Home » Education News

East and west seminary boards respond to task force

January 31, 2011 One Comment

Seminary regents Rev. James Heinbuch (Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary) and Rev. Mark Dressler (Concordia Lutheran Seminary). (Photo by Thomas Winger)

by James Morgan
Following a joint meeting, January 21 in St. Catharines, the Boards of Regents at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (CLTS) in St. Catharines, and Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS) in Edmonton released a joint response to the members of the LCC Board of Directors’ Task Force on Cost-Efficient and Sustainable Seminary Education. 

The response, signed by Pastor Robert Krestick, chair of the CLTS Board of Regents, and Pastor Paul Schallhorn, Board of Regents Chair at CLS, suggests “not organizational, but operational unity would be most beneficial for the goals of the task force,” and encourages development of a memorandum of understanding outlining details of that operational unity. 

The Regents of each institution plan to further reduce costs through using faculty exchanges and using existing technology to increase distance education, although the response stresses that distance education should not replace the vital person-to-person contact from which students can benefit in a traditional classroom. 

With respect to the role of the Seminary President, the response states that his responsibilities do not allow him to teach a full course load, and the task force’s recommendation to have a single president for a merged CLTS and CLS would only increase that workload. 

Further, the regents believe that seminaries need to teach all five disciplines of theology, and since under a task force recommendation the president cannot teach full time, reducing the number of full time professors to five will not adequately fulfill the disciplinary obligation. The report recommends six full time professors be available to teach at either facility as opposed to the task force’s recommendation of five. 

Centralizing administration would present a practical challenge the response says, and cautions that it would difficult for serving each site equally. It notes that combining donor development and fund-raising create no significant savings, the regents suggest a “centralized, synodical development recruitment officer be funded by LCC.” 

To enhance cooperation between the two locations, the Boards of Regents recommend joint faculty meetings at least twice a year by video conference. Building on this cooperation, the response approves of “diploma and certificate routes to ordination,” and expresses a desire to establish an equivalency for students without a BA degree. 

The response finishes with an understanding that major decisions may not be finalized until the next synodical Convention in June 2011, but that the response is only meant to give a “snapshot” of the status of discussions. 

Members of the Boards of Regents are nominated by the church-at-large and elected at synodical conventions. 

Read the report HERE