Presidential Search Prospectus
Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ.
The person God has for this significant opportunity of service will have the right combination of organizational management, Christian faith, academic administrative experience, education, fundraising skills, and strategic planning leadership abilities that will enable him/her to pursue the goal of significant enrollment increases over the next five to eight years.
- Private, nonprofit university
- Founded: 1906
- Affiliation: The Wesleyan Church
- Location: Central, South Carolina
- Main Campus Size: 350 acres
SWU is a Christ-Centered institution that encompasses the following core values: Purpose, Scholarship, Community, and Transformation.
- Purpose: A specific calling for a unique role in our world.
- Scholarship: Academic excellence in an innovative faith-centered environment.
- Community: Belonging to a connected and compassionate body of learners.
- Transformation: Christ's redemptive work in individual and corporate life.
We believe that every individual has a God given purpose, brought to fruition by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit and the challenge of scholarship. As we participate in a consecrated community of learners, we are continuously transformed into the image of Christ both individually and corporately.
Statement of Faith and Employment
The mission of the university is to provide quality undergraduate and graduate programs in a distinctively Christian environment that fosters the integration of faith, learning, and living. Candidates for employment must fully support the doctrines, practices, and position papers of the Wesleyan Church and give evidence of successful professional experience, mature faith, and consistent Christian lifestyle.
It is the policy of Southern Wesleyan University to provide and maintain equal employment opportunities to qualified individuals regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, disability, genetic information, veteran-status, age, or any other classification protected by state, federal, or local law, unless a bona fide occupational qualification applies.
The University reserves its right to operate as a church-related institution and to develop policies consistent with the religious tenets of its sponsoring denomination, The Wesleyan Church, and is permitted and reserves the right to prefer employees on the basis of religion (Title VII, Section 702-703, United States Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended).
Southern Wesleyan University was originally established in 1906 as the Wesleyan Methodist Bible Institute whose mission was to develop Christian character in its students while providing thorough intellectual training. Now, as a four-year, private, liberal arts University, SWU’s structure and name have changed, but the mission—to be a Christian community of learners that recognizes God as the source of all truth and wisdom—has remained.
The Wesleyan Church
The Wesleyan Church in the U.S. and Canada has 24 districts, and SWU is connected to the seven districts in the Southeastern United States. The Wesleyan Church has five schools of higher education (Southern Wesleyan University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Houghton College, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Kingswood University in New Brunswick, Canada), and one seminary (Wesley Seminary). SWU currently is receiving $1.3 million annually in financial support from the denomination.
Central, South Carolina, is a town of 5,000 residents and situated in the northwest part of the state. It is one of the four communities that make up the Clemson Area, the others being Clemson—home to Clemson University—Pendleton, and Six Mile. The region sits along the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, including hiking and biking trails, waterfalls, and lakes. Residents also enjoy an exceptional quality of life and a vibrant arts and culture scene, complete with diverse dining options, visual and performing arts venues, and lively annual festivals.
Greenville, a vibrant and growing city of 75,000, is only 30 miles away, and other great cities of the Southeast including Atlanta, Asheville, and Charlotte, are close enough for day trips.
Also worth visiting is South Carolina’s beautiful coastline, which includes the historic city of Charleston, beautiful Hilton Head Island, and lively Myrtle Beach.
For more information about the region, visit https://www.visitclemson.com/
- More than 40+ areas of study offered
- 6 graduate degree programs offered
- 2 doctoral degree program offered
- 14:1 student to faculty ratio
- 54 full-time faculty
- 89% of full-time faculty hold terminal degree
- Rigorous Honors Program
- Various study abroad options available
Programs & Formats
Southern Wesleyan University seeks to meet the educational needs of diverse student populations through both traditional and innovative approaches. For those students who seek an excellent residential campus experience in the context of a strong Christian environment, the university provides on- campus programs at its facility in Central, South Carolina. There, the rich traditions of academia are coupled with residence hall communities, sports, chapel, and artistic performances.
