Melissa Wood Bartholomew
Instructor in Ministry
- BA, Howard University
- JD, Howard University
- MDiv, Harvard Divinity School
- MSW & PhD, Boston College
Melissa Wood Bartholomew (she/her), MDiv ’15, is the Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Harvard Divinity School where she is also an Instructor in Ministry. She is a Christ-centered minister and a racial justice and healing practitioner committed to a multifaith, multidisciplinary, Afrocentric approach to healing justice rooted in the African philosophy of Ubuntu, restorative justice, and love.
Melissa’s passion for racial and social justice was cultivated at Howard University where she received her undergraduate and law degrees. She is an attorney with nearly a decade’s experience in public interest law. Through her experiences in Seattle practicing law as an Assistant Attorney General, as a legal aid attorney with the Northwest Justice Project, and working as a mediator in King County Superior Court, it became clear to Melissa that the law could not facilitate the heart changes required to eradicate racism and oppression from individuals and systems. Her call to ministry led her to pursue her MDiv at HDS. Melissa is earnestly committed to eradicating racism and oppression and advancing healing and societal transformation through spiritually-engaged, heart-centered multifaith and multidisciplinary strategies rooted in love. She is a restorative justice practitioner and has studied restorative justice in Rwanda, transformational leadership in Ghana, and has published various articles exploring racial justice and healing. Melissa received her MSW from Boston College where she received her PhD in social work. Her research interests include the impact of racism, incarceration, and other systems of oppression on the mental health of Black people and the role of religion and spirituality in their resistance. She serves as part-time faculty at Boston College where she teaches restorative justice at the School of Law and has taught diversity in the School of Social Work.