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Presidential Search Announcements

Presidential Search Announcements

KEY DATES

  • January 2021
    • Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D., announces retirement
  • April 2021
    • Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search secured to lead presidential search
  • May 2021
    • Internal assessment and designation of Search Committee
  • June 2021
    • Hyatt-Fennell conducting initial hybrid (on campus and virtual) Listening Sessions with various College constituent groups; additional sessions will be scheduled and shared with the full CHC community to ensure every individual who so chooses will be able to share their thoughts on the College and the role of the next CHC president
  • August & September 2021
    • Nominations and applications accepted for the position
  • October 4th, 2021
    • Deadline for applications
  • October 22nd, 2021
    • Search Committee will meet to discuss candidates and determine semi-finalists
  • December 3rd and 4th, 2021
    • Search Committee will interview semi-finalists
  • January & February 2022
    • Finalist(s) interviews on campus. Schedule to be determined
    • Search Committee recommends finalist(s) for President to the Members of the Chestnut Hill College Corporation
    • Vice Chair of the Board will present the nominee to the Board of Directors
  • Tentative March 2022
    • Announcement from the Board of Directors of the next president of Chestnut Hill College

 

 

Letter to the CHC Community (October 25, 2021)
Dear Members of the Chestnut Hill College Community,

 

We are delighted to report that there has been an overwhelming response to the job posting for the Presidential Search. On The Chronicle of Higher Education alone, the posting was viewed more than 800 times. Through a thorough outreach, our search firm, Hyatt Fennell, was able to elicit well over a hundred responses. Of those candidates, 46 were formally interviewed by Hyatt Fennell. From that pool of candidates, 36 were deemed to have met the criteria set forth in the Presidential Profile. All 36 of those candidates were carefully reviewed by the members of the Search Committee and discussed at length. We are happy to report that there was an excellent representation of diversity of all manner among the candidates. 

The Committee spent many hours in review, deliberation and discussion. Each candidate was treated with respect and sensitivity. In early December, the entire committee will meet off campus over two days to interview twelve semi-finalist candidates. Our questions have already been selected to cover a wide range of topics that are important to the Chestnut Hill College experience. 

 

Hyatt Fennell has assured us that we attracted so many candidates for this posting because of our reputation in the higher education community. Over Sister Carol Jean Vale’s long tenure, she has certainly positioned CHC well to move forward despite today’s challenges. The candidates saw a unique opportunity to work on a campus with a Mission that is alive, committed to a "transformative holistic education, just relationships, innovative thinking and responsible action toward a more unified global society and sustainable Earth." Many were moved following their research to see that these are not just words on a website, but they are lived in our community daily. 

Gratefully,
 
Sister Maureen Erdlen, Co-Chair
Sallyann M. Bowman, Co-Chair
Cathy Lockyer Moulton, Board Chair ex-officio
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Letter to the CHC Community (October 4, 2021)

Dear Members of the Chestnut Hill College Community,

The members of the Search Committee met on Monday, September 27th to participate in an Anti-Bias workshop. This workshop helped us to become more aware of the subtle biases that we all carry with us from day to day. The intended outcome is to help us be mindful of these biases and to check them in ourselves and each other as we meet in the coming months to discuss the candidates for the president's position.

Additionally, we found that the training helped us to get to know one another better so that we will be able to meet and communicate with one another as equal partners in the search process. We, as Co-Chairs of the Committee, felt that everyone in the College community would be pleased to know that they are ably represented by thoughtful, caring individuals who carry the Mission of Chestnut Hill College in their hearts.

 

As you will see under the Presidential Search tab, there are two prayers now posted. The first is for our President, Sister Carol. We hope that you will use this prayer intentionally to give Sister Carol strength in the coming year. The second prayer is for the Search Committee to help us in our discernment over the coming months. Please join us in prayer as we continue along the journey.

 

You will also find the projected timeline with milestones of our search process. Monday, October 4th is the deadline for candidates to express an interest in the position. We have received a detailed summary of the responses from all stakeholders' participation in the listening sessions that were held over the summer. Thank you for your feedback as it will help to inform our decisions.

 

Thank you for your continued interest and support of the Search Process. We are bolstered knowing that you are joining us in prayer as we continue to move forward.

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Letter to the CHC Community (September 3, 2021)

Dear Friends, Thank you for the time you have invested in participating in the process of identifying the next President of Chestnut Hill College. Your commitment to the College is inspiring!

