David KirkpatrickDr. David C. Kirkpatrick

David C. Kirkpatrick (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) serves as vice president and chief of staff at James Madison University, as well as a tenured associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. He also serves as the Secretary to the Board of Visitors. Dr. Kirkpatrick has previously served as the Executive Director of the Madison Center for Civic Engagement and the associate department chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at JMU. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Florida State University as the Timothy Gannon Postdoctoral Associate. 

In his role as Vice President and Chief of Staff, Dr. Kirkpatrick oversees university strategic planning, the Madison Center for Civic Engagement, the Office of Planning, Analytics, & Institutional Research (PAIR), and university level engagement efforts, as well as presidential communications. This role includes operational oversight, such as budget review, review and approval of changes to official university policies and procedures, and appointment to and management of university commissions and committees. He also coordinates agendas for senior leadership team meetings and retreats. As Secretary to the Board of Visitors, Dr. Kirkpatrick serves as JMU’s primary liaison to the board, overseeing board communications and meeting logistics.

Under Dr. Kirkpatrick’s leadership, the Madison Center for Civic Engagement grew and expanded its reach at JMU and nationally. Significant initiatives during his tenure include the development of the Civic Leadership Minor program with all eight academic colleges at JMU, a university-wide deliberative dialogue program that reaches every incoming first year and transfer student (~5,000), becoming an institutional partner for and hosting the Institute of Civic Studies and Learning for Democracy (ICSLD), record fundraising, the influential speaker series Common Good in the Commonwealth, and an innovative construction project to feature a living learning community and a new home for the center offices. The Madison Center also became the institutional home of the leading academic journal for civic studies, The Good Society, in partnership with Penn State University Press. Additional partnerships include the Next Gen Service Corps, and the Institute for Citizens and Scholars, among many others.

As an accomplished historian, Dr. Kirkpatrick has written or co-edited multiple books that explore the intersections of politics, religion, and social movements—with the University of Pennsylvania Press (2019), Rutgers University Press (2022) and his current book project with Oxford University Press (expected in 2024). He has also published articles in top journals such as Journal of American Studies (Cambridge), Journal of the American Academy of Religion (Oxford), and Journal of Ecclesiastical History (Cambridge). Dr. Kirkpatrick has also given lectures at the University of Oxford (All Souls College), University of Cambridge, Yale-Edinburgh Consortium, Emory University, Princeton Theological Seminary, Marquette University, among many others. He also enjoys producing research with scholars from around the world—most recently at the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies in Germany, funded by the German government (UNC Press, 2022), at Dartmouth College funded by the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023), and at Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Kirkpatrick’s research speaks to civic engagement and social movements, how religion impacts political discourse and engagement, as well as the complexity and importance of Latino communities in the United States.

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