Reunion Updates | Capital University


Reunion Updates

  • TO: Trinity and Capital Communities
    FROM: Student Experience Integration Team
    RE: September 12 Update

    Student Experience Integration Team Updates:

    Welcome to the new school year! It is great to have students on campus full time again. The work done by members of the Integration Team (and many others) helped ensure a relatively smooth transition to the new academic year. We recognize that there were some challenges along the way, and we appreciate everyone’s patience while we worked out some wrinkles. We remain committed to ensuring that all students are informed of changes throughout this integration process. 

    E-mail Communication
    As a reminder, Trinity students have both a and a e-mail address. Students should to go to to access their Capital e-mail. You may find it helpful to forward all mail received in your Capital inbox to your account. Instructions for setting that up can be found here.

    New Student Experience Integration Team groups
    Our full committee has reorganized slightly to ensure that we can focus on specific tasks leading up to the full integration of Capital and Trinity on January 1. We will have two new teams meeting to address particular areas: 1) Student life experience, and 2) Policies and procedures. We are most excited to also add several opportunities for the Integration Team leaders to meet with students to answer questions and explore ways we can better serve you. The dates for our meetings are listed below.

    Interns returning to campus
    Welcome back to campus, interns! As part of your scheduled activities, we will be making sure that you are able to get your parking passes and student IDs.

    Switching student systems
    Trinity student information, including course registration and billing details, currently resides in the EMPOWER system at Trinity. We will work to migrate this data into Capital’s system throughout the fall. Students will register for spring courses in EMPOWER as usual. Please stay tuned for additional details as they become available. We are committed to minimizing the impact on students through this process and will help students navigate the new system well in advance of any changes.

    Please remember to observe the parking restrictions as Public Safety is now enforcing the parking policies.

    Capital ID cards
    If you were unable to get your Capital ID photo taken for any reason, you can do any time by visiting the IT Help Desk on the main floor of the Blackmore Library.

    Key Dates to Keep in Mind  

    • September 9-16: Second-year interns return to Trinity campus for fall intensive
    • September 13: Community Lunch
    • September 20: Integration Team leaders to meet with Trinity students
    • September 30-October 7: First-year interns return to Trinity campus for fall intensive
    • October 18: Integration Team leaders to meet with Trinity students

    As part of the work of this group, we will send regular updates but any questions, concerns or ideas can be sent to us at

  • TO: Trinity and Capital Community
    RE: A Message from President Beth Paul

    June 16, 2017

    Dear Colleagues,

    Our work toward reconnecting Trinity Lutheran Seminary with Capital University is challenging. It takes constant effort, ingenuity, and adaptation. Loss and grief are felt. And grace is needed, all around.

    Our commitment and goal are clear: The Seminary will have a sustainable model for continuing and thriving. The world needs us.

    Two weeks ago, I was inspired by a conversation with the Region 6 Bishops who expressed – unequivocally – their steadfast support of our work, their respect for and understanding of the challenges and pain of necessary change, and their belief that the opportunities our work opens are vital. And I am heartened by the continuing support of Bishop Elizabeth Eaton who shares the vision for rejuvenation of the Seminary, Church, and the world.

    Recent Progress
    Significant positive progress has been achieved in the last week.

    Building on the authorization of the Trinity Board of Directors at its May meeting to continue toward reunion, the Capital University Board of Trustees at its June 11-12 meeting reevaluated this initiative and again committed to the goal of reconnecting Trinity Lutheran Seminary with Capital University. The Board actions followed full review of stringent due diligence, careful consideration of financial and legal risk analyses, and a vigorous strategic discussion.

    Stephen Graham, Senior Director of Programs and Services at the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), participated in part of Capital’s Board meeting, sharing data on trends in seminary education, preliminary findings from the vast Educational Models and Practices in Theological Education study, and observations about opportunities opened by our collaboration.

    On Monday, we received notification that ATS approved our petition for the continuation of Trinity Lutheran Seminary as part of Capital University. Importantly, the ATS approval also stated that the sustainable business model created through the reunion fulfills the ATS requirement that the Seminary file a report on its ability to maintain financial equilibrium.

