February 26, 2015

Fulfilling Residency Requirements on Immersions — Message from the Office of the Provost

Ibrahim Farajaje, Provost

Ibrahim Farajaje, Provost

Selam, dear SKSM Community,

For the past few years, I have been concerned about the fact that many low-residence students have to come and go from the Berkeley area several times of the year. For some, it has been a real challenge financially to support this.

As a result of these concerns, I have been in conversation with the Association of Theological School (ATS) about the possibility of counting immersions as a way of filling the high-residence. Although originally it was not received positively, I have the great joy of announcing to you that the ATS has just notified us that they are approving our Immersions as counting towards fulfilling the high-residence requirement!!!  Furthermore, they informed us that any Berkeley-based hybrid course will also count towards fulfillment of the residency requirements.

This has been a labor of love for me because it offers more sustainable options for those who are in low-residence.

Thank you for all of your support, especially when I was “in seclusion” in the fall in order to finish writing the petitions to the ATS!

“The Board of Commissioners met in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in February 2015 and included on its agenda Starr King School for the Ministry’s petition for exception to Educational Standard, section ES.2.1.1, in order that immersion courses be counted toward residency.

The board understands that the school requests to count immersion courses toward the residency requirement as an exception to Educational Standard, section ES.2.1.1. The board notes that these immersion courses are offered in locations such as Kentucky, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Mexico, Italy, and Turkey, where students experience profound interaction with sponsoring faculty as they study denominational polity and history as well as other areas such as the arts, culture, class, sexualities, and spiritual practices. The board recognizes that the school is interested in learning how immersion experiences inform and strengthen the intent of residential courses, educational effectiveness, and other educational modalities.

After reviewing the information in light of the pertinent Commission standards and procedures, the board voted:

  1. To grant an exception to Educational Standard, section ES.2.1.1, in order that immersion courses be counted towards residency requirements, with the condition that students be required to complete at least one-quarter rather than one-third of coursework on the school’s campus or the campuses of participating schools within the Graduate Theological Union. In all references to this allowance, electronic and in print, the school must stipulate that the allowance is an approved exception to Educational Standard, section ES.2.1.1.
  2. To require a report by April I, 2018, documenting how the first group of students graduating under this exception has met the expectations associated with the standards to which this exception applies. The report should also summarize key lessons learned from implementing this exception over the last few years.”

With meta/mindful loving kindness,


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