Welcome to a new school year, friends!
Welcome to a new school year, friends!
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Welcome to the new school year, friends!

welcome header from dean townes
And so we begin again.  The Divinity School is 145 years old this year.  We’ve come quite a far piece from our origin as the Biblical Department of Vanderbilt University in 1875 under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal, South to our change to an ecumenical theological school in 1914 then followed by being renamed the Divinity School by the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust in 1915. In 1966, the Graduate School of Theology of Oberlin College merged with VDS and so we have continue to grow and change over these many years.  We are also known by our moniker inherited from the late 1800s, Schola Prophetarum (school of the prophets).  One sees this history in the Purpose Statement and in our Commitments that guide us today.
I give you this abbreviated history to set the context of my welcome to you in the midst of a pandemic, a presidential election, a roiling electorate, religious houses and institutions finding new ways to connect and keep their pastoral and prophetic mission alive in new ways, and so much more.  Welcome to a new year at VDS that will surely hold both the expected and unexpected.  I encourage you to embrace a sense of purpose and adventure this semester and next as we continue to seek to educate, advocate, and participate in the groaning of creation to work our way to a better day.
For the most up-to-date information about campus protocols, please visit the Graduate and Professional Students section of the VU Return to Campus site.
Beginning August 10, daily symptom monitoring is required for all individuals authorized to return to campus. It is our shared duty to act responsibly and it is the individual’s responsibility to comply. Use the VandySafe app for daily self-monitoring. 
Students taking classes in person are required to stay in Nashville until the Thanksgiving break. Any student with an urgent need to travel must get approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before making any plans. If approved to travel, per current VU policy, the student will be required to stay away from campus for 14 days after returning to Nashville.
To read more about helpful links to help you navigate the upcoming academic year in the midst of the pandemic, visit this landing page for VDS.
For those on campus this fall, the General Library Building (GLB), which houses the Divinity and Central Libraries, will begin allowing card-swipe access for only Vanderbilt students, staff, and faculty (including Visiting Scholars and emeriti) beginning the first day of classes (8/24). Owing to the university strictures on dedensification, the library has been asked to limit access to students and faculty who will be on campus this semester. As it currently stands, hours for Central/Divinity will be:

Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

(Hours vary for other campus libraries but will be posted on their respective websites.)
For students and faculty working remotely, the VU libraries will continue to provide our Pick-Up-Program (PUP), and enable those unable to remain on campus this semester to still have access to our collection. Pick up locations for material will continue to be exterior and proximate to Central/Divinity. Faculty and students working on campus will also be able to use this service.

VDS Community Announcements

Connect online throughout the week!

Watch for emails throughout the week about  invitations to connect through worship, meditation, and more. Questions about community life and worship may be directed to:
Amy E. Steele, PhD
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Community Life
Tel: 615.343.5749

Save the dates

Save the dates for the following VDS events. More information will be emailed/posted as they develop. If you have events open to the VDS community, send them to Sophia, director of communications, by Thursday, end of day.

9/2: Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice webinar: Spirit on the Ground: Stories and Strategies for Faith and Labor. 11AM Central. 
9/4: Troubling the Water film and discussion, Part I: Why us? Why now?
9/9: Cal Turner Program presents: Robert Jones, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity 7PM-8:30PM
9/11: Troubling the Water film and discussion, Part II: Whiteness
9/18: Troubling the Water film and discussion, Part III: Identity
9/25: Troubling the Water film and discussion, Part IV: Intersectionality and disruption
9/26: Cal Turner Program presents a Fall Compassion Retreat: The Fierce Heart: Showing Up (and Resting) in Compassion in Times of Crisis. 10AM-4PM
9/27: Cal Turner Program presents: Community Conversations on Policing with Dan Jarenko. 3PM-5PM.
October: Publishing in Color virtual conference. If you're interested in attending, but are unable to becuase of financial considerations, email Sophia.

What's keeping you engaged?

We're collecting stories of what life has been amidstt this pandemic. Did you find a practice or discipline you'll continue after this time of physical distancing? Learn something you'd like to share with the communitty? Funny, inspirational, contemplative, challenging. We'd love to hear it.
If you have something to share, begin by visiting this form. No stories will be shared without your consent.

Jobs, Internships, Events

  • Visit the VDS job page here.
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