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Religious Life Graduate Assistant

Department:Office of the University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life, Office of Inclusive Excellence

Position Description: Chris Donald

Position Summary:

The Graduate Assistant for Religious Life is part of the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life (OUCRL) in the Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIE) at Vanderbilt University.  The Graduate Assistant of Religious Life will support the overall work of OUCRL and affiliate chaplaincies to provide religious and spiritual engagement with questions of identity, place, and purpose.  The Graduate Assistant for Religious Life will work with OUCRL staff on relevant programs and program support; communications and media strategies; and administrative, research, and assessment assignments.  The Graduate Assistant for Religious Life will collaborate with student religious life organizations, affiliated and parachurch groups, and colleagues in OIE and Dean of Students offices to provide relevant programs and events.

Time Commitment:

The position will begin in August 2021 and last for 9 months. Continuation of the assistantship will depend upon satisfactory performance of your assigned duties and progress toward your degree. This position is 20 hours per week, excluding university breaks; this may include some evening and weekend hours.

About the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life:

The Office of Religious Life leads spiritual and religious growth opportunities for students and other Vanderbilt community members; encourages the ongoing development of interfaith literacy and dialogue; promotes reflection on ethical questions and issues of values and character; and prepares students to lead in a religiously pluralistic world.

About the Office for Inclusive Excellence:

The Office for Inclusive Excellence serves the Vanderbilt community with a strategic emphasis to promote academic success, professional and cultural education, and inclusivity and belonging among its students, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows.

Key Functions and Expected Performance:

Programming and Program Support (50%)

  • Counsel, facilitate, and support registered student religious life organizations and student leaders that are not supported by paid professional staff provided by outside faith communities or agencies.
  • Facilitate and support programs that encourage non-sectarian reflection on questions of identity, place, and purpose; engagement across lines of religious and spiritual difference; and literacy about different religious, spiritual, and secular worldviews, communities, and practices.
  • Facilitate and support one-time or continuing educational and social programs in response to student needs or community and world events.
  • Represent OUCRL in collaborative programming efforts with OIE, Dean of Students offices, and other campus partners.

Communications and Media Strategies (20%)

  • Provide content management of the OUCRL website.
  • Develop and distribute a monthly OUCRL e-newsletter, including collaboration with other OIE offices and colleagues.
  • Manage and maintain OUCRL and related student religious life organization records, documents, and events on AnchorLink.
  • Support OUCRL staff in management of OUCRL social media.
  • Collaborate with OUCRL staff and affiliate chaplains to plan, prioritize, schedule, and implement communication through OUCRL website, OUCRL e-newsletter, OUCRL media, and Vanderbilt media.

Administration, Research, and Assessment (30%)

  • Support OUCRL staff in efforts to evaluate student and community needs to ensure relevant and meaningful programming.
  • Support OUCRL staff in conducting and maintaining program reviews and assessments to ensure organizational effectiveness.
  • Support to the University Committee on Religious Affairs, particularly in continuing research or oversight efforts.
  • Collaborate with OUCRL staff to ensure that programs and events are aligned with current research and best practices regarding student spiritual development.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to support colleagues across OIE to implement or fulfill of goals and strategic priorities promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Relationships:
This position reports administratively and functionally to University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life.

Education and Certifications:

  • Full-time enrollment in a graduate degree program at Vanderbilt University is required.
  • Enrollment in the M.Ed. Higher Administration Education program in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Peabody College is strongly preferred.

Experience and Skills:

  • Ability to work independently is necessary.
  • High level of attention to detail is necessary.
  • Acknowledgement and acceptance of diverse views of religion and spirituality is necessary.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills are strongly preferred.
  • Experience in a religious or spiritual life student organization is preferred.
  • Experience planning and implementing of large-scale and small-scale events is preferred.
  • Experience facilitating group meetings and building consensus is preferred.


The compensation for this assistantship includes an annual stipend of $11,700 paid over the 9-month period and a 66% tuition scholarship, (33% paid by the Office of the Dean of Students/Office of the Provost and 33% paid by Peabody College) paid directly to your student account. The tuition benefit is for the total minimum number of hours needed to complete your academic program.

NOTE: It is required that you apply for financial aid and request that any available work-study funding be used towards these positions.