Experience ESR

Governance

  • Approved by Faculty, February 5, 2001
  • Approved by Board of Trustees, February 17, 2001

This governance document for the Earlham School of Religion is grounded in the By-Laws of the Earlham Board of Trustees, and must remain in conformity with those By-Laws. Relevant sections of the Earlham By-Laws are included here in italics. When the Earlham By-Laws are revised, this governance document must be changed accordingly.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees of Earlham exercises the responsibilities and powers vested in it by the Charter of Earlham College and serves as the ultimate legal authority over the operations, activities and properties of the College, including the Earlham School of Religion. Reference to "Earlham" in these By-Laws includes the undergraduate College and the School of Religion, unless the sense indicates otherwise. [Article I, section 1]

Among the standing committees of the Board is a School of Religion Committee. The School of Religion Committee shall exercise general oversight for the well-being of the School of Religion and the realization of the mission of the Earlham School of Religion through its programs, policies, plans, and budgets. The School of Religion Committee shall have responsibility for advising the Board of Trustees on how the School of Religion can improve its service to the Society of Friends and cultivate support for its programs among Meetings and individuals. This committee shall inform itself and the Board regarding the quality of community life, needs of the School of Religion, and important initiatives and concerns of the Faculty and students. At least annually, this committee will report to the Board on the state of the Earlham School of Religion and its progress in achieving its mission. [Article I, section 7, paragraph h]

President of Earlham

The President shall be named by the Board of Trustees to serve as the chief executive officer of Earlham. The President shall appoint the other administrative officers of Earlham subject to other provisions of the By-Laws. The President shall attend the meetings of the Board of Trustees, with the full power and responsibility of a Trustee except that the President shall not vote when personally concerned. The President shall be the Board's principal advisor on all matters pertaining to the educational programs and the general welfare of Earlham and shall make recommendations for the proper conduct of the institution. The President may act with freedom from interference by the Board within the lines of general policy laid down by the Board, but, upon any particular matter upon which the Board may have passed, the President shall follow the specific action taken. [Article II section 3]

Faculty of the Earlham School of Religion

Composition.

The members of the Earlham Faculty shall be classified as follows:

Administrative officers, responsible for organization and carrying forward the work of Earlham.

Instructional staff, consisting of professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, and lecturers. [Article II, section 1]

Role and Responsibilities.

The Faculty for the purpose of the transaction of business shall consist of both the administrative and instructional personnel. The Faculty is authorized and empowered to prescribe courses of instruction, to adopt academic methods and to carry on all of the educational functions of the institution for the best interest thereof, except where the Board may take general or special action in reference thereto. The Faculty shall have oversight of the non-academic life on the College campus with such delegation of responsibility to committees or organizations from the Earlham community, including its student body, as is deemed appropriate. [Article II, section 2]

Faculty Clerk.

Each year, the Faculty shall select one of its members to serve as clerk. The Faculty Clerk convenes meetings of the faculty and prepares its minutes. The Clerk is also available to advise the Dean on matters of importance to the faculty.

Faculty Meeting.

The Faculty meets regularly at the call of the clerk to carry through the business of the faculty. In the conduct of its business, the faculty follows Friends business procedures, seeking unity and sense of the meeting in decision making.

Faculty Committees.

The Faculty may constitute various committees to help with the performance of its responsibilities. Committees make recommendations to the Dean or to the Faculty, the charge creating the committee stating which. The Dean shall maintain a list of committees, their responsibilities and membership. This list will be reported each fall to the Faculty and President and be made available to students, staff and others in the ESR community.

The Vice President of Earlham and Dean of ESR

Appointment.

The Vice President of Earlham and Dean of the Earlham School of Religion (ESR) shall be named by the President after consultation with the ESR Board of Advisors, subject to the approval of the Board of Earlham. [Article II, section 4]

Role and responsibilities.

The Dean shall have the usual responsibilities of a dean, subject to definitions and prescriptions in Minutes of this Board. The Dean of ESR is invited to attend meetings of the full Board. [Article II, section 4] The Dean is the chief academic and administrative officer of ESR. The Dean’s role and responsibilities will be further specified in a position description prepared by the President in consultation with the Faculty and subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees. The Dean reports to the President and appoints and evaluates other administrative faculty of ESR. The Dean of the Earlham School of Religion shall be a member of [the Board of Trustees] School of Religion Committee. [Article I, section 7, paragraph k]

The ESR Board of Advisors

Composition and appointment.

The ESR Board of Advisors shall consist of not less than 21 and not more than 27 members, not including honorary members. The President of Earlham and the Dean of ESR shall serve ex-officio in addition to the stated number.

