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Friends of Tabor,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Tabor College, we welcome you and thank you for your desire to learn more about Tabor, our mission, and who we are seeking to lead us boldly into the future. We are excited for what that future holds and how our next leader will continue the incredible legacy that has been built since 1908.
Tabor College has a rich history of preparing people for a life of learning, work and service for Christ and His kingdom. The Lord has blessed us, and we praise Him for how he has led so many students to seek a Christ centered education at Tabor. It’s so rewarding to talk with alums who consider their time at Tabor one of the best experiences of their life.
I’m one of those alums and count it a privilege to now give back in a small way to the college that was transformative in my life. We are grateful for Dr. Jules Glanzer who has served Tabor well over the last 13 years, and we thank him for his faithful service, strong spiritual commitment, and his dedicated leadership. His transition to retirement is well deserved and we wish him God’s richest blessings.
Please join us in praying for guidance and direction as we seek our next president, and how God may use you in our future, to continue our legacy of service and commitment to Christ.
Susan Franz Koslowsky, ‘84
Tabor College Board Chair
On behalf of the Search Team, I want to thank you for your interest in considering the role of President at Tabor College. Our hope is that this Search Prospectus will both give you a taste of the school we love, and a sense for what we believe Tabor needs most in its next President.
After President Glanzer announced his retirement, we established a Search Team that represents the Board, administration, faculty, alumni, and other stakeholders. This is an outstanding group of people, who bring a diversity of gifts, skills, experience, and perspectives to the task. What they share in common is a passion for Tabor, a love for Jesus, godly wisdom, strong convictions, and the maturity to listen well and to thoughtfully consider the views of others. It’s an honor for me to lead this group.
We do not know exactly where our next President will come from – whether it is from the business world, higher education, church-based ministry, or some other background. We do believe that Tabor’s next President will have a deep and vibrant faith, a love for Christian liberal arts education, a passion for students, and a strong sense that this opportunity is more than just a career, but a calling.
We desire to lead a search process that is marked by excellence and integrity. This is a weighty and important endeavor, and, as such, we would greatly appreciate your prayers in the weeks and months ahead.
The first section of this document provides an overview of Tabor. The second section describes the scope and responsibilities of the role. The final section details the process for applications and nominations. If, after reading this Profile, you feel that your values, abilities, and experiences make you a good match for Tabor College, we warmly invite you to begin the inquiry process.
Jeff Nikkel, ‘91
Search Team Chair
Established in 1908, Tabor College was founded by a group from the Mennonite Brethren denomination. The Mennonite Brethren, established in 1860, is part of the broader Mennonite family of believers who came out of the so-called “radical wing” of the Protestant Reformation. Influenced by Menno Simons and others, these Christians held deeply to the centrality of the Gospels, including the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7); the importance of discipleship; the centrality of Jesus; the church as a covenant, counter-cultural community; and the belief in believer’s baptism. (The name “Anabaptist” which means “rebaptizer”, was originally a derisive designation pinned on Anabaptists for rejecting the ceremonial sprinkling they received in infancy as valid baptism).
Among the numerous Mennonites who migrated from Russia to the Great Plains of the United States and Canada, it was the Mennonite Brethren and a similar group, the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren, who saw the need for an institution of higher education, and chose Hillsboro, Kansas, for its location. The first class at Tabor College included 35 students that quickly grew to 104 by the end of the first year. Ten years later, the college’s only building was destroyed by a fire; however, the resiliency of the Mennonite Brethren prevailed. Two years after the fire, construction of two new buildings replaced the first. This spirit of resiliency has continued with the college throughout the past 113 years.
Tabor College continues to be affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren Church. The college operates under its own charter and is accountable to the Mennonite Brethren churches of the Central, Southern, Latin America, and Eastern districts.
Tabor College, as a ministry of the Mennonite Brethren Church, accepts the “Confession of Faith of the Mennonite Brethren Churches of the United States,” adopted in 1999. Mennonite Brethren follow evangelical Anabaptist theology, which emphasizes new birth in Christ and faithful discipleship, a mission of personal evangelism and social justice, and obedience to the Bible as interpreted within the community of faith. A full copy of the MB Confession of Faith is available online at the conference website: usmb.org/confession-of-faith-4/
Mission, Values and Vision
The mission of Tabor College is to prepare people for a life of learning, work, and service for Christ and his kingdom.
