Administrative Faculty

Earlham School of Religion administrative faculty serve multiple roles. They assist new and current students with their life at ESR, connect with alumni and community members, collaborate with donors to help us fulfill the mission of ESR, and help our teaching faculty with creating collaborative learning environments where students are engaged and challenged to think deeply and critically about matters of faith, theology and religious practice. 

Their educational backgrounds and experiences are diverse, but they share a singular focus on equipping new generations of students for lives of active ministry.


Julie Dishman, Director of Recruitment and Admissions

Julie joined the staff of ESR in 2014 as Receptionist to Admissions and the Faculty, and is currently responsible for recruiting new students as well as overseeing the admissions process for ESR. She earned a B.A. from Ball State University in 1998. 983-1523

L. Thomas Decker, Development Coordinator

Tom joined the administrative faculty at ESR in 2019 and manages the school's development and philanthropy efforts. He earned his M.Div. from ESR in 2018. 983-1656



Jonelle Ellis, Director of Business Services and Facilities

Jonelle joined the administrative faculty at ESR in 2018 and manages the school's business affairs and facilities. She earned a B.A. from Indiana University East in 2014.



Karla Fribley, Academic Technologies and Seminaries Librarian

Karla Fribley is the Seminaries Librarian for ESR and Bethany Theological Seminary. She provides research support to students, faculty, and staff. She has an undergraduate degree in English from Earlham College ('03), and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. She joined ESR and Bethany in 2017. 983-1290


James Higginbotham, Acting Dean and Professor of Pastoral Care

James is an ordained minister who joined the ESR faculty in 2005. He earned a B.A. from Hiram College in 1980; an M.Div. from Vanderbilt University in 1983; an M.S. from Loyola College of Maryland in 1990; and, a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 2005. 983-1522


Anne Houtman, President of Earlham College

Anne Houtman began serving as president of Earlham in July 2019. She comes to Earlham from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, where she served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. She holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford in Zoology and a master’s degree in Anthropology from UCLA. She earned her bachelor of arts degree from Pomona College. Houtman is a Quaker, and she is the first woman to serve as President of Earlham.

April Vanlonden, Joint Seminaries Registrar 

April joined ESR in 2009. She is a recorded Friends minister and earned a B.A. from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1983 and an M.Div. from ESR in 2004. 983-1816