The White House announced on Thursday that Joshua DuBois is moving from Washington, D.C. to the Big Apple. DuBois, who was appointed by President Barack Obama as the director of the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is now pursuing a part-time teaching career at NYU and is expected to start later this year.
According to Philip Lentz, NYU’s director of public affairs, DuBois will begin his time at NYU in either the summer or fall. He will teach students who are pursuing a minor in multi-faith leadership through a program sponsored by the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the Silver School of Social Work.
“We have a very vibrant multi-faith community at NYU, and we are excited that DuBois has made the decision to join this active community of scholars,” Lentz said.
Born in Nashville, Tenn., DuBois holds degrees from Boston University and Princeton University, and he was the religious affairs director for Obama’s first presidential campaign. Obama named DuBois the director of the faith-based office following the 2008 election, and DuBois often served as an unofficial pastor to the president.
In addition to teaching at NYU, DuBois is reportedly penning a book about spirituality for leaders and launching an organization that will seek to resolve social issues through religious groups.
Calvin Sung, a CAS sophomore and the vice president of the NYU chapter of the Newman Catholic Fellowship, expressed his excitement over DuBois joining the university’s faculty.
“DuBois offers a unique perspective integrating faith directly into his career and is a strong role model for those seeking to make faith a regular and relevant part of their daily lives,” Sung said. “In light of recent disappointments among Church leaders, students need honest inspiration now more than ever.”
The faith-based office was established by President George W. Bush in 2001 to foster communication and coordination between the U.S. government and nonprofit organizations, both secular and religious. Critics have attacked the federal government’s decision to sponsor institutions that discriminate in hiring, and some have questioned the apparent violation of the separation between church and state.
Professor Guillermina Jasso, who teaches sociology at NYU, agreed that any agency that blurs the line between church and state could be dangerous.
“One of the glories of this country is the wall between church and state. Any erosion of that wall is troubling,” she said. “Remember, church and state have very different objectives … The state is blind to personal characteristics and ideally treats everyone the same. Not so [in] the church.”
Lentz added that NYU is an appropriate forum for discussing controversies regarding religious life.
“As an academic community, we invite vigorous debate and open dialogue about all topics, in and out of the classroom,” Lentz said.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 13 print edition. Michael Domanico is copy chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.