence, and to actively listen; keen desire to work closely with a residential student population; exemplary communication and interpersonal skills; unwavering commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion; and a leadership style characterized by openness, flexibility, and integrity.

Application and Nomination

Grinnell College has retained the services of Spelman Johnson, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with leading this search. Applications submitted on or before Thursday, January 4, 2024, will receive full consideration; applications will continue to be reviewed 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, senior consultant, at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

The anticipated hiring range is $100,000 to $110,000 annually.

Visit the Grinnell College website at 

Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice website at

Grinnell College is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe and nondiscriminatory educational and working environment for all College community members. It is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in matters of admission, employment, housing, and access to and participation in its education programs, services, and activities. The College does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy, childbirth, religion, disability, creed, or any other protected class. Discrimination and harassment on any of the bases covered by state or federal antidiscrimination statutes is unlawful and a violation of Grinnell College policy.