Church Divinity School of the Pacific has called Dr. Stephen Edward Fowl, professor of theology and dean of Loyola College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University Maryland, to serve as the institution’s next president and dean.
“Dr. Fowl is a distinguished theologian, a highly regarded lay leader in the Episcopal Church, and an accomplished higher education administrator,” said the Rev. Phillip A. Jackson ‘94, rector of Trinity Church Wall Street and chair of the CDSP board of trustees. “He is also a deeply gifted educator with a heart for community who has been shaped by decades of immersion in the Jesuit tradition of academic and spiritual formation.”
Since taking on his dean role at Loyola, Fowl has overseen 20 humanities, social sciences, and natural and applied sciences departments; 271 full-time faculty members; and a $24 million budget.
Fowl cited the seminary’s shift to a fully hybrid model as a primary reason for his interest in the position. The new approach emphasizes formation for leadership of local mission and ongoing investment in such leadership via a funded curacy program after graduation.
“As a theologian, but, more importantly, as someone who participates in the life of the church, I am aware of all the headwinds facing people with a call to ministry,” he said. “What CDSP is about to launch is the most exciting development in ministerial formation that I know of. I couldn’t resist the chance to be a part of that.”
The Rev. Betsy McElroy ‘23, a hybrid student representative on the search committee, was particularly impressed with Fowl’s commitment to supporting students both online and onsite.
“With a move to the fully hybrid model, it will be essential that the CDSP leadership appreciate the diversity of settings in which seminarians live and learn,” she said. “During his onsite visit, Dr. Fowl demonstrated his commitment to supporting students in their unique contexts to help them grow and thrive during their seminary experience.”
Fowl holds a PhD from the University of Sheffield in the UK, an MA in theological studies from Wheaton Graduate School, and a BA in history from Wheaton College. He is author or editor of fourteen books of theology and scriptural interpretation and more than four dozen journal articles and commissioned book chapters.
“Dr. Fowl’s exceptional scholarship and publishing record speak for themselves. He is a leading scholar who has helped to shape conversations that matter both for the Church and the Academy,” said the Rev. Mark Chung Hearn, PhD, dean of academic affairs at CDSP. “We are thrilled that he will be at the helm to guide our institution at a time when the Church is responding to difficult questions about our role and impact in the contemporary world.”
The process of calling CDSP’s next president and dean was informed by nearly ninety stakeholder interviews, including faculty, staff, and students, Trinity staff and vestry, and persons across higher education and the Episcopal Church. After a period of open nominations, ten invited semi-finalists submitted complete application materials, five were interviewed online, and three completed intensive daylong onsite visits.
“Throughout the interview process, Dr. Fowl demonstrated a deep understanding of the complex challenges in theological education and envisioned distinct opportunities for CDSP to serve in the preparation of Christian leaders in a bold new way,” said Dr. Sharon J. Hardy, who serves as chair of the CDSP executive committee of the board of trustees and was vice chair of the search committee. Hardy is director of enrollment services in the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Labor and Urban Studies and as CUNY’s interim university executive director of admissions services.
Although his vocation has been centered in a Jesuit institution, Fowl has long been active in Episcopal Church leadership. He has served on the House of Bishops Committee on Theology, helped lead the theological formation of deacons in the Diocese of Maryland, taught in a visiting professor capacity at Virginia Theological Seminary, and served as a guest editor for Anglican Theological Review. He is a longtime member of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore, MD, where he preaches regularly and has served on the vestry, among other leadership roles.
Fowl will begin his work at the seminary on August 1.