National Advisory Committee

Macky Alston, Auburn Theological Seminary
Wendell Griffin, Judge, Sixth Judicial Circuit, AK; New Millennium Church
Janet Jakobsen, Barnard College
Stephen Lewis, Forum for Theological Exploration
Tracey Meares, Yale Law School

The five-member National Advisory Committee is composed of thought leaders in media, activism, education and religion and provide insight on public theology and racial justice.  This group will hold brainstorming, consultation and evaluation sessions, with a focus on building a network of leaders and change agents.  They will also serve as an important resource for connecting the Collaborative with people who could speak to a broader national audience.  The Committee works in collaboration with the director, associate director, Planning Committee, and Collaborative Fellows. 

The Committee has one meeting, for 1.5 days, each year of the grant and consults as needed throughout the year by virtual communication.

Members of the Committee may be asked to give keynote speeches and lead panel discussions on the state of the public national narrative on race, what the Collaborative has accomplished and where progress still needs to be made during the Summer Institutes, Pre-Conference, and Leadership Conference.  They may be asked to speak or lead workshops at the summer institutes and the culminating leadership conference and pre-conference.

Planning Committee

Vanderbilt Divinity School Faculty

Paul Lim, History of Christianity
Viki Matson, Field Education
John McClure, Homiletics & Liturgics
Herbert Marbury, Hebrew Bible
Phillis Sheppard, Religion, Psychology, and Culture
Melissa Snarr, Ethics and Society

Vanderbilt University Faculty

Brooke Ackerly, Political Science
Robert Grajewski, Wond’ry
Lucius Outlaw, Philosophy
Nicole Joseph, Peabody Community

Social Justice Activists

Jennifer Bailey, Faith Matters Network
Eric Brown, Eric Brown Venture
Darria “D.J.” Hudson, Community Activist
Tara Lentz, Conexión Americas

Board of Visitors

Thomas Conner, Sitemason, Inc.

The 15-member Planning Committee is made up with VDS and VU faculty, a member of the VDS Board of Visitors, and alumni community leaders. The Committee helps shape and evaluate the Collaborative as well as foster important partnerships between Vanderbilt and the national community around these issues.  In collaboration with the associate director and director, it helps determine the focus areas for the Summer Institutes and Leadership Conference, establishing learning goals and measuring success, and helping to lay the foundation for an ongoing strategy to continue the work of the Collaborative once the grant concludes.

The Planning Committee meets twice a semester.

Its tasks include

  • Developing the guidelines for awarding grants and fellowships
  • Selecting Collaborative Fellows before the beginning of the academic year
  • Award grants for students working on independent projects
  • Work with the associate director to help organize the Summer Institutes to help determine the content and structure of each Institute in partnership with keynote speakers, panelists and workshop leaders
  • Work with the director to help organize the Pre-Conference to help determine its content and structure.