The Leadership Opportunity

The Dean of Duke Divinity School (DDS) reports to the Provost and is the chief academic and administrative officer, as well as the spiritual leader, of the School. The Dean is responsible to the Provost for all aspects of the Divinity School’s budget consistent with the University’s management center budget system. The Dean will work with the faculty and staff to ensure its active involvement in the development of long-range strategic plans, major budgetary priorities, and other important activities and issues that affect the well-being of the School and its place in the University. The Dean is a member of the Deans Cabinet and may also be appointed to other University committees as the representative of DDS. An ecclesial and a public intellectual, the next leader will broadly serve as the School’s main spokesperson and representative, cultivating and nurturing key partnerships within the University and broader Christian communities.


Reports to

Provost, Duke University

Direct reports

Vice Dean for Faculty
Associate Dean for External Relations
Associate Dean for Administration and Finance
Associate Dean for Academic Formation
Associate Dean for Vocational Formation
Associate Dean for Global and Intercultural Formation
Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives
Associate Dean for Leadership Initiatives
Associate Dean for Wesleyan Engagement
Director of Information Technology
Other key relationshipsPresident, Duke University
Academic Deans and Senior University Leaders
The Duke Endowment


  • The Dean serves as the chief academic officer and administrative leader of the School, leading the faculty with intellectual zest and spiritual/theological depth, paying particular attention to the recruitment, retention, diversification, and promotion of faculty.
  • The Dean of the Divinity School is responsible for overall administration of the School, including setting policies, budgets, and procedures for admissions, academic regulations, maintenance of academic records, and approval of all persons to be awarded Divinity School degrees.
  • The Dean maintains visibility, presence, and transparency to students, staff, and faculty while also engaging ecclesial communities and denominational leaders in service of strengthening the church.
  • The Dean is a vocal champion of the School and is able to share a compelling vision for its mission that will attract a broad range of donors and partners.
  • The Dean will serve as the School's ambassador giving voice to the Divinity School's distinctive commitment to the catholic theological tradition in church communities around the world, as well as in the community of theological higher education.
  • The Dean leads with an unequivocal commitment to fostering an equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment at all levels of the School, making theological studies accessible to all, with a steadfast commitment to increasing the diversity, at all ranks, of the Divinity School.
  • The Dean works collaboratively with university leadership to fulfill key strategic initiatives.

The Dean will maintain and tend to the Divinity School’s important long-standing relationship with the Duke Endowment while also focusing on means for diversifying revenue and gift sources.

Candidate Profile

A theological scholar with strong managerial acumen and vision, the next Dean will shepherd the Divinity School’s academic offerings, including seven degree programs (residential and hybrid), three dual degree programs, five certificate programs, one concentration, as well as numerous initiatives and centers, including six denominational houses of study that combine scholarship with service. The next Dean will collaborate with the Department of Religious Studies (in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences) in operating the Graduate Program in Religion, under the auspices of The Graduate School.

DDS is one of the United Methodist Church’s thirteen official theological schools in the United States, and the Dean is responsible for shepherding the Divinity School’s relationship to the United Methodist Church, assuring a supportive bond based on mutual respect and recognition of their respective roles and responsibilities. The Dean will provide visionary direction in advancing the mission of DDS while navigating the challenges associated with the changing landscape of the United Methodist Church. The Dean will also guide the Divinity School’s relationships with diverse Christian denominations and other religious faiths.


  • An experienced theologian with a strong research and publishing record.
  • Ability to attract and expand financial resources through individual and foundation support.
  • Proven operational and managerial success within a layered organization.
  • Successful trajectory of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Demonstrated track record of developing and executing innovative and engaging initiatives.
  • An effective communicator to diverse academic, church and public audiences.


