IBS Hiring New President; David Matsumoto Set to Retire Next Summer

Gesshin Claire Greenwood  |  May 8, 2023

IBS is beginning the search for a new President, as Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto will be retiring in June 2024. The following is the full job description for the role of President. For full consideration, candidate documents should be forwarded to the attention of  Presidential Search at info@shin-ibs.edu. by August 15, 2023



Institute of Buddhist Studies 

The Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) is a Buddhist seminary and graduate school founded in  1949. For more than half a century, IBS has offered Buddhist education, innovative research,  and an engaged community of scholars and practitioners. IBS is a vibrant and growing  institution. In 2020, it was granted accreditation by the Western Senior College and University  Commission (WSCUC) and in 2021, it became the first non-Christian member school of the  Graduate Theological Union (GTU).  

IBS is the preeminent center in North America for the study of Jōdo Shinshū, also known as Shin  Buddhism or True Pure Land Buddhism, which is a school of Pure Land Buddhism. It promotes a  special emphasis on intra-Buddhist and inter-religious learning.  


The mission of IBS is to provide graduate level education in the full breadth of the Buddhist  tradition with specialized education supporting Pure Land and contemporary Shin Buddhist  Studies, while advancing Jodo Shinshu Buddhist ministry and Buddhist chaplaincy. 

Creatively combining liberal arts and scholar-practitioner models of education, the Institute of  Buddhist Studies: 

  • through educational programs grounded in critical thinking and academic freedom,  empowers students to become effective and engaged scholars, teachers, ministers, and  chaplains; 
  • through publications, scholarship, and research programs, promotes engagement with  the Buddhist tradition and contributes to the public good; 
  • through institutional partnerships and in community, fosters an awareness, respect, and  appreciation for Buddhist, religious, and cultural diversity. 

The original mission of IBS was the education of American-born ministerial aspirants seeking  ordination in the Nishi Hongwanji school of Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism. The educational model has  always been to ground this lineage-specific education within the broader context of the Buddhist tradition as a whole. 

Academic Programs 

IBS offers diversified and broad educational programs to provide students a firm foundation in  the Buddhist tradition generally with tracks of specialization in Shin, Zen, and Theravada  Buddhism. Currently, IBS offers three degree programs and six certificate programs. Of its  degree programs, the GTU offers a Master of Arts, Buddhist Studies Concentration (M.A.) in  cooperation with IBS. Independent of its affiliation with GTU, IBS also offers:

  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.) 
  • Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies (M.A.B.S) 
  • Certificate in Buddhist Studies 
  • Certificate in Shin Buddhist Studies 
  • Certificate in Sōtō Zen Buddhist Studies 
  • Certificate in Buddhist Chaplaincy 
  • Certificate in Buddhism and Contemporary Psychology 
  • Certificate in Theravada Buddhist Studies 

Research, Publications, and Institutional Collaborations 

The Center for Contemporary Shin Buddhist Studies (CCSBS), established in 1995, coordinates  Shin Buddhist research projects housed at IBS, publishes the work of notable modern Shin  Buddhist scholars, as well as manages institutional alliances which support the Center’s work.  CCSBS engages scholars from other universities both in the US and Japan for its publications  and public events. 

IBS produces a number of scholarly publications; the centerpiece of these being the Pacific  World Journal, which has its origins in the 1920s. The journal is an annual, open-access, and  anonymous peer-reviewed journal in English devoted to the dissemination of historical, textual,  critical and interpretive studies on Buddhism generally, and Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism  particularly, to both academic and lay readerships. 

As a member of the GTU, IBS students have access to both the GTU and University of California,  Berkeley, libraries. In addition, IBS has a long-standing partnership with Ryukoku University in  Kyoto, Japan, leading to numerous scholarly collaborations and a student exchange program. A  similar exchange program exists with Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts in New Taipei City,  Taiwan. IBS also has an institutional relationship with the International Association of Shin  Buddhist Studies (IASBS), the largest professional society devoted to the study of Pure Land  Buddhism. 

Position Summary 

The President of IBS is the institution’s chief executive officer. The President, reporting directly  to the Board of Trustees, has leadership responsibility for the institution including managing the  day-to-day IBS administration, operations, and staffing, promoting a culture of strategic  planning with plan development and implementation, and developing resources sufficient to  ensure the financial health of the institution. All of the President’s duties are grounded in IBS’s  core mission and values. 

More specifically, the President is responsible for  

– providing oversight and support of the IBS Academic and Student Programs,  – inspiring staff and faculty success in the performance of their duties,  – leading and coordinating the strategic and operational plans of IBS,  

– ensuring IBS’s fiscal integrity and management including reporting requirements, – strengthening development efforts to seek new resources and sustaining and  developing donor relationships, and  

– serving as IBS’s primary liaison (public “face”) with its constituents, the media and the  general public, as well as institutional partners (GTU, Buddhist Churches of America,  Ryukoku University, etc) to strategically enhance the IBS mission. 

Because of staffing limitations, the President is required to do many administrative tasks such  as serving as the institute’s Human Resources representative, hosting meetings, coordinating  institutional record keeping, administering contractual agreements, supervising information  technology (IT) functions, and other related tasks. Additional responsibilities of the President  may be designated by the Board in accordance with its bylaws.  

Qualities and Characteristics 

IBS seeks a leader with intellectual vision and value-driven actions who can build upon IBS’s current achievements in academic rigor, student success, and faculty scholarship. The  successful candidate will lead with a deep understanding of the unique and distinctive identity and culture of IBS which is grounded in its history and mission. The next President will have a  manifest appreciation of this mission and its central role in guiding the institution.  

Moreover, the next President will have demonstrated experience in collaborative leadership  and proven ability to work and build trust with different constituents in complex relationships by applying creative and strategic thinking, and financial and operational management acumen.  The President will understand the inter-connection between IBS and its stakeholders as well as  its relationship with other institutions. For example, the relationships between IBS, the  Buddhist Churches of America, the Graduate Theological Union, and Ryokoku University and  how they inform IBS is a critical part of the President’s job.  

The President will work closely and collaboratively with the IBS Board of Trustees,  understanding and respecting the Board’s integral role to further the mission by providing  guidance and expertise.  

The incumbent must have a willingness and the ability to perform a range of duties from simple  administrative tasks to writing critical executive reports. Other essential characteristics include  open-mindedness, the willingness to learn, integrity and energy to inspire and support others,  and treating all with respect and kindness. 

Preferred qualifications include a terminal degree from an accredited university or academic  credentials that merit appointment to the IBS faculty. 

Application/Nomination Process 

All applications, nominations, and inquiries are invited. Applications should include a 1) cover  letter addressing relevant experience to the position summary and position qualities and  characteristics noted above, 2) CV or resume and 3) a list of three professional references  including name, current position, email, address, and phone number.  

For full consideration, candidate documents should be forwarded to the attention of  Presidential Search at info@shin-ibs.edu. by August 15, 2023. All applications and nominations  will be handled in confidence. 


$125,000 – $140,000. In addition, full benefits, including family health insurance and a  retirement contribution, will be offered as part of the overall compensation package. 


Equal Employment Opportunity Workplace 

The Institute of Buddhist Studies is an equal employment opportunity employer and prohibits  discrimination with respect to any terms or conditions of employment against qualified applicants  or employees on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, registered  domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability,  history of disability, medical condition, genetic information, sexual orientation, military or veteran  status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance. IBS also  prohibits abusive conduct, sexual harassment, and the harassment of any individual based on any  of the protected classes listed above. Adopted by IBS Board of Trustees, May 22, 2020