Student Resources

Acting Dean of Students and Community Life

The Rev. Lindi Ramsden is the Acting Dean of Students and Community Life. She is most happy when talking with students! Put a pin on the map in her office and set up a time to get acquainted.  Rev. Ramsden is available three days a week to:

  • Offer another resource for students to feel supported and challenged in their educational journey at SKSM and their path for ministry.
  • Meet with students who encounter significant life challenges, offering counsel and suggesting resources available to them.
  • Strengthen the community life of the school, helping high and low residency students, faculty and staff to feel equally included.
  • Listen to students’ concerns about the life of the school and offer honest feedback, delivered kindly.
  • Coordinate and strengthen the peer support systems, through the Circle of Trust Retreat and Peer Discernment Circles.
  • Collaborate with faculty, staff and students to support the organizing of community events.
  • Meet with students that encounter significant life challenges, offer counsel and suggest resources available to them.
  • Host on-line Formation Conversations, to help your vocational discernment through informal conversations with religious leaders who have chosen a variety of career paths.
  • Organize the In Care Program for SKSM students interested in UU Ministry, helping you to connect with a Vocational Advisor.
  • Coordinate and strengthen the work of the cohort groups, in collaboration with the cohort leaders.
  • Serve as the Title IX Coordinator.
  • Serve as a member of the core faculty and Executive Team.

Please contact Rev. Ramsden at lramsden@sksm.edu or (510)549-4727.

All School Meeting

All School Meetings have played an important role in the life of the School. They provide a moment for the Community to gather (via meeting/Adobe Connect/phone) to receive updates and to learn important information on the life of the School. It is also a time to share joys and concerns, discuss issues, explore questions, etc.

All School Meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 11am (Pacific Time) and are hosted by the President, Dean of Faculty and Acting Dean of Students and Community Life, in collaboration with the Student Body President and other officers.

The Adobe Connect links for the All School Meetings is https://starrkingschoolfortheministry.adobeconnect.com/sksmschoolmeeting/ and is sent out via email on Friday before the meeting and is posted to the Starr King Today Facebook group.

Working with the Faculty

Each student who enters Starr King should understand that official matriculation registers an intention to accept the school’s guidance.  Each student is assigned a primary advisor. Additionally, the entire faculty is available to advise each student on the course of study.

Starr King students have much greater access to faculty members than occurs at other schools. However, that access is not unlimited. The faculty has responsibility for research, writing, class preparation, committee work within SKSM and the GTU, denominational and social justice commitments, administrative duties, and the overall programs and pedagogies of the school. All of these are in addition to the teaching and advising that students may see.

In order to facilitate sustainable relationships, the faculty has established these suggestions for its work:

  1. Faculty accepts student appointments throughout the Fall, January and Spring semesters (except winter break). Other times, such as Reading Week, Spring Break, the summer months, are generally dedicated to research and other administrative Additionally, in the summer, faculty have vacation times during which they do not attend to any SKSM business.  You may ask your advisors about their specific preferences for emergency communication during winter break and the summer months.
  2. Requests for Letters of Recommendation should be submitted to the faculty member at least one month before the letter is due.
  3. Faculty members are limited as to the number of Special Reading Courses (SRC’s) per semester they may take on (1-3). Please contact Faculty members early on if you are interested in working with A request does not mean that the faculty will be available in that term.
  4. Faculty are expected to work at least one day a week from home without obligations for meetings or appointments in order to focus on research, writing, and preparations for lecturing or teaching. For some that day is Friday when the SKSM building is c For others, Friday is a religious holiday, and they may work from home on another weekend day.
  5. SKSM Faculty have two rest days a week that they may take Friday, Saturday or Sunday, according to their religious/spiritual observance
  6. Please respect faculty religious observances, rest days, vacation and other times of This includes not expecting faculty to answer last minute messages at night or on weekends. Practicing respectful and healthy boundaries with your advisor and professors will help you to be a respectful leader who knows how to practice sustainability.
  7. If faculty members allow you to have their personal phone number for emergency situations, please do not use it improperly in other situati Please practice responsible communication.

