April 26, 2010
John F. Kutsko to Become SBL Executive Director 1 July 2010
Bruce Birch, chair of the SBL Council, has announced that John F. Kutsko has been named the new Executive Director of the Society of Biblical Literature, effective 1 July 2010. After an extensive international search chaired by Fernando Segovia, Birch reported that the search committee’s unanimous and enthusiastic support of Kutsko was affirmed by Council at its April meeting. Birch said, “Strong and insightful leadership has always been a quality valued by SBL whether in our publications, congresses, or programs for professional development. We are looking forward to Kutsko’s leadership of an organization committed to core values of ‘responsiveness to change, scholarly integrity, inclusiveness, collegiality, collaboration, and accountability.’”
Kutsko began his graduate work in Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East at the University of Michigan and completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1997 under the mentorship of Peter Machinist. His revised dissertation was published as Between Heaven and Earth: Divine Presence and Absence in the Book of Ezekiel. He has been active in the SBL publishing program (contributing editor of The SBL Handbook of Style) and the Symposium series, as well as the Career Center Advisory Group, the SBL Academic Forum, and the Ezekiel Seminar. And he has been a faculty mentor for fellows at The Fund for Theological Education, where he has taught a dissertation writing and publishing workshop for over a decade.
In addition to his academic contributions, John has over 20 years of publishing, leadership, and executive experience. He has worked on projects such as the The Anchor Bible Dictionary (Doubleday) and Civilizations of the Ancient Near East (Macmillan), and he was Associate Editorial Director at Hendrickson Publishers until 2003.
“I am thrilled to serve the members and mission of SBL. I join a gifted and dedicated staff. I look forward to collaborating with and giving leadership to a scholarly community in ways that enhance and further its teaching and research. I am grateful to follow the remarkable accomplishments of Kent Richards, who is very much the founder of the modern SBL. Kent has digitized, internationalized, and broadened SBL. I’ll bring all my energy to expanding these accomplishments and fostering the future of biblical scholarship.”
He joins SBL from Abingdon Press, the main imprint of The United Methodist Publishing House, where he served as Associate Publisher and began as Director of Academic and Professional Resources in 2003. At Abingdon he directed such projects as The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible and The Wesley Study Bible, and led a digital publishing initiative.
“I believe that the skills and experience I have from my rather non-traditional academic cv will help guide SBL’s members through the challenges and opportunities the discipline faces in the scholarly academy and higher education today. I am grateful to SBL for allowing the second half of my career to integrate this level of professional experience.”