Quaker Leadership Scholars Program

About the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program (QLSP)

The purpose of the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program (QLSP) is to apprentice students to the Quaker tradition, for the purpose of living spiritually-rooted, socially just, theologically robust, and experientially-prepared lives as leaders within and outside the Quaker world.Students are provided with opportunities to practice leadership skills, spiritual formation, and serve as Faithful stewards of Guilford College, and greater Greensboro.

This happens through active engagement in community service, modules, worship, community bonding, workshops/trainings, and other leadership activities. In order to successfully work toward advancing the purpose and mission of QLSP, students are expected to make QLSP work a priority during their time as a Leadership Scholar at Guilford College.

If you would like to become a participant in the program and a scholarship holder, please contact the admissions office at Guilford College or the Director of the program.

Current QLSP Student Resources

The Four Core Components of QLSP

Spiritual Formation

“Friends, meet together and know one another in that which is eternal, which was before the world was” George Fox – 1657

Historically, worship has been at the heart of the Quaker faith. Through worship we can both connect deeply with Spirit and with our community. Our work in the world is grounded in the Spirit whose presence can be felt powerfully during worship. Individual spiritual practices help us connect with the Presence. This connection deepens our communal worship, which in turn supports our work in the world.

“In worship we have our neighbors to right and left, before and behind, yet Eternal Presence is over all and beneath all. Worship does not consist in achieving a mental state of concentrated isolation from one’s fellows. But in depth of common worship it is as if we found our separate lives were all one life, within whom we live and move and have our being”. – Thomas Kelly

Community Service

“Any journey linking social justice to spirituality needs a destination: a world in which there is less violence in whatever form. The journey needs to lead away from structural violence, which is why we are seeking to link the notion of solidarity with that of effectiveness (which, we termed, perhaps unoriginally, ‘pragmatic solidarity’.” – From In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez.

A solidarity model of connection to others means that we follow their lead in making the world a more just place. We can do this most directly through service from which we learn, in which we struggle, and ultimately, grow spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. Our contribution of service also reminds us of the history and change in labor distribution, exploitation, and privilege.


“Increasingly we see education as part of living rather than as preparation for living, and the motivation for educating ourselves and others grows more intrinsic than extrinsic. – William Fraser

Apprenticeship is about learning the tradition. It is both faith and practice. We do this primarily through Modules, or “Mods,” which are an intentional way for Quaker Leaders to engage in learning that deepens their relationship and understanding of Quaker faith and practice while developing their leadership skills. Quakers have long valued the role of education. In 1668 George Fox set up a school for students, regardless of gender, to instruct all “in whatsoever things were civil and useful in creation.” The form and subject of Quaker education has shifted over time, but it has remained an important part of the Quaker faith. Our hope is that through the modules students will engage with subjects that are useful to their development as Quaker Leaders.

Training: Quaker Tradition of Justice

“Let us not be beguiled into thinking that political action is all that is asked of us, nor that our personal relationship with God excuses us from actively confronting the evil in this world. The political and social struggles must be waged, but a person is more and needs more than politics, else we are in danger of gaining the whole world but losing our souls.” -Eva I Pinthus, 1987

To “do rightly, justly, truly, holily, equally, to all people in all things”, as phrased by George Fox, we must continue to learn from others, discern our role in those teachings, and practice new skills. In order to remain relevant and attuned to the needs of the Quaker Leadership Scholars, (anti-oppression) workshops remain an integral part of learning new frameworks and skills, in the interest of spiritual growth and leadership development.

Meet the Director of the Quaker Leadership Program

Liz Nicholson (she/her):

Liz Nicholson

A Hoosier Quaker in origins, Liz is a 2012 graduate of Guilford College where she studied Psychology and Music, and was an active part of the QLSP program during her years here. Upon graduation, Liz moved to Atlanta to join the founding cohort of Quaker Voluntary Service, where she later went on to serve as the Atlanta City Coordinator, and Communications Coordinator for the national organization.
Liz recently completed her Master’s degree in Peace and Social Transformation at Earlham School of Religion as a part of the first program cohort. Her studies explored the theological and historical intersections of spirituality and social change work.

Liz is excited to return to the Guilford community to work closely with students exploring spirituality, identity, and what it means to apprentice in “the Quaker Way.” She brings passion and experience with conflict transformation, racial equity work, and disability justice to the community.

Some Key Details of the Program

Each semester QLSP students engage in the following activities, rooted in the mission and four components of the program:

  • Completing 40 service learning hours, resulting in a community contribution of 1,200+ service learning hours each semester
    • Engaging in service with the following projects: Church Under the Bridge, Every Campus a Refuge, Friends Homes Guilford, Jamestown Friends Meeting, Friends General Conference (FGC), NC A&T Moses Cone Children Health Center, Quaker Cupboard, YWCA, Mobile Oasis, Farm Stand, CAPA Kids, and many others.
  • Attending local meetings for worship with Friendship Friends, First Friends, New Garden Friends Meeting, Jamestown Friends, and Asheville Friends, among others
  • Completing a 6 session module each semester in the following categories:
    • Authentic Community: Co-creating interdependence & social justice
    • Scriptural Literacy & Historical Gratitude: Quaker history and Quaker Faith and Practice
    • Spiritual Disciplines: Practicing spiritual formation
  • Examples of past module topics include:
    • The Life of Jesus: Interpreting the Sermon on the Mount
    • Exploring Spiritual Practices Through Creative Expression
    • Coalition Building and Faith-Based Community Strategies for Social Justice
    • Quakers and Conflict
    • Jesus Against Empire
    • Evil Queens and Wicked Step-Mothers in the Bible
  • Organizing and attending campus worship regularly, including programmed, semi-programmed, and unprogrammed manners of worship
  • Community building through Community Hospitality events and monthly Community Time
  • Attending on-campus trainings, such as Liberation Space Training, Anti Racism Training and UndocuAlly Trainings, and special topic workshops, which are offered each month
  • Note: First year students journey through their first year at Guilford in the first year meetings, where all of the above topics are covered with an intentional focus on group cohesion and process. First year students also complete REL 110.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program

We are proud of the 25+ year history of QLSP. Since 1992, when Max Carter and Deborah Shaw created the program, more than 300 students have gone through our program. One of our two Co-Directors today is a graduate of the program, and the other is closely connected as a Quaker and graduate of the College. We believe that investing in new generations of leadership, supporting their growth and vision, and continuing to evolve the program so that it can remain strong for years to come, is the essential heart of our work. Many QLSP students go on to worship with or work in Quaker organizations or other non-Quaker, related institutions. Our mission is to prepare students with skills rooted in the Quaker tradition, and spiritually-shaped, justice-informed, flexible, generous, and creative leadership. Our goal is to prepare and support the next generation of Quaker leaders from Guilford who are prepared to renew our organizations today.

Below you find a video featuring a number of our graduates of the program over the years.

Friends Center is located in the Eva Campbell House on the South Side of Campus (along Friendly Ave).

The views and opinions expressed within this site are strictly those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Guilford College or any recognized Guilford College organization. Comments on the contents of this site should be directed to the author(s).