Position Description

The Institution:

Emory University is one of the world’s leading institutions of higher education, with an international reputation for path-breaking scholarship and research, engaged teaching, and innovative health care delivery. The university traces its roots to the 1836 founding of Emory College in Oxford, Georgia by the Methodist Episcopal Church. Five bishops of The United Methodist Church serve as members of the Board of Trustees of the university.

Today, Emory University attracts a richly diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. With a mission “to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity,” Emory seeks to lead through ethical engagement, discovery and innovation, with the conviction that education is a strong moral force in both society and the lives of individuals. With approximately 15,000 students, including 8,000 undergraduates and 7,000 graduate and professional students, Emory draws students from every state and more than 100 countries.

A member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) since 1995, Emory benefits from collaboration and synergy among its nine undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. These schools include Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Oxford College, School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Candler School of Theology, School of Law, Goizueta Business School, Laney Graduate School, and Rollins School of Public Health.

In January 2018, Emory joined the City of Atlanta, a destination for world class arts and entertainment and preferred host to events of global and national interest such as the summer Olympic Games, Super Bowl, World Cup and others. Emory is an integral partner with the city sustaining hundreds of points of engagement with local communities and the civic, business, health and educational leadership sector. Known for its significant economic impact and contributions to the city’s vitality, Emory shares and celebrates Atlanta’s global reputation for promoting civil and human rights.

The Office of Spiritual and Religious Life (OSRL) at Emory University provides varied and rich opportunities to enhance the religious and spiritual life of members of the Emory community in a variety of ways including creating and sustaining community, encouraging multi-religious service and outreach, and supporting the Emory community in continuing ethical and spiritual formation. OSRL partners with a team of tradition-specific chaplains, religious life advisors, and campus ministers to support a wide range of student religious groups recognized by the university.

The OSRL provides oversight of Cannon Chapel, which was consecrated in 1981. The building houses the office of the University Chaplain, Candler School of Theology’s offices, and academic space. The Office works with religious life staff representing various religious traditions on Emory's Atlanta and Oxford campuses to develop an extraordinarily diverse religious life program on Emory’s Atlanta and Oxford campuses. Hallmark programs include Journeys, the Inter-Religious Council (IRC), International Student Coffee Hour, and Off the Record.

Position Title: 

University Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life

Position Summary: 

Emory University is seeking a University Chaplain who has skills and personal qualities to provide strategic and visionary leadership for Office of Religious and Spiritual Life in the demanding context of a major religious university with a residential liberal arts college, thriving graduate and professional schools, and an internationally-acclaimed healthcare system. Reporting to the president of the university, Claire E. Sterk, the University Chaplain will work with individuals and units across the university to enhance and encourage the development of the spiritual lives of students, promote the understanding of spiritual and religious practices and traditions, and provide holistic support to students, faculty, and staff. The University Chaplain serves on the Administrative Council, comprised of leaders across the university, and will play an integral role in the educational mission of the University, working closely with the schools, the Office of the Provost and Campus Life.


Effective Public Presence

  • Serve as the public voice of religious and spiritual life in university ceremonies, convocations, celebrations, vigils, and memorials, that call for spiritual leadership.
  • Represent the dimensions of religious life and spirituality across Emory University.
  • Serve as an ambassador for the religious and spiritual dimensions of Emory life to the external community, including professional and denominational organizations, local religious congregations, and groups that may have interest in religious work at Emory.

Foster Interfaith Engagement & Collaborative Partnerships

  • Strengthen vibrant and formative interfaith dynamics with key partners.
  • Promote overall religious literacy, interfaith education, understanding and dialogue.
  • Foster a safe space for a wide range of religious formation arising from and consonant with the university values of inclusiveness, free inquiry, mutual respect and interfaith engagement.
  • Continue collaborative work with groups and units with long-standing ties including the pastor of Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church (a congregation worshipping in a historic facility on the Emory campus), the Graduate Division of Religion, and leaders of other established religious groups and leaders, to serve the University.

Pastoral Care

  • Provide pastoral care including counseling, spiritual direction, and grief support to the community at times of personal or community crisis or loss.
  • Work in collaboration with other university student, faculty and staff resources to counsel and/or coordinate care for individual community members in need of support.

Chapel Stewardship

  • Preside or provide for a variety of regular services in Cannon Chapel.
  • Oversee use of the university chapels, ensuring the availability of safe space for a wide array of religious expression.
  • Supervise and coordinate the work of the religious life staff including adjudicating requests by religious groups to be involved on Emory’s campus.

The Person:

The optimal candidate is a practitioner and scholar who recognizes that the human person is a union of mind, heart, and inner spirit. The ideal candidate will possess the following:

  • Exceptional communication skills and ability to forge relationships with a wide range of individuals.
  • Liturgical skills or competence in the practice of public speaking and knowledge of religious rituals and practices.
  • Demonstrated experience working collaboratively to generate and cultivate meaningful and durable interfaith partnerships.
  • Meaningful involvement with traditions and communities around the world.
  • Pastoral sensitivity and experience with crisis management.
  • Skills to advance Emory’s commitment to religious diversity, freedom of expression, and openness to dialogue with all faith traditions.
  • Experience working with students and the higher education environment
  • Experience working with students and the higher education environment. Master’s degree in religion, theology or other relevant area, and seven years experience in chaplaincy, higher education, or related field are required.
  • Doctoral degree preferred.
  • Appropriate ordination or equivalent credentials, as relevant.

Full Position Description (PDF)