Wendy Griffin Named Cherry Hill Dean

Cherry Hill Seminary has named Wendy Griffin of California State University, LWendy Griffinong Beach as its new academic dean.

They made a good choice.

I have worked with Wendy for several years on  the American Academy of Religion’s Contemporary Pagan Studies steering committee, which she co-chaired from 2005-10.

She and I also worked as co-editors of the Pagan Studies book series when it was at Rowman & Littlefield, before CSULB made her chair of women’s studies and she felt that she had too much on her plate.

She is not only a scholar and mentor, but she knows the “business” of academia—how to get things done. I would not have accepted the position of Pagan Studies co-chair this year had she not agreed to remain “of counsel,” as the lawyers say, and tell me and Jone Salomonsen how to work the system.

From the Cherry Hill news release:

“I am thrilled, simply thrilled, that Wendy is coming aboard as our new Academic Dean!  I cannot think of a better person to lead Cherry Hill Seminary towards accreditation,” said Aline O’Brien, chair of the board of directors.  “At precisely the right time in the Seminary’s growth, Wendy brings her unique combination of academic rigor and priestesshood to serve our maturing Pagan movement.”

Wendy Griffin, Ph.D., is an academic by profession, and a sociologist by training, with a Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary social sciences. She is professor emerita and chair of the Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where she has taught for 26 years.

Perhaps the first American academic to be openly Pagan, Wendy has published numerous academic articles on Pagan women’s groups and is the editor of Daughters of the Goddess: Studies of Healing, Identity and Empowerment, a 13-essay survey of contemporary Feminist Witchcraft and Goddess Spirituality by British and American writers.  She is a founding co-chair of the Contemporary Pagan Studies Group in the American Academy of Religion, and serves on the editorial board of Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies.

Griffin said of her appointment, “I am excited about being part of Cherry Hill Seminary and making a contribution to the growing reputation and professionalization of the Seminary. When I entered the academic world as a brand new Ph.D. 26 years ago, I had no idea I would be able to end my career helping to build an institution that would serve such a diverse and committed international community.”

As academic dean, Griffin will guide and direct the academic life of Cherry Hill Seminary, including work towards eventual accreditation of the institution.  “Wendy’s lifelong career experience will be invaluable as Cherry Hill Seminary continues to build and strengthen our program,” said Holli Emore, executive director.

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