Theme House Application and Review Process

In Spring 2017, the Campus Life Advisory Committee (CLAC) approved an application and review process for the Theme House programs with purposes of:

  1. Providing a formal process for the Earlham College community to propose a new Theme House program.
  2. Formally review the existing Theme House programs to ensure they are meeting their goals as well as the goals of the Earlham College community.

This Theme House review process requires each Theme House to be reviewed every three years by the Campus Life Advisory Committee.  It further requires that the Office of Residence Life complete an informal review of each Theme House during the years between formal review by CLAC.

Here are some important highlights of the Theme House application and review process:

  • Each year, the Earlham College community may submit an application for a new Theme House program for review by CLAC.
  • Each Theme House is formally reviewed by CLAC every three years.
  • During the years a Theme House is not formally reviewed by CLAC, the Theme House conducts an informal review with the Office of Residence Life to identify areas for growth as well as areas of achievement.
  • A Theme House review consists of queries meant to gather information about the program, ultimately helping to answer the question, “Should this Theme House program be renewed?”  Information is gathered from many stakeholders to the Theme House program, such as the current residents, the faculty adviser, Facilities/Housekeeping, the Office of Residence Life and the Earlham community.
  • At the conclusion of the formal review, CLAC will determine if a Theme House program will be renewed, conditionally renewed or not renewed.


Proposals for new Theme House communities should contain education goals for its residents, Earlham community engagement goals, Richmond community engagement goals, a draft of their Community Standards and a letter of support from a faculty member and commitment to serve as their adviser. The education goals for the community should outline learning objectives for the students who live in the Theme House. The Earlham community engagement goals should outline how the Theme House community will engage, educate and meet a need within the Earlham College community. The Richmond community engagement goals should outline how the community will engage with their Richmond community neighbors. The Community Standards document outlines basic governance standards for the community to aid in community accountability and communication. Finally, a letter of support and commitment from a faculty member will express their support for the community proposal, what resources they or their department plans to commit to and their educational goals for the community. This packet should be submitted to the Office of Residence Life.

CLAC will review submitted applications for Theme House programs if there are available college house facilities for the upcoming academic year, either because a Theme House was not renewed or because an additional facility is begin allocated to the Theme House residential program.


The Theme House review process is actually a re-application process for an existing Theme House program. This re-application consists of two parts:

  1. A program proposal, which contains the same information as a new Theme House application. Much of this information has already been put together by a Theme House program during their original application process.
  2. A program evaluation, which is a compilation of information on what the program has done since its last review. Information is gathered by the Theme House program as well as the Office of Residence Life.

During the years that a Theme House program is not being formally reviewed by CLAC, the Office of Residence Life will conduct an informal review with the Theme House program, which closely mirrors a formal review and allows a program improve and prepare for the formal review.

The outcome of a formal review by CLAC will be one of three things:

  1. Renewed: These Theme Houses will be scheduled for another official review in three years and conduct informal reviews each year with the Office of Residence Life. 
  2. Conditionally renewed: These Theme Houses will be granted a specific period of time (usually one year) to demonstrate to CLAC why they should be renewed. If a Theme House is conditionally renewed, the Theme House can either only be renewed or not renewed during their next review.
  3. Not renewed: These Theme Houses will develop a transition-out plan with the Office of Residence Life and plan to turn the house facility over to a new Theme House that has been accepted by CLAC for the following academic year.

The backbone of the program evaluation portion of a Theme House review are the queries that solicit information from stakeholders across the Earlham College community about the Theme House program.  Below are a list of the queries as a part of the program evaluation and the stakeholders that provide context about the Theme House under review.

More information and resources

The Office of Residence Life works behind the scenes to keep you safe, healthy and fulfilled throughout your journey at Earlham College. Whether you are looking for academic advice, a shoulder to lean on, or opportunities for personal and professional growth, our team is here to support you through it all.

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.