SWU’s On-Campus program offers a wide variety of undergraduate majors in areas such as business, recreation, teacher education, music, English, communication, religion & ministry, biology, chemistry, math, computer science, forensics, pre-medicine, history, psychology, social science, and human services. Southern Wesleyan University offers online programs in an innovative framework that provide opportunities to conveniently complete undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs. SWU Online continues year-round, and students can enter the program at the beginning of any term during the year.
Undergraduate programs offered through SWU Online include an associate degree in general studies. Also offered are bachelor of science programs in business administration, human services, and early childhood and family studies. Southern Wesleyan University also offers online graduate and postgraduate programs including the Master of Business Administration (MBA), the Master of Science in Management and Leadership (MSML), the Master of Education in Classroom Leadership (MEDCL), the Master of Education in Administration and Supervision (MEDAS), the Master of Education in e-Learning and Instructional Design, the Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Assessment (EdD), and the Doctor of Business Administration in Management and Instruction (DBA).
Southern Wesleyan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.
Associate of Arts
- General Studies (AA)
Bachelor of Arts
- Chemistry (BA)
- English (BA)
- History (BA)
- Media Communication (BA)
- Music (BA)
- Music Education (BA)
- Religion (FLEX)
- Religion, Christian Ministry Concentration (BA)
- Religion, Christian Worship Concentration (BA)
- Religion, Youth and Children Ministry Concentration (BA)
Bachelor of Music
- Church Music (BM)
Bachelor of Science
- Biology (BS)
- Business Administration (On-Campus) (BS)
- Business Administration (SWU Online) (BS)
- Chemistry (BS)
- Computer Information Systems (CIS) (BS)
- Criminal Justice Studies (BS)
- Early Childhood and Family Studies (BS)
- Early Childhood and Family Studies Management (BS)
- Early Childhood Education (BS)
- Elementary Education (BS)
- Environmental Studies (BS)
- Exercise Science (BS)
- Forensic Science (BS)
- Human Services (BS)
- Mathematics (BS)
- Physical Education (BS)
- Pre-Medicine and Pre-Dentistry (BS)
- Psychology (BS)
- Recreation and Sport Management (BS)
- Social Science (BS)
- Special Education (Multi-Categorical) (BS)
- Accounting Minor
- Administration in Athletics and Recreation Minor
- Athletic Coaching Minor
- Biology Minor
- Business Administration Minor
- Chemistry Minor
- Christian Ministry Minor
- Christian Studies Minor
- Christian Worship Minor
- Criminal Justice Minor
- Digital Writing and Publishing Minor
- Early Childhood and Family Studies Minor
- Economics Minor
- English Minor
- Environmental Studies Minor
- Exercise Science Minor
- Finance Minor
- Financial Planning Minor
- History Minor
- Human Services Minor
- Literature Minor
- Management Minor
- Math Minor
- Media Communication Minor
- Music Minor
- Psychology Minor
- Social Science Minor
- Youth and Children Ministry Minor
- Add-On Certification Program in Special Education
- Add-On Middle School Content Certificate Program for Elementary, Early Childhood & Special Education
- Core Curriculum
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Master of Science in Management and Leadership (MSML)
- Master of Education in Classroom Leadership
- (MEDCL) Master of Education in Administration and Supervision (MEDAS)
- Master of Education in e-Learning and Instructional Design (MEDID)
- Master of Science in Counseling Psychology (MSCP)
- Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Assessment (EdD)
- Doctor of Business Administration in Management and Instruction (DBA)
- 1,345 total students enrolled
- 768 on-campus undergraduate students
- 317 online undergraduate students
- 260 online graduate students
- 67% female / 33% male
- 65% resident students / 35% commuter students (on-campus program only)
- 33 states and 7 countries represented in the student body
- 28% of students from underrepresented racial, ethnic and cultural populations
Student profile is based on Fall 2020 enrollment.