Making an Office Hour Appointment with an SKSM Faculty Member

Appointments with Faculty members can be made for face to face meetings, phone conferences, or SKYPE (voice or video). Appointments for all Faculty members can be made by emailing individual faculty members at their SKSM.edu email addresses. All Faculty emails are listed on the website (www.sksm.edu).

Appointment request emailed to President Rosemary Bray McNatt, Provost Farajaje’ and Dean Lettini will be answered by their assistants.

  1. Appointments with faculty are generally made one to two weeks in advance. Please plan ahead. “Same-day” appointments are rare and generally reserved for emergencies involving health or well-being.
  2. Appointments will generally be made for 30 minutes. If you would like more time with the professor, kindly note that in your e
  3. When you write to your advisor at the beginning of each term please check if they hold regular office hours each week: planning your meeting during those time frames will speed the planning proce
  4. Appointment requests will be answered in the order they are receive For staffing reasons requests may be answered every few days, rather than immediately. Please be patient if it takes a few business days to reply. If your email has not been answered within one week’s time, then you may resend your request.
  5. Once a time has been set, it is your responsibility to keep the appoint If you do not, your priority level may drop.
  6. Please come prepared to your meeting Consult the Student Handbook, the course offering and bring any material relevant to the issues you need to discuss. You may prepare a brief agenda for the meeting and send it ahead of time to your advisor.
  7. Please take notes during your meetings: it is your responsibility to keep a record of the meeting for yourself and to follow up on what you discuss and agree on with your a Please start a file with your notes early on in your program, and review it periodically.
  8. Please review the notes from your previous appointments before each meeting.

Other Ways of Contacting a SKSM Faculty Member

We are aware that not every question that you have for a faculty member will require an official appointment. Here are some other ways to consult faculty:

  1. Leave a voice message. The main number is (510) 845- Each faculty member has a private voice mail, and the number is listed on the Starr King website.
  2. SKSM does not give out faculty home phone numbers or personal cell phone numbers.
    1. Ask the faculty person at the first class meeting if they can be contacted at home or on their cell, and, if so, get the number.
  3. You may speak to faculty in person before or after class, but please be considerate and ask if they really have the time: they may need to focus on other tasks.
  4. When you see a faculty member in the hallway or elsewhere, please remember that they may be engaged in another For your benefit, the faculty member may suggest making an office appointment in order to give the best response to your questions, or to give your conversation the care and attention it deserves. Always ask whether they are available to speak with you now, or whether you should make an appointment. Kindly respect that decision, as it will result in the best answers being provided to you.
  5. Please be mindful of break times for faculty and staff, such as lunch breaks.
  6. Unless an office door is open, signaling a welcome to drop-ins, please respect a closed-door as an indication that a person is not to be interrupted. Please be considerate. Except in the case of an emergency situation, do not expect people to interrupt everything they are doing because you have a question or need. Ask politely if you can interrupt, and be brief. Please be respectful and understanding if people tell you it is not a good time; write an e-mail message instead.

Contacting SKSM Adjunct Faculty, Research Scholars and Hilda Mason Teaching Fellows

  1. Send them an e- When using email communication, please remember to use the same consideration that you would in person.
  2. SKSM does not give out faculty home phone number Ask the faculty person at the first class meeting if they can be contacted at home, and, if so, get the number.
  3. Adjunct Faculty, Research Scholars and Hilda Mason Teaching Fellows do not have offices or voicemail boxes at the school, and cannot be reached by phone via the scho
  4. High Residency Adjunct Faculty, Research Scholars and Hilda Mason Teaching have mailboxes in the SKSM Lobby. Be aware they may check it only weekly.

Email Courtesy

When using email communication, please remember to use the same consideration that you would in person, please:

  • Write a properly addressed and clear message – unclear messages and questions often lead to confusion and therefore to additional work.
  • Include greetings and common expressions of courtesy such as please and thank you.

Job Postings

If you are looking for employment please check the “Job and Housing” binder which is located on the bookshelf across from the reception desk. Please note: you may find field education opportunities here as well. If you have been awarded work-study funds and are looking for employment please contact the Finance Director to review relevant Starr King employment options. Contact the Financial Aid office to review other work-study opportunities.

