Dean, Vanderbilt Divinity School

Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee
Posted Date
Aug 9, 2022

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Position Type
Administrative, Deans
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Dean, Vanderbilt Divinity School

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee


Vanderbilt University invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean, Vanderbilt Divinity School (VDS or Divinity School). The University seeks a dean with distinction as both a scholar and leader, proven administrative skills, deep commitments to matters of justice, equity, and diversity, and a strong record of institutional and community leadership who will capitalize on the Divinity School’s strengths and opportunities for growth, and will develop a collective vision for VDS’ future.

The Divinity School has been a part of Vanderbilt University since 1876, shortly after the University’s founding in 1873, and is one of only six university-based, interdenominational divinity schools in the country and the oldest one in the South. The Divinity School’s nineteenth- century founders adopted a commonplace label for theological institutions of their era, “school of the prophets,” as they sought to lift up the importance of education for clergy. Today, VDS lives into this legacy, in a world of a large tent Christianity, religious pluralism, an ever-expanding understanding of the nature of the diversities in our midst, and marvelous and challenging cultural differences.

The Divinity School prepares learners for religious leadership and scholarship within a justice- seeking, interdenominational, and expanding interfaith community of teaching and learning that is partnered with the broader Nashville community. The Divinity School brings together rigorous scholarship, spiritual and intellectual growth, and impactful field education for a community of over 200 master’s and doctoral students supported by 26 core faculty members and an additional 20 affiliated and adjunct faculty. The Divinity School offers the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Theological Studies (MTS), Master of Theology (ThM), and Doctor of Ministry in Integrative Chaplaincy (DMin) degrees. Additionally, VDS has administrative oversight of the Graduate Department of Religion, in collaboration with the Graduate School, which offers Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees across nine fields of study.

The dean will join the VDS community at a defining moment in the School’s history, and will work closely with faculty in articulating strategic priorities, opportunities, and ambitions, including strengthening the School’s connections across the University; fostering an inclusive, supportive community that is equitable and diverse; sharpening the Schools brand and programmatic focus; streamlining internal systems and updating administrative processes; and raising significant funds to support the critical and transformational work of the School. In addition, the dean will be a senior leader at the University, joining a collegial and collaborative group of decanal colleagues who oversee the nine other schools on campus. The successful candidate will have excellent academic and professional credentials, demonstrated success in managing complex units or organizations, a history of welcoming and fostering diversity and advocating for inclusive, equitable policies and professional communities, and a strong track record of fundraising and administrative leadership.

Vanderbilt University has engaged Isaacson, Miller to assist the Divinity School Dean Search Committee with identifying and reviewing candidates for this position. Inquiries, applications, and nominations may be sent in confidence to the following:

Ben Tobin, Partner

Katie Rockman, Partner

Ernest Brooks, Partner


Vanderbilt University has a strong institutional commitment to recruiting and retaining an academically and culturally diverse community of faculty. Minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented groups, in particular, are encouraged to apply. Vanderbilt is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

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