Jan Holton

Associate Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and Care


309 Gray


  • B.A., Randolph Macon College
  • M.Div., Union Presbyterian Seminary 
  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Professor Holton’s work focuses on the psychodynamic implications of trauma and forced displacement, the intercultural dynamics within traditional pastoral care, and pastoral care to marginalized populations. She served in ministry with Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven, Conn. and on the faculty at Yale Divinity School. In her book, Longing for Home (Yale University Press, 2016), Dr. Holton examines the psychological, social, and theological impact of forced displacement on communities in the eastern Congo (DRC), South Sudan, on indigenous Batwa tribespersons in Uganda as well as on homeless U.S. citizens and on U.S. soldiers returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her current work focuses on spiritual and emotional wayfinding through times of uncertainty. Here she explores the role of hope, joy, and meaning making as touchstones to guide us through the messy tangled times of ambiguity when there is no longer a way to “chart a course” ahead. Dr. Holton is co-principal investigator for the joint Bass Connections and Duke Divinity School project "Best Practices for Trauma Informed Teaching and Learning." Dr. Holton also serves as a consulting chaplain at Duke University Hospital. She is an ordained elder in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church.

News and Stories

Devoted Team of “Trauma Champions” Envisions Changes to the University Classroom

Professors Jan Holton and Warren Kinghorn lead a Bass Connections project that explores the ways that trauma impacts students’ experiences in higher education. 

Recent Courses on Scholars@Duke