The goal of the Center for Writing and Academic Support is to help students at the Divinity School master core theological concepts and write well.

We offer an array of tutoring services—which can be booked via the center’s Sakai site—such as meetings with:

  • Writing tutors, who can read students’ papers and offer both written and verbal feedback
  • Subject-area tutors in Church History and Bible, who can discuss course readings and assignments
  • Advisors who can help students with effective study and reading strategies, as well as map out an ongoing program of academic support

​The center also organizes:

  • RISE—a two-day program that orients students to academic skill-sets and expectations at the school
  • The Writing Assessment—a mandatory essay assignment for students in the M.A., M.T.S., and M.Div. programs that provides an opportunity to practice and receive feedback on an academic paper
Using the Center

Appointments at the Writing Center are now made online through Sakai.

The Writing Center is located in the lower level of the Westbrook building, rooms 0021, 0035, and 0037.


Director of the Center for Writing and Academic Support

Judith Heyhoe has taught and practiced writing for over forty years. She began her career as a newspaper journalist in England and then gained experience as an editor. In America, she taught for five years in the Freshman Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame and then worked as a high school teacher of English for Chicago Public Schools. For the last ten years at Duke Divinity School she has acted as editor to the faculty and run the writing center. This year she is overseeing the growth of the center as it offers students not only writing assistance but also academic support.  


Writing Tutors

Jackson Adamah is a second year Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) student from Ghana studying Theology and Ethics at Duke Divinity School. His research interests are at the intersection of African Christian theology, eco-theology, political theology, and missiology. He also serves as a Th.D. fellow for the Duke Center for Reconciliation.

Amy Whisenand is currently completing her Th.D. at Duke Divinity School. She primarily studies the New Testament but has interdisciplinary interests in Theology and the Arts, particularly music. Her research focuses on the role that the practice of singing plays in Christian maturity according to the letter to the Colossians. Before coming to Duke, she studied for her B.A. at Whitworth University, taught English at a vocational school in Germany on a Fulbright grant, and completed her M.Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary.  

John Zambenini completed his Master of Divinity in 2015. After graduating from Duke, John served as a chaplain and youth minister. In a former life, he was also a newspaper reporter. He claims he has always done his best thinking while riding a bicycle, but looks forward to thinking about writing while tutoring. He lives in Durham with his wife and children.

Academic Tutors

Julie Leyva received her Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School in 2017. She then returned to her alma mater (Westmont College) as an adjunct instructor to teach New Testament and Greek before coming back to Duke to begin a Ph.D. in New Testament. Her research interests include the use of the Old Testament by New Testament authors and Jew/Gentile relations in the New Testament. Outside of her studies, you can find Julie preaching at a local retirement home or tending to her plants.

Cullen McKenney (Church History Tutor) received a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School, then worked in England for two years as a Ph.D. student in the Centre for Catholic Studies at the University of Durham, returning to Duke to complete his dissertation in 2020. His research focuses on theology, culture, and poetry in the Middle Ages through a study of William Langland’s extraordinary poem Piers Plowman. He has been an instructor in the Divinity School’s RISE pre-orientation program, and tutored and precepted for Church History for several years.

Contact Details

Tutors and directors can be contacted at:

Judith Heyhoe –

Jackson Adamah –

Amy Whisenand ‒ 

John Zambenini ‒

Julie Leyva –

Cullen McKenney –