Wellesley College’s Tiffany Steinwert to become Stanford Dean for Religious Life

A pastor, scholar and administrator, Tiffany Steinwert focuses on empowering people of all faiths and no faith.

The Rev. Dr. Tiffany L. Steinwert, dean of religious and spiritual life at Wellesley College, has been named dean for religious life at Stanford University, Provost Persis Drell announced today.

Tiffany Steinwert, PhD, dean for religious life

Tiffany Steinwert (Image credit: Amelia Beamish)

A pastor, scholar and administrator, Steinwert has worked to provide religious, spiritual, moral and ethical formation as an integral part of higher education at diverse institutions, from large universities to schools of theology to a small liberal arts women’s college.

Steinwert will succeed the Rev. Professor Jane Shaw, who stepped down after four years to become Principal of Harris Manchester College at the University of Oxford. Steinwert will assume her new position in February 2019.

At Stanford, Steinwert will provide spiritual, religious and ethical leadership to the university community and serve as minister of Memorial Church.

“The new leader of our Office for Religious Life, Tiffany Steinwert will bring the passion, scholarship and experiences that will help our diverse community navigate celebrations and challenges – and will support and enliven our individual religious and spiritual journeys,” Drell said. “I’m especially looking forward to having her as a partner in building the inclusive and supportive environment envisioned in our IDEAL initiative.”

“It is an honor and a joy to join Stanford University at this moment in time as it launches a new strategic vision for the future,” Steinwert said. “Through exceptional education, groundbreaking research and transformational public service, Stanford is poised to make a difference in higher education and in the world.

“Stanford has long been a leader in religious and spiritual life in higher education, maintaining a central role for not only religious engagement, but also moral and ethical reflection for students of all traditions and none.”

Throughout her career, Steinwert has empowered people of all faiths and no faith to build relationships, craft communities and create change through collective action.

At Wellesley since 2015, she has coordinated religious and spiritual life, including tradition-specific, inter-religious and multifaith programs, and spiritual wellness opportunities. She initiated several programs for exploration and growth, including the Labyrinth Project, which introduces students to the contemplative power of labyrinths; Alternative Breaks for Faith and Justice, which enables students to explore up close how communities of faith participate in social justice movements; and the Neighborhood Chaplains program, which connects each student to a chaplain, based on residential neighborhood.

Steinwert joined Wellesley from Syracuse University, where she was dean of Hendricks Chapel for five years, taught courses in intergroup dialogue and community organizing, and helped create a contemplative studies minor. She has also served as a pastor in several Methodist congregations in New England, as a national organizer for diverse social justice organizations and as a teaching fellow at Boston University and Harvard Kennedy School.

“Dean Steinwert brings a strong background in both a major faith tradition – the United Methodist Church – and campus life. She reaches out to those of various religious traditions and of none, and helps create community around faith and spirituality,” said Grant Parker, an associate professor of classics at Stanford and co-chair of the search committee for the position. “We especially appreciated her broad vision and lofty goals and her pragmatic approach to pursuing them. Her track record on inclusion and diversity bodes well for the Office for Religious Life and our community.”

Steinwert is the author or co-author of “How Is It With Your Soul: Developing a Liberatory Consciousness Through Dialogue in Campus Ministries” in The Prophetic Voice and Making Peace, “Dialogue in Action: Toward a Critical Pedagogy for Interfaith Education” in Journal of Inter-Religious Studies and “A Legacy of Holiness: Toward a Wesleyan Praxis of Interreligious Engagement in Higher Education” in Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies.

Steinwert was educated as an undergraduate at Williams College. She holds an MDiv from the Boston University School of Theology, where she was valedictorian, and a PhD in practical theology, also from Boston University.

Media Contacts

Brad Hayward, University Communications: (650) 724-0199, bhayward@stanford.edu