At Southern Wesleyan University, students have the chance to participate, organize, and even lead various campus clubs and organizations. Participation in co-curricular organizations at SWU is designed to complement academic studies and assist in preparing students for a life of active service to God and society.
Faith & Service
At the center of Southern Wesleyan University is an unwavering dedication to Jesus Christ and the relentless pursuit of His Kingdom and work in our communities, our world, and in ourselves.
At SWU, students have the opportunity to grow in their faith through great chapel speakers and worship, discipleship groups, ministry teams, local serving opportunities and global missions experiences. It's really all about helping students to find God's purpose for their life, preparing them for that purpose, and sending them out on their journey to impact the world.
Athletics and Student Organizations
- Team name: Warriors
- 18 men's and women's collegiate sports
- Dual membership in NCAA Division II and NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association)
- 17 NCCAA national championships since 2007
- 15+ student clubs and organizations, including intramural sports, service clubs, academic clubs, and student government
Boasting 17 NCCAA National Championships since 2007, SWU’S 18 NCCAA and NCAA Division II athletic teams offer incoming students the opportunity to participate in their favorite sport against other regional colleges and universities. If students have a God-given athletic ability, the University's caring and dedicated coaches will help them grow to become the athletes they were meant to be.
- All first-year students receive financial aid in some form
- $24,081 average on-campus undergraduate financial aid package for first-year students (includes all forms of aid)
- The average indebtedness of SWU graduates from the on-campus program is $23,619.
Financial aid information is based on the 2019-2020 academic year.
The retiring President, Dr. Todd Voss, made great strides in upgrading and expanding the Southern Wesleyan University campus facilities and increasing its incredible commitment to the holistic student experience over his ten-year tenure. While the demands of higher education today are daunting, the right person will see this as an opportunity to bring inspirational, innovative leadership that could determine a strategic direction and lead the school to reach those goals. This is an opportunity for someone to leverage the gifting and experience the Lord has given him or her in a most significant manner.
Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the President serves as the chief administrator of the University with responsibility for the supervision of all officers, agents, faculty, and employees. The President will execute the policies and standards of the Board of Trustees, and the General Board of Administration of The Wesleyan Church as they relate to the operation of the University. Additionally, the President will project and preserve the ideals of The Wesleyan Church and communicate the University program to the faculty, student body, Board of Trustees, constituency, and general public. As the chief administrative officer of the University, the President will coordinate the preparation of the annual budget for approval by the Board of Trustees and provide budgetary oversight on behalf of the Board once it has been approved. The President is also responsible for the administration and fiscal management of the University’s intercollegiate athletic programs. The President will develop strategic goals for the annual and long-term development of the University and its master plan and will provide oversight for the assessment of academic and non-academic units to accomplish those strategic goals and learning outcomes.
Additionally, the President provides leadership for fundraising and advancement programs. Accordingly, the President will encourage and foster the development of grant applications and the availability of external funding of University programs through corporate & foundation funding. The President will also represent the University at educational, professional, community, and church-related functions and other public events; serve as ex-officio member of all faculty standing committees (except faculty appeals committee) and appoint the members of all standing committees as specified in the committee descriptions. The President will perform such other duties as necessary from time to time and in accordance with the University’s By-laws and The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church.
For more information about The Wesleyan Church, visit https://www.wesleyan.org/
Presidential Leadership Criteria
Southern Wesleyan University seeks a new President who must demonstrate Christ-like character, be a visionary servant leader, promote high standards of scholarship, be humble and persistent in the passionate pursuit of excellence in a Christian community, foster mutual trust and respect all interactions, and bring impeccable integrity and high energy in leading the University.
The President must demonstrate an enthusiastic commitment to and support of The Wesleyan Church and work to understand and strengthen the relationship and role the University plays in the life of The Wesleyan Church.