    The Higher Learning Commission team visited June 8 and 9 and commended the thoroughness of our application, as well as the thoughtful engagement of many throughout the Trinity and Capital community. I share below a summary of the visiting team’s oral observations; their official report will be received in a few weeks. Their concluding observations summarize well where we are in our complex process and the next important steps we must take together:

    1. Define the Capital and TLS integrated team. Meet regularly, with a facilitator, to achieve integration. 
    2. Clarify organizational restructuring. Revise the organizational chart, outlining roles and functions from July 1 through December 31, 2017, and from January 1, 2018 on.
    3. Create a place on the website to post defining and updating documents.
    4. Define the role, structure, and reporting line of the TLS Advisory Board that will be created as of January 1, 2018.
    5. Describe the strategic planning process for the University and detail how the plan with address TLS.
    6. Define how TLS will be incorporated into Capital’s organizational and governance structure.
    7. Align and integrate policies throughout the institution.
    8. Address a plan for TLS dean appointment (interim, permanent).
    9. Outline each degree program and requirements. Develop a full accounting of each program, with current student enrollments. Define a curriculum plan that meets the requirements of core degree programs and a full- and part-time faculty plan that supports curriculum requirements within the ATS-recommended student-faculty ratio parameters.

    Next Steps
    Integrating supports and systems
    Thank you for all efforts to date to learn together and define how best to continue Trinity’s mission through integrated operations. A basic framework has been structured. Now, more detailed collaborative work needs to fill out the framework, so that our aligned missions don’t just continue but are strengthened.

    It is time to define more united leadership for this advancing work. Our shared commitment to our students must unite us in collaborating constructively to ensure their support, learning, development, and success.

    To achieve these goals, I have appointed a work group including staff from all areas responsible for student-impacting functions. This work group will be led by a steering team composed of Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Services Susan Kannenwischer (Chair), National Recruiter for Seminary Admissions Kayla Aspeslagh, and Dean of Students Jennie Smith. This group will meet weekly to ensure that we are defining and creating a sound model for supporting our students and the fulfillment of our core mission.

    Academic Dean Brad Binau and Senior Associate Provost Terry Lahm will continue to work with faculty to define (a) a curriculum plan that meets the requirements of sustainable degree programs, (b) a full- and part-time faculty plan that supports curriculum requirements within the ATS-recommended student-faculty ratio parameters, and (c) ideas to explore for advances in programs and activities that will enhance mission-fulfillment and attract inspired students.

    Provost Jody Fournier, and everyone in the Provost’s Office, look forward to meeting with faculty to learn and get to know one another more fully, and to further explore how we can work together to enhance our academic and formation programs. Interdisciplinary program development and collaboration will be important to our combined, sustainable future together.

    Vice President for Advancement Jennifer Patterson will continue to work with Director of Development Chris Norman on fundraising, alumni engagement, and other outreach initiatives. Jennifer and I have both had wonderful conversations with Kim Hester, president of the TLS alumni organization, and we are planning some virtual discussion sessions later this summer to engage with alumni. Recently, I brought greetings to two Synod Assemblies. And I am preparing a video, at the request of the Region 6 Bishops, that they can put on their websites to help Region leaders understand the intentions of our work – a long, positive, thriving future for our Seminary.

    Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management J.P. Spagnolo and the admission team will continue to advance Seminary recruitment and enrollment strategies, procedures, and systems. Our community draws such fascinating and wonderful students! Strategic Enrollment Management is a whole-university collaboration. Thank you, all, for being a positive partner to attract students and enhance their learning experiences.

    Director of Facilities Paul Matthews will continue his work in coordinating facilities management, addressing deferred maintenance, and realizing environmental sustainability advances across all campuses.

    The role of University Pastor has been redefined with a university-wide scope of responsibilities and goals. The position will be posted next week. A search committee is being appointed now, under the leadership of Dr. Steve Bruning.

    And, a University Master Planning process is beginning in July and the university strategic planning process is rolling out in August, both of which will include Trinity.

    Dean Search
    To address the need for forward-moving leadership of the Seminary, we will have two stages of leadership to move our institutions through transition and into a reunited, mission-focused whole:

    Interim President. With the August retirement of President Rick Barger just ahead, I am working with Church leadership through Jonathan Strandjord, the Director for Seminaries at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (and representative to Bishop Eaton), the Region 6 Bishops, and the TLS Board of Directors to define an interim leadership plan as the search for a Seminary dean continues. It is expected that an interim president will be appointed shortly.

