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Religious Affairs Standing Committee

The Committee serves as an advisory body to the University with the responsibility of informing  religious  diversity and educating the whole person.   The Committee:
  • Collaborates with, supports and advises the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life (OUCRL) on the constitution and bylaws governing affiliated or parachurch religious organizations or as concerns arise; 
  • Advises the Office of the Provost, Office of the Dean of Students, and Office of the Dean of Residential Faculty by reviewing and advocating for the work of the OUCRL in its efforts to support our multifaith community and its members in their pursuits of spiritual and religious meanings while advancing mutual understanding and respect for and celebration of other faith traditions in our pluralistic community.  Special attention should be given to efforts to create residences where multiple faiths are celebrated and to create a welcoming spiritual environment for graduate and professional students.
  • Collaborates with specific Vanderbilt Centers and Schools and Bodies:  Office of Social Justice and Identity and its campus identity centers;  Vanderbilt Hillel; Chabad House at Vanderbilt; The Divinity School; The Graduate School; Athletics; St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel; The Baptist Campus Ministry, the Faculty Senate; etc.
  • Consults with Academic Deans to create classrooms that can accommodate religious diversity.

Reports to: Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

2018-2019 Committee Members 

Administrative/Ex Officio Members

  • Frank Dobson, associate dean of students, director, Black Cultural Center, Office of the Dean of Students;
  • Mark Forrester, university chaplain and director of religious life, Office of the University Chaplain and Religions Life;
  • Candice Lee, associate vice chancellor for university affairs, deputy athletics director, athletics;
  • David ter Kuile, Executive Director, dining;
  • Melissa Thomas-Hunt, Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence;
  • Laura Walaszek Dermody, director, assessments and special projects, Office of the Dean of Students.

Faculty Members

  • Adam Meyer, associate professor of Jewish Studies, College of Arts and Science; chair;
  • Gregory Barz, chair, musicology and ethnomusicology, professor, musicology, associate professor, religion, Blair School of Music;
  • Issam Eido, senior lecturer, Arabic languages and literatures, College of Arts and Science;
  • Stacey Floyd-Thomas, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Chair, associate professor, ethics and society, Divinity School;
  • Sankaran Mahadevan, John R. Murray Sr. Professor of Engineering, civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, School of Engineering;
  • Craig Smith, associate dean for graduate education and undergraduate affairs, associate professor, psychology and human development, Peabody College.


  • Fayo Abadula, undergraduate
  • Rachel Miles, undergraduate
  • Jacob Pierce, undergraduate
  • (Joseph) Carter Powers, undergraduate
  • Rebekah Austin, graduate
  • Rachel Heath, graduate
  • Aria Guilani, graduate
  • Benjamin Reisman, graduate