Lori Neff Transitions to New Administrative Position at PTS
BY ALLIE NASKRET
After serving for four years as associate director of field education, the Reverend Lori Neff has taken on a new administrative role at Princeton Seminary. In July, she became director of accreditation and advising, a new position that involves overseeing the school’s accreditation processes and expanding the academic advising program.
According to Neff, President Torrance felt that it was important to have a person specifically designated to manage the school’s accreditation processes, which include a periodic review every five years and a self-study every ten years. One issue that accreditors were concerned with in the past was that PTS had no formalized academic advising program. In response, the Seminary hopes to make more resources available to students as they navigate their academic schedules in light of various calls to ministry.
The seeds for an academic advising program were planted last year, when students were assigned faculty advising groups. As director of accreditation and advising, Neff envisions the advising program growing to include student seminars and other programs for discernment. She also hopes to create more opportunities for one-on-one consultation and to be a resource for students who find that their questions aren’t currently being answered within existing Seminary structures.
Neff’s extensive background in higher education (including previous experience in academic advising, institutional effectiveness, and accreditation) made her a natural choice for the position. She holds a B.S. in psychology from Manchester College and an M.A. in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University. She has served as the assistant dean of students at Franklin College in Indiana, director of residence life and chief judicial officer at Barton College, and coordinator of residence education at Frostburg State University.
During her time working in student affairs, she sensed a call to ministry. “I ended up doing a lot of pastoral care in the field of college discipline,” says Neff, who found that the students with whom she worked were often acting out because they were trying to establish their identity. Neff left Indiana for Princeton Seminary, where she completed her M.Div. in 2007, and began working in the Field Education Office a few weeks after graduation.
Most of all, she has a great love for working with students and believes that it is “a unique privilege to walk alongside people as they are navigating significant life decisions.” She is grateful for her time in the Field Education Office and for the opportunity to have walked alongside students as they “wrestled with God and their call.” Although the nature of the relationship will be different, she anticipates that she will still have the opportunity to work closely with students in her new position.
Lori Neff is also excited to find creative ways to provide what students need beyond what they get in the classroom and in field education. In her new role, she hopes to work toward making PTS “the best possible educational institution in service to the church” that it can be.
Allie Naskret is a middler in the M.Div. program and works in the Office of Communications/Publications.