The core values that underlie this mission include a commitment to being Christ-centered in all aspects of life, a passion for learning, meaningful involvement in co-curricular activities, the promotion of service to others, and substantial community experiences.
The vision of Tabor College is to be the college of choice for students who seek a life-transforming, academically excellent, globally relevant, and decidedly Christian education.
Tabor is regionally accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The College holds membership in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Kansas Independent College Association, the Council of Mennonite Colleges, and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. In addition, Tabor holds private accreditations in Education, Music, Social Work, and Nursing. The RN-BSN program at Tabor College is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Students who complete the social work major are eligible to be licensed at the Licensed Bachelor of Social Work level.
For 17 straight years Tabor has been rated in the top 50 of Midwest Regional colleges in US News & World Report Best Colleges edition. Tabor also ranked seventh among the Most Innovative Schools category, 11th for Best Undergraduate Teaching, and 27th in Top Performers in Social Mobility.
“B” rating by Forbes Financial, the highest of Kansas Private Colleges and Universities.
Tabor College Brand
In an effort to provide the most compelling college experience possible, Tabor College promises that students will:
- Be encouraged to place Christ at the center of all they do
- Be asked to pursue excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts
- Be prepared for the real world
- Be made aware of their place in God’s kingdom
Tabor is different from other colleges in the way that it uniquely combines Kingdom awareness with real-world readiness. Specific advantages of attending Tabor College include:
- Understanding career as a calling
- Being able to obtain a double major in four years
- Having the opportunity to complete a degree in three years
- Learning and practicing leadership
- Paying an all-inclusive price
Tabor welcomed the largest freshman class in Fall 2020 (171, an increase of 35%) and total new students (236, an increase of 23%) in our history:
642 Total enrollment
504 Residential undergraduate
25 Online undergraduate
56 Online graduate
57 Dual credit
Tabor’s campus is beautiful, consisting of 44 buildings, located on an 86.5-acre tract in the southeast part of Hillsboro. Recent projects include the construction of the Joel Wiens Stadium, the 55,000-square-foot Shari Flaming Center for the Arts, the Shari Flaming Welcome Center, and an indoor tennis facility. A pre-campaign study was completed in February 2020 that points to residential housing as one of the top priorities in fundraising for future campus development.
Hillsboro is located in central Kansas along US Highway 56, near Kansas Highway 15. A rural community of 3,000, and an additional 2,400 people within a 10-mile radius, Hillsboro is the largest city in Marion County. It is 50 miles northeast of Wichita, Kansas’s largest city. Local education is provided by Unified School District 410, the K-12 public school, which has an enrollment of 560. Marion County Reservoir, Marion County Lake, Hillsboro Municipal Golf Course, and Hillsboro Family Aquatic Center provide a wide range of recreational opportunities.
Hillsboro features plenty of opportunities for work, play, worship and a great quality of life.
Tabor is strategically positioned in the middle of the US with major cities of Dallas, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Des Moines, Tulsa and Oklahoma City all within six hours of campus. Interstate 35 and Interstate 70 are accessible within one hour.
The closest airports with multiple carriers include Wichita (ICT) and Kansas City (MCI).
Tabor by the numbers
29 Bachelor Degree Programs
4 Master’s Degree Programs
8 Programs Offered Online
15:1 Student to Faculty Ratio
38 States Represented on Campus
15 Countries Represented on Campus
20 Student-led Organizations
19 Varsity Sports Teams
9 National Championship Appearances
16 All American Team Scholar Awards
100% Students Who Received Financial Aid
40% Students Pell-eligible
Tabor College is a Great Institution
For 113 years, Tabor has faithfully carried out its Christ-centered mission, “preparing people for a life of learning, work and service for Christ and his kingdom.” Thousands and thousands of students have come to Tabor and experienced a Christ-centered, Liberal Arts education that has been life-transforming; and, in response, have gone on to minister Christ’s redemptive love to a world in need. Our graduates have been recognized for their influence and accomplishment in virtually every form of endeavor. For being a small school in a rural environment, it would be hard to overstate Tabor’s impact in the state, in the region, and in the world. Tabor’s next president will steward this legacy and, with God’s grace, guide the school to even greater success.
Tabor College has a Great Future
We enthusiastically seek “to be the college of choice for students who seek a life-transforming, academically excellent, globally relevant, and decidedly Christian education.” We believe that it is exactly the kind of school that the world needs and the kind of education that the college is uniquely positioned to offer. Building on the school’s rich history, generous constituents, beautiful campus, strong balance sheet, and talented faculty, coaches, and staff, Tabor is poised for an incredible future. Tabor’s next president will have the privilege and responsibility of charting the way toward making this vision a greater reality.