    Dean Search. To continue the search for a dean to lead the seminary within the university, I am appointing a group to advise me:

    • Jody Fournier, Provost
    • John Karanja, Professor of Church History
    • Bill Gafkjen, Chair, Conference of Bishops; Bishop of ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod
    • Judy Leidy, TLS Board member
    • Gary Sandberg, Pastor, Bethany Lutheran Church, Cherry Hills Village, Colorado
    • Jonathan Strandjord, representative to Bishop Eaton, Director for Seminaries, ELCA

    And constituent input will be sought on candidates of interest. As the dean must be called by the ELCA, I will consult with Bishop Eaton, the Region 6 Bishops and the TLS board and will then make the final appointment.
    Now is the time we must all come together, focused on mission, with a spirit of goodwill and collaboration, to raise up the reunited University and Seminary to be a place of purpose in our world and for our students. Senior leadership and I are dedicated to collaborating with all to ensure that Capital and Trinity Lutheran Seminary thrive. Join us.

    Thank you.


  • April 19, 2017

    Dear Students,

    Easter hope, joy, and life to you!

    Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital University exist and have a shared history going back to 1830 because of what God did on Easter. In the spirit of Easter, we write to you to share with you our excitement for how these two institutions are being stitched together again and being made new. As the governing council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently stated, the “reunion” of Trinity and Capital has been designed with thoughtful, forward-looking, and Spirit-filled imagination. Some of the immediate benefits that you as a new student at Trinity will enjoy include:

    • Multiple interdisciplinary study opportunities among the six professional graduate schools. Courses in the graduate schools of business, nursing, education, the music conservatory, and the law school offer opportunities to augment your theological studies with specific areas of interest that will serve to make you more purpose-ready upon graduation;
    • Opportunities for integrated theological conversation with graduate students in the other disciplines;
    • An expansion of leadership possibilities, both on campus and off;
    • An expansion of inter-religious engagement and study;
    • An expansion of research opportunities. For example, an interest in ecological justice could mean accessing expertise in the earth sciences or environmental law. In addition to Trinity’s Hamma Library, there is Capital’s Blackmore Library, and there is a separate library for the Law School;
    • An expansion of a broad network of deep community service and capacity-building opportunities;
    • The intersection of Capital’s nationally renowned Music Conservatory with Trinity’s disciplines in church music. Trinity is the only ELCA seminary with a church music program; and,
    • The expansion of horizons, possibilities, the national and international network of alumni and enhanced student services because of alignment with a university of 3,400 students, including 700 in graduate programs.
    • When you arrive to seminary you will discover that we are still on our own campus, just as you visited here. We will still have our able faculty of scholars and teachers. But you will also notice significant changes in the faces you will see who will provide support for you and enhanced student services as one significant outcome of being made anew. Trinity will also have its new Dean of the Seminary, a position that supplants its president as we move into reunion. Four potential candidates will be on campus this week and next. 

    As you anticipate your arrival to Bexley, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. For questions about financial aid, contact Melissa Powell . For all other questions contact Seth Bridger or Kayla Aspeslagh.

    With joyful anticipation,

    Rick Barger, President Elizabeth Paul, President
    Trinity Lutheran Seminary Capital University

  • What is this thing called “reunion”?

    By Capital University President Beth Paul
    Published in the April 5, 2017, issue of Trinity’s "Midweek Blast"

    I am a student of Capital University, delving into its past and present, so, together, we can imagine and create its future. My studies have gone back to our beginning, when roots were planted that provide sustenance for life.

    Trinity Lutheran Seminary (then the German Theological Seminary) was born in 1830. Twenty years later the Theological Seminary birthed what would become Capital University - called into being, “in faith alone, with small resources, this little school. Out of such rock as this was Capital University hewn.”

    We are family.

    These are the words of The Reverend Otto Mees, Capital University’s eighth president with a long tenure of some 33 years, who, in 1929, commenced our centennial year. He observed, “As we look back on the course of one hundred years, … the vision of that day, the activity that grew out of it, the progress, not without struggle, and heartaches and disappointments and despair, the building of well earned fame despite human frailities (sic) and mistakes, - that is the unseen background of the century which finds you here today as its fruitage.”

    Three decades hence, in 1959, the Church decreed that seminaries would become free-standing, thereby separating the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary (ELTS) from Capital University. In 1978, ELTS would then consolidate with Hamma Divinity School to become “Trinity Lutheran Seminary.”

    Our family was separated.

