These values outline what we expect every member of the online community to protect and promote and applies to any student taking online courses.
Quality learning requires an environment of engagement, inquiry, and support. Westminster Theological Seminary is committed to the flourishing of all students who participate in our programs. Our Westminster Online Community Values (WOCV) are designed to promote this goal among students, staff, and faculty. All who enroll in, support, or lead courses are required to promote and protect these values throughout all aspects of our programs.
We are a community that values learning among the culturally and theologically diverse expressions of the church. As an online network, we are able to select an intentionally diverse community that will shape the way we train for ministry. We realize that along with the opportunity to engage different cultures and beliefs, greater diversity can also challenge us to show trust and mutual respect in new and unfamiliar scenarios. As members of the Westminster community, we agree to promote empathy and excel in honor and respect for everyone we come into contact with during the program.
We expect students to affirm and respect the differences displayed across students, staff, and faculty in all communication and collaboration. Bias, prejudice, and disrespect have no place in our learning community.
The process of quality learning happens in a community that values free expression, inquiry, and a safe environment to explore ideas. Online communication can make it easier to overemphasize our own perspective. As members of the Westminster community we will assume the best about each other’s communication, seek clarification where valuable, and support one another in processing and developing their ideas rather than enforcing our own conclusions.
We expect students to pause, listen, learn to ask great questions, promote others' perspectives, practice challenging our own conclusions, and promote dialogue rather than monologue in all mediums.
We are a community committed to handling sensitive and personal information with care and wisdom. We are vigilant to handle information shared about our ministries and peers as confidential, both inside and outside of courses. Information we share about ourselves should be done with discretion in a way that promotes learning and godliness. Since stewardship of information is a required skill in ministry, it is especially important to begin practicing that skill in earnest now.
We expect students to maintain the highest integrity with sensitive or confidential information in every platform of the program. We have intentionally designed all tools with security in mind and students must do their part in guarding information.
A student should never share information about another student outside of a small group or course unless granted explicit permission by that person. Students should not share any written or visual material from any of our platforms with an outside audience without the permission of the Online Learning staff. Counseling or ministry details may compromise privacy rights. Many students are in sensitive or hostile geographies and could be at risk if accidentally exposed. We need to operate with wisdom and care when it comes to personal information.
Our Commitment to One Another
We are each personally responsible to act with honesty and integrity and are accountable to integrate these community values into every aspect of our Westminster experience.
Failure to promote and protect any of these values may be grounds for immediate removal from the program, upon the evaluation of the Westminster Online Learning Team and the Student Development Office. If staff, faculty, or students feel these values are being compromised in any place in the program, they are equally responsible to report their concerns to the Westminster Online Learning Team.
Our students, staff, and faculty create an environment of productive and healthy learning when we hold one another accountable to these values as we grow personally and prepare for ministry to the church and world.