This leadership profile was developed based on listening sessions with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members to support a comprehensive national search.

Download a PDF of the Leadership Profile.

Dean, School of Divinity

Leadership Profile
Spring/Summer 2023

Executive Summary 

Wake Forest University seeks a seasoned, mission-oriented and inclusive leader to serve as the next dean of its School of Divinity. 

Wake Forest is dedicated to educating the whole person and upholding the promise of its motto, Pro Humanitate – for humanity. The University is a distinctive institution, combining exceptional graduate and professional schools, a rigorous academic liberal arts core for undergraduates and innovative research programs for its lively academic community of nearly 1,000 faculty, nearly 2,000 staff and more than 8,000 students. Recognized by U.S. News as a “Top 30 National University” for 26 consecutive years, Wake Forest is committed to educating students to be bold thinkers who can address the most challenging problems of today’s world. This commitment is made manifest through close student-faculty engagement paired with the breadth and resources of a nationally prominent research university. The University’s School of Divinity provides a rich and challenging academic experience that involves divinity students in learning both in and out of classrooms so that they might become leaders in Christian ministry and agents of justice, reconciliation and compassion in the world. 

Wake Divinity is committed to a course of study that cultivates new voices alongside a rich theological heritage. The School’s innovative Ministry Studies curriculum explores practices suited to vocations in a variety of changing ministry contexts. The Master of Divinity and dual degrees in Law, Education, Counseling and Sustainability educate ministers and practitioners who are theologically knowledgeable, pastorally skilled and lovingly committed to all of humanity and to the common good. The School will offer a Doctor of Ministry degree beginning Fall 2024. 

Reporting directly to Provost Michele Gillespie and working collaboratively with President Susan Wente and other University leaders, the dean is the senior executive, academic and administrative officer with primary responsibility for overseeing the academic leadership, external relations and overall administration of the School. The dean oversees the fiscal management of the $2.5 million operating budget and has administrative oversight of the School’s community of 11 faculty (8 tenured or tenure-track), 14 staff and 65 graduate students. The dean’s leadership team consists of a vice dean for faculty development and academic initiatives, an associate dean for academic affairs, assistant dean of vocational formation, assistant dean of development, as well as those leading administrative offices including enrollment and student services, finance and administration, and marketing and communications. 

The next dean of Wake Divinity will be an experienced, dynamic, collaborative and forward-thinking academic and faith leader who builds trust and community while forming strong partnerships to enhance and promote programs within and across disciplines – both within Wake Divinity and in partnership with the other University deans and external community partners. The dean will maintain and advance the University’s commitment to an extraordinary theological education, achieved through substantive student-faculty interaction in and beyond the classroom as well as groundbreaking and impactful scholarship and leadership of the community’s life of faith. 

The successful candidate will possess a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in all its forms; deft leadership, communication, collaboration, external engagement and creative problem-solving skills; and exceptional administrative, financial and managerial acumen. This candidate will have the capacity and an articulated vision for building and nurturing an external community of financial and vocational support. The new dean will be an accomplished scholar, committed teacher, talented administrator and strategic thinker with the intellect, curiosity, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and personal qualities essential to growing and fostering a diverse community and guiding the School through a challenging and changing landscape in theological education. 

Information about how to nominate a candidate or to apply for this opportunity may be found in the section entitled “Procedure for Candidacy” at the end of this document. 

The School of Divinity 

The Wake Forest University School of Divinity is one of the few theological institutions in the United States that has never been formally affiliated with a denomination and is one of only five ecumenical divinity schools that are part of a U.S. News Top 30 National University. The progressive Baptist heritage of the School is important, but the ecumenical character of the School is unassailable, as is its commitment to justice, reconciliation and community, and its goal of preparing students from diverse theological and religious perspectives for faithful and transformative service in a wide array of ministries. Wake Divinity has been listed repeatedly among the top 25 “Seminaries that Change the World,” based on commitment to justice and service, affordability and curricular innovation. Graduates are leaders in a diverse range of vocational paths including congregational ministry, non-profit work, chaplaincy, social justice advocacy, science, peacebuilding, food security, health, ecology and more. 

