The Institute of Sacred Music Colloquium

Colloquium is central to the purpose of the Institute and to the faculty’s involvement in, and personal attention to, how ISM students are trained. Colloquium is the meeting ground for all Institute students and faculty, the place where we study together, grapple with major issues, and share our work as students of sacred music, worship, and the arts.

The Institute of Sacred Music Colloquium is a course, taken for credit, that meets every Wednesday from 3:30 until 5 p.m., with informal discussion from 5 to 5:30 p.m. It is divided into two term-long parts, with responsibility for the fall term resting primarily with the faculty and outside presenters, and for the spring term primarily with the students.

One of the primary tenets of the Institute’s mission is to bring into conversation the broad fields of arts and religion. To this end, ISM students from the two partner schools of Music and Divinity collaborate on a presentation to be given in their final year. In their penultimate year, student pairings are made, and as a team they develop a topic and thesis to which they both can contribute significantly and collaborate equally. This process is advised and monitored by ISM faculty, who at the end of the year award the Faculty Prize for the best student presentation.

Student presentations are graded as follows: pass with distinction, pass, pass with reservation, or fail. All ISM faculty members will grade the presentations and submit remarks. The director collates all the information, adjudicates the grade, and conveys the faculty comments to the students. Students whose presentations do not pass do not receive credit for the term of Colloquium in which they presented; therefore they do not receive the ISM Certificate.

We videorecord all presentations for our archives.