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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; 
  • Advocates for the OUCRL on campus;  Advises the  Dean of Students  on matters religious and spiritual;
  • Collaborates with specific Vanderbilt Centers and Schools and Bodies:  The Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center; Vanderbilt Hillel; Chabad House at Vanderbilt; The Divinity School; St. Augustine’s Episcop al Chapel; The Baptist Campus Ministry, the Faculty Senate; etc;
  • Consults with Academic Deans to create classrooms that can accommodate religious diversity;
  • Confers with the Dean of the Commons, Vanderbilt’s Head of House and Faculty Directors to  create residencies where multiple faiths are celebrated ( Easter Christianity,  Rosh Hoshanna Jewish tradition,  Eid Al-fitr Islamic tradition,  Naw-Ruz Bahá'í; and various Hindu and Buddhist festivals, for example).

Reports to: Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

2017-2018 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;
  • Laura Walaszek Dermody, director, assessments and special projects, Office of the Dean of Students;

Faculty Members

  • Tom Christenbery, director, program evaluation, professor, School of Nursing; 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;


  • Alex Ayris, graduate;
  • Niharika Dar, undergraduate;
  • Kathryn Farkas, professional;
  • Tamara French, graduate; 
  • Shawn Kerry, undergraduate;
  • Daniel Levine, graduate;
  • Jacob Pierce, undergraduate; and
  • Grayson Wiles, undergraduate.