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Provost Announces Search Committee for New Divinity Dean

Provost Announces Search Committee for New Divinity Dean

Ellen Davis to chair 13-member committee

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Durham, NC - Divinity professor Ellen Davis will chair a committee searching for the new Divinity School dean to replace Richard Hays, whose two-year term as Divinity dean will end with the 2011-2012 academic year.

Duke Provost Peter Lange last week announced formation of a 13-person committee to lead the national search. He charged the committee to look internally and externally for candidates who will be:

  • an intellectual leader among the faculty, who can be expected to have the highest aspirations in faculty hiring and retention,
  • an energetic and conscientious administrator broadly familiar with issues in higher education,
  • a strong advocate for the Divinity School and its teaching and research mission, in the context of the university's strategic commitment to interdisciplinarity,
  • a strong proponent for a diverse faculty and student body,
  • an effective fund-raiser,
  • a preeminent university citizen,
  • an effective shepherd of the Divinity School's continuing relationship to the United Methodist Church,
  • and a person committed to the importance of Christian ministry, lay and ordained, with an ability to relate to diverse Christian traditions and other religious faiths.  

"Richard Hays is doing a superb job as dean," Lange said. "With his announced intention to step down in June 2012, now is the time to identify excellent leadership, able to guide the Divinity School in its core mission while working seamlessly with the rest of Duke in advancing the university's priorities. This is the critical task of the committee.  Its membership, combined with Professor Davis' leadership, promises to identify candidates of the highest caliber."

In addition to Davis, the Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, the committee members are:

Melanie Bonner, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science; J. Kameron Carter, Associate Professor in Theology and Black Church Studies; Elizabeth Clark, John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion; Paul Griffiths, Warren Chair of Catholic Theology; Richard Hays, Dean of the Divinity School and George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament; Anathea Portier-Young, Associate Professor of Old Testament; Maureen Quilligan, R. Florence Brinkley Professor of English; Hope Morgan Ward, Bishop, Mississippi Conference, United Methodist Church, and Duke Trustee; and Sam Wells, Dean of the Chapel, as well as Vice Provost Nancy Allen, Nursing Dean Catherine Gilliss and Vice President for Institutional Equity Benjamin Reese who will serve as ex-officio members of the search committee.

Lange asked the committee to make recommendations by Jan. 17, 2012.

Hays was inducted as Divinity dean this past fall.  He succeeded Gregory Jones, who was named Duke's vice president and vice provost for global strategy and programs.

All nominations should be sent electronically to Susan F. Booth, Program Coordinator, Office of the Provost, Duke University at  Emails should include the subject line: Divinity Dean Search. All attachments must be accompanied by a text message in the body of the email including the name of the individual submitting the nomination. 

Additional information can be found at

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