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
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.
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.
William Brown received his Masters of Arts in religious studies at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he studied the Hebrew Bible, as well as ancient Near Eastern literature and history. Since graduating in 2018, he worked as a substitute teacher in a public school district, an instructor and curriculum designer at Temple Beth Am (Seattle, Wash.), and a preceptor for Old Testament Interpretation at Duke Divinity School. He has also worked with a range of scholars in the fields of religion, New Testament, Hebrew Bible, Russian literature, and European nationalities. His current research interests include social transgression and sin in the ancient world and mechanisms of social-boundary formation in biblical narratives. When not editing, teaching, or researching, you’ll find him watching Supernatural with his spouse, playing Minecraft, or overthinking the mundane aspects of life.
Dean Hawkins (Old Testament Tutor) received a Master of Divinity degree in 2020 from Duke Divinity School, where he focused his studies on the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and biblical languages. After graduating, he worked as a program coordinator for a food pantry in Chatham County before returning to Duke. He now works in the Divinity Library, where he serves as the primary support person for Duke Divinity School’s hybrid students and as manager of the mail and copy room. He lives in Durham with his dogs Juniper and Daisy.
Erica Ridderman received a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School in 2018. Since then, she has worked at an Episcopal church plant, tutored students in writing, and returned to Durham to start a Ph.D. in Christian Theological Studies. She has served as a preceptor in various theology courses at the Divinity School. Her research interests include eschatology, decolonial thinking, sports ethics, and the relationship between love and justice.
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.
William Brown (Old Testament Tutor). See his biography above.
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.
Tutors and directors can be contacted at:
Judith Heyhoe – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackson Adamah – email@example.com
William H. Brown – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean Hawkins – email@example.com
Erica Ridderman – firstname.lastname@example.org
John Zambenini ‒ email@example.com
Cullen McKenney – firstname.lastname@example.org