August 2nd, 2011 | University

Search for new Div School dean gets going

University President Richard Levin will likely receive a list of possible candidates to succeed Divinity School Dean Harold Attridge by late December, according to a Divinity School press release to be posted online Monday evening.

Levin announced the creation of a search committee tasked with finding the next YDS dean in a letter to the school community July 21. The committee, chaired by YDS Professor John J. Collins, includes seven additional YDS professors — Teresa Berger, Bruce Gordon, Lamin Sanneh, Kathryn Tanner ’79 GRD ’85, Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Thomas Troeger ’67, and Miroslav Volf — as well as History and Religious Studies professor Carlos Eire GRD ’79. The committee aims to submit potential candidate names to Levin “by Christmas,” according to the press release, after which Levin will make a final decision.

“We will have ample time in the coming year to thank Dean Harry Attridge for his fine leadership of the School,” said Levin in the letter. “In the meantime, I am grateful to the search committee for their commitment to this most important task.”

The formation of this committee follows Attridge’s announcement earlier this summer that he will retire as dean on June 30, 2012, after what will have been ten years of leadership. He plans to go on sabbatical in 2012-’13 after which he will return to teach at the school.

“The institution is well positioned to continue its leading role in the world of theological education,” said Attridge in an e-mail to the News on Monday. “The search committee appointed by President Levin represents the faculty well and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the task of identifying a new dean. I have every confidence that they will find a colleague who will ably lead the school into the future.”

In the press release, Collins said that the personal faith of the candidates will not be a consideration as the committee is simply looking for candidates who support faith and scholarship. The search committee consists of four Roman Catholics, two Episcopalians, two Presbyterians and one member who affiliates with both the Episcopal and Presbyterian traditions.

Levin also announced the creation of an advisory committee of alumni and supporters, chaired by co-chair of the YDS Advisory Board Chris Sawyer DIV ’75, that will help evaluate candidates and question potential nominees. Among others, this committee will include former member of the Yale Corporation William Miller ’78 and President of the YDS Alumni Board Jerry Henry DIV ’80.

When he announced his retirement in May, Attridge said that he would focus his final year on increasing scholarship opportunities for Roman Catholic students and students involved in the joint program in religion and ecology with the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, appointing faculty and funding the YDS international exchange programs.

In addition to submitting suggestions to the search committee, people may also make submissions through the Yale Provost’s Office.

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