Duke Divinity School’s mission is to engage in spiritually disciplined and academically rigorous education in service and witness to the Triune God in the midst of the church, the academy, and the world. We strive to cultivate a vibrant community through theological education on Scripture, engagement with the living Christian tradition, and attention to and reflection on contemporary contexts in order to form leaders for faithful Christian ministries.
As the spiritual center of a great research university, Duke Divinity School is the embodiment of Duke University’s motto: Eruditio et Religio—Knowledge and Faith. Founded in 1926 as the first of the university’s graduate professional schools, the Divinity School attracts students from across the nation and around the world. One of 13 seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist Church, the school has from its beginnings been ecumenical in aspiration, teaching, and practice. With many diverse theological perspectives represented here, students find common ground through immersion in Scripture and the church’s tradition for addressing the challenges of faith in contemporary contexts.
We seek to build a diverse and inclusive community consistent with the scriptural vision that: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female: for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). It is in this light that, as part of its mission to prepare leaders for the church, the academy, and the world, Duke Divinity is committed to the importance of diversity. At a practical level, Duke Divinity recognizes the need to prepare students for ministry, teaching, and leadership in multi-cultural and multi-faith contexts, whether in the United States or elsewhere. To do this well, our own community must seek to wrestle with and embody diversity in its faculty, staff, and student body. Given the historical legacies, social locations, and confessional commitments of Duke Divinity, diversity in this context is particularly focused on, but not limited to, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, denominational affiliation, age, sexual orientation, learning styles, and physical ability. Encountering and learning alongside others not like us offers opportunities for all of us to deepen our understanding of ourselves, our society, and our roles as pastors, ministers, teachers, and leaders. Attention to and inclusion of diversity helps foster more faithful, hopeful, and loving forms of common life.
Furthermore, a diverse faculty, staff, and student body helps generate an environment for deeper and broader theological reflection and formation. We believe that students who have the opportunity to interact with many varied perspectives and backgrounds will be better prepared to address fruitfully the historical legacies of injustice and conflict where they serve; critically and sensitively engage the different cultural contexts they will encounter in their vocations after graduation; and be able to develop robust theological and pastoral responses to an ever-changing environment. A diverse and hospitable community opens up more opportunities for potentially transformational experiences that assist students in developing the skills necessary to serve a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-faith world with integrity and wisdom.
As part of its mission, Duke Divinity seeks to foster a cohesive theological vision that is neither narrow nor homogeneous—one that is deeply rooted in critical engagement with Scripture and honors a range of theological traditions in conversation with a plurality of historical, geographic, and social settings.