Mission Statement 

Wake Forest University School of Divinity is a graduate, professional school that is Christian by tradition, Baptist in heritage, and ecumenical in outlook. Consistent with Wake Forest’s commitment to academic excellence and in the spirit of the University motto, Pro Humanitate, the School of Divinity prepares leaders informed by a theological understanding of vocation. Through imaginative courses and diverse programs of community engagement, students are equipped to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries. 

As leaders we are called to offer responses of justice, reconciliation, and compassion to the diverse needs and challenges of the world. Justice is working to ensure that all of God’s creation can flourish. Reconciliation is seeking to heal the brokenness within and among communities as we are led into action by the Holy Spirit. Compassion is cultivating authentic, Christ-like concern for others to participate in healing and transformation. 

The Gospel calls us to go out in the world, chanting, singing, speaking, and embodying God’s love. Whether you are considering congregational ministry, non-profit ministry, chaplaincy, social justice advocacy, vocations that engage science and religion, race and religion, peace-building, food, health and ecology, or another vocation, we invite and encourage new ideas and pastoral practices. Learning about and practicing ministry are not easy undertakings, especially in a world with ever-changing and always increasing need. 

Guiding Principles 

We are committed to Justice, Reconciliation, and Compassion 

  • Foster academic excellence: The School of Divinity faculty fosters critical scholarship across the varied disciplines of theological education through rigorous academic inquiry in the classroom and through research and publication. 
  • Encourage global perspectives: Through theological reflection, critical inquiry, and ministry formation, the School of Divinity encourages students to explore diverse religious, cultural and ethnic perspectives within both national and international contexts. 
  • Embody hospitality: The School of Divinity seeks to cultivate a community of learners that celebrates diverse religious, racial, ethnic, cultural, gender and sexual identities and that fosters accessibility for all its members. 
  • Nurture spiritual growth: The School of Divinity provides opportunities for spiritual growth and exploration of personal and communal spiritual practices. 
  • Collaborate with faith communities: The School of Divinity joins with churches and other faith communities to create opportunities for mutual learning and critical dialogue, including student internships and various forms of mentoring, consultation, community education and shared advocacy. 
  • Contribute to the University’s mission: The School of Divinity shares in the University’s commitment to Pro Humanitate through explorations of religious identity, vocation, social responsibility and public engagement. 

Wake Divinity Faculty and Students 

Across the University, Wake Forest has a distinctive and unwavering commitment to a level of faculty-student interaction rarely matched by peer institutions. The student-faculty ratio at the School is 5 to 1. 

Wake Divinity faculty come from 10 states and 2 countries (United States, South Korea), 15 undergraduate colleges and universities (having majored in more than 10 different areas of study), 13 masters programs, and 15 doctoral programs. 29% identify as persons of color and 29% identify as female. They come from 11 religious affiliations and 70% are ordained. Over the last five years they have collectively published more than 75 books, chapter contributions, edited volumes, co-edited volumes, and translations. 

Wake Divinity’s approximately 65 students come from 56 colleges and universities and more than 50 disciplinary backgrounds. 42% identify as persons of color and 57% identify as female, with 55% age 30 or under (students range in age from 21 to 66) and more than 25 religious affiliations. 

