Experience ESR

Community Governance

Quakers take care of church business in a meeting for worship for business. In this setting, business is conducted in the context of worship. Rather than voting, decisions are based on the leading of the Holy Spirit through the sense of the meeting by those in attendance. A presiding clerk guides the discussion, and is responsible for interpreting the sense of the meeting.

The School of Religion is a hybrid institution. It is not a monthly meeting, but is an institution of higher learning committed to theological education. Not all matters are decided in a meeting for business. However, ESR's approach to business and decision-making draws deeply upon its Quaker heritage. Faculty, staff, and students participate jointly in shaping life and learning at ESR.

Community business is handled by either the Faculty Meeting for Business or by the Student Meeting for Business (SMB). Various committees support the work of these two Meetings for Business. Student business is carried out in regular meetings for business, or through discussion meetings that focus on specific topics arising out of student concerns. The business of faculty is carried out in regular meetings for business or in executive session. The presiding clerk of SMB is a representative to the Faculty Meeting and is invited to all regular meetings, but is not present at executive sessions, e.g., the annual review of students. All meetings are held according to Quaker principles. These afford ample opportunities for involvement in the decision-making process of the school for faculty and students.

Student Committees

Student Meeting for Business oversees certain student committees. Each of these committees selects its own clerk, who is then designated to report important committee concerns to the Student Meeting for Business. Student committees include: Nominating Committee; Community Life Committee; Student Pastoral Care Committee; and Spring Banquet Committee.

ESR Faculty Committees

Certain work of the faculty is best accomplished by committee rather than by a meeting of the full faculty, with committee clerks reporting to the faculty as needed. The Committees of the Faculty are: Admissions Committee; Faculty Review Committee; Field Education Committee; Harassment Committee; and Personnel Committee. Each committee is composed of at least two faculty members and is convened by a clerk, who is selected by the committee. The Harassment and Personnel committees include student representation, selected by the Student Meeting for Business.

Joint student-faculty Committees

Currently there are two joint student-faculty committees, each of which is vital to the formation of community in the school: Common Meal Committee and Worship Committee. Each of these committees has at least one faculty member and two or more student members. Members of the committee determine leadership.

Partnership Committees

To facilitate smoother integration with its partner seminary, certain joint committees have been formed and function regularly. These are: Joint Academic Planning Committee; Joint Library Committee; Joint Faculty Retreat Committee; and Information Technology Roundtable.