Housing Options

Despite the San Francisco Bay Area’s high housing costs and limited availability, Starr King students have always found affordable housing. Our Admissions Office provides counsel to assist in that search.  If you are looking for student housing, please check with

Pacific School of Religion Housing http://psr.edu/student-life/student-policies/housing/
The details of PSR’s housing policies for 2016-17 can be found at: http://psr.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Housing-Policy-for-2016-17_.pdf

Some housing is available for Starr King students through Graduate Theological Union member schools. Several open their student dormitories and apartments to Starr King students on a space available basis.

For easy, inexpensive dining, the GTU operates a cafeteria that offers meal plans to students of member schools. For more information, visit http://gtu.edu/students/dining.

For off campus housing, most SKSM students live in Berkeley and or the larger Bay Area in such cities as Berkeley, Alameda, Albany, Concord, Dublin, El Cerrito, Hayward, Lafayette, Livermore, Martinez, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek.
Student housing arrangements include shared single family homes, apartments, coops and intentional communities.

Housing is expensive – but through shared housing, payments can range from $450 to $1000 per month.

It’s possible to live in the San Francisco Bay Area without a car. BART, bus and Amtrak service can get you around the Bay. Some SKSM students find bicycles a viable transportation mode, thanks to the region’s mild weather. See http://511.org for transit planning.

Home Hospitality for Low Residency Students
Some members of local Unitarian Universalist congregations open their homes during parts of August and January to offer free home hospitality to low residency students in town for Summer Intensives, Orientation, Symposium and January Intercession Intensives. Access to home hospitality is coordinated by the Acting Dean of Students and Community Life (lramsden@sksm.edu) in cooperation with local UU volunteer coordinators.

Additional information and links to search for housing can be found on the Graduate Theological Union website http://gtu.edu/admissions/life-at-gtu/housing

Advancement

How you can be involved?

One of the joys of being a Starr King student is sharing the good news of what the school stands for: a personalized education for religious leadership that emphasizes multi-religious and counter-oppressive commitments within a diverse and welcoming environment. Who can better speak to this than those of you who experience our educational approach firsthand? Tell others about how you experience the school. It is the best testimony to Starr King’s educational imagination and success.

Being an ambassador for the school is at the heart of our advancement efforts. When your friends and family hear about what this school means to you and why, they give greater thought as to how they can support the life-changing work that happens here. Invite them to consider such support. Generous-spirited people of all income levels appreciate learning about opportunities to support progressive causes that are making a difference in the world, and they will thank you for telling them about Starr King School for the Ministry.

Over the course of your sojourn with us there will be other ways you can help the school’s advancement efforts, such as events, speaking in congregations, joining in visits to donors, helping with mailings, or connecting us with people you know who may contribute to the mission of the school.

Feast Nights

Our Worship Arts Team brought back the tradition of Feast Night during the 2015-16 school year.  These seasonal celebrations with ritual and a potluck meal will be a time for the community to gather with family and friends for sacred sustenance.

Feast Nights embrace and welcome SKSM students, faculty, and staff, as well as their friends, partners, and children. Feast Nights can be hosted by Starr King students who select themes and/or lead activities.

Hosting a Feast Night is a great way to bring your talents and offerings to the Starr King community! In addition to setting the theme, hosts prepare a few simple main dishes. Attendees bring food to complement these, potluck-style. Hosts may be reimbursed for up to $50 of their food costs (included in the student body budget). For reimbursement, contact the student body Treasurer with your receipts.

Hosts should expect to arrive at least an hour prior to the scheduled beginning of a Feast Night for food preparation and set-up. Hosts should also follow the guidance on using Starr King facilities found in the Basic Building Use Policies for Events section in the student handbook. When special accommodations or equipment (sound system, etc.) are needed, please follow student handbook procedures found in the Room and AV Equipment Requests section.

It is a good idea to send an email invitation to the SKSM student listserv approximately 3 weeks before Feast Night, and then follow up with a reminder one week beforehand. A brief write-up inviting the whole SKSM community, including faculty and staff, should be sent to Starr King This Week (StarrKing@sksm.edu) by the applicable deadline. Please contact Rev. Michelle Favreault, Assistant Professor of Liberal Religious Education and Liturgy MFavreault@sksm.edu for more information, scheduling, or guidance.