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Release date: Dec. 18, 2000
Contact: Elaine Justice, Assistant Director, 404-727-0643, or

Emory Provost Assumes Presidency of American Academy of Religion

Emory University Provost Rebecca S. Chopp recently assumed the presidency of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), a learned society and professional association of more than 9,000 teachers and research scholars who teach in some 2,000 colleges, universities, seminaries and schools in North America and abroad, as well as independent scholars.

In addition to being university provost, Chopp is a scholar specializing in the role of religion and society. She also is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Systematic Theology at Emory's Candler School of Theology. A United Methodist, she holds an M.Div. degree from Saint Paul School of Theology and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Among the goals of AAR area: to promote research and scholarship in religion; to foster excellence in teaching in the field; to advance publication and scholarly communication; and to contribute to the public understanding of religion.

Recently the AAR commissioned a major survey of undergraduate departments and programs in religion, currently being conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). The census will map comprehensively the academic study of religion in the United States and Canada. NORC also will develop a customized report for all respondents that will allow departments to measure themselves comparatively.

"Our field has struggled so long under the burden of practically no hard data about the numbers of students taught, hiring and promotion of faculty, and the shape of curricula," said Chopp and several colleagues in a letter this fall to departments urging their cooperation.

AAR is the world's largest association of religion scholars, and is a member of the American Council of Learned Societies. The academy provides grants and awards, professional services, an annual North American meeting and 10 regional meetings, and has a major publishing program through Oxford University Press. AAR's executive offices are based at Emory under the direction of Barbara DeConcini, who also is a professor in the university's religion department.

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