    President Mees reminds us: “We have a noble ancestry, a heroic background. And the spirit which gave the breath of life to this school one hundred years ago is still the soul of Capital University. It can never change. It may be refined, renewed, adjusted, molded, developed, - but its heart is the same.”

    I joined Capital University in July, 2016, hearing the beat of that heart, calling our family to be reunited. While the Seminary’s academic program is strong, the financial model has become untenable as societal dynamics have changed, posing a significant threat to the Seminary’s continuation. Now is our chance to sustain our shared mission, and to sustain the Seminary into the future. In order for the Seminary to have a bright future, significant change is needed - the financial model needs to be very different.  And we need to open our minds and hearts to new ways to serve our mission.  

    As President Mees observed, a long life – now more than 180 years of life! – is “not without struggle, and heartaches.” Sustaining such a long life requires adaptability, reinvention, and innovation in the face of major societal and generational change, driven by our commitment to being true to our roots – our vital mission in our world. As stewards, this is the work we are called to do – no matter how challenging.

    Reunion is progressing.

    The reunion is important and hard ... hopeful and challenging. There is no "how-to manual."  We have learned from other unifications. But each is also unique. We are being as thoughtful and diligent as we can. There is no "perfect."  There will be missteps ... and then we will reflect, learn, pick ourselves back up and try again. And we will keep working at it, with current and future students as the center focus of our work. 

    Capital's senior leadership team is fully engaged and committed. There has been significant dialogue between Capital and Trinity administration in defining staff, system, and process integration - with more happening and more to come.  I am heartened by our collective mission-driven commitment and hard work.

    At this point in the process, there are lots of moving parts. Some are messier and more complicated than others. And sometimes the moving parts are not neatly aligned. For example, we prioritized giving employees in positions that will not continue past June or December, 2017, as much advance notice as we can - before opportunities for staff integration are fully defined. We have held positions at Capital so Trinity staff can apply and be fully considered. Several such processes are in progress, with more to be defined.

    Also initiated is the faculty’s work, in collaboration with Dean Binau and Interim Provost Lahm, in studying the academic program and ensuring curricular fidelity while at the same time defining faculty needs commensurate with the size and scope of the school. The prioritization of contextual learning continues as a core distinction, as is experiential learning throughout the University.

    This process by definition involves hard work and painful impacts. I feel the pain in this process, particularly the discontinuation of positions as we integrate Seminary operations into the University. I feel the pain of the impacts on people who have committed dearly to our Seminary over time. At the same time, I must keep my focus on the goal - continuing transformative theological education – at present and into the future. 

    We must increasingly focus on creating the future - together.  The Seminary dean search is progressing very well. The search committee, with the leadership of Trinity trustee Fred Fritz and Interim Provost Terry Lahm, is working thoughtfully and diligently, with deep commitment to our strong future. Finalist dean candidates will visit campus before the end of the semester. This is a wonderful opportunity for thinking together about our future. Creating groups that brainstorm about future possibilities – and build new relationships - is also an important next step. This is not meant to disrespect the current pain.  It is meant to honor the imperative of our mission. 

    The most significant opportunity for defining a more sustainable financial model is integrating Seminary operations into Capital University. Yet this, alone, is not enough. Also required is stimulating increased enrollment through existing programs and new innovations. And critical to all seminaries is ongoing annual support from alumni, churches, and friends. Our belief in the future of the Seminary must shine through the challenging path to getting there.

    We welcome - and ask for – questions and thoughts. Questions and thoughts help all of us think and learn. They help us understand different experiences and perspectives. We will try to answer questions as we can. Sometimes we will have answers; sometimes we won't. Sometimes we won't have answers because we can't share confidential information, and sometimes because we don't yet have an answer.  There cannot be enough communication during such significant change; we have not had enough communication. We will keep working on juggling all of the moving parts and communicating as best as we can. 

    I am committed deeply to a bright future for the Seminary.  I am so very grateful for the hopes and prayers so many have shared, shining light on the promise of our path. I am also deeply grateful for the many people who are investing significant thought and work in forging this path. Now is a time to draw together to forge this vital path. 

    As President Mees reminds us, we are today “the heirs of that which was planned [more than] one hundred years ago. That should give to every [person] a new zest for living, and a desire to accomplish, with the hope of being and doing something which one hundred years hence will reflect creditably upon you as having been apt pupils in one of God’s schools. … May it be your prayer, and may you not be disappointed in the hope that as you enter, beginning here in the temple of God, you may understand and appreciate the background and spirit, the heartbeat of the school that lives by the same spirit in which it was founded [more than] one hundred years ago.”