A Nominating Committee shall be appointed annually to serve for one year. It shall consist of three members of the Board of Advisors not due for retirement or reappointment. All nominations are to be made as recommendations to the Earlham Board of Trustees which in turn makes appointments to the Board of Advisors.

Membership, including both men and women, shall be representative of North American Friends and shall be drawn from as many Yearly meetings as possible.

Up to three appointees shall be drawn from the current Earlham Board of Trustees. Up to three appointees shall be drawn from and nominated by the ESR Alumni. And up to three persons who are other-than-Quakers can be nominated. To guide the work of the Nominating Committee, the Board of Advisors shall maintain a statement of guidelines for membership.

The term of service shall be for three years, renewable for up to three successive terms. One year must elapse before a member can be reconsidered for appointment.

Role and responsibilities.

The role of the ESR Board of Advisors is to serve as a channel of communication, in both directions, between the Earlham School of Religion and the wider world of Friends. The Dean of ESR functions as the primary liaison between ESR and the Board of Advisors. The Dean is responsible for communicating the Advisors' views to ESR as a whole, and to the Earlham Board of Trustees through its School of Religion Committee. The advice and assistance of the Board of Advisors will be sought on matters relating to mission, program design, faculty searches, fundraising, student recruitment, placement and other matters at the request of the Dean, the President or the Board of Trustees.

Officers and Executive Committee.

The Clerk and the Assistant Clerk shall be appointed annually. They, together with four additional members of the Board of Advisors shall be appointed annually to serve as an Executive Committee. The President and Dean shall be ex officio members of the Executive Committee.

The Clerk of the ESR Board of Advisors or a designated representative shall be a member of [the Board of Trustees] School of Religion Committee. [I., 7., k.]

Participation of ESR Students in Governance

The ESR Faculty may invite students to participate in governance through student membership on committees or in other ways. Such arrangements must be approved by the ESR Faculty and be in conformity with the Earlham By-laws [Article II, section 2].

Appointment, Evaluation and Promotion of Instructional Staff

Appointment.

Full-time teaching faculty will be appointed for fixed terms by the President on recommendation of the Faculty. Adjunct and part-time instructional faculty will be appointed by the Dean after consultation with the Faculty.

Evaluation and Promotion.

ESR teaching faculty are regularly evaluated under criteria specified in “Criteria for Evaluation of ESR Teaching Faculty” and through a process specified in “ESR Policy on Faculty Retention, Promotion and Leaves.” Reappointments for an additional fixed term are recommended by the ESR Faculty and Dean, and approved by the President. Promotions are recommended by the ESR Faculty and Dean, and approved by the President and the Earlham Board of Trustees.

Mission and Degree Programs

Mission.

The mission of the Earlham School of Religion will be set by the Board of Trustees on recommendation of the Faculty, after consultation with the ESR Board of Advisors.

Degree Programs.

Degree programs in support of the mission of ESR will be approved by the Board of Trustees on recommendation of the Faculty, after consultation with the ESR Board of Advisors. ESR is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). ATS standards should be consulted in making arrangements for degree programs.

Degrees

All candidates for degrees shall be reported by the Faculty to the Board of Trustees with recommendation for action thereon. [Article III]

Academic Freedom and Responsibility

Earlham undertakes to provide in every way for a teacher’s freedom to investigate, teach, and publish the truth as one sees it.

In the classroom, Earlham encourages teachers to feel full freedom in the exposition of their course material. However, teachers are morally bound not to abuse their position by using the classroom as a means of partisan indoctrination. Outside the classroom, in their writing or public speaking, as free and mature citizens, teachers are encouraged to express their opinions with clarity and vigor. In controversial areas where the general position of the institution and its constituency on a given issue may not be clear or where it is different from their own, teachers are expected to state specifically that they are expressing their personal opinions and not those of the institution.

Cooperation with Bethany Seminary

The Earlham School of Religion has entered into a partnership agreement with Bethany Theological Seminary. Terms of the partnership are set forth in an affiliation agreement which is periodically reviewed and approved by the Dean of ESR, the President and Board of Trustees of Earlham, and by the President and Board of Trustees of Bethany Theological Seminary.

Ratification and Amendments

This governance document becomes effective upon approval by the Faculty of ESR, the President, and the Earlham Board of Trustees. All amendments must be approved by the Faculty of ESR, the President and the Earlham Board of Trustees. Amendments to the Earlham By-Laws (the italicized sections) only need the approval of the Board of Trustees.