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The Opportunity

Earlham is seeking an experienced, strategic and visionary leader to take office as president in the summer of 2019. This is an opportunity to lead both Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion (ESR), both of which are notable for providing academically exceptional and personally transformative educational experiences to a diverse group of students. The next president of Earlham will not only foster excellence in liberal arts and theological education but also have the opportunity to lead this institution toward an ambitious and inspiring goal: to improve the world.

Earlham is grounded in abiding Quaker principles: mutual respect; integrity; peace and justice; simplicity; and community. These values are the bedrock of our approach to teaching and learning. We stand apart from our peers by inviting students into a community where they are expected to take ownership of their own education, and where students and professors forge a real partnership in classrooms, laboratories and research sites. Our approach to learning in community matters most in times of tumult and transition. Today’s world (not to mention today’s institutions of higher learning) need courage, creativity and sustainable ways forward. The world needs innovators. The world needs leaders who listen well and help groups come to consensus. The world also needs insightful people who examine problems from multiple angles, and then develop collaborative solutions that contribute to the social good. In short, the world needs Earlhamites. Earlham needs a president who embodies these qualities, can nurture them in others, and who will successfully champion Earlham’s mission and vision to the world.

Like all liberal arts colleges, Earlham College is facing a complex set of challenges related to enrollment and funding. The particular challenges facing Earlham College in terms of declining net tuition revenue and increasing budget deficits have been covered by The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. These challenges have been intensified by the departure of our past president after only one year. The Board of Trustees recognizes that it must redouble its commitment to work collaboratively with the next president so that the College can be successful at this critical moment in the institution’s history.

Earlham’s advantages in the current higher education market include its 170-year commitment to progressive education, a solid endowment (about $425 million), a dynamic strategic plan, a renewed commitment to a sustainable funding model and a community of students, faculty, staff and alumni who are passionate about the potential of education to shape lives and contribute to positive change in the world. The College’s next president will have the opportunity to build on a long history of transformative education in the Quaker tradition and help chart a course that will benefit Earlham students, and the world, for generations to come.


The College enrolls approximately 1,100 students from 47 states and 54 countries. Earlham offers the B.A. degree with a rich curriculum in the traditional liberal arts and sciences as well as exceptionally strong interdisciplinary programs. The Graduate Programs in Education offer M.A.T. and M.Ed. programs, including an innovative 3+1 program that allows motivated students to earn both a B.A. and an M.A.T. in four years.

Earlham is among only 10 percent of colleges and universities in the U.S. to have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The College is in the top two percent nationally for percentage of students who go on to earn the Ph.D. Our graduates’ medical school acceptance rate is 89 percent — double the national average. Recent graduates have earned such prestigious awards as the Rhodes, the Fulbright, the Watson, the National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, and many others. Earlham is routinely recognized by national publications for the quality of its classroom experience, for its diversity, for the outstanding quality of its off-campus programs, and for the value it provides to the students (and families).

The College benefits from an exceptional faculty that is deeply committed to teaching, mentoring, advising and scholarship. Most Earlham College professors have involved their students in their scholarly work, and many have led off campus study programs or research trips, in addition to providing an exemplary traditional classroom experience.

The College has a comprehensive signature program known as EPIC that helps students connect traditional classroom learning, experiential learning (like off-campus study and internships), and career planning. A key component is the EPIC Advantage, a funded internship or research experience for every student, including travel and housing. Virtually unparalleled in American higher education, this opportunity is worth about $5,000, and is funded by the philanthropy of our alumni. Earlham also offers students a robust campus life with 20 intercollegiate athletics teams (NCAA, Division III), dozens of clubs and student organizations, and a wide range of visual and performing arts opportunities. Over the past decade, Earlham has invested approximately $100 million in new or renovated facilities. It is one of 40 schools included in the book Colleges that Change Lives.