We are well into the search process, and our consultants from Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search will continue to accept applications through October 4th. The Search Committee is preparing to meet in late September for some training and support to assist us in recognizing our implicit biases so that they not unfairly affect our judgement as we evaluate potential candidates. We hope you have had an opportunity to see the Presidential Search page on the website. We encourage you to visit the site since this information will continue to be updated and available. We are grateful for your support and know that you join us in praying for the guidance of God’s own Spirit as our work continues. Gratefully, Sister Maureen Erdlen, SSJ Sallyann M. Bowman Catherine Lockyer Moulton Search Co-Chair Search Co-Chair Chair, Board of Directors

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Announcement of Presidential Listening Sessions (June 11, 2021)

Dear Members of the Chestnut Hill College Community,

We are excited to announce that the search firm team to identify a new president will be on campus on Monday, June 28th and Tuesday, June 29th. Every constituent group will have at least one opportunity to meet with the search team during that visit.

Listening sessions will be conducted both virtually and in-person simultaneously. Other opportunities will follow in the near future as well. Before we post the notice for the position, every person who wants to share their thoughts about the college or the role of the president will have the opportunity to do so.

More details will follow next week. We wanted to give you notice that this visit is coming shortly. Thank you for your prayers and for your patience as we work through the details for a successful visit. We are grateful.

Sincerely,

Sister Maureen Erdlen

Search Co-Chair

Sallyann Bowman

Search Co-Chair

Cathy Lockyer Moulton

Search Co-Chair

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Letter to the CHC Community (April 22, 2021)

Dear Friends,

In March we shared our decision to begin the process of identifying the person who will best carry on the mission of the Chestnut Hill College as the next President. We promised to keep you informed and engaged, and we are happy to announce the selection of Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search to support us throughout this process. We chose Hyatt-Fennel largely because of their commitment to inclusivity in engaging the Chestnut Hill community in this critical search. 

One of the first steps will be to identify a search committee to work with the representatives of Hyatt-Fennell and the Board of Directors in the development of a process specific to the needs and values of the College community. As mentioned in our original communication, your input will be invaluable as the process unfolds and we look forward to your participation.

We count on your continued prayer as we take our next steps toward finding the person who can best lead CHC into the future.

Gratefully,

Catherine Lockyer Moulton

Chair, Board of Directors

Sister Maureen Erdlen

SSJ Vice-Chair

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Letter to the CHC Community (March 23, 2021)

Dear Friends,

For over three decades, Sister Carol Jean Vale has led Chestnut Hill College with great passion, compassion, and fidelity to the mission of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Therefore, it is with sadness that we acknowledge and support her decision to retire as President at the end of June 2022. Her commitment to empowering every student with the competence, confidence, and desire to contribute to building a more just, compassionate world is a legacy that will guide us as we begin our search for the person who can best lead CHC into the future. 

The Board of Directors has begun the process of identifying the person who will best carry on the mission of the College, which has been in existence for nearly 100 years. We look forward to engaging you in this search process, and we affirm our commitment to you and to all past and future members of the Chestnut Hill College community. Once a search firm has been selected to guide us in our work, we hope to solicit your valuable input regarding the needs of the college community.

We are deeply grateful for each and all of you who, by the example of your lives, provide hope and encouragement in every endeavor undertaken here at CHC. It is you who make the educational experience at CHC the unique, meaningful experience that it is. We value our diverse, committed community and, with you, are committed to equity and inclusion.

May God bless you, your families, and all you hold dear.

Catherine Lockyer Moulton

Chair, Board of Directors

Sister Maureen Erdlen

SSJ Vice-Chair

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Presidential Transition Press Release (February 1, 2021)

Chestnut Hill College and the Sisters of Saint Joseph jointly announced today that Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D., one of the nation’s longest-serving and most accomplished college presidents, will retire after 30 years at the completion of her current five-year term in June 2022.

A nationally-renowned leader in Catholic higher education, Vale has successfully transformed the former women’s college into a thriving coed liberal arts school that has become an integral part of the city’s higher education system, with a diverse enrollment of 1,600 students from all walks of life. Vale’s achievements include the dramatic expansion of the College campus with the purchase and development of the adjacent SugarLoaf estate; the launch of a burgeoning School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) that offers an affordable and welcoming opportunity for adult learners to complete their undergraduate degrees; and the continued growth of Chestnut Hill’s NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports program. 

Yet throughout her presidency, the College remains an institution that continues to embody the mission of the Sisters of Saint Joseph to provide a holistic education marked by academic excellence, shared responsibility, service to the community, and personal, spiritual and professional growth.

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to lead a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Joseph and to serve at this extraordinary institution of higher education,” Vale said in her formal letter of resignation. “Chestnut Hill College is characterized by an uncommon excellence, both rare and remarkable.”

Thanking the Board, alumni, students and “an exceptional faculty and staff” for their support during her tenure, she said: “Dramatic and lasting changes have occurred over the last three decades, and the College is better for them.”

Other College leaders echoed her sentiments. “Sister Carol has led Chestnut Hill College through many challenges - some beyond imagining!” said Sister Maureen Erdlen, Congregational President of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, which founded the College in 1924. “She has led with great passion and compassion and, most importantly, fidelity to our mission.