Tabor College Faces Great Challenges
As the presiding leader of a Christian higher education institution, Tabor’s next president must be prepared both for the immense opportunities and also for the inevitable challenges. Tabor is not alone in grappling with the structural challenges and complexities facing higher education; dealing with the increased division, partisanship, and polarization in our nation; experiencing the familiar reality of needing to do more with less; and adjusting to the rapid pace of technological change, not to mention delivering an education in the midst of a global pandemic. These challenges, and others, are very real.
Tabor College is Seeking a Great Leader
Facing these headwinds and envisioning new opportunities for Tabor will require a special kind of person – a collaborative, unifying leader; a gifted fundraiser; an authentic lover of people, and a business-minded executive. We’re looking for a person who loves Jesus, is committed to Christian Liberal Arts education, is innovative and entrepreneurial, and can continue the work of building a culture of excellence, collegiality, hospitality, trust, and service.
For that person, this position represents an amazing opportunity to shape the future of an exceptional institution and to make an enormous difference – directly and indirectly – in the lives of thousands of people.
Tabor’s next president will need to devote time, attention, and effort to the following priorities and challenges. These are not isolated, stand-alone, easily solved issues, but rather interrelated, systemic challenges and opportunities.
Tabor’s next president will be expected to:
Continue to articulate and live out Tabor’s unique theological identity. Tabor is a Mennonite Brethren institution and, as such, has a long history of being both Evangelical and Anabaptist. Tabor teaches a Christ-centered worldview; holds Scripture as the inspired, infallible, authoritative word of God; believes in the centrality of Jesus Christ; and is grounded by the “Good News” that, in Jesus, salvation is possible by grace through faith. We believe that the best thing that could ever happen to a person is to be in right relationship with God. Tabor also believes that the Gospel creates a new kind of person and a new kind of community. In response to God’s extravagant grace, as followers of Jesus, we play our part in God’s story as agents of Christ’s love and reconciliation, living lives marked by love, generosity, fidelity, peace, joy and self-sacrifice. For 160 years, Mennonite Brethren have been living out (albeit imperfectly) these distinctives, and Tabor is honored to partner with, and walk alongside, these churches. Tabor’s next president must be able to articulate this unique identity in a winsome, attractive, and compelling way.
Unify and inspire the entire Tabor community around a common purpose and vision. God has profoundly blessed Tabor with outstanding students, staff, faculty, coaches, administrators, alumni, and friends. Without them Tabor does not exist. Among these stakeholders is a growing anticipation and excitement about the next season for Tabor College. Tabor’s next leader will have the chance to articulate a fresh and compelling strategic vision for where the school is headed and how it will get there. This will require a process of demonstrating credibility, listening deeply, finding common ground, building trust, and leading boldly. The result will be a greater sense of shared-ownership and shared-sacrifice, with everybody “pulling in the same direction.”
Ensure Continued Financial Stability. Tabor’s next president will need to drive enrollment growth, increase retention, and deliver a sustainable business model to plan for and adapt to the changing demands in higher education. In addition, he/she must continue on the path of previous leaders, who have successfully expanded Tabor’s donor base, grown the endowment, and completed needed capital campaigns. Replacing and expanding student housing continues to be an acute need and priority.
Ensure that Academics is valued as a foundational, essential part of the Tabor experience. Tabor’s next president will need to value the faculty voice; articulate the importance of the Academy; develop greater trust and respect between faculty and administration; allocate appropriate resources; foster an innovative environment that attracts and retains high-quality faculty, students, and staff; and raise the academic bar, insisting on excellence in the classroom.
Shape (and in some ways shift) campus culture. We desire that the ethos – the way campus feels – would be attractive and inviting, pointing people to Christ. We desire a culture that is unmistakably marked by warmth, honesty, mutual respect, generosity, excellence, hospitality, and self-giving service. These things come from God, point to God, and, in fact, when embodied in community, create the perfect environment in which people can meet Jesus and grow in relationship with him. (One mark of this kind of culture is the ability and willingness to engage in meaningful conversations about challenging issues: race and issues of diversity, for example.) Because we believe that life transformation primarily happens in Christian community, issues of culture are mission-critical. One of Tabor’s challenges in recent years has been a gap between the type of student Tabor wants to recruit and the type of student Tabor has been successful in recruiting. A significant percentage of students, many of whom are student athletes, come to Tabor not explicitly looking for an “excellent” or “decidedly Christian” education. Tabor’s reliance on these students has created somewhat of an imbalance in the student body, which, over time, has negatively impacted Tabor’s academic mission and, in some ways, Tabor’s culture. We believe that Tabor has something important and beautiful to offer a segment of students who lack academic readiness and/or do not yet know Jesus. We also believe that a solid majority of Tabor students need to
believe wholeheartedly in Tabor’s distinctive values. Tabor’s next president will need to help the school navigate this tension.