ESR is the oldest (since 1960) and first fully accredited Quaker seminary (since 1975) and the only Quaker seminary serving the spectrum of Friends. The school attracts students who come from many Christian denominations and who are interested in a broad range of ministries. The School is recognized among Seminaries that Change the World and has longstanding international connections. ESR offers both the Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts in Religion degrees. Enrollment in all programs is currently around 90 students. The seminary also offers a robust distance learning known as “ESR Access.” ESR is in partnership with Bethany School of Theology, a seminary affiliated with the Church of the Brethren that is also located on the Earlham campus. While Bethany is a separate seminary with its own president and board of trustees, ESR and Bethany students routinely cross-register in courses from the other seminary, as the seminaries maximize resources by planning their course schedules in a complementary fashion.

It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a great need in the world for the type of education that Earlham offers. The elements of a broad-based education in the liberal arts and sciences can be critical components to students beginning life-long endeavors that may involve multiple careers in many different fields. For students seeking a theological education, the open and welcoming atmosphere and an inquiry-based educational approach at ESR is an excellent fit for independent-minded students from various faith backgrounds. For Earlham’s next president, there will be opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of students and the world, even in the face of significant challenges.

The Role of the President

The president is the chief executive officer of Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion and reports directly to the Board of Trustees. The president is a member of the faculty of both Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion. The president is an ex-officio member of all standing committees of the Board of Trustees and is responsible for the supervision, management, and governance of the College and ESR. The president represents Earlham before the public and recommends to the Board of Trustees persons to be officers and faculty of Earlham. The president works closely with the Cabinet to pursue strategic priorities and manage the activities of the College.

Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership

In these challenging times for higher education, and for the College, Earlham must have a gifted and visionary leader to achieve the College’s ambitious strategic goals. Given its Quaker heritage, Earlham needs a leader who is collaborative and well able to foster a sense of shared vision and passion with the trustees, the senior leadership, the faculty, staff, alumni and community. Strong communication skills and transparency will be critical to success.

The College requires a leader who is a team builder, one who listens well, builds consensus, fosters trust and makes progress possible. The next president must be an effective change agent and a compelling advocate for the College to all audiences. Knowledge of the current landscape of higher education, the challenges facing colleges today, and an understanding of new approaches and methodologies will be important. The College’s 2015 Strategic Plan provides important details about the challenges faced by Earlham and specific suggestions for how the College can respond.

Qualities and Qualifications

The president must be able to catalyze Earlham’s key constituencies around Earlham’s strategic vision – and must then provide the leadership, in harmony with Earlham’s governance traditions, necessary to make that vision a reality.

  • Successful senior-level administrative experience in higher education;
  • Evidence of increasingly responsible, substantive experience as a manager of people, processes, and budgets;
  • Deep respect for and support of the roles of faculty, students, staff, trustees, and alumni in a broadly consultative governance process;
  • Personal experience with Quakerism, and an enthusiasm for promoting and supporting Quaker processes and practices;
  • The ability to think and plan strategically;
  • Fund-raising experience, preferably in relation to a major campaign;
  • Strong financial skills as characterized by significant experience with both budgets and investments;
  • A deep understanding of and unwavering commitment to the centrality of the faculty and its teaching, scholarship, and service to the life of the institution;
  • Experience working with and enhancing the effectiveness of volunteer boards;
  • A deep and abiding commitment to diversity in all its forms;
  • An appreciation for and commitment to Earlham’s international character and scope;
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to speak and write effectively to groups large and small, and the ability to be an eloquent spokesperson for Earlham, the liberal arts and experiential education;
  • The ability to work with and speak effectively to internal and external Quaker constituencies;
  • Experience hiring, supervising, and delegating to senior administrative leaders;
  • An ability to be accessible to students and others in the campus community;
  • Outstanding relationship-building skills, especially the ability to connect with people of diverse backgrounds; and
  • A demonstrated commitment to local community engagement and leadership.
Procedure for Candidacy

Nominations and applications are invited for this position. Review of applications will begin immediately. For best consideration, please apply by December 7, 2018. Applications (including an application letter, resume, and the names and contact information of five references, who will not be contacted until later in the search) should be uploaded to: This search is supported by Haley Associates Higher Education Executive Search. Confidential inquiries and nominations may be directed to Katherine Haley, Ph.D., at or 603-748-4399.

Earlham College is an Equal Opportunity Employer that seeks applications from candidates who contribute to diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, age, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and veteran status, among other distinctions and contributions. As a College with a Quaker identity, Earlham also is eager to solicit applications from members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).