    This is what defines and divines our reunion. This is what drives our earnest and challenging work. Our mission and the future of humanity is worth it. 

    In gratitude,

    Beth Paul
    President, Capital University

  • TO: Capital and Trinity Communities
    FROM: Presidents Beth Paul and Rick Barger
    RE: Capital/Trinity Reunion Update April 3, 2017

    As we continue to move steadily along the path to reuniting Capital University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary, we are reminded that progress is not easy. Our organizations are working diligently together to navigate challenges and act on opportunities to create a whole, unified Capital University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary that will be stronger than the sum of its parts.

    Our planned reunion will align both institutions’ momentum and create new capacity to serve as a powerful force for good and forming leaders through transformative higher education. Our success is reliant foremost on developing a sustainable business model through realizing additional revenue streams from new programs; fresh giving opportunities; operating efficiencies afforded by shared operations and resources; and optimizing the use and performance of physical and endowed assets.

    As we reported in our March 16 update, Capital’s and Trinity’s senior leadership teams, along with the transition team, have begun to establish the design for a unified organizational structure. The goals are to integrate operations, seize opportunities for innovation and new thinking, and reduce redundancies — all to strengthen both institutions and the student experience. A critical, but difficult, component of establishing the sustainable business model upon which this reunion depends, is eliminating some staff and administrative positions.

    As of Tuesday, March 28, we have notified all staff and administrators whose positions will not continue when Trinity and Capital enter an integrated operating model. A total of 18 positions, a mix of part time and full time, will be discontinued as of June 30, 2017. An additional six positions will be discontinued as of December 31, the earliest date a reunification could legally take effect. Faculty position discussions are ongoing with individuals and some administrative positions with faculty status have been reconfigured.

    Out of an abundance of respect for the talented and dedicated individuals who are affected, we underscore that these decisions in no way reflect their significant contributions to Trinity, nor should this be seen as an indication of their performance. We deeply value these individuals, and we honor their years of service. Likewise, we have pledged to help them in this transition with counseling, résumé guidance and job placement services to help them find new employment opportunities, especially as new roles at Capital emerge. We have also been deliberately timing searches for some positions at Capital so Trinity staff can seek these opportunities, as interested and qualified.

    Know that among our guiding principles for all reunion discussions and plans are to prioritize the student experience and our shared mission; to be fair, transparent and timely, as we are able, with communications; and to honor the dignity of all faculty, staff and administrators.

    With every step toward reunion, we are stretching ourselves to bring our best thinking to this opportunity to shape something new out of institutions that have co-existed for nearly two centuries. This is a seminal moment in positioning Capital, with Trinity, to live fully as a powerful force for good through transformative higher education. 

  • TO: Capital and Trinity Communities
    FROM: Presidents Beth Paul and Rick Barger
    DATE: Thursday, March 16, 2017
    RE: Progressing Toward Reunion

    We write to acknowledge and update our communities on the substantial progress we have collectively made since our November announcement that Capital University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary have resolved to pursue reunion. Connected by more than a century of shared history, and motivated by a timeless commitment to our missions, Trinity and Capital are drawn together with the expectation and commitment that, reunited, we can have greater positive impact on our world than we can achieve separately. We remain steadfast in our pledge to honor and strengthen our work to provide transformative education and leadership formation for the good of society, the church and the world.

    Open dialogue
    Along with our executive teams and the transition team, we have spent considerable time in recent months exchanging ideas, establishing parameters and guiding principles for our decisions, sharing operational data, and poring through due diligence, financial statements and projections. We’ve met together and individually with multiple stakeholder groups, especially students, faculty and staff, as well as our respective boards of trustees, to listen and understand concerns, to share information and perspective and to offer assurances that we are pursuing this reunion for the good of our students — past, present and future — in keeping with our values, and mindful of the burden that comes with significant change.

    Sharpening and integrating operations
    Through collaborative planning and discovery, vice presidents from each institution have begun to imagine what a unified organizational structure could look like, and how integrating operations, seizing opportunities, and reducing redundancies could strengthen both institutions and the student experience we deliver. And the reunion transition team has worked diligently with legal counsels, accounting firms and auditors, property assessors, environmental specialists and more to prepare extremely detailed due diligence reports, which we will review and include in the plan we present to both boards this summer.

