Emilie M. Townes, Director

The director is responsible for overseeing the project and setting both its vision and tone.  She supervises and directs the post-doctoral fellow in public theology and racial justice who manages the Collaborative’s day-to-day operations as its associate director.  She meets with the planning committee and the national advisory committee. As both director of the project and the Dean of the Divinity School, she will speak publicly about the work of the Collaborative and will be involved in local and national conversations.

The director participates in selecting the Collaborative Fellows with the associate director and planning committee. 

The director and associate director will organize the summer institutes for the first two years of the grant as well as the leadership conference and the pre-conference, after which the summer institute will fall under the purview of the Collaborative’s director and VDS’s academic dean.

The director works with associate director and VDS budget officer to monitor the fiscal health of the grant, supervising the yearly reports to the Luce Foundation, and monitors the day-to-day financial operations for the Collaborative.


Teresa L. Smallwood, Associate Director

The associate director is a postdoctoral fellow serves a three-year term and will spend 100% of their time on the project pursuing research in public theology and racial justice and managing the day-to-day operations of the Collaborative as its associate director. The associate director works closely with Dean Townes, who serves as their supervisor, the planning committee (faculty from across the university, a member of the school’s Board of Visitors, and key community leaders), and the national advisory board (national leaders in media, activism, religion and education). The associate director will have support from VDS’s existing staff.