The American Ethical Union Leadership Committee - Training Ethical Culture Leaders, Working With Ethical Societies
Susan Goldfrank and Susan Rose
A lot of work goes into the training and hiring of Ethical Culture Leaders. How does the Committee work? What criteria are considered in accepting applicants for Leadership Training? What are some of its policies? This article looks at the role the AEU Leadership Committee plays for the Ethical Movement.
The Leadership Committee of the AEU is the group that has the responsibility for overseeing training new Ethical Culture Leaders and providing information to Ethical Societies to help them in hiring a new Leader. Of the ten members, five are certified Ethical Culture Leaders appointed by the National Leaders Council, and five are lay members (one of whom serves as its chair) from various Ethical Culture Societies.
Ethical Culture Leaders are the clergy of the Ethical Culture Movement. They serve Ethical Societies and the Ethical Movement, fulfilling roles that cover both pastoral and inspirational aspects of congregational and denominational life. Leaders work in partnership with lay members of individual Societies and the Ethical Culture Movement.
Apply to become an Ethical Culture Leader
Interested individuals should contact the Dean of Leadership Training for the program, information and an application form. A $75.00 application fee is required when the application is submitted.
The Application Process
The application is shared with the full Leadership Committee for review. A personal interview is held with a Committee member. Qualified applicants are then invited for an interview with the Committee. Within three months, a background check is required for applicants who have provisionally been accepted for Leadership training.
What are the criteria for acceptance into Leadership Training?
Criteria for accepting an application for Leadership training are broad. It is expected that applicants will come with a wide range of differences in background, stage of life, and vocational history. The Leadership Committee considers an applicant's educational background, professional experience and competence, volunteer activities, specialized training, skills, and other characteristics of interest, avocations, and experiences.
The committee considers an applicant’s professional performance and its relevance to Ethical Culture Leadership, as well as professional standards and professional ethics. The committee also considers an applicant’s good standing and participation in the larger community in a variety of activities that may be of personal interest to her/him.
Commitment to Ethical Culture is of primary importance. The Committee will ascertain the applicants’ knowledge of Ethical Culture.
The Committee also tries to envision an applicant in the role of Leader, platform speaker, pastoral counselor, teacher, public spokesperson and community representative for Ethical Culture; and as an exemplar of ethical philosophy in all the multiple roles, responsibilities, and communities of life.
Are there any rules of privacy observed by the Leadership Committee?
The Leadership Committee has a policy of privacy of applicants’ materials, conversations with applicants, and discussions among committee members. Applicants are free to say anything they wish with whomever they wish. The Leadership Committee, however, maintains a policy of neither breaking confidentiality nor disclosing its deliberations.
Ethical Culture Leadership Training
Upon acceptance into the Ethical Culture Leadership Training Program, a trainee is assigned a mentor who is an Ethical Culture Leader. The training program for each trainee is highly individualized in recognition of each person’s uniqueness. The components of Leadership Training are modules which cover the basic knowledge required for Ethical Culture Leadership, and an internship/field-education stage.
What Do Ethical Societies need to do when hiring a Leader?
The AEU Bylaws (Article I, Section 6 and Article V, Section 4) require that Societies interested in hiring a Leader consult with the Leadership Committee prior to hiring. Contact with the Committee Chair early in the process allows a Society to obtain information and guidance on good search practices.
How do new Leaders become certified?
Certification for Leadership is conferred by the American Ethical Union (AEU) Board of Directors upon the recommendation of the Leadership Committee.
How does one obtain information about Leadership Training?
In 2010 the Leadership Committee developed a Leadership Training Handbook which contains extensive information on Leadership Training. If you are interested in receiving this handbook and/or exploring Ethical Culture Leadership training, please contact Dean Susan Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any Society wishing information about hiring a Leader should contact Susan Goldfrank, Chair of the Leadership Committee at email@example.com.