Finalists for the Director of the Office Spiritual and Religious Life (OSRL) at Brandeis were announced in an email sent to the student body on March 14. The new director will serve as the University Chaplain and oversee all the chaplains and staff affiliated with the Department of Spiritual and Religious Life.
The finalists named in a campus-wide email sent by the Kristen Lucken, the chair of the search committee. Maya Dietz, Reverend Matthew Carriker and Debra Jackson were cited as the finalists for the position.
According to the position’s description, the director “serves as a primary campus leader on issues of faith, spirituality, conscience, belief systems and religion within the broader academic setting of Brandeis University.” The Director of OSRL and University Chaplain is not required to have a specific denominational affiliation. The job description states that the director “has a responsibility to serve and engage the broader spiritual and religious communities of Brandeis as well as those who have no professed religious or spiritual tradition.”
The OSRL is made of chaplaincies from the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Dharmic traditions, according to their website.
There are three primary responsibilities for the incoming director. The first is to manage and lead the OSRL. This includes serving as the primary supervisor for the different chaplains. The director will share supervision with the vice provost for student affairs over the Jewish Chaplaincy. They will also establish and help maintain any affiliate chaplaincies such as Chabad or Intervarsity. The new director will also work with the Office of Institutional Advancement and other campus stakeholders to fundraise for OSRL and the chaplaincies.
The second responsibility is to increase campus engagement to mainly “facilitate collaboration between the chaplain and Brandeis staff and faculty to provide diverse and robust co-curricular learning opportunities around religion and broadly understood,” according to the job description. They will also be required to maintain a social media and web presence for OSRL.
The final responsibility for pastoral care is “to participate in teams that support student emotional health and wellbeing,” whether it be through the campus CARE team or be representation from OSRL on the Committee for Academic Standards (COAS).
The minimum requirements for the position will be individuals with a Master of Divinity or a similar degree, 10 years of work experience, have experience in interfaith work and five to seven years of supervisory experience. Ideal candidates are those that hold terminal degrees in their relevant field and “verifiable ordination or recognition as clergy in a religious/spiritual tradition.”
Dietz is a Christian Scientist that served in the Army. According to an article by Teach for America, Dietz said that “I help to ensure that people can practice their religious traditions faithfully and that they have access to confidential pastoral counseling and religious rites.”
Carriker is the current Protestant Chaplain at Brandeis and is often referred to as “Minister Matt.” He leads Protestant services and acts as the religious advisor to Protestant student clubs on campus, according to OSRL’s website.
Jackson is the current spiritual care coordinator at Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia, C.A.