Associate Director of Research, Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance

Associate Director of Research, Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance
The Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance is pleased to be hiring an associate director of research. The associate director of research will be responsible for helping spearhead the development of a new research arm through the Boniuk Institute and overseeing research through the Boniuk Institute and the Religion and Public Life Program, in addition to other programs and centers housed in the Boniuk Institute. The person who fills this position will direct and supervise research grants, research agreements, and projects that deal with topics such as global religious pluralism and religion and inequality. The ideal candidate will be a Master’s or PhD-level researcher who is a specialist in some of the following research areas: religious pluralism, religious tolerance, religion and race, and/or religion and gender. The candidate should have a track record of publication, experience managing externally funded research projects, and experience managing complex teams.  As one of four directors, the ideal candidate will be a key part of the leadership team of the Boniuk Institute, working closely with the outreach, operations, and academic program arms of the Boniuk Institute in light of a new strategic plan, which makes research central to the Institute’s mission. This position will be based in Houston, Texas at Rice University and be partially remote. The candidate should expect to work a minimum of two days in the office per week. The expected hiring range is between 100-110K depending on research experience.


·      PhD preferred; at least Master’s degree required.

·      5 years of related experience in a combination of research administration and/or research experience; in lieu of the experience requirement, additional related education, above and beyond what is required may be substituted.

·      Skills Required

o   Excellent collaborative, judgement, leadership, negotiation, problem solving, and critical thinking skills with attention to details and willingness to take initiative and lead teams.

o   Excellent project management skills.

o   Proven ability to create, monitor, and adhere to budgets.

o   High proficiency and comprehensive knowledge of project management including the proven ability to predict and evaluate potential risks and to create solutions before they arise.

o   Ability to translate research to broader audiences.

o   Ability to collect, organize, and manage large amounts of data.

o   Knowledge of statistical software, such as SPSS/SAS/R, preferred.

o   Knowledge of qualitative analysis software, such as Atlas.ti or Nvivo, preferred.

Essential Functions

·      Collaborates with faculty, University leadership, and Institute leadership to develop, set, and execute the strategic research goals and objectives of the Institute and its Director.

·      Fosters the development of interdisciplinary research nurturing collaborative research programs to connect individuals and researchers at other institutions at the city, national, and international level.

·      Responsible for research budget forecasting, in collaboration with the senior research administrator of finance.

·      Creates, oversees, and supervises others in maintaining and communicating with research respondents across multiple projects.

·      Identifies, qualifies, and develops potential funding sources.

  • Coordinates with the associate director of academic programs in fundraising for major programs and applying for grants for the Institute-based centers that focus on religious tolerance.

·      Collaborates with the outreach arm of the Boniuk Institute to translate research.

  • Maintains human subject protocols for research projects and ensures compliance, including the protection of subject confidentiality.
  • Supervises others in maintaining systems for tracking research project-related presentations, publications, and other outputs.
  • Prepares (or supervises others in writing) technical reports for sponsoring agencies and performs other project-related writing tasks, as needed.

·      Identifies and assists with writing of research grants.

·      Identifies and assists with identifying opportunities for research funding.

·      If desired, will have the opportunity to also directly contribute to research and publish from data.

·      Performs all other duties as assigned.

Additional Functions

·      Oversees and contributes to the day-to-day activities of the project and research office functions. This includes overseeing and mentoring research project staff, project development, data collection, and data analysis defined by research grant/project timelines and within the agreed budget.

·      Works with survey firms to coordinate survey activities and manage data collected; the primary point of contact for project survey firms and contracted personnel for research projects.



Please apply if you are interested:

Applications due March 23rd, 2023

Sociology Position: American University of Sharjah

The Department of International Studies at American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates seeks to fill  an open-rank position in sociology starting on August 13, 2023. Successful candidates may be offered a one-year visiting position or a rolling-track full-time position, depending on their academic profiles. Areas of specialization and competence are open. Demonstrated ability in conducting quantitative research and teaching research methods courses is a plus. Candidates must be able to teach a range of introductory and upper-level undergraduate/graduate sociology courses in their subfields.

Successful candidates must have earned a PhD in Sociology at the time of application, a record of excellent teaching, a strong record of publication in well-respected outlets, and be willing and able to move to the UAE by August 13, 2023. The regular teaching load is three courses per semester.

As a university formed on the American model and with English as the language of instruction, American University of Sharjah will give priority to candidates who have substantial experience in American models of higher education. The university offers a globally competitive salary and benefits package, including free on-campus housing.

Application materials must be uploaded as two files. One file should contain a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and names and contact information of three references. A second file should contain a writing/publication sample and evidence of teaching effectiveness. Please apply online at:

American University of Sharjah is a not-for-profit, independent, coeducational institution of higher education formed on American models but thoroughly grounded in Arab culture. Located in University City, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (about 15 km from Dubai), AUS offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 5,400 students from approximately 90 nations.

AUS is among the top five universities with the highest percentage of international students according to the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings (2022), reflecting a dynamic and cosmopolitan metro area that includes abundant opportunities for travel, entertainment, cultural experiences and natural beauty.

AUS is licensed and its programs are accredited by the Commission for Academic Accreditation of the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education Affairs Division in the United Arab Emirates. AUS has been accredited in the United States of America by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801 USA) since June 2004.

You are welcome to contact Dr. Yuting Wang, Head of the Department, at with any questions about the position.