“In addition to all her professional accomplishments, Sister Carol has immersed the Chestnut Hill College community in the SSJ spirit of unity and active, inclusive love for all our dear neighbors,” Erdlen said. “Because of her efforts, that spirit lives on locally, nationally, and even internationally.”

“Sister Carol has been a lioness for the College, and she is a great example of leadership for women,” said Catherine Lockyer Moulton,’92, Chair of the College’s Board of Directors. “She leads with an open heart and a dedication to inclusion. She is brilliant and determined, and she makes you want to be a part of the journey with her.

“We’ve seen great changes during her tenure,” Moulton said. “Yet there’s something very comforting about the fact that while so much has changed, at its heart – our core values and mission – it’s still the same Chestnut Hill College that my grandmother attended three generations ago. That’s a remarkable accomplishment.”

The College’s Board of Directors intends to lead a national search for Vale’s successor, working in partnership with the leadership of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

Carol Jean Vale began her lifelong connection with Chestnut Hill College as an undergraduate, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 1978. She took her vows as a Sister of Saint Joseph in 1974, and later studied as a Presidential Scholar at Fordham University, where she earned a Master’s in Theology and a Ph.D. in Historical Theology. She returned to her alma mater in 1988 as the Chair of the Religious Studies Department.

Elected President in 1992, Vale tackled the College’s most pressing problem – its shrinking enrollment. Her solution: going coed, which expanded the College’s base of students, stabilized its finances and spurred nearly two decades of growth.

“The decision to go coed was foundational,” Moulton said. “Quite literally, the survival of the College was at stake.”

Other achievements followed, including:

  • The introduction of a variety of new academic programs, including the school’s first doctoral program in Clinical Psychology; and undergraduate majors including Exercise Science, Health Sciences, Forensic Biology and Chemistry, Environmental Science, Media and Communications, and Cyber Security;
  • The recruitment and support of an increasingly diverse student body, together with identifying and providing critically-needed financial resources that helps students complete their college education. Chestnut Hill’s enrollment today includes equal representation among men and women, more than 41 percent of whom are African American or Latino;
  • Expanded the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, adding an Accelerated Adult Degree Program to help former students return to college and making it easy and financially affordable for them to do so;
  • Raised millions of dollars for student scholarships, including 90 endowed scholarships and four term scholarships awarded to Chestnut Hill College students in need. There is no shortage of demand: Approximately 45 percent of the College’s students qualify for federal PELL grants, which means that their families are among those with the highest financial need in the nation. To help meet the need, last year the College also provided more than $20 million in financial assistance to its students;
  • Welcomed the Institute for Forgiveness and Reconciliation to the College, a learning laboratory for research and scholarship that fosters an alternative to violence and conflict in American culture;
  • Led the effort to secure NCAA Division II athletic status, and added 11 new sports teams;
  • Expanded the Chestnut Hill campus, primarily through the purchase of the adjacent former SugarLoaf Estate. The spectacular 32-acre complex effectively doubled the size of the College, and today the Commonwealth Chateau at SugarLoaf hosts an array of academic and residential programs while also serving as a venue for community events;
  • Led the successful construction of Martino Hall, Sorgenti Arena, and Fitzsimmons Hall to meet the College’s growing academic, athletic and living needs, as well as the new Gulati Fitness Center and renovations to existing classrooms at Clement Hall; and
  • Most recently, launched the College’s new Wellness Collaborative, which will build on existing institutional capacity, working with learners across the lifespan in partnership with regional organizations in areas such as neurodiversity and Montessori education.

“A significant part of Sister Carol’s legacy is the thousands of students who leave Chestnut Hill College with competence and confidence, knowing that their lives make a difference and that they can and will contribute to building a more just, compassionate world,” said Erdlen.

Vale’s impact has not been limited to the College. Recognized as a national leader in Catholic higher education, she serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the 200-member Association for Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU). She also is a founding member and Chair of the Presidents’ Council for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education (SEPCHE), and she is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of American, the American Teilhard Association, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and President’s Council of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. She also co-founded and served as Board Chair of the African Sisters Educational Collaborative, designed to provide educational opportunities for women religious in Africa.

Among the many honors Vale has received are the 2019 Faithful Servant Award for Distinguished Service to Catholic Education, from Maynooth College in Ireland; a 2016 designation as Executive of the Year from Philly Biz; the 2007 Chestnut Hill Award from the Chestnut Hill Community Association; and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Michael’s College in Vermont.

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Sister Carol Jean Vale Announces Her Retirement (January 29, 2021)

Dear Mrs. Moulton and Sister Maureen,

In keeping with the terms of the Board-approved Succession Plan for the president of Chestnut Hill College, I am submitting my resignation as president effective June 30, 2022, at which time I plan to retire. Until then, I shall continue to keep faith with the duties and responsibilities that are mine as chief executive officer of the institution. I shall do everything possible to ensure a smooth and successful transition to a new president.