The principle leadership qualities sought for in our next President are:
- Spiritual Leadership
- Academic Leadership
- Community Leadership
- Strategic Leadership
- Resource Development
- Denominational Leadership
The President must be a born-again believer submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. We also expect faithful membership in a local Wesleyan Church, active participation in the University’s chapel program, involvement in denominational activities, and personal efforts to connect the University to local congregations and para-church groups. He/she should demonstrate an understanding of, and commitment to, Wesleyan-Arminian theology. The President, as a servant-leader, should be a loving and caring person of faith, grace, patience, self-control, and forgiveness, who believes in the value of all people.
The personal credibility of the President should foster mutual trust and respect among the Christian community of the University. The President should make a personal commitment to value, appreciate, and build a community of Christ-like believers who are pursuing a lifestyle of commitment, learning, service, and stewardship.
Among Southern Wesleyan University’s several unique features is a long-standing commitment to academic excellence and the Wesleyan tradition. The faculty is well prepared and committed to teaching, the course expectations are rigorous, and the students are diverse and diligent. Almost half of the students are adult learners and 28% are minorities. The President will need to understand, be wholly devoted to, and inspire a shared vision for the purpose of such an institution. The University’s leader should foster the importance of integration of faith and learning, and standards-based assessment practices and their application to liberal arts and professional courses. The President needs to be able to lead the University through successful accreditations in documenting programs, curriculum, faculty, assessment, and students as models of excellence in character, scholarship, and leadership.
The President must be committed to building a strong academic reputation for the University’s undergraduate and graduate programs. The President will need to be competent in the key administrative areas of budget, resource acquisition, enrollment management, student development, and community engagement.
The recruitment and selection of faculty, administrators, and staff who embody the mission of the University should be a priority. The President must respect the role of faculty in academic governance issues to fulfill the mission and attain all of the shared goals for the University.
Southern Wesleyan University has made a deliberate effort to build and foster relationships within the business, professional, and faith-based communities. The President should develop and retain effective community relationships with the communities in South Carolina, the regional faith community, and The Wesleyan Church. The President is expected to emphasize a Christian culture of fellowship, friendship, and unity throughout the University community. The President should expect high standards and quality performance from all members of the campus community, and actively affirm outstanding achievement through some means of recognition and celebration for those individuals or groups who helped to produce desirable results. The University leader should be an active participant, a model of leadership and intellectual respect, and an ambassador for the University in the greater community.
The President will need to possess the ability to effectively build a leadership team that can guide an institution of higher education such as Southern Wesleyan University. The University leader must demonstrate a passion for the Southern Wesleyan University vision, core values, and mission. The inspiring vision of the University as a leader in Christian higher education must be communicated clearly and with a passion to all constituencies.
The President will need to be a visionary leader with a full understanding of strategic and operational planning in fulfilling current commitments and identifying new opportunities to be a world-changer in the community, the state, the nation, and throughout the world. The President must be able to facilitate a shared vision for the future of the University and involve the University community in its development, implementation, and attainment. The ability to engage, empower, and equip the administration, faculty, and staff in shared decision-making and problem-solving is expected.
Southern Wesleyan University places a high value on continued growth in enrollment in its onsite and online programs. In keeping with that value, the President must show a strong commitment to growth bringing significant experience and capabilities that will be consistent with this as an area of strength.
The President should demonstrate knowledge of fundraising and will ideally have prior experience successfully leading fundraising and acquisition of funding sources from the private sector. The future health and continued growth of the University is dependent upon a combination of fiscal management, efficient operations, enrollment growth, cultivation of external resources, and the development of a growing base of donors, including alumni. The President will need to provide leadership and point the direction in resource acquisition and should make a strong commitment to fiscal leadership and have a demonstrated gift for developing high quality and enduring business, foundation, and community relationships.
The important role of the SWU presidents has been recognized and affirmed by The Wesleyan Church. Southern Wesleyan University plays an important role in the Southern Representative Area, in particular, and exerts a powerful influence in The Wesleyan Church around the world. The President of the University has been granted a voice on the General Board of The Wesleyan Church and The Wesleyan Educational Council, as well as being a voting member of the General Conference and, from time to time, is called upon to fill other leadership or advisory roles in the Church. This is an important function, and the President will need to be committed to being a model of denominational leadership, and an ambassador for Southern Wesleyan University throughout the denomination.