Degrees and Concentrations 

  • Master of Divinity (MDiv): The Master of Divinity degree is a 76-credit hour program designed to be completed in three years of full-time, residential study. 
  • MDiv / MA in Bioethics: The Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Bioethics dual degree program facilitates an interdisciplinary conversation between theology and bioethics and provides resources for students whose vocational aims require knowledge and/or competence in both disciplines. 
  • MDiv / MA in Counseling: The Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Counseling dual degree is for students seeking to enter vocations in religious leadership with skills both in theology and counseling. The dual degree program is designed to ensure that students meet the educational requirements for licensure as professional counselors in North Carolina and most other states. 
  • MDiv / MA in Education: The Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Education dual degree promotes interdisciplinary conversation between theological education, public education, and community engagement. The degree also provides students pathways for developing skills and acquiring competencies necessary for achieving excellence in careers where religious leadership and education intersect. 
  • MDiv / JD: The Master of Divinity and Juris Doctor dual degree provides a vocational perspective different than that available in separate law or divinity degree concentrations. The program also enriches the learning and experience of students who want to pursue careers in either discipline. 
  • MDiv / MA in Sustainability: The Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Sustainability dual degree acknowledges the growing demand for professionals in religious leadership venues who have the knowledge and skills to lead communities to respond to critical ecological and other social issues. 
  • Doctor of Ministry (DMin): The DMin is a three-year, online degree with one week per semester in-person residency requirements. Residency weeks provide students and faculty the opportunity to connect face to face on the campus of Wake Forest to work together on interactive projects. The first class of students in the DMin program will enroll for Fall 2024. 
  • Degree Concentrations: The Wake Forest University School of Divinity provides an integrative, multi-disciplinary approach to theological education. One of its aims is to equip women and men to be public religious leaders. Several concentrations within the Master of Divinity degree offer courses that allow students to develop skills and gain knowledge specific to particular fields of study and areas of religious leadership. Currently, concentrations available include Interfaith Literacy & Leadership; Religious Leadership in Food, Health, and Ecology; Sustainability; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership 

The School of Divinity’s next dean will be expected to advance the following interrelated leadership priorities, among others: 

  • Provide continued leadership and support in the design of a dynamic theological education. 

While the new dean will no doubt have their own ideas for the future of the School, the community expects their dean to come in with a generous spirit, listening and learning about the state of the School as they further develop their vision and support the significant work underway. The School’s faculty has been engaged in efforts to discern, imagine and create a dynamic theological education so that the School best participates in established and evolving communities in a religiously plural world. The incoming dean will support this process and faculty efforts to maximize their energies and resources, consider realities and challenges, and cultivate the soil for a sustainable future. Priorities for collaborative endeavors include innovative curricular design that builds on and expands the School’s distinctiveness; internal and external partnerships around integrative health and communal well-being; and co-creation of justice-centered partnerships within and among communities that model collaborative leadership styles. 

It is worth underscoring that this is neither a status quo nor a strictly facilitative position. Working in concert with the School’s faculty, staff, students and alumni, the new dean will develop, articulate and implement a vision and strategic plan that aligns with the School and University’s mission and that is tied to and reflects the University strategic framing process (see below); further develops excellence and enhances scholarship and impact; builds enrollment and student success (see below); and creates opportunities to engage donors, alumni and friends. 

  • Build community and participate fully in School and University life. 

The new dean will be welcomed into the internal life of the School and the University and will work with and among the School’s faculty and students, functioning as a highly engaged and accessible leader and a committed, active and visible participant. The new dean will motivate and inspire, listen and learn, communicate and empathize, and drive positive change throughout. 

  • Address declining student enrollment and budget sustainability. 

The next dean will lead an effort to address enrollment trends affecting theological education in particular and higher education more broadly. Drawing upon an understanding of the current landscape for theological education; demographic, technological and communication trends; and a rapidly-changing higher education landscape, the new dean will work to stabilize and build enrollment in a way that reflects and advances the School’s mission, looking at programmatic demand and capabilities, campus utilization, new and existing markets, student recruitment and yield, and student retention, well-being, and graduation. In addition to growing tuition revenues, the new dean will artfully execute prudent fiscal management while maintaining a focus on mission, sustainability and excellence, ensuring a tight integration of academic and financial planning and investments. 

  • Provide leadership in the University’s strategic framing process. 

The incoming dean will provide insight and leadership to the strategic framing process initiated by President Wente in her November 2022 address. The strategic effort is designed to focus collective campus efforts on how best to frame the University’s journey to 2034, when Wake Forest will celebrate its 200th anniversary. This exercise is allowing the University to craft the strategic direction required to deepen and sustain its claim to greatness into its third century. Five core working groups are actively engaged through 2023 to accelerate efforts to: Enrich the student experience; Frame the future of excellence in teaching and academic engagement; Enhance impact through distinction in research, scholarship, and creative work; Build on Wake Forest’s unique role in supporting the well-being of the communities it calls home; and Define principles and pathways for engaging in sustainable partnerships locally and globally. 

