March 29, 2008

Cherokee to helm seminary

Jones’ exit leaves one American Indian prof.After spending over 20 years at the University as both a student and a teacher, Divinity School professor Serene Jones DIV ’85 GRD ’91 will leave Yale this fall to become the first female president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

The New York Times reported in February that Jones’ appointment makes her only the fourth female president of a mainline, independent theological school in the United States.

Jones, who is a member of the Cherokee tribe, is currently one of just two American Indian professors at the University. She suggested that while the University should have “broad minority recruiting efforts” for faculty, it may also prove beneficial to focus on recruiting severely underrepresented minority members, such as American Indians, to Yale. These groups are less likely to reach the highest levels of academia, she said, because they are often disadvantaged at every step of their academic development.

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