Dean Search

Announcing the Search for a Divinity School Dean

Duke University invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the Divinity School. The faculty of Duke Divinity School is world-renowned, with recognized research excellence in all disciplines of academic theology, and a strong record of intellectual leadership in the church. The school offers five master’s-level degrees, both professional and academic, and two doctoral programs (Th.D. and D.Min.). The Divinity School also collaborates with the Department of Religious Studies in operating the Graduate Program in Religion, under the auspices of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 

The university seeks for its next dean an intellectual leader with the highest aspirations in faculty hiring and retention, an energetic and conscientious administrator broadly familiar with issues in higher education, a strong advocate for the Divinity School and its teaching and research mission, a strong proponent for a diverse faculty and student body, and an effective fundraiser. The dean must also be an effective shepherd of the Divinity School’s historic and continuing relationship to the United Methodist Church and be committed to the importance of Christian ministry, lay and ordained, with an ability to relate to diverse Christian traditions and other religious faiths.  

The dean is responsible to the provost for faculty development, including recruitment, appointment, re-appointment and recommendations for promotion and tenure, and also for all aspects of the Divinity School’s budget. Other principal administrative responsibilities include overseeing non-faculty staffing decisions and allocation of academic facilities. As the chief governing officer of the school, the dean will work closely with faculty and staff on important issues that affect the well-being of the school, including major budget priorities and programmatic initiatives.

The University has retained the executive search firm Baker and Associates to assist the search committee in its work. Confidential inquiries, nominations, referrals, and curricula vitae should be sent electronically (Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat files preferred) and in confidence to:

Jerry H. Baker
Baker and Associates LLC
jbaker@baasearch.com
770-395-2761

To ensure full consideration, please apply or offer a nomination (including name and institution or other identifying information) by Tuesday, September 15, 2015.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, or disability.

Dean Search Committee

  • Chair: Randy Maddox, William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies and Associate Dean for Faculty Development
  • Edward Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Dan G. Blazer, JP Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus
  • William Boulding, Dean and J. B. Fuqua Professor of Business Administration
  • Luke Bretherton, Professor of Theological Ethics
  • Valerie Cooper, Associate Professor of Black Church Studies
  • Ellen F. Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology
  • Luke Powery, Dean of Duke Chapel
  • Benjamin Reese, Vice President, Office for Institutional Equity
  • Beth Sheppard, Associate Professor for the Practice of Theological Bibliography
  • Ashley Crowder Stanley, Senior Pastor, Mills River United Methodist Church
  • Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology and Ecology

Position Description

The Dean of the Divinity School is the chief academic and administrative officer of the School and reports to the Provost.  The Divinity School’s academic offerings include seven degree programs, three dual degree programs, five certificate programs, and one concentration, as well as numerous initiatives and centers that combine scholarship with service.  The Divinity School also collaborates with the Department of Religious Studies in operating the Graduate Program in Religion, under the auspices of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  As chief academic officer of the Divinity School, the Dean is responsible for the following specific activities:

Strategic Planning: The Dean is responsible to the Provost for ongoing strategic planning for the Divinity School.  Through this planning, the Dean develops a long-range vision, specific strategies and detailed administrative and fiscal provisions to insure the excellence of the Divinity School faculty,  its teaching, curricular and research programs, both disciplinary and interdisciplinary, the diversity of its faculty and staff, and its engagements with external constituencies.  In exercising this planning leadership, the Dean works closely with the Provost.  The Dean also works with Deans of other schools and the Provost to develop and promote cross-school strategic initiatives.  As one of the United Methodist Church’s thirteen official theological schools in the United States, the Dean is responsible for shepherding the Divinity School’s relationship to the United Methodist Church, assuring a supportive bond based on mutual respect and recognition of their respective roles and responsibilities. The Dean is responsible for shepherding the Divinity School’s relationships with diverse Christian denominations and other religious faiths. 

Faculty Appointments: The Dean is responsible to the Provost for the recruitment, appointment, re-appointment and recommendations for promotion and tenure of faculty in the Divinity School.  The Dean works through the established appointment, promotion, and tenure process of the University and is responsible for its integrity in the Divinity School.  The Dean works with the Deans of other schools to develop annual disciplinary and interdisciplinary recruiting plans for the Divinity School for the approval of the Provost.  The Dean is responsible for ensuring that the University’s objectives with respect to the quality and diversity of the faculty are met.

Budgetary and Administrative Oversight: The Dean is responsible to the Provost for all aspects of the Divinity School’s budget consistent with the University’s management center budget system.  In addition to budgetary oversight, the other principal areas of administrative responsibility include the allocation of academic facilities and planning for future academic facilities needs and responsibility for non-faculty staffing decisions within the context of University-wide policies and procedures.

Development: The Dean has primary responsibility for raising new financial resources for the Divinity School.  This responsibility includes articulating the development needs of the School in conjunction with the School’s long-range plans, leadership of the overall development effort in the School, and active personal engagement in fundraising.  The Dean works with the Provost, President, Vice President for Development, and other Deans in planning University-wide fundraising priorities and goals and cooperates with the University Development staff in executing those plans.  The Dean will lead the activities of the Divinity School Board of Visitors.

Governance: The Dean will work with the faculty and staff to insure its active involvement in the development of the long-range strategic plans, major budgetary priorities, and other important activities and issues that affect the well-being of the School and its place in the University.  The Dean is a member of the Deans Cabinet and may also be appointed to other University committees as the representative of the Divinity School.

In order to succeed in these primary tasks, the Dean must be

  • an intellectual leader among the faculty, who can be expected to have the highest aspirations in faculty hiring and retention,
  • an energetic and conscientious administrator broadly familiar with issues in higher education,
  • a strong advocate for the Divinity School and its teaching and research mission, in the context of the University’s strategic commitment to interdisciplinarity,
  • a strong proponent for a diverse faculty and student body,
  • an effective fund-raiser,
  • a preeminent University citizen,
  • an effective shepherd of the Divinity School’s historic and continuing relationship to the United Methodist Church,
  • and a person committed to the importance of Christian ministry, lay and ordained, with an ability to relate to diverse Christian traditions and other religious faiths.