Brian Schmisek, dean of the School of Ministry, will be leaving the University of Dallas at the end of this semester to become the director of the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Schmisek said Monday. “Loyola has the premiere graduate program in ministry in the nation.”
Schmisek has been at the University of Dallas for 10 years. In 2002, he was hired as the director of the Institute for Religious and Pastoral Studies (IRPS), which changed its name to the School of Ministry (SOM) in 2007. Schmisek has been dean since that time.
“I do believe deeply in the mission of UD,” Schmisek emphasized. “And I’ll miss the faculty, my colleagues and the students. So it is a bitter-sweet transition.”
President Keefe expressed similar sentiments.
“We are deeply sorry that Dr. Schmisek will no longer be part of the University of Dallas,” Keefe said. “He is a well-respected academic and he has been a valued administrator here for over a decade. The university will not be the same without him.”
Keefe nonetheless said he is “happy for the opportunity that [Schmisek] has been presented. Wherever Dr. Schmisek is, he will continue to be an invaluable contributor to the future of the Catholic Church in America.”
Schmisek said that when Loyola first contacted him, he declined to apply, but on further consideration realized that he was being offered an “incredible opportunity.”
The Loyola program is an “experience-based adult model of education, [which] value[s] students’ personal and professional backgrounds as an essential dimension of the curriculum,” according to the university’s website. The program also offers “pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, and identity integration” in its efforts to educate adults for professional ministry.
According to Schmisek, the University of Dallas’ SOM follows Loyola’s strategic approach to pastoral education. Loyola also has campuses in Rome and Beijing in addition to its campuses in Chicago.
“They have a tremendous faculty and around 300 ministry students,” Schmisek said.
Though Schmisek will remain with the University of Dallas for the remainder of the semester, Keefe said that he is consulting with other faculty members and administrators to appoint an interim dean.
“We will soon form a committee to begin the search for a new dean,” Keefe said.