The Wild Hunt Interview with Dr. Margo Wolfe

We’re thrilled to share that The Wild Hunt recently interviewed Dr. Margo Wolfe on her new role, her academic experience, and her outlook on the future for Cherry Hill Seminary.

Getting Started

“Growth, sustainability, and service.” These are the long-term goals identified by Dr. Margo Wolfe, Ph.D., the incoming Academic Dean of Cherry Hill Seminary (CHS).

Over the course of their history, the South Carolina-based institution has become a nationally known provider of education for individuals seeking training in leadership and ministry in Pagan and earth-based spiritual traditions. The Seminary offers degree programs, including graduate degrees, certificate programs, as well as courses for general interest.

“All work that we will be doing will be focused on the needs of the students and the faculty in order to strengthen the institution and maintain sustainability,” said Wolfe. “We are looking to complete our accreditation process and put additional support systems in place to make that happen.”

Dr. Margo Wolfe is a white woman with short, curly brown-red hair. She is wearing a crimson shawl and stand outside in a forest with light peeking though behind her.In January of 2022, Wolfe will officially take office as the new Academic Dean. Wolfe has been a part of the CHS community for several years, both as a student and an instructor.

Working towards accreditation

“I first started teaching some classes in 2014,” said Wolfe. “In 2017-2018 I served on a committee to begin the accreditation process. At the beginning of 2021, I was hired as a contractor to help realign the curriculum and develop an assessment plan. We are nearing the end of that project now and those processes will be instrumental in our accreditation self-study.”

Holli Emore, M.Div, Executive Director of CHS, described Cherry Hill’s mission as, “empowering spiritual leadership, scholarship, and ethics through theological and pastoral education to nurture interfaith engagement in a diverse society,” expanded further on the importance of Wolfe’s work on the project.

“Dr. Wolfe has been on our faculty for a number of years, first brought on by former Academic Dean Wendy Griffin,” said Emore. “In recent years she has volunteered with work on our accreditation materials. By year’s end, she will have conducted a complete review of all our curricula, degree requirements, and outcomes, including many meetings with our academic staff, faculty, and myself. She is finalizing this process by creating a handbook of standards to guide our ongoing program development. This is a huge step for the Seminary in strengthening all of our programs which will benefit all our students and faculty.”

Finding community at Cherry Hill

As Emore pointed out, Wolfe brings many years of experience as a practitioner in the Pagan community to her new position.

“I began practicing like a lot of my generation,” said Wolfe, “with secretly purchased books and reading them with a flashlight under the covers! From then I gravitated to solitary work, some work within a few local groups and groves, festivals in the eastern coast of the U.S., to finally becoming a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon in 2005. I was part of leadership for many years until taking some time to focus on my individual Avalonian practice and some artistic pursuits that grew from those practices.”

Wolfe indicated that working with CHS felt like a natural next step for her.

“I found the atmosphere at Cherry Hill inviting and rigorous,” said Wolfe. “They provide an avenue for scholarly inquiry while also addressing the spiritual needs of the students and faculty. I believe that Cherry Hill is a great bridge between experiential learning and a scholarly focus. They help to give credence to the Pagan spiritualities in a larger religious atmosphere.”

Even after several successful years with the Seminary, Wolfe did not immediately apply when the Academic Dean position became available.

“I had so many things on my plate, so it took me some time before even applying,” said Wolfe. “Once I realized that some of my other pursuits were no longer relevant to my life and that I wanted to continue scholarly pursuits, it became an easy decision.”

Development and connection focused

Emore speaks highly of Wolfe’s abilities and her commitment to Cherry Hill’s mission.

“Throughout her years of working with the Seminary, Dr. Wolfe has shown her strong support of what we offer. She has a deep understanding of Paganism from long years of practice, as well as involvement with several organizations. This year in particular, through the curricula review project, many of us got to spend hours with Dr. Wolfe, engaging in thoughtful discussion, brainstorming, and more. She is an outstanding collaborator, someone who leads by engaging others, and is generous with her extensive expertise.”

Wolfe listed course schedule development, filling open faculty positions, assisting new faculty members with developing coursework, and working with seminary administration to develop a budget as her day-to-day responsibilities as Academic Dean, duties performed with an eye toward the bigger picture.

“Overall, my focus will be to establish and maintain current connections between all members of the Cherry Hill family and assist our faculty as they mentor students through their educational process,” said Wolfe.

Executive Director Emore affirmed the importance of making progress toward achieving goals and expressed confidence in Dr. Wolfe’s ability to blend a fresh approach with respect for the work that has already been accomplished.

“As any good administrator will do, Dr. Wolfe will bring fresh eyes to the Seminary,” said Emore. “I have no doubt that she has new ideas to share with us, but she also appreciates and respects the foundation which has been built for nearly fifteen years by all who have come before her, including our retiring Academic Dean, Dr. Candace Kant.”

A signal of growth for Cherry Hill

In a break from tradition, however, Emore said that, for the first time at Cherry Hill Seminary, Academic Dean will be a compensated position.

“This position has been completely voluntary all these years,” said Emore. “By creating a modest salary for the new Academic Dean, the Board of Directors has signaled the importance of establishing this anchor position.”

With the new year, and the start of her tenure, right around the corner, Wolfe appears to be ready for the challenges ahead of her and looking forward to continuing her work at the Seminary.

“Cherry Hill is a welcoming home,” said Wolfe, “and I am honored to be of service to the school and the larger Pagan community.”

CHS will host a virtual meet and greet reception to welcome their new Academic Dean, Dr. Margo Wolfe on Sunday, January 23 at 3:00pm EST.



Cherry Hill Seminary welcomes new Academic Dean
By Jake C. Leibowitz | January 4, 2022