The application deadline is March 31, 2023.

Call for Papers: Partners for Sacred Places

Partners for Sacred Places has been a leader for the last 35 years history in empowering faith communities in community engagement.  Partners is the only nonsectarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to sound stewardship and active community use of older sacred places across America.  They have provided capital campaign training and fundraising strategies, along with technical assistance, and grants to congregations and stewards of historic sacred places in all 50 states, as well as D.C., Puerto Rico, the USVI, and Canada. They have supported a wide range of faith communities on the wise and effective use of their buildings including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Quaker. 

Partners has also generated significant research into the impact that sacred places have in their contexts.  Their “Halo Effect” study documented the civic value contributed and found it to be considerable:  the average urban sacred place has an economic impact totaling about $1.7 million when calculating programs offered, direct spending, shared space with other organizations, recreational facilities, etc.  They also found that the social value of rural congregations is $735,000.

However, as congregations are declining in size and numbers, taking care of beloved old buildings can be crippling.   Many sacred places are closing, being repurposed for non-religious uses, or even being demolished, although there is no hard data on this.  There is concern among neighbors and civic leaders about what might happen when the church that was the anchor of a neighborhood is gone or the temple that was so central to the social fabric of a community closes.   What happens to the service programs that were housed there—what is the impact on their clientele? There is very little research (quantitative or qualitative) to back up anecdotal evidence on the cumulative effects of the loss of sacred places. 

Partners for Sacred Places is seeking researchers who can look at the flip side of the Halo Effect—what is lost when a sacred space and its stewards are gone?  Research is being sought to begin this documentation through five research grants.  The timeline is relatively short and the stipend modest, although it is hoped that this could be part of other research projects.   Research could be at the macro or micro level, looking at larger trends or individual case studies—quantitative or ethnographic.  There might be opportunity for researchers to present their findings at an event in April, 2024, and of course publication is encouraged. 

For more information, please contact Dr. Katie Day (

Deadline for 300 word abstract of idea: April 1, 2023
Awards announced: May 1, 2023
Research period: May 2023-January 2024
Deadline for paper (8000 words): March 1, 2024


Executive Director, Louisville Institute

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: The Search Committee will begin the review of applications October 15, 2022.

The Louisville Institute follows EEO guidelines and affirmative action procedures.

William H. Swatos, Jr. (1946-2020)

William H. Swatos, Jr. 74, of Galva, IL, died in GMC Medical Center, Sterling, IL on November 9, 2020 due to complications of COVID-19.

A native of West Milford, NJ, he graduated from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from the University of Kentucky. He earned an M.Div. from the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Lexington and was ordained a priest while serving at the Church of the Transfiguration in Lawrenceburg, KY. He served at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Silvis, IL from 1980-1993. He was a resident of Galva, IL until recently moving to a care facility. 

His academic career included teaching sociology at King College (Bristol, TN), and Augustana College (Rock Island, IL). He was also a non-resident senior scholar in the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University (Waco, TX). As a Fulbright Scholar in 1981, he travelled to Iceland to teach and study Icelandic religion. He was a noted author/editor of over 20 books exploring topics in the sociology of religion. He served as Executive Officer of the Religious Research Association from 1994 to 2015, Association for the Sociology of Religion from 1997-2012, and as Managing Editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion at Baylor University.

He is survived by sons Eric (Elizabeth) Swatos of Prophetstown and Giles Swatos of Tampa, FL, and grandchildren Arthur, Lillian, Claire, and Stephen.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Alzheimer’s Association,

Funding opportunity: call for proposals on gratitude to God

Biola University, with the help of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and under the direction of Peter Hill and Robert Emmons, welcomes proposals from various disciplines to investigate questions that concern gratitude to God*. Letters of intent are due January 29th, 2020.

Proposals may be for projects that utilize the methodologies of the psychological sciences, philosophy, theology, or religious studies. Empirical projects may be multi-method, qualitative, theoretical, cross-cultural, employ behavioral measures, or incorporate developmental approaches (though none of these are required). For the empirical projects, experi­mental methodologies are encouraged. There are four separate award competitions: (1) empirical large grants, (2) empirical early career grants, (3) non-empirical large grants, and (4) non-empirical early career grants. Total funding available for this RFP is $2.8M. For more instructions and more information, visit Queries may be sent to

We anticipate proposals for empirical and non-empirical projects that address one or more of the questions listed below:

  • What is the basic structure of gratitude to God? How does gratitude to God differ from gratitude to others?
  • Why and how do people express gratitude to God or fail to?
  • How is cosmic gratitude an alternative to gratitude to God?
  • What functions does gratitude to God serve?

*For the sake of this proposal and the anticipated projects that we hope it generates, we are using the term “God” to encompass the supreme God of monotheistic traditions, as well as other supernatural or superhuman beings with agency and powers (gods, spirits, ghosts, saints), whether personal or impersonal, with capacities to “make things happen or prevent them from happening, especially obtaining goods and avoiding bads” (Smith, 2017, p. 22). The phrase “personal or impersonal” implies that the superhuman powers may or may not be believed to possess consciousness, intentions, feelings, desires and other properties of the mind. We use the term “cosmic gratitude” in the RFP to depict the state that is felt by people who are inclined to feel gratitude for things not plausibly attributable to human agency nor to a personal supernatural or superhuman agent (Roberts, 2014).