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Zachary Cole

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Doctoral Student

Zachary Cole is a higher education professional with more than 12 years of higher education experience developing impactful university programs related to chaplaincy, new student orientation, dialogue, social justice, and community building. Significant experience developing and implementing effective communications strategies, managing operational responsibilities, supervising professional and student staff, and supporting higher education executives. 

Cole currently serves as Chief of Staff to the Dean of Religious Life at the Emory University Office of Spiritual and Religious Life. His duties include supporting the Dean as a strategist and implementer and ensure streamlined operations within the department. Cole handles the day-to-day management of staff, budgets, spaces, programs, data, and communications. He also coordinates the execution of strategic initiatives including major complex programs, conferences, and campaigns. Recent projects include the development of the new Emory Interfaith Center, supporting the Emory Interfaith Strategic Planning Process, and serving as a primary staff liaison for the Indigenous Language Path Working Group. 

Prior to his arrival at Emory, Cole worked as Program Manager for the University Chaplaincy at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. At Tufts, Cole was charged with coordinating and implementing high-level programming and outreach efforts to connect and integrate the University of Chaplaincy with all segments of the university and with external partners. 

His undertakings included overseeing the Conversation, Action, Faith, and Education (CAFE) Pre-Orientation program, which involved implementing the programmatic vision and recruiting, hiring, supervising, and coaching paid student staff and volunteer peer leaders. He worked closely with the Tufts Interfaith Student Council and supported important initiatives around dialogue, activism, and values. He also developed and managed departmental outreach and communications strategies for the University Chaplaincy to ensure high visibility and engagement across the university and beyond. 

Cole holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education from Boston College. His higher education experience includes roles in the Office of Student Life at Harvard Divinity School, Residence Life at Babson College, and the Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education at Boston College.

He is a past co-chair of the Spirituality and Religion in Higher Education Knowledge Community (SRHE KC) within NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. In the role, he worked to support and network professionals, students, faculty, and other stakeholders who are invested in enhancing conversations, research, and best practices for spirituality, secularism, and religion in higher education. 

Prior to his time at Tufts, Cole spent a year as the values in action fellow at the Humanist Community at Harvard where he organized monthly interfaith community service programs in partnership with local religious and philosophical communities. He served from 2015-2019 as a consultant and event planner for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations at Merrimack College to plan an annual interfaith charitable meal-packing events. 

He enjoys playing basketball and board games, hiking new trails, and traveling. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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