Conversations Magazine Seeks New Seminar Chair

After serving for 10 years as chair, Father Pat Howell SJ, will be stepping down as chair in June 2020.  Consequently, the Seminar, in conjunction with the AJCU presidents, is seeking a new chair to serve for the next six years or more.  We are asking the presidents and mission/identity officers to nominate at least one qualified candidate from each of the Jesuit universities/colleges. 

The Chair of the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education, publisher of Conversations, coordinates all the seminar’s functions.  The Chair builds relationships with each of the 27 Jesuit universities.  The role of Chair does not have a term limit, but generally six to ten years is a good guideline.

Conversations has made several innovations over the last few years.  Most notably, it has gone to full-color production, even while cutting costs, and it has developed a vibrant, regularly updated website.  Enclosed is a link to the full job description. The full description is also available below.

Please send a cover letter of recommendation and the candidate’s CV to  Feel free to call Fr. Howell on his cell at 206-437-4537.   Nominations will be open until the Chair is selected.  Ideally, this will be done in conjunction with the National Seminar’s meeting at Creighton University, Sept. 13-14.  The candidate selected would begin the transition next January at our seminar meeting at Santa Clara University and assume “full powers” in the summer of 2020.

Many thanks for your interest and help in making Conversations a vital part of formation for mission in your institution.

Job Description for the Chair/General Editor of the National Seminar

The Chair of the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education coordinates all the seminar’s functions.  The Chair builds relationships with each of the 27 Jesuit universities.  In addition, the Chair acts as General Editor for Conversations since all the articles come to the Chair for initial approval, formatting, and basic editing.  The role of Chair does not have a term limit, but six to ten years is a good guideline.

Here are most of the specific responsibilities:

  • Stays in touch with and consults with the president of the AJCU.

  •   Collaborates with the Editor, the Webmaster Associate Editor, and the Secretary/Treasurer to ensure smooth functioning of all operations.

  • Makes an effort to meet with the layout editor, Pauline, every two or three years.  Also keeps her up to date on deadlines and other urgencies for the magazine.

  • Each winter solicits nominations for new members from a rotating list of university/college presidents. Circulates these to the seminar members for the selection of new members, who begin with the fall meeting.

  • Invites AJCU president to invite the Seminar to hold one of its triennial meetings on that institution’s campus.  The secretary/treasurer follows up on all the arrangements once the president issues the invitation and designates a person to coordinate all the hosting functions.

  • Maintains lists of the rotation of meetings and members.

  • Establishes the deadlines for articles and eventual publication.

  • Creates and oversees the AGENDA for each of the three meetings each year.

  • Establishes a Checklist of articles/authors/institutions/length of articles after every meeting and keeps this updated as articles are submitted.

  • Ensures that the seminar members regularly critique every issue and web functioning operations.

  • Birddogs the members and authors to submit articles for timely review by the seminar members.

  • With the secretary/treasurer, ensures that all operations are within the cost range provided by the annual subsidies from the Jesuit Conference and the AJCU.

  • Maintains and seeks out additional partnerships with other AJCU entities, such as meetings of the Heartland/Delta, Western Conversations, and the triennial Justice Conference, enabling them to use articles and contributors to Conversations magazine for the keynotes and discussions at the meetings.

  • Works with Deanna Howes, the communications manager at AJCU, to distribute a PDF of the magazine to all mission officers and other relevant AJCU bodies so that the magazine can be used in multiple venues.

  • Assists the secretary/treasurer in maintaining the distribution list and in working out a smooth relationship with the printer (Peacock).

  • Every three to four years, reviews all costs, especially printing, and determines whether to continue the contract with the same printer.

  • Oversees the recruitment and selection of the other three roles of the Seminar:  Editor, Secretary/Treasurer/ and Webmaster.