Advocate for the Study of Religion


Job Description


Reports To:  Chief Public Engagement Officer

Status:   Exempt

Type of Position:  Full-Time

Emory Classification:   232 (XB03) Project Support Specialist

Revised:  2 October 2019


Position Overview

The Advocate for the Study of Religion supports all aspects of AAR’s advocacy work, translating mission and values into advocacy actions.

Essential Job Functions/Major Responsibilities:

  • Create and execute advocacy strategies for the following issues and groups: religious studies departments, the humanities, public scholarship, public scholars, contingent faculty, and independent scholars.
  • Develop and evaluate policy advocacy strategies and lead advocacy campaigns
  • Write issue-related reports, blogs, and articles for publication and other public use
  • Develop and nurture contacts (media, higher education, governmental, organizational, learned societies) related to advocacy issues
  • Author, co-author, and edit policy reports, memos, blogs, white papers, and briefs on advocacy issues
  • Work with AAR staff to include these advocacy areas in all aspects of AAR work
  • Represent the AAR in advocacy opportunities
  • Provide advocacy expertise to members to help guide and support better policy and practice
  • Write proposals and gain support from foundations and other groups or individuals with resources to impact the advocacy areas
  • Prepare the annual advocacy and work plan for approval
  • Support the evaluation of work products on a cyclical basis and revise work plan according to results
  • Produce monthly advocacy dashboard
  • Maintain current documentation on advocacy policies and processes
  • Coordinates with Public Engagement and Scholarly Engagement areas around advocacy work.
  • Serve as staff liaison to the following:

    • Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty Working Group
  • Other duties as assigned

Education/Experience Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in public policy, communication, religious studies, journalism or related field; advanced degree preferred
  • At least 3 years of experience in an advocacy position or a related function
  • Demonstrated understanding of the advocacy issues in higher education, religious studies, and public scholarship

Other Skills/Abilities

  • Knowledge of different aspects of public information and communication
  • Ability to conceptualize, design, and implement information campaigns
  • Ability to diplomatically handle sensitive situations with specific audiences and cultivate productive relationships
  • Ability to produce a variety of communications products in a clear, concise style
  • Experience working with media
  • Ability to deliver persuasive written and oral presentations to various audiences
  • Demonstrate professional competence and mastery of subject matter
  • Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results
  • Remains calm in stressful situations
  • Works collaboratively to achieve missional goals
  • Demonstrates creativity and initiative
  • Ability to travel locally and nationally




From its beginnings in 1909, the American Academy of Religion has grown to be the world’s largest association of academics who research or teach topics related to religion, with some 8,000 members throughout the world.  The AAR does not endorse any belief or practices but seeks to promote excellence in the academic study of religion and to enhance the public understanding of religion.

As a learned society and professional association of teachers and research scholars, the American Academy of Religion is proud to represent its members in national and international arenas.  AAR members are affiliated with more than 900 colleges, universities, seminaries, and schools around the world.  The AAR’s membership also extends to leaders in related fields including international diplomacy, foundation leadership, and nonprofit management.  AAR’s diverse members can be found engaging in the world as public intellectuals, influencing the development of public policy, producing ground-breaking research in the field, and preparing the world’s next generation of leaders.

The AAR is dedicated to furthering knowledge of religion and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations.  This is accomplished through the sharing of knowledge and scholarship via conferences, meetings, publications, and programs; providing resources for excellence in teaching; offering career services for members; advocating for and promoting the profession; and taking positions on public issues that impact society and the world.

The AAR’s meetings and conferences are among the best-attended in the humanities. During its upcoming 2019 annual meeting, held in conjunction with the Society of Biblical Literature in San Diego, it is expected that 10,000 people will attend more than 1,000 events and sessions featuring the world’s leading experts in religion.

The AAR, an affiliate of Emory University, is an independent nonprofit organization with 501(c)3 tax exempt status. The AAR’s office is in Atlanta, Georgia, on the campus of Emory University. The AAR is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors.

The AAR strongly encourages applications from candidates representing the full diversity of the AAR. To apply, go to