Welcome from Dean Viera

javierWelcome to Drew University Theological School, a community of scholars, ministers, and activists that for nearly 150 years has been training rooted, innovative, and courageous leaders for service to the Church, the academy, and society.  We are a diverse and open community that dares to pursue the love, wisdom, and justice at the heart of the transformative gospel of Jesus Christ.The Theological School is proudly grounded in the Wesleyan and Methodist tradition of bold ideas that impact people’s lives for the good. We believe that when ancient wisdom is in lively engagement with contemporary challenges great things are possible.The next generation of faith leaders need imagination and courage to constructively engage the challenges and opportunities of our age. We’ve built this into our way of doing things. No matter your degree program, a Drew Theological School education includes interdisciplinary courses that demand out of the box thinking, apprenticeship training that addresses real world issues, and alternative modes of learning that promote adaptability and innovation.Drew is a place where you can discern your call, find your voice, and respond to the needs of the world. Drew faculty are leaders at the intersection of theology, philosophy, ministry, social action, community development, psychology, spirituality, and culture. Our graduates lead major religious, educational, and cultural institutions, as well as movements of social change around the globe.We are looking for believers, activists, seekers, thinkers, counselors, preachers, teachers, poets, and dreamers who value discourse and action as ways of learning.  I hope you’ll consider joining our vibrant community.Sincerely,
Javier A. Viera
Dean and Professor of Pastoral Theology


Recognized for his global vision, record of strategic relationship building, and noted for his experience as a minister and administrator, The Reverend Dr. Javier Viera joined the Drew University Theological School as dean and professor of pastoral theology on July 1, 2014.

Prior to Drew, Viera worked in politics, community development, university campus ministry, and congregational ministry.  Most recently, he was executive minister at Christ Church, New York City where in additional to pastoral leadership he spearheaded strategic partnerships both in the city and globally focused on education, community health, economic development, and spiritual renewal.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida Southern College, a Master of Divinity from Duke University, a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University, and earned a Doctor of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Viera has served on the boards of Yale Divinity School and Duke Divinity School, as well as on numerous national not-for-profit and denominational boards and agencies. He has taught and delivered sermons on five continents and his scholarly focus is on interreligious dialogue and comparative religions, as well as on pastoral formation and leadership.

Sample of Courses Taught by Dean Viera at Drew University

  • Dean’s Seminar: Ministry in A Secular Age
  • Introduction to Educational Ministries
  • Dean’s Seminar: Spirituality and Leadership in Ministry
  • Cross Cultural Seminar:  Colombia
  • Philanthropy, Calling, Vocation, and Community

Our Mission

Rooted in the Methodist tradition of innovative and bold interpretations of Christian theology and spiritual practices, we empower creative thought and courageous action to advance justice, peace and love of God, neighbor and the earth.

Strategic Priorities and Curriculum Transformation

Drew University Theological School is always in motion. We are regularly working to improve programs, to meet new challenges, and to pursue emerging opportunities. Dean Viera has set the following strategic priorities to guide the school for the next several years:

  • Revitalize distinct degree pathways that prepare students to address complex contemporary challenges in our world
  • Prioritize the student experience–ensuring a positive and productive experience from enrollment to graduation and beyond
  • Launch co-curricular initiatives in Ministerial Innovation, Social Engagement, and Prophetic Action

Under Dean Viera’s leadership, Drew University Theological School has now embarked on a process of curriculum transformation that begins with the master of divinity and works out to all degrees. The resulting new curriculum will be fully launched in fall 2018.

Dean’s Office


javierJavier Viera
Professor of Pastoral Theology
(973) 408-3255

melanieMelanie Johnson-DeBaufre (on leave)
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity
(973) 408-3823

ens_082713_DeirdreGoodDeirdre Good
Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Visiting Professor of New Testament

(973) 408-3823

Tanya Linn Bennett
Associate Dean for Vocation and Formation
Associate Professor in the Practice of Public Theology and Vocation
(973) 408-3718


Emily Cyrier
Director of Experiential Learning and Student Services
(973) 408-3746

Jennifer East
Coordinator, Office of Vocation and Formation
(973) 408-3418

Lisa Marie Gerondeau
Director of Theological Advancement
(973) 408-3695

Amy Beth Jones
Director of External Relations
(973) 408-3084

Kimberleigh Jordan
Director of Craig Chapel

Susan Kendall
Director of Doctoral Studies
(973) 408-3452

Gloria Kovach
Administrative Assistant, Doctor of Ministry Program
(973) 408-3133

Melissa McCutcheon
Assistant to the Dean and Special Projects Manager
(973) 408-3255

Kevin Miller
Director of Theological Admissions
(973) 408-3109

Wendy Parrinello
Administrative Assistant, Graduate Division of Religion
(973) 408-3410

Alma Tuitt
Administrative Assistant to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
(973) 408-3011

Sharon Williams
Faculty Coordinator
(973) 408-3279

Steve Wolma
Associate Director of Theological Admissions
(973) 408-3306


The Drew Theological School Office of the Dean is located in the Maxine Beach Suite, Room 102 in historic Seminary Hall.