  • Leverage existing resources and identify new resources to advance School and institutional goals. 

The new dean will have a facility with external affairs, be comfortable in external roles as an outward-facing ambassador of the School’s distinguished history and record of accomplishments, and enjoy working collaboratively to develop and execute creative partnerships that serve the School’s mission and advance its goals. The dean will be both an embodiment of the School’s mission and values and an effective champion for its contributions to society and needs for the future, working in partnership with President Wente, Provost Gillespie, and other key constituencies to raise the profile of the School of Divinity, broaden and deepen friendships in the community, and secure philanthropic and grant funds to support the School’s mission well into the future. 

Professional Qualifications and Personal Qualities 

The new dean of Wake Forest’s School of Divinity will be a community-building, visible and visionary leader with the experience and ability to embrace a teacher-scholar ideal that emphasizes superb teaching and other forms of close faculty-student engagement, twinned with a high level of support for social justice. 

The ideal candidate will demonstrate most, if not all, of the following professional qualifications and personal qualities: 

Dedication to mission: Deep resonance with the mission and possibilities of Wake Forest’s School of Divinity, including commitment to a teacher-scholar ideal that allows faculty to engage with students while also being leaders in their field, fostering academic excellence, encouraging global perspectives, embodying hospitality, nurturing religious life and spiritual growth, and collaborating with faith communities. 

Vision, imagination, and leadership: Ability to provide leadership for Wake Forest’s theological education with optimism and integrity, creativity, and teamwork, and an awareness of and alertness to new possibilities and opportunities; capacity to lead the School’s religious and spiritual life and to inspire joy in one’s work and calling; ability to develop and manage relationships with a diverse array of community members and partners who play different and divergent roles in the School and University community; exceptional collaboration, listening, and leadership skills; agility, flexibility, and comfort with ambiguity; and an ability to manage, motivate, and develop synergies, agency, a positive outlook, and a sense of team among a dedicated staff and volunteers. 

  • Dedication to diversity, inclusion, and belonging: Demonstrated commitment to diversity in all its forms; history of commitment to fostering an inclusive environment for all members of a diverse community; ability to work with people from many backgrounds and faith traditions; and multicultural fluency and appreciation of difference. 
  • Student-centered: Authentic interest in the development and experiences of university students; ability to lead the building of programs that anticipate the needs of a contemporary and diverse student body; familiarity with student engagement, curriculum building, health and wellness, mentorship, and fostering and sustaining inclusive community; capacity and commitment to respond to the unique needs and priorities of graduate students, listen and build relationships, and communicate clearly, respectfully and well; a leadership that students find approachable and inviting and that considers, for all key decisions, the potential impacts on and benefits to students; and genuine enjoyment of students and their company. 
  • Leadership skills: Successful experience leading an organization characterized by broad collaboration, transparency and teamwork; a record of servant leadership, social entrepreneurship and building a community culture that engages internal and external stakeholders to work toward a common purpose and achieve shared goals; genuine and visible enjoyment and understanding of a School community; success attracting, retaining and developing exceptional talent and professional growth of faculty and staff at all stages of their careers; facility at promoting interdisciplinary work; strong commitment to shared governance as additive; experience initiating and supporting creative strategies that would enhance the mission and work of the School of Divinity as well as the University as a whole; and the capacity to serve as a key adviser and thought partner to the president, provost and other University leaders, with the attendant skills of a trusted, adaptive and impactful contributor to University leadership.
  • Management skills: Demonstrated success in managing decisively and empathetically across environments, structures, groups, programs and operations; an understanding of how technology is used by contemporary religious communities in establishing and advancing a digital presence and the ability to guide the School’s technology choices and trade-offs; and the capacity to inspire and effectively supervise others, manage budgets and financial projections, plan and organize work, harness data analysis to inform strategic decisions and assess opportunities and challenges, envision new possibilities, partner with colleagues across the University, and make decisions aligned with the strategic priorities of the School and of Wake Forest. 
  • External engagement: Capacity to develop strong relationships both quickly and over time, and the skillset and desire to fundraise and effectively steward donations; record of developing mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships with external stakeholders; appreciation for the skills and relationships required to garner external scholarship support; experience engaging partners outside a university setting so as to understand broad trends and employer expectations; and an understanding of the impact that a school of divinity can have both on a university community specifically and on the many external communities it serves. 
  • Communication skills: Exceptional communication skills including listening with care, considering and integrating the ideas of others, and working collaboratively within a school or college, with senior university leadership and with partners across a university; ability to listen deeply and genuinely; ability to present information effectively and respond to questions from internal and external audiences with grace and finesse, both orally and in writing; capacity to formulate, articulate, and galvanize a wide range of audiences around a shared vision; and a style of engagement that builds mutual understanding and respect. 
  • Personal qualities and characteristics: Honesty, integrity, and a strong internal moral compass; resilience; optimism, confidence and excitement about change; commitment to social justice; passion for students; genuine interest in forming a team with faculty, staff and key university leaders; ability to observe, listen, learn and clarify needs while engendering trust quickly among various constituencies. 
  • Academic accomplishments and credentials: Understanding and respect for the academic enterprise and an ability to assess academic quality, built on a strong personal record of accomplishment as a scholar, teacher and mentor in a discipline of the School; capacity to understand the range of disciplines, programs and degrees at the College and to actively appreciate all. A terminal degree is required and the anticipated academic appointment of the dean will be at the rank of professor. 