It has been the greatest honor of my life to lead a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Joseph and to serve at this extraordinary institution of higher education. Chestnut Hill College is characterized by an uncommon excellence, both rare and remarkable. Founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the College appropriates the values, spirituality, and legacy of its founders evident in tangible and intangible expressions and experiences. At the heart of both the mission of the College and the Congregation are relationships, just, right, compassionate, inclusive relationships. Because the College exudes that commitment in each and all of its endeavors, it is an astonishingly welcoming and accepting place. The hospitality of the heart that fills the huge buildings that house the learning and living environment of the campus is palpable. Visitors sense the presence of an unusual cordiality upon their arrival and almost always comment to me about it.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph, faculty, staff, and students assimilate this spirit and continue the tradition of welcome both to one another and to those new to campus. It has been my singular privilege to serve with many women and men of uncompromising integrity, unyielding commitment to excellence, and total dedication to their professions. The faculty and staff are exceptional in their love of the College and its students. They don’t work here, they minister here with care and compassion. There are not sufficient accolades for me to describe the faithful service of the College administrators who gladly contribute endless hours of diligent attention to the running of the College and welfare of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and board members. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to labor beside them as we dream of and put flesh on possibilities, I shall dearly miss them. The daily meetings of the Vice Presidents and me during this past year have created meaningful, productive, and trusting relationships.

Then, there are our students hailing from across the nation and around the world. We have never assembled a more diverse and inclusive student body. Young women and men from many cultures, countries, religions, ethnicities — this was my original vision for the College when I assumed the presidency in 1992 — to create a microcosm of the global community. Our College, in every aspect, needs to look like the world in which these young people are going to live and work. Relationships established here will transform the way they view and assess the world and how they handle difficult international crises when they arise. Our students are solidly good, despite often struggling with issues of food scarcity, low income homes, and the effects of violence in their neighborhoods. I believe we have put in place and are putting in place those services that can address their needs effectively. The successful completion of their education will, without doubt, change their lives and the future for their families. We also work to meet the needs of graduate and adult students who face some of the same challenges, especially requiring funds to complete their education once financial aid is depleted. Graduate Assistantships provide support for students in SGS even as these students fulfill important duties here at the College. An endowed scholarship and a new HOPE initiative will offer well deserved financial support to students in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies as they seek to complete their degrees. I believe no campus can be a better place to unify those from different background and socio-economic experiences. We are truly blessed by the esprit de corps created by administrators, faculty, and staff for our students.

The Board of Directors, Board Chairs, and our Alumni have been of inestimable assistance throughout my tenure. This group of Board members, in particular, has reached out in numerous ways and given advice and taken actions that are invaluable. The participation of the Board in the various important events at the College through planning, organization, active participation, and financial contributions are making recognizable and nameable differences for the College. Helping to establish new programs and making important introductions are genuine gifts to the institution. The collaboration and integrity of each Chair of the Board have made difficult and bold decisions possible. There is no substitute for a solid and honest working relationship between the president and the board chair. Likewise, the Alumni have come alive in new ways through their interaction with staff and faculty, participation in events for our students, providing internships, contributing to the clothes closet for interviews, accepting membership on committees, and making financial donations. I know the College is in good hands with the care and interest demonstrated by the Board and our Alumni.

What can I begin to say about the kindness and generosity of the Sisters of Saint Joseph over these three decades. My service has been blessed immeasurably and consistently by the interest, encouragement, and warmth of every Congregational President and General Council. Their generosity and advice have contributed immensely to any success we have enjoyed. I do not take for granted the special relationship between the College and the Congregation. This is not always the case around the country. I can honestly say that I could not have done this job without them.

I celebrate the many successes these three decades have made possible. Dramatic and lasting changes have occurred and the College is better for them. I am saddened by the times of darkness, misunderstanding, and disagreement. My prayer is that we have emerged stronger and more resolute from the lessons learned in times of trial. I pray the days ahead will be filled with prosperity, realized possibilities, and newfound energy. I encourage you to include administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni in conversations to seek information about the needs of the College and the profile of the new president. Fully collaboration with the College Community will be essential to their buy-in of the search’s outcome. If possible and if you think it wise, please invite representatives of these groups to serve on the search committee.

As is the practice upon retirement, I will be asking for a funded time period to renew and for the support I need to do so. I will submit these requests to you after consultation with David Woodford, our Vice President for Financial Affairs, and Christina Abbott, our General Counsel and Chief of Staff.

Thank you for allowing me to serve this singular College on two hills and for the immense support both of you provide. In these remaining months, I will do everything within my power to continue to put in place those elements that will strengthen the College to overcome future challenges.

With great gratitude and hope for the future,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President, Chestnut Hill College

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