Date Posted: 
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Director of Canadian Institute for Empirical Church Research

Job description

Wycliffe College, through the University of Toronto, has received a grant of $999,075 USD from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish the Canadian Institute for Empirical Church Research. The Institute, which will be established in partnership with WayBase, will be the first of its kind in Canada. The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. It is a three-phase initiative designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada as they prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face as they prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations both now and into the future.

This three-year/0.5 FTE position reports to the Pathways for Tomorrow project lead and will perform a pivotal and instrumental leadership role in implementing Wycliffe’s Pathways for Tomorrow Phase II research grant. The successful candidate will provide a coherent research vision and direction for the Institute, and will ensure the implementation of various grant outputs and milestones. The successful candidate will work closely with internal and external stakeholder groups in aligning Institute activities with the needs and vision of Wycliffe College and partner organizations. They will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Institute and give oversight to the specific research undertaken by the Institute. They will directly supervise research and administrative staff as well as the post-doctoral research fellows. They will also coordinate the engagement activities of the Institute with support of Wycliffe College staff.


• Champion high-quality research and scholarly activities within the Institute, ensuring a stimulating, collegial, and well-managed environment.

• Contribute to the delivery of the college’s mission, especially as it pertains to a deeper understanding of the Canadian Church.

• Be accountable for ensuring the overall delivery of grant outcomes.

• Be accountable for the effective governance and leadership of the Institute, including adherence to academic, research, ethics, and relevant policy.

• Lead, develop, and motivate a high-performing staff, engendering a culture of excellence, accountability, and transparency, and ensuring alignment with the grant outcomes.

• Be responsible for the effective and efficient use of allocated resources to maximise the Institute’s contribution to the College, Church, Partner Institutions, and University.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

1) Promote and facilitate conversations between key collaborators and organizations (including connecting participants with appropriate consultants). Forge and maintain external relations essential to the Institute's business, promoting the Institute to external bodies and organisations and enhancing its reputation, profile, and influence.

2) Ensure that close links are maintained with the relevant professional, statutory, and regulatory bodies, and that the Institute contributes to required quality, accreditation training, and development needs.

3) Identify, promote, and contribute resources to developing the Institute’s research strengths and broader research portfolio. This will include identifying and supporting opportunities for research and programme development internally, externally, and internationally, both within existing funding streams, and, where possible, through multi-disciplinary collaboration.

4) Ensure timely execution of the Institute’s current research projects.

5) Develop and approve new research studies.

6) Serve as the chief-investigator in the study The Pandemic Turn.

7) Generate live and digital opportunities for church leaders and researchers to engage with findings produced by the Institute.

8) Support and promote knowledge transfer between the Institute and professional users of research through appropriate mechanisms.

9) Oversee publication of the Institute’s activities at academic and popular levels.

10) Oversee postdoctoral fellows, while promoting and offering support to graduate-level researchers and proposals (including annual training seminars).

11) Provide leadership and direction to the Institute, embracing the range of subject disciplines represented in the Institute, by providing a coherent vision for research and postgraduate training accordingly.

12) Attract, manage, and retain staff to achieve research excellence and contribute to the successful development of the Institute and the College.

13) Ensure that the Institute and its members comply with University of Toronto policies on research quality/ethics and conduct, and the requirements of all relevant regulatory bodies.

14) Work with internal and external committees in relation to Institute work

Key Qualifications

• PhD from a recognized institution with a peer-reviewed publication record and experience in mixedmethods research (required).

• Knowledge of Canadian churches, church practice, and/or church movements (desired). We also seek a candidate who understands the church from the perspective of a theologically informed ecclesiology.

• Formal theological education or equivalent experience (desired).

• Knowledge of data modeling and AI assisted research methodology (desired).

Skills & Experience 

• Successful and sustained leadership that is evidenced internationally.

• Extensive research experience alongside successful and sustained record of publication.

• Successful track record of academic leadership and team building.

• Leadership style that engenders a positive collaborative culture, sustaining high-performing and effective teams that engage with colleagues across the University, Denominations, and Partner organizations.

• Well-developed understanding of the priorities, operation, and strategy of relevant funding bodies as evidenced by a track record of funded research.

• Proven experience managing staff.

• Demonstrable track record in strategic and operational management and planning • Experience with financial planning and resource allocation. • Experience leading, successfully initiating, and implementing change.

• Be accountable for the effective governance and leadership of the Institute, including adherence to academic, research, ethics, and relevant policy.

• Lead, develop, and motivate a high-performing staff, engendering a culture of excellence, accountability, and transparency, and ensuring alignment with the grant outcomes.

Personal Qualities

• Ability to identify, create, and articulate a coherent, theologically grounded academic vision for the Research Institute.

• Ability to combine and integrate the skills and expertise of highly motivated staff into multi-disciplinary teams, developing and building upon existing collaborations as well as creating/facilitating new opportunities.

• Ability to deliver successful outcomes from large scale, long term thematic research.

• Ability to engage a range of internal and external stakeholders to collaborate in identifying problems and appropriate solutions, within agreed timetables and budgets.

• Ability to manage resources to ensure that the Institute is self-sustaining from income generated from research funders and other sources including teaching and research student supervision.

• Ability to engage academic staff to create, develop, and deliver innovative programs and research, working closely with faculty at the College.

• Experienced in encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial activity.

• Resonates with the theological commitments, strategy, and ethos of Wycliffe College.

Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. For more information about the position or the project in general, please contact For those interested in applying, please submit your C.V. and cover letter by the form here: Employment Application (