About Wake Forest University 

Founded in 1834, Wake Forest University is a vibrant and diverse academic community located in Winston-Salem, N.C. in which students pursue learning in one or more of the University’s seven colleges and schools. In September 2022, U.S. News ranked Wake Forest as one of the top 30 National Universities for the 27th consecutive year. 


Wake Forest University aspires to: 

  • emphasize exceptional teaching, discovery, and student engagement within a dynamic academic community; 
  • integrate the intimacy of an undergraduate liberal arts college with the academic vitality of a research university; 
  • remain a crossroads of discussion on the important national and international issues of our time; 
  • attract a diverse community of the brightest educators and students from throughout the country and the world; and 
  • link intellectual curiosity, moral reflection, and a commitment to service, shaping ethically-informed leaders to serve humanity. 


Wake Forest is a distinctive university that combines a liberal arts core with graduate and professional schools and innovative research programs. The University embraces the teacher-scholar ideal, prizing personal interaction between students and faculty. It is a place where exceptional teaching, fundamental research and discovery, and the engagement of faculty and students in classrooms, laboratories and performance spaces are paramount. 

The University continues to fulfill its ideal of a more diverse learning community, providing students an example of the world they will be called upon to lead. The University sustains a vibrant residential community with a broad-based program of service and extracurricular activities. The University recognizes the benefits of intercollegiate athletics conducted with integrity and at the highest level. 

Central to its mission, Wake Forest University believes in the development of the whole person – intellectual, moral, spiritual and physical. From its rich religious heritage, Wake Forest is committed to sustaining an environment where vital beliefs and faith traditions can engage secular thought in a climate of academic freedom and an unfettered search for truth. The University embraces the challenges of religious pluralism. 

While national and global in its perspective, Wake Forest has a distinctive sense of community and responsibility in North Carolina. In extending its reach, the University has made a priority of global study and cross-cultural understanding. 

The Nation’s Premier Collegiate University 

With a distinctive focus on combining the close student engagement of an undergraduate liberal arts college with the breadth and resources of a nationally prominent research university, Wake Forest is the first among its kind. This clear sense of institutional identity is built around graduate and professional school programs marked by faculty-student collaboration and mentoring, a shared commitment to civic engagement and service, and a strong residential-based undergraduate liberal arts curriculum. Wake Forest is a place where timeless questions and contemporary issues are studied and debated in an environment of intellectual freedom and humane concern, within and across all its schools and disciplines. 

Wake Forest fosters thinking and action. The University’s motto, Pro Humanitate, meaningfully shapes student and faculty academic and co-curricular pursuits as they seek to use their skill and experience to expand opportunities and deepen human experience. 


