Spiritual Life Strategic Plan

Emory Spiritual Life Strategic Planning Process

January 2021-January 2022

IFYC: Interfaith Youth Core Logo

The Emory University Spiritual Life Strategic Planning Process was begun in January 2021 to engage the Emory community in envisioning the next 5 years of spiritual life at Emory.

In 2019, The Reverend Gregory McGonigle was recruited to Emory as dean of religious life to help develop a multifaith team model for spiritual life in order to more fully serve and support Emory's growing religious and philosophical diversity.

This new multifaith model has a number of foundational elements:

  • enhanced data on the spiritual identities and interests in the Emory community;
  • enhanced visibility and communications for multifaith spiritual life;
  • chaplains and staff for the larger spiritual communities on campus;
  • appropriate funding and space for multifaith spiritual life;
  • refreshed programming to engage all Emory students, faculty, staff, and alumni as well as the larger community.

As part of this model, a team of new chaplains has been recruited to lead and support Emory's larger religious and philosophical communities and collectively to lead and support Emory's interfaith life. As Dean McGonigle and the new chaplains begin their tenures, this strategic planning process will allow for community engagement and input by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members in shaping the vision for Emory spiritual life. Emory OSRL has engaged the Chicago-based organization Interfaith Youth Core, the leader in campus spiritual and interfaith engagement, for support.

OSRL also values the fact that Emory connects with a larger context of a city, state, country, and world that offer additional resources and opportunities for spiritual life and social justice work. OSRL views Emory as a leadership institution and a partner in promoting interfaith literacy and religious pluralism, as well as prejudice and stereotype reduction, both on campus and in our communities. Campus-wide diversity education and climate efforts as well as attention to Emory's campus and community relations around spiritual life and social justice will be part of this process.

The process will be led by an Interfaith Steering Committee co-led by Emory's Dean of Religious Life and Chief Diversity Officer. In addition, five working groups co-led by Dean McGonigle and particular Emory OSRL chaplains and staff will focus on the experience of particular spiritual communities at Emory. These working groups will include students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners. They will explore the history, the current status, and the future opportunities for each of their traditions at Emory and make recommendations to include into a blueprint for spiritual life.

Strategic Planning Process Charge

  1. Explore the history of interfaith life and particular spiritual communities at Emory
  2. Assess the current status of interfaith life and particular spiritual communities at Emory
  3. Brainstorm future opportunities for interfaith and spiritual life at Emory
  4. Recommend priorities to enhance interfaith and spiritual life at Emory over the next 3-5 years in a comprehensive and inclusive way that serves all students, faculty, staff, and alumni

Process Timeline

Spring 2021: Interfaith steering committee and working groups gather and meet
Summer 2021: Steering committee and working group reports gathered into a blueprint
Fall 2021: Initial implementation of recommendations from the plan blueprint
January 2021: Report of recommendations presented to Emory University leadership

Steering Committee and Working Group Leadership

Interfaith Steering Committee

  • The Reverend Gregory McGonigle, Dean of Religious Life, Office of the President
  • Dr. Carol Henderson, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of the Provost

Hindu Life

Co-Chair: Brahmacharini Shweta Chaitanya, Hindu Chaplain

Buddhist Life

Co-Chair: The Venerable Priya Sraman, Buddhist Chaplain

Jewish Life

Co-Chair: Rabbi Jordan Braunig, Jewish Chaplain

Christian Life

Co-Chair: Mr. Maury Allums, Director of Music and Director of the Voices of Inner Strength Gospel Choir

Muslim Life

Co-Chair: Dr. Isam Vaid, Muslim Religious Life Scholar

Community Input

We welcome community input into the Emory University Spiritual Life Strategic Planning Process. To submit your input, please email religiouslife@emory.edu.

Resources to Learn More

Emory News Center: Emory community invited to shape spiritual life

"Toward a Pragmatic Pluralism" by Laurie L. Patton