Strategic Vision

The Dean will cast a long-range vision, specific strategies and detailed administrative and fiscal provisions to ensure the excellence of the Divinity School, and intentionally lead committed and diverse constituencies by:

  • Thinking creatively and entrepreneurially about revenue streams and philanthropic approaches, garnering new fiscal resources, articulating the development needs of DDS in conjunction with long-range plans, leadership of the overall development effort in the School, and active personal engagement in fundraising.
  • Demonstrating sound fiscal stewardship and budgetary oversight, including the allocation of current and future academic facilities needs.
  • Holistic priority-setting and the effective balancing of academic, spiritual, and cultural elements of the School.
  • Serving as an imaginative, proactive, and nimble problem solver who will act in the best interest of the School, its faculty, its staff, and its students.
  • Interpreting a fast-changing theological educational landscape, and creatively anticipating challenges and opportunities.
Collaborating and Influencing

In a school that values teamwork and togetherness, the Dean will serve as a bridge builder and garner support for key priorities and initiatives by:

  • Leveraging the broader University context and facilitating academic and co-curricular collaboration across schools and disciplines, and working with the Deans of other schools to develop annual disciplinary and interdisciplinary recruiting plans for the Divinity School.
  • Prioritizing key relationships with organizations and individuals in the community while maintaining visibility on campus.
  • Partnering with church leaders in local rural areas (North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia) as well as international regions (Latin America, Africa, and Asia).
  • Building consensus, credibility, and buy-in by way of active and engaged listening; willingness to engage in and mediate conflict resolution objectively and respectfully.
Managing People

As DDS’ academic and spiritual leader, the Dean must tactfully and courageously engage constituents by:

  • Being fully present with strong interpersonal skills and creating a strong sense of unity across a diverse array of political, religious, and philosophical ideologies.
  • Recruiting, retaining, motivating, and developing the next generation of spiritual and academic leaders; overseeing the recruitment, appointment, re-appointment and recommendations for promotion and tenure of faculty, and owning non-faculty staffing decisions within the context of university-wide policies and procedures.
  • Assembling and retaining a talented administrative staff and appropriately delegating responsibility and authority among them.
  • Considering global perspectives and facilitating a culture of true inclusion for all identities and backgrounds.
Other Personal Characteristics
  • A deep commitment to the Christian faith, the church’s ministry, and ecumenical higher education.
  • A nuanced understanding of United Methodism and its changing landscape.
  • An energetic and conscientious administrator with a keen attunement to the debates of ministry and theology.
  • An emotionally mature peacemaker with an open mind and empathetic demeanor.
  • Intellectually curious with unshakeable integrity and self-awareness.
  • A preeminent University citizen who embodies humility and generosity.

Duke Divinity School has retained Spencer Stuart to support this national search. If you wish to submit your own application materials or nominate someone to serve as the next Dean of The Divinity School, please send an e-mail message with supporting materials to

Duke University prohibits discrimination and harassment and provides equal employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Duke is committed to recruiting, hiring, and promoting qualified women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.

Pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Duke prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any of its educational programs or activities. For more information, please visit


About the Institution


The Divinity School is one of ten schools within Duke University and one of thirteen seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist Church. Unlike some peers, Duke’s Divinity School is well embedded within the broader university. As the spiritual center of a great research university, Duke’s Divinity School is the embodiment of Duke University’s motto: Eruditio et Religio – Knowledge and Faith.

Founded in 1926 as the first of the university’s graduate professional schools, the Divinity School attracts students from across the nation and around the world. From its beginnings, the Divinity School has maintained a strong Methodist affiliation while being ecumenical in aspiration, teaching and practice. The current Dean, Edgardo Colón-Emeric, was appointed to a two-year term on July 1, 2021.

  • Roughly 600 total students
  • 45 faculty
  • 100 staff members
  • 65 denominations represented in student body

Duke Divinity School is distinguished by its commitment to theological engagement and interdisciplinary collaboration as a means of addressing complex issues in society. The seminary’s centers and projects aim to embody wisdom, grappling with how the interpretation of the gospel must be shaped to respond faithfully to our time.