Southern Wesleyan University, as one of five colleges/universities (and a seminary) operated by The Wesleyan Church, has, historically, held a high view of Scriptural authority while, affirming denominational distinctions such as racial and gender equality. The Wesleyan dynamic of holiness (personal piety and social justice expressed as love for God and others), is also foundational to the mission of the University.
Required qualifications for the position include:
- A sense of “call” to this position and a heart for students.
- Demonstrated leadership role that can impact growth of enrollment and/or fundraising revenues in higher education
- Unquestioned integrity and courage.
- A proven track record as an effective organizational leader.
- A willingness to take on tough tasks or to make decisions that may not be well received; willing to challenge the status quo; encourages creativity and innovation.
- A strategic thinker and a visionary; sees where Christian education, the Church and society are going in the 21st century.
- A faith that “spills over” to others in the Wesleyan faith and beyond to the broader evangelical and Christian worlds.
- A passion for people to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; knows that a strong prayer life is foundational to one’s spiritual walk and lives accordingly.
- A bridge builder; creates an atmosphere of trust; willingly faces conflict when needed and is adept at finding win-win solutions.
- A collaborative leadership style; viewed as the chief among equals.
- A Christian character that models healthy family relationships.
- A willingness to make a long-term commitment to the University.
Desired qualifications for the position include:
- An earned doctorate from a preferred program.
- Academic administrative and/or graduate teaching experience or exceptional leadership.
- An ability to develop strong, genuine relations with Board members, faculty, staff, students, and the community.
- An intuition to put the right person in the right position and the ability to deal sensitively without delay in moving someone out of an ineffective position.
- A high level of self-confidence while also demonstrating humility and strength.
- A command of the budgeting process and how it is best used in an academic institution to provide resources, control costs, properly motivate, and yet hold people accountable.
- A personal charisma; when casting the vision or an idea, it should have an effect of “contagious enthusiasm.”
- A respect for cross-cultural and ethnic differences and a personal understanding of cross-cultural ministry; someone who has a global perspective. A commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in faculty, students, and staff.
- A familiarity with undergraduate and graduate programs and the accreditation process.
- A clear educational philosophy; is comfortable in the learning environment and understands that the emphasis needs to move from education to learning. A comprehension of where education is today and where it is going and how that affects the University’s short- and long-term strategies
- A high value of scholarship, balancing the academic and practical, the innovative, and the culturally relevant, and embraces the potential of technology.
- A compelling and interesting communicator in large and small groups and with individuals.
- Skilled in people leadership (develops esprit de corps; a good team leader, open, and transparent).
- The ability to multi-task and handle a multi-campus leadership role.
- A strong work ethic, balanced with the needs of a spiritual walk, family, and personal relaxation.
- An entrepreneur; knows how to develop something then makes it work.
- A commitment to accountability for self and others.
- A gracious spirit; comfortable in all settings and given to hospitality.
Interested candidates should submit only a cover letter and resume to RPA Inc. at .
For a confidential discussion about this opportunity or to make a nomination, please contact Dr. Jim Barnes, Senior Consultant, at 765-618-2582, or Isaac Karaffa, Vice President and Senior Consultant, at .
While applications will be accepted until the position is filled, for guaranteed full consideration, please apply by November 3, 2021.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (amending the Higher Education Act of 1965) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities that receive federal funding. Sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence and other forms of nonconsensual sexual misconduct, is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited under this law. Southern Wesleyan University is fully committed to the Biblical Standard of sexual integrity as defined and practiced by The Wesleyan Church. At no time should any discussion of sexual behaviors be construed as endorsement of inappropriate sexual activity. For more information, visit SWU’s Title IX page.