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Margaret Aymer to become Academic Dean at Austin Seminary

On November 2, 2021, The Board of Trustees of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary extended the call to The Reverend Dr. Margaret Aymer, The First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, D. Thomason Professor of New Testament Studies, to become the institution’s ninth academic dean in its 119-year history. When she takes office on July 1, Aymer will succeed Dr. David Jensen who has served as dean since 2014. Jensen previously announced his plans to return to full-time teaching at the end of the 2021-22 academic year. Margaret Aymer is the first woman and the first person of color to be a dean of Austin Seminary.

“I am so delighted that Dr. Margaret Aymer will move into the Dean’s Office as David Jensen steps down,” said Seminary President Ted Wardlaw. “At the end of eight years of excellent service, he relishes the opportunity to give his full-time attention to teaching Reformed theology. Margaret will be a splendid dean and academic leader at Austin Seminary, and we are blessed to be moving from strength to strength.” 

Margaret Aymer joined the faculty in 2015. Raised in the Caribbean and the east coast of the United States, she earned a BA from Harvard University and the MDiv and PhD from Union Theological Seminary (New York). She was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters from Hood Theological Seminary in 2013. Academically, she follows in the footsteps of her late father, Dr. Albert Aymer, a minister from Antigua who served as associate dean at Theological School of Drew University and as academic dean and later president of Hood Theological Seminary.

Active in the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion, Aymer has spoken as a guest lecturer at numerous academic and church conferences across the United States, including the 2013 MidWinter Lectures at Austin Seminary. She is editor of the journal Horizons in Biblical Literature, and she wrote Confessing the Beatitudes, the 2011 Horizons Bible Study (the annual Bible study resource for Presbyterian women), for which she won the Award of Excellence by the Associated Church Press. She has published four books: James: Diaspora Rhetorics of a Friend of God (Sheffield Publishing, 2014), Fortress Commentary on the Bible (with Gale A. Yee, Fortress Press, 2014); First Pure, then Peaceable: Frederick Douglass Reads James (T&T Clark, 2008), and Islanders, Islands and the Bible: Ruminations (Semeia Studies, 2015; with Jione Havea).

Prior to coming to Austin Seminary, Dr. Aymer taught at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia (2004-2015). She has served on the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations since 2010, moderating those who write the Bible Exegesis Ordination Examination for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She was a member of the Committee on Preparation of Ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from 2010-2011, training sessions (governing bodies) of local congregations on the ordination process and their responsibilities therein. Aymer was also a member of the General Assembly Task Force on Civil Unions and Marriage (2009-2010), and she served as a steering committee member for the Committee on Theological Education Consultation on Racism from 2004-2008.