The Reverend Janet M. Cooper Nelson is Chaplain of the University, Director of the Office of Chaplains and Religious Life and faculty member at Brown University, appointed in 1990 after appointments at Vassar College, Mount Holyoke College, and The Church of Christ at Dartmouth College. As Brown’s Chaplain she leads a multi-faith team of Associate chaplains and oversees the University’s broad circle of Religious Life affiliates who advise student religious organizations. Together they endeavor to ensure that a diversity of belief has voice and vitality throughout the University community and that Brown’s largest educational program is infused with opportunity to enrich religious literacy and experience with the practice of religion.
She earned degrees at Wellesley College, Tufts University, and Harvard Divinity School as well as serving on the Divinity School’s Visiting Committee and Leadership Council.
Ordained in 1980 by the United Church of Christ her work is anchored in academic settings and examines interfaith collaboration, advocacy, religious identity and literacy, education, ethics and grief. Her recent publications include: Dearly Beloved in the My Neighbor's Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (2012) edited by Jennifer Howe Peace, Or Rose and Greg Mobley; and The Foreword for College and University Chaplaincy in the 21st Century: A Multifaith Look at the Practice of Ministry on Campuses across America ( 2013) edited by Lucy A. Forster-Smith.
Her professional associations have included: Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island: The Association of College and University Religious Affairs; AIDS Project Rhode Island; The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology; The Spurwink Institute; Reach Out and Read Rhode Island; Brown/RISD Hillel Foundation; the Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ; Education as Transformation; and Women and Infants Hospital Institutional Research Board.