Yale Divinity School Associate Dean Emilie Townes will become the 16th dean of Vanderbilt University Divinity School in July 2013, the Associated Press reported.

Townes has been appointed to a five-year term, pending confirmation by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. She will succeed James Hudnut-Beumler, who has served as Vanderbilt University Divinity School dean since 2000.

In a Friday email to the Divinity School community, Townes acknowledged that Divinity School Dean Gregory Sterling and Deputy Provost Emily Bakemeier “worked hard” to counter the offer from Vanderbilt. But, Townes said, she decided the Vanderbilt opportunity was “a call” for her.

Also in an email to the community, Sterling congratulated Townes on her appointment, highlighting her professional achievements and involvement with the student community at the Divinity School.

An ordained American Baptist clergywoman, Townes is the Andrew W. Mellon professor of African-American religion and theology at the Divinity School. Her research focuses on Christian ethics, womanist ethics, critical social theory, and cultural theory and studies.