Ormond Center for Thriving Congregations and Communities
The Ormond Center seeks to equip congregations and their communities to work together for the thriving of all. The Ormond Center does this by working across the Divinity School and Duke University more broadly to catalyze innovative leadership that revitalizes the church and fosters thriving communities.

Leadership Education at Duke Divinity
Leadership Education at Duke Divinity aims to create lasting change in U.S. congregations by supporting Christian leaders and the institutions they serve. Leadership Education offers online resources, designs programs and training, and facilitates networks of institutions. It also publishes Faith & Leadership, a learning resource for Christian leaders and their institutions.

Center for Reconciliation
The Center for Reconciliation inspires, forms, and supports leaders, communities, congregations, and students to live as ambassadors of reconciliation by engaging with communities in real-world situations of pain and conflict.

Theology, Medicine, and Culture
The Theology, Medicine, and Culture initiative works with medical practitioners, congregations, and communities to reimagine health and healthcare in light of Christian tradition and practices.

Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA)
DITA promotes a dynamic interplay between Christian theology and the arts within the Divinity School by exploring the contours of creative theological expression and enriching theological education within the church, academy, and society.

Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition (CSWT)
CSWT is an internationally acclaimed center that oversees our Methodist and Wesleyan offerings, supports educational outreach, develops research resources for students and scholars, and produces critical editions of John and Charles Wesley texts.

Thriving Rural Communities
The Thriving Rural Communities Initiative works to foster thriving rural North Carolina communities by cultivating faithful rural Christian leadership and fruitful rural United Methodist congregations. With support from The Duke Endowment, the initiative also prepares a select group of students for effective ministry in rural North Carolina.

Clergy Health Initiative
The Duke Clergy Health Initiative is an $18 million, multi-year program intended to improve the health and well-being of United Methodist clergy in North Carolina.

Wesleyan Formation Initiatives
Wesleyan Formation Initiatives are built to foster pastoral pathways for various constituencies and include the Duke Accelerated Pastoral Formation Program and the Rediscovering the Heart of Methodism series.

Black Pastoral Leadership Collaboration
The Black Pastoral Leadership Collaboration is a five-year multidisciplinary collaboration that brings scholars and pastoral leaders together to identify and develop models for strengthening leadership in the Black church and beyond.


Duke University began as a preparatory school (in Randolph County) for men in 1838 before becoming Trinity College in 1859, when it established a relationship with the United Methodist Church. It was re-founded in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke as a memorial to his father, Washington Duke. It is considered one of the top research universities in the world and is regularly ranked among the top ten academic institutions in the United States. Duke University’s campus in Durham, North Carolina, encompasses nearly 9,000 acres and is home to 6,500 undergraduates, over 9,000 graduate students, and more than 1,600 tenured and tenure-track faculty. The Duke University Hospital is considered one of the best hospitals in the country.

Duke maintains a historic affiliation with the United Methodist Church and includes 10 schools and colleges: Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, School of Law, Divinity School, Graduate School, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Pratt School of Engineering, Fuqua School of Business, Nicholas School of the Environment, and Sanford School of Public Policy.

More information about Duke may be found at:


 Duke Divinity School seeks to build a diverse and inclusive community consistent with the scriptural vision that: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female: for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). It is in this light that, as part of its mission to prepare leaders for the church, the academy, and the world, Duke Divinity is committed to the importance of diversity.

Duke Divinity recognizes the need to prepare students for ministry, teaching, and leadership in multi-cultural and multi-faith contexts, whether in the United States or elsewhere. To do this well, it understands that its own community must seek to wrestle with and embody diversity in its faculty, staff, and student body.

As part of its mission, Duke Divinity seeks to foster a cohesive theological vision that is neither narrow nor homogeneous—one that is deeply rooted in critical engagement with Scripture and honors a range of theological traditions in conversation with a plurality of historical, geographic, and social settings.

To learn about anti-racism efforts at Duke Divinity, please visit: