David Kamitsuka

  • Dean, College of Arts and Sciences


  • BA, Haverford College, 1983
  • MPhil, Yale University, 1989
  • PhD, Yale University, 1993


An award-winning teacher, accomplished scholar, and visionary administrator, David Kamitsuka has served Oberlin since 1993. He chaired the steering committee for Oberlin’s Academic and Administrative Program Review, which produced the landmark One Oberlin Report that recommends a range of programmatic and operational initiatives to ensure Oberlin’s excellence, relevance, and financial sustainability for generations to come. The One Oberlin Report received the overwhelming endorsement of the General Faculty and unanimous approval from the Board of Trustees, launching a five-year period of implementation.

Kamitsuka was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in January 2020, after serving as acting dean since the summer of 2018. Prior to his appointment as acting dean, Kamitsuka served as senior associate dean and associate dean of the curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences. He led the development of the Academic Advising Resource Center and the Peer Advising Leaders program for first-year students.

Kamitsuka was the founding director of the Oberlin Center for Convergence (StudiOC), which develops innovative learning communities that bring together courses from the college and conservatory, thereby affording students opportunities to make connections across disciplines and develop rich interactions with faculty and classmates. He also was the founding director of Oberlin’s First-Year Seminar Program, which offers seminars that span the arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and the natural sciences and math divisions.

A scholar of religious studies, Kamitsuka joined the college as an assistant professor. He has served as chair of the Jewish Studies Program, the Middle East North African Studies Program, and the Department of Religion.

Kamitsuka has been selected to serve on numerous academic and administrative committees during his tenure at Oberlin. He was a member of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee in 2004-05 and 2014-15, and has served multiple times on elected faculty governance committees such as the College Faculty Council and the Educational Plans and Policies Committee. He has also served as chair of the Student Life Committee and the Presidential Religious and Spiritual Life Task Force.

He previously held teaching appointments at Lafayette College and Haverford College, and was a teaching fellow at Yale University. His areas of instruction and research focus on philosophy of religion from the 17th century to the present.

He is the recipient of Oberlin’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education.

Kamitsuka earned a bachelor’s degree at Haverford College and master’s and doctoral degrees at Yale University. He is the author of Theology and Contemporary Culture (Cambridge University Press).

He is an Oberlin Shansi trustee and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Wabash Center, which supports teaching and scholarship in religious studies.


Advancing Academic Exchange with Cuba

November 18, 2015

David Kamitsuka and Ellen Sayles traveled to Cuba as part of a delegation from 12 U.S. colleges and universities to better understand Cuban higher education and meet university and ministry officials who could help facilitate future partnerships.