AAR Leadership Transition

Dr. Alice Hunt has announced her plans to step down as Executive Director of the American Academy of Religion. Her term will officially end on July 7, 2023.

Over the past five years of her appointment, Dr. Hunt’s accomplishments as Executive Director of the AAR have been exemplary. Under her leadership, the AAR has strengthened its governance policies and staffing structures. She led major initiatives in reorganization, clarification and revision of key membership policies and best practice procedures. Recognizing the changing role of religion in public life as well as changes occurring across the profession, Hunt was successful in obtaining grant funding for initiatives focused on public access to religious scholarship and support for an increasingly diverse membership and disciplinary range of scholarship in the field. With a keen eye on the inevitability of lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on all academic institutions, Hunt supported a member-staffed Futures Task Force to study and make recommendations for approaching and meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing academic landscape.  With prodigious administrative skill and remarkable collegiality, Hunt successfully led the AAR through the most challenging years facing academic institutions in recent decades.

Hunt reports that “it has been an honor to work with an outstanding and productive staff team, wise and dedicated boards as well as engaged volunteer organizational leaders on standing committees, task forces, and program unit steering committees. We have worked hard to be the membership organization we need to be for our members, today and in the future, during a rapidly changing and often challenging time, even as we nurture collaborations to serve our membership and promote excellence in the academic study of religion.”

According to AAR President Amir Hussain, “It has been a privilege and a joy to work with Alice Hunt over the past three years in the presidential line. To mention only one of Alice’s strengths, she guided the AAR through the unique challenges of the pandemic. She also made important changes in the staffing of the AAR, and the grants that she has received have helped us to continue to do our work in the public understanding of religion. We are better as an organization because of her leadership.”

Before becoming the Academy’s Executive Director, Hunt served as President of Chicago Theological Seminary. During her term as Executive Director, she served on the Advisory Board for the Council on Foreign Relations and represented the AAR with the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Humanities Alliance.

The AAR’s leadership offers its profound thanks to Dr. Hunt for her initiatives, commitment and care.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors has contracted with the Isaacson, Miller firm to conduct the search process. The AAR Search Committee members are Jin Y. Park, President-Elect and chair of the search committee, Amir Hussain, President, Leela Prasad, Vice-President, Laurel C. Schneider, Secretary, Nadine Pence, Treasurer, and Thelathia “Nikki” Young, Status Committee Chair.


The AAR Board of Directors Executive Committee
Amir Hussain, President
Jin Y. Park, President-Elect
Leela Prasad, Vice President
Laurel C. Schneider, Secretary
Nadine Pence, Treasurer