Ideal Candidate Profile
We are looking for a leader who demonstrates:
- Passion and conviction
- Optimism and positivity
- Emotional Intelligence, including a high level of self-awareness
- Wisdom and spiritual maturity
- Confidence and courage, willing to make unpopular decisions and lead against the tide, when necessary, without burning bridges
- Kindness and sincerity
- Executive presence and polish, representing Tabor well in all places
- A servant’s heart, appropriately using his/her power
- Cultural competence evidenced by an awareness, sensitivity and appreciation for a diverse range of perspectives
- Global mindedness, demonstrating strong intercultural proficiency, openness, and a desire to expand domestic and international opportunities for students
Strengths and Abilities:
We believe the next Tabor president needs to:
- Be an excellent communicator, speaking and writing with clarity, insight, and conviction, inspiring others to action.
- Be a good listener, curious about people’s lives, and interested in hearing and understanding various points of view.
- Be a lover of people, building strong rapport and relating well with a wide range of stakeholders and audiences.
- Be a proven fundraiser, able to make connections, sustain relationships, and develop resources needed for Tabor to thrive.
- Bring significant executive leadership experience and demonstrate the ability to lead a complex organization.
- Genuinely love students, being personable and approachable, authentically investing in students’ lives and in their growth/formation.
- Be a team builder with a proven record of building collaborative, collegial, lasting, professional relationships.
Leadership Style and Abilities:
We believe that Tabor’s next president needs to:
• Be collaborative and supportive, encouraging dialogue and building consensus when possible
• Be visionary, cultivating and expressing a compelling shared vision of what is possible
• Be adaptive, flexible, and open to change, adjusting readily to new perspectives and changing conditions
• Be strategic, developing high-level outcomes and strategic objectives, while trusting faculty and senior leadership to execute tactically
• Be action-oriented and ambitious, discontent with the status quo, leading with a sense of urgency
• Be business-minded, understanding the business aspect of the college, including the importance of a balanced budget and a sustainable business model
• Be able to set clear performance expectations and hold people accountable
• Be innovative, thinking creatively and entrepreneurially, looking for resourceful and creative ways to accomplish big things
• Be persevering, demonstrating resilience and the ability to stay the course in the face of significant challenges
- Demonstrates strong character, integrity, and honesty at all times, leading by example and being the kind of person people want to follow
- Demonstrates a deep, vibrant, evangelical faith, with a willingness to attend a Mennonite Brethren church
- Affirms the Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith.
- Demonstrates a respect for, and willingness to connect with, Mennonite Brethren churches and other denominational institutions
- Holds a terminal degree; willing to accept candidates with an advanced degree who also have significant leadership experience
- Possesses at least five years executive leadership experience, ideally in complex and diverse institutions
- Makes Hillsboro his/her home and be an active member of the community
Nominations and Applications
If, after reading this Profile, you feel that your values, abilities, and experiences make you a good match for Tabor College, we warmly invite you to begin the inquiry process.
Please provide the following documents and responses for review.
- A current resume or curriculum vitae
- A detailed cover letter, addressing your interest in and perceived alignment with the position
- Names and contact information (telephone numbers and email addresses) for five references who know you well enough to comment on your suitability for this role (References will not be contacted without your permission)
- A personal statement of faith that describes your spiritual journey, and how your faith informs both your personal and professional life
- Please submit this information in Microsoft Word or PDF format. All applications and nominations should be sent to email@example.com. Confidential inquiries may be made to Jeff Nikkel at (303) 877-2347, or Susan Koslowsky at (316) 648-3813.
- Applications will be reviewed until a selection is made, but candidates are encouraged to submit information by March 1, 2021, for full consideration.
- All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.
- Tabor College is an Equal Opportunity Employer operating under the auspices of the Mennonite Brethren churches of the United States. It complies with all applicable non-discrimination laws.