    Collaborative planning and leadership
    In our shared vision for this reunion, it was agreed the next leader of the seminary would be a dean, and the search committee transitioned quickly and seamlessly to conducting a national search for Dean of the Seminary. Composed of individuals from Capital and Trinity, and co-chaired by the Rev. Fred Fritz, TLS Board member, and Dr. Terry Lahm, Capital Interim Provost, the committee held multiple listening sessions in the fall to help inform the search prospectus. Currently, the search committee is reviewing applications and holding phone interviews to narrow the pool of candidates for on campus interviews before the end of the term.

    Likewise, senior directors from administrative offices are working together to determine how best to integrate student services and success systems, technology, safety, health and wellness, residential, commuter and food services, and other key areas that support student life and development outside of the classroom.

    And earlier this week, Trinity has announced the search for a new, forward-thinking position in a streamlined structure for academic administration under a new dean. The Director of Contextual and Experiential Formation is a highly integrative role and is established to create visionary leadership and oversight to the matrix of contextual and experiential disciplines that, together with Trinity’s academic rigor, work to form whole persons who are purpose-ready at graduation. This position is a strong complement to Capital’s strategic emphasis on high-impact practices and experiential learning. The seminary’s reunion with Capital opens opportunities for increased experiential learning through innovative and creative approaches that create purpose-readiness. This is an exciting position, and we encourage you to read the position description at

    Joint notification to accreditors and ELCA
    Shortly after our initial communication declaring our intent to reunite, Capital and Trinity jointly sent formal notice to our respective accreditors, Higher Learning Commission and Association of Theological Schools, and to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Since then, we have identified application requirements and approval processes, required legal documents, critical deadlines and the order of approval from accreditors to the ELCA to state and federal departments of education that would follow board approval of the reunion agreement.

    Taking our next steps together
    As our work together continues in the coming months, remember that with each passage across College Avenue from Capital to Trinity and from Trinity to Capital, we are forging a new path paved with the hope of a sustainable future of integration that will be an exemplar of innovation in theological education and higher education. As we, as presidents, have met with the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Rev. Suzanne Dillahunt, Bishop of the Southern Ohio Synod, we were inspired by the clear direction and strong affirmation we received from both leaders. It is their expectation that Trinity in reunion with Capital will be an innovative and sustainable platform to answer the call of an emerging generation of leaders who want to use their lives for good in our world.

    Reuniting Capital and Trinity requires us to define and implement a sustainable business model focused on four key strategies:

    • Developing new revenue streams through increased gift and grant opportunities;
    • Developing additional enrollment revenue streams through the creation of new academic programs and interdisciplinary learning opportunities;
    • Optimizing the use of property, buildings and other physical assets; and
    • Integrating operations and reducing redundancies. 

    Among our guiding principles is providing consistent, informative and balanced communication to our communities to support transparency while also respecting the privacy and dignity of all involved. As a matter of policy, and out of consideration for everyone involved, neither Trinity nor Capital will discuss personnel matters on an individual basis. We will keep you informed of important organizational changes. We still have some significant challenges to work through, and we need your help. We ask you to:

    1. Keep students and their learning in the forefront.
    2. Talk with each other about potential and possibilities — open dialogue that could be the foundation for healthy collaboration.
    3. Be very mindful of the stresses of change. Support one another.
    4. Beware of rumors. Direct concerns to Nona McGuire at, who will direct them to the appropriate vice president for response, as appropriate.

    We value every member of our shared community, and we have built a mission-directed process we believe to be as considerate, supportive and kind as possible. Even if you don’t agree with our decisions, know that we are acting on guiding principles in keeping with our values of inclusion, stewardship and mission- and student-driven decision-making.

    Thank you for your collaboration and collegiality.

