Fr. David Couturier, O.F.M. Cap., named dean of St. Bonaventure’s School of Franciscan Studies

St. Bonaventure University has announced the appointment of Fr. David Couturier, O.F.M. Cap., as dean of the School of Franciscan Studies and interim executive director of the Franciscan Institute, effective August 15, 2014.

Fr. Couturier graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in English literature from St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., and a master of divinity degree from Maryknoll School of Theology in Ossining, N.Y.

He completed a licentiate in clinical psychology and did his clinical residency at the Institute of Psychology of the Gregorian University in Rome (magna cum laude). He was awarded a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral counseling by the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana in 1999 and a doctor of philosophy degree in pastoral psychology and organizational studies (summa cum laude) in 2005.

In addition to these degrees, he holds multiple credentials in organizational development, psychology, family therapy, and mediation training.

Fr. Couturier is the Dean R. Hoge Professor of Pastoral Planning and Church Management at the Graduate Theological Foundation. He teaches in the theology department at the Pontifical Antonianum University in Rome and completes a summer teaching commitment here at St. Bonaventure University this week.

He has served as director of pastoral planning for the Archdiocese of Boston and Dean of the School of Theology and associate professor of pastoral studies at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.

Elected vicar provincial of his province in 2002, he also served the Franciscan Orders worldwide as board member and president of Franciscans International, a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations, from 1999-2005.

Known for his combined expertise in organizational development, strategic planning, and Franciscan education, Fr. Couturier has worked as an organizational consultant for congregations, religious communities and dioceses throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. His many publications span the fields of psychology, pastoral care, social justice and organizational development.

Fr. Couturier succeeds Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., who served as an interim dean of the School of Franciscan Studies for two years.

The work of establishing separate administrative structures for the Franciscan Institute and the School of Franciscan Studies continues as faculty and staff work with administration to implement a new strategic plan. The Franciscan Institute’s mission remains as one of providing the latest research in Franciscan philosophy, theology and history and publishing its educational resources.

The pedagogical vehicle of this work, the School of Franciscan Studies, will continue to update its curriculum and design new offerings and methodologies to meet the needs of a larger public of students, scholars and those interested in learning more about the Franciscan vision and applying it in today’s world of work and ministry.

“We look forward to completing the needed revitalization of the academic offerings of the SFS that Fr. Couturier’s administrative and teaching experience will provide,” said Dr. Michael Fischer, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We welcome him to the University and will work with him to expand the current reach of the academic and continuing education programs that have been a source of leadership education for the Franciscan Order for half a century.”

President Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., said, “The needs are changing and a Church led by a pope who ‘channels’ the charism of Francis of Assisi is looking for the resources we already possess. This will be an exciting time for this school and its faculty.”

Accepting his appointment, Fr. Couturier said, “It is a real privilege building on the history of this great School of Franciscan Studies and Franciscan Institute and having an opportunity to share the Franciscan imagination with a whole new generation of young adults and with scholars around the world.”

Fr. Couturier comes from a branch of the Order of Friars Minor known as the Capuchins (based on the unique hood of their habits). He takes up the legacy of Capuchins who served and taught here for many years, Fr. Maurice Sheehan and Fr. Regis Armstrong. He will live with the friars on campus.