College seeking spiritual life director

by Allison Hagan / Beacon Staff • October 8, 2015

Emerson is looking to hire a Director of Religious and Spiritual Life, an administrator to handle religious life in the community, according to Interim Dean of Students Sharon Duffy.

Duffy said in an interview that since the retirement of former Director of Spiritual Life Rabbi Al Axelrad, over the summer, the position has been reimagined to be more integrated with student life.

The college began searching for this position in April, when Rabbi Al Axelrad announced he would retire in the summer. Duffy said that they began to reevaluate what Emerson needed.

The new director will supervise the three current religious leaders—Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant—and set a new direction for exploration of spirituality amongst our community.  

According to Duffy, the director will be a spiritual advisor and chaplain to the campus in addition to providing leadership and support for the part time religious leaders and the groups they advise. This person will also collaborate with Diversity and Inclusion and will partner with academic affairs.

Duffy said that she would like to see a candidate who is approachable, and has vast experience with world religions. Tikesha Morgan, director of multicultural student affairs, and Steven Martin, interim associate dean of students, are in charge of the search committee.

“Emerson is a distinct community,” Duffy said. “We have some members of our community who are very engaged with their spirituality, others who are exploring, others who are feeling a level of conflict in their intersectionality.”

Djallal Ouldzenagui, a freshman journalism major, said he believes that this director will benefit the community as a whole because students will have a person to talk to about religion.  As a practicing Muslim, he said that he thinks a new director with a vast understanding of all religions will enlighten people and promote peace.

"It will benefit everyone and give people a chance to explore other religions. Knowledge is power,” Ouldzenagui said. “It can never hurt to know more.”