The University consists of eight components: the College of Arts and Sciences; School of Business, Divinity, Law, Medicine and Professional Studies; the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; and the Z. Smith Reynolds Library. The main Reynolda Campus is home to most constituent schools and programs; at nearby Wake Downtown are undergraduate programs in biosciences and engineering, and the School of Medicine’s campus. Other medical school programs are at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The School of Business and the School of Medicine also offer programs in Charlotte, NC, where the School of Professional Studies is headquartered. 

Wake Forest has a rich cultural life and an impressive array of facilities. In addition to excellent campus art, dance, music and theater programs, the University oversees Reynolda House, a magnificent 64-room home that houses a stunning collection of American art. The surrounding 300-acre estate features woodlands, fields, wetlands and a formal garden. Together, the museum and grounds are a cherished center for learning and quiet recreation. 

Wake Forest’s expansion in Charlotte has been in development for two decades, centered primarily around Business School programs housed for the past several years in a prime Uptown location. The University’s Charlotte presence is accelerating dramatically with the Medical Center’s partnership with Atrium Health, affirmed in a major new facility and surrounding campus in the heart of Charlotte that also hosts the School of Professional Studies. Wake Forest’s reach extends nationally and globally as well, as the University operates study away programs at facilities owned by the University in Venice, Vienna and London; other University-managed programs stretch from a U.S. domestic location in Washington, D.C. to more than a dozen locations worldwide. 

Academic Units 

Wake Forest University comprises the following academic units, in addition to the School of Divinity. 

School of Business 

The Wake Forest School of Business is widely recognized as an innovator in business education and research, developing path-breaking programs in areas like business analytics and graduate business education for liberal-arts graduates. It was the first highly-ranked business school to move away from the traditional full-time residential MBA. The School plays a critical role in the University’s undergraduate and graduate education, interdisciplinary collaborations, research and scholarship, and engagement with community partners. 

The School of Business seeks to help businesses and organizations create a better world through developing passionate, ethical leaders who achieve results with integrity, and through supporting thought leadership that positively impacts the practice of business. Accredited by AACSB International, which represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide, the School’s attention to competency and character as constituent aspects of whole-person education leads to proven results for graduates, who enjoy close personal engagement with a faculty deeply devoted to learning and discovery, and the lifelong advantages of a robust alumni network. Graduates attain personal success while committing themselves to higher causes. The strong core philosophies of the School’s business programs produce principled leaders who exert influence far beyond campus and the corporate world. 

School of Law 

For more than 125 years, Wake Forest School of Law has educated professionals who bring character, confidence, and creativity to the legal profession. Guided by a deep responsibility for justice and professionalism, Wake Forest graduates challenge themselves to be lifelong learners — to continue growing their knowledge and skill sets with emerging technologies and innovations. This is because the 

Law School’s curriculum reaches beyond the traditional. It intentionally blends conventional learning with service, experience and fundamental skill building. This combination ensures that Wake Forest Law students are like no other — that they are deeply knowledgeable and engaged with the issues of our time. This emphasis is supported by classrooms that are small by design and guided by teacher-scholars who educate and mentor students in deeply personal, approachable, and applicable ways. 

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences 

Wake Forest offers 30 master’s and Ph.D. disciplinary or interdisciplinary programs and sponsors 12 programs jointly with the schools of Medicine (M.D./Ph.D., M.D./M.S., M.D./M.A. & M.M.S./Ph.D.), Business (M.B.A./Ph.D.), Divinity (M.A./M.Div.), Law (M.A./J.D.), and the College (B.S./B.A. & M.A.). The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is one of Wake Forest’s vital engines of creativity. Its hallmark is highly visible scholarship fueled by an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment. Whether it is a traditional liberal arts approach or advanced training in biomedical innovation, the Graduate School’s small size of approximately 800 students ensures individual attention, tailored advising and research opportunities well matched to student interests. 

