Emilie M. Townes, a distinguished Yale University scholar and administrator whose areas of expertise include Christian ethics and womanist theology, has been named dean of Vanderbilt University Divinity School, effective July 1, 2013. Townes, an ordained American Baptist clergywoman, succeeds James Hudnut-Beumler, who will take a year’s sabbatical after serving as the school’s dean since 2000. Townes, who will be the 16th dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School, pending approval by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust, has been appointed to a five-year term, according to Richard McCarty, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. She will also hold an endowed chair as a tenured faculty member.
“Emilie Townes is an amazing scholar, a wonderful mentor to students, and a leader in theological education,” McCarty said. “She is also ready to lead, and I am delighted that she has accepted our offer to be the next dean of the Vanderbilt Divinity School. Her impact as dean will be felt in the Divinity School and across the university as well as nationally and internationally. I look forward to welcoming her to the Vanderbilt community.”
Townes is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology and associate dean of academic affairs at Yale Divinity School. Previously, she was the Carolyn Williams Beaird Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary.
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