School of Medicine 

Wake Forest School of Medicine, one of the top medical schools in the country, prepares the next generation of healthcare leaders through education, research, and innovation. The School of Medicine is also one of the most selective medical training programs in the nation and encompasses multiple programs including M.D., P.A., C.R.N.A., D.N.P., and a variety of biomedical graduate programs. With more than $223 million in total annual extramural research funding, the School is committed to addressing our nation’s most challenging healthcare needs. Wake Forest School of Medicine directs the education of 1,845 students, residents, and fellows. The faculty includes physicians, basic scientists and clinical professionals. The School of Medicine also strategically investigates opportunities that will expand basic and clinical research, resulting in nationally and internationally recognized excellence in biomedical research. The School of Medicine seeks to leverage its current areas of strength and focus to improve integration of its research programs and to maximize multidisciplinary and translational approaches. 

School of Professional Studies 

The newest of Wake Forest’s academic units, the School of Professional Studies (SPS) was approved in 2021, and is based primarily in Charlotte, NC. SPS offers eight initial graduate programs—in project management, digital marketing, health informatics, and financial technology and analytics, curriculum & instruction, communications, educational leadership, and health administration. Working in close association with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and its recently-affirmed partner Advocate Health, SPS provides first-rank education to adult learners, mostly to mid-career master’s students, both in person and remotely. Close collaboration with the University’s graduate and professional schools characterizes SPS’s development of new programs, scheduled to reach at least 18 over the next decade. 

Z. Smith Reynolds Library 

The mission of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library is to inspire learning, advance knowledge and build community at Wake Forest University. This mission is achieved by providing resources, opportunities and collaborative spaces that connect students, faculty and staff to information, each other and the wider world. The Z. Smith Reynolds Library supports the research and instruction needs for undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Beyond providing research help, the Library serves as a hub of campus, hosting signature University events throughout the year. The Z. Smith Reynolds Library is dedicated to improving diversity, equality and respect among its staff, students, collections and services and strives to overcome historical and divisive biases in our society and embraces diverse points of view as assets to the fabric of the Wake Forest community. Additional information on the Library’s recent innovations, programming, and highlights are featured in their most recent annual report.

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist

The School of Medicine has operated since 1941 as part of an academic medical center through its affiliation with North Carolina Baptist Hospital (NCBH), an unrelated nonprofit corporation whose medical staff comprises the faculty physicians of the School of Medicine and whose governance is via a separate board of directors.

Wake Forest University Health Sciences (WFUHS) was organized by Wake Forest in November 2001 as a wholly owned and controlled subsidiary. In this arrangement, WFUHS operated the School of Medicine and all medically related functions on behalf of the University, but the University remained the degree-granting institution for the School of Medicine.

In an effort to create a more fully integrated and effective structure for the operation of the medical center, a 2010 agreement authorized Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC), a nonprofit corporation owned equally by WFU and NCBH, to govern and operate NCBH and WFUHS (including the School of Medicine) subject to reserved powers or approval of NCBH and WFU/WFUHS on select issues.

Most recently, in fall 2020 WFUBMC entered a multi-billion-dollar partnership with Atrium Health, headquartered in Charlotte, NC. The partnership combines clinical expertise across a wide range of health care fields with research, educational excellence, and medical innovation to serve the more than seven million people across central North Carolina and neighboring regions. Independent economic analysis suggests the immediate impact of the combined enterprise exceeds $32 billion and more than 180,000 jobs. Atrium Health is now part of Advocate Health, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the fifth-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the nation.

Innovation Quarter

The large, striking downtown research park now known as Innovation Quarter encompasses many of the original manufacturing facilities of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The Quarter originated some twenty years ago with leadership from Wake Forest University Health Sciences. Since then, the further development of Innovation Quarter has significantly contributed to the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and has made the University a driver of interdisciplinary innovation in higher education.

Innovation Quarter is one of the fastest-growing urban-based districts for innovation in the United States. Home to more than 170 companies, five leading academic institutions, more than 3,700 workers, 1,800 degree-seeking students and more than 8,000 workforce trainee participants, Innovation Quarter is a place for research, business and education in biomedical science, information technology, digital media, clinical services and advanced materials – creating a robust knowledge community. Innovation Quarter currently comprises 1.9 million square feet of office, laboratory and educational space on more than 330 acres, much of which is undeveloped. There are more than a thousand apartments and condominiums within or close by the Innovation Quarter. The district is a thriving example of successful place making – fostering a forward-thinking environment for innovation, partnership, and community – and has been an essential constituent in the revival of a vibrant downtown in recent years, including a thriving arts community. 

Wake Downtown 

In 2017, newly approved courses of study in engineering, biochemistry and molecular biology, and medicinal chemistry and drug discovery anchored the University’s undergraduate presence at Wake Downtown located in Innovation Quarter. These programs, along with other planned academic, community, and social opportunities, call a rehabilitated R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company building home. They are adjacent to the new space for the medical education programs of Wake Forest School of Medicine. 

Connection to Community 

Wake Forest values its close partnerships with its Winston-Salem neighbors and knows that a healthy local economy and engaging cultural offerings make the University stronger. Winston-Salem is home to a thriving arts culture, signified by the first community Arts Council in the U.S. and the flagship public conservatory, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a frequent partner with the University in cultural and academic co-productions. Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist (comprising NC Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences) is the top employer in Forsyth County with nearly 20,000 employees. The Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist system provides more than $600 million annually in benefits to the community. The University itself is the county’s fifth largest employer, with 2,859 employees located in the county (1.6% of the workforce). Despite the employment and other benefits provided by Wake Forest’s presence, Winston-Salem has a long history of income inequality and lack of economic mobility. At present, the median household income for White non-Hispanic residents is almost twice that of African American and Hispanic/Latino residents: a testament to the inequitable distribution of resources in the community. 

Wake Forest pursues partnerships with city and nonprofit leaders to support or lead numerous community development opportunities. A significant local initiative being supported in a robust way by Wake Forest is the community revitalization effort taking place in the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood, which lies immediately southeast of the Wake Forest campus. This endeavor is affiliated with the national Purpose-Built Communities organization, with Wake Forest and other community partners taking a strong and visible role in efforts to address housing, health and wellness, education and economic development. Many aspects of student involvement in the Winston-Salem community are facilitated through the Office of Civic and Community Engagement. Wake Forest also has a growing partnership with HBCU Winston-Salem State University. Wake Downtown has served as a venue for joint academic and social activities, and Wake Forest STEM faculty teach in a summer SciTech camp led by Winston-Salem State faculty. 


The University’s FY23 budget totaled $543 million. Wake Forest has cash reserves and a line of credit to sustain it in uncertain times. The market value of the University’s endowment as of June 30, 2021 totaled $1.9 billion. The endowment provides a $61.9 million revenue stream that supports academic programs, scholarship aid, faculty, and research. 


The Wake Forest University Board of Trustees, which has legal responsibility and authority for the University, is composed of 46 members, one a full-time Wake Forest student. In addition, the University benefits from the counsel and support of 29 Life Trustees. The trustees have fiduciary authority for the University; set and approve policies, budgets, tuition, and fees; engage in strategic planning; and have the authority to award honorary degrees and to manage the tenure of the president. 

The Board of Visitors of the School of Divinity was established in 1998 as an Advisory Board for volunteer leadership to the dean and the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University. Members are brought together by their dedication to the advancement of theological education at Wake Forest University. Serving on the Board reflects a strong commitment to the University and the willingness to provide an invaluable service to the School of Divinity. The Board of Visitors serves to mobilize all alumni and friends in advancing the mission of the School, and supports the faculty and staff in their pursuit of institutional excellence in the education of leaders for the church and the world. 

The Faculty Senate – the faculty body responsible for shared governance across the University’s academic operations, comprises members from each constituent school of the University on the Reynolda, Downtown and Bowman Gray campuses as well as the deans, the provost, the chief financial officer and the president, who serve as ex officio members. 

Procedure for Candidacy 

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in this profile. Professional references are not requested at this time. 

WittKieffer is assisting Wake Forest University in this search. Application review has begun and will continue until an appointment has been made. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by no later than July 24, 2023. 

Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to: 

Robin Mamlet, Melody Rose, Ph.D., and Maya Holt-Brockenbrough, Ph.D. Wake Forest seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce while promoting an inclusive work environment committed to excellence. In adherence with applicable laws and as provided by University policies, the University prohibits discrimination in its employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability and veteran status and encourages qualified candidates across all group demographics to apply