  • TO: Capital and Trinity Communities
    FROM: Presidents Beth Paul and Rick Barger
    DATE: Thursday, March 6, 2017
    RE: Update on Reunion

    In the aftermath of meetings of the two institutions’ governing boards and as we move towards the reunion of Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital University, we are encouraged to report the following:

    1. We continue to go forward together under a clear mandate for the continuing imperative of the mission of Trinity Lutheran Seminary for the sake of the church and the world. It is because of this reunion that Trinity can thrive in the development of leaders for the church and expand its reach and breadth through innovation, including interdisciplinary approaches, in partnership with Capital, for the purposeful formation of leaders and citizens. At the same time, this reunion strengthens Capital’s Lutheran identity.
    2. The highest priority in this reunion and the processes leading up to it is the welfare and vitality of our students.
    3. We are working thoughtfully and prayerfully to create a seminary that is innovative and hugely relevant in today’s world as it moves forward in its mission – to form leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world.
    4. In the coming days, the faculty at Trinity will be given guidelines for their work in designing an academic program that fulfills the hope and promise of the reunion. The guidelines will include target student-faculty ratios that are phased in over time and provide excellence in formation, the capacity to scale up in enrollment, and long term sustainability and vitality.
    5. Capital University vice presidents have been working with Trinity counterparts to define the organizational structures that will support long-term sustainability of seminary programming. By the end of March, we expect to have conversations with relevant staff regarding these plans. Our aim is to provide this information as soon as clarity is reached, so as to support our staff with their planning.
    6. Discussions with the Trinity governing board included the redefinition of the academic administrative structure, to ensure support of the shift from President to Dean. Roles discussed were an Associate Academic Dean and a Director of Academic Programs; the Board also discussed the important prioritization of the continued centrality of Contextual Education in this administrative redesign.  

    Look for another communication in the near future. 

  • Latest update


    TO: Trinity Community
    FROM: Student Experience Integration Team
    DATE: July 17, 2017
    RE: Important Updates

    Capital and Trinity have established a Student Experience Integration Team to prepare for fall semester and beyond, and to ensure a quality experience for all our students. The team includes members of all the functional areas of both institutions, particularly focused on student-facing offices, and is meeting on a weekly basis to work through the details of integration. The team co-chairs are: Susan Kannenwischer, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Services (Capital); Jennie Smith, Dean of Students (Capital); and Kayla Aspeslagh, National Recruiter (Trinity).

    Important Updates:

    • IT infrastructure: The work of installing Capital’s wireless and wired internet service is progressing and is expected to be complete by move-in for fall semester. This will allow seamless access to Capital systems and internet throughout both campuses.
    • Door access and security: Capital received grant money to install security cameras and automated door access controls in Trinity’s facilities and dorms. This access will be functional by August 1, and will allow secured access to the buildings and monitoring by Capital’s Department of Public Safety.
    • Capital IDs: All Trinity students and employees need to obtain Capital IDs. Capital IDs will enable use of the automated door access at Trinity, as well as access to Capital auxiliary benefits such as Blackmore Library, work-out facilities, and CapBucks for purchasing food on campus (and at select off-campus establishments in Bexley). Trinity faculty and staff will be notified when their Capital accounts have been created, and then they can come to the Capital IT helpdesk, located in Blackmore Library, to obtain an ID card. Trinity students will receive an email with directions for obtaining a Capital ID. Students will have the opportunity to submit information for their IDs prior to fall semester or at orientation on August 25.
    • Parking: All Trinity students and employees will need to obtain parking hang tags, which will permit access to parking in university and Trinity parking lots, consistent with the university’s parking regulations which can be found at Students will be issued student parking permits dependent upon their status as resident or commuter. Trinity faculty and staff will be issued parking permits for the northeast section of the Trinity lot, which will be reserved through December 31 for Trinity faculty and staff parking only. Consistent with Trinity’s current practice of not charging for parking, the fee for purchasing a parking hang tag will be waived for the 2017-18 academic year. Capital is creating a parking application form for Trinity students and faculty. The form will be shared in next week’s update, along with a link to a new webpage that will serve as the online repository for news, updates, student information and frequently asked questions about the Trinity-Capital reunion. A permit will be necessary for parking in all university lots beginning August 21.

    Key Dates to Keep in Mind:

    • July 6 – August 11: TLS Summer Greek 

    • July 12: Capital fall bills being sent 

    • July 24-29: TLS Summer D. Min. intensives 

    • July TBD: TLS Financial Aid Office to send out award letters 

    • August 21: Capital fall semester begins 

    • August 28: TLS fall semester begins

    The team will send out communications as the work progresses and there are important details and dates to share. Any questions, concerns or ideas can be sent to the team co-chairs at

  • TO: Capital and Trinity Communities
    FROM: Capital Communications
    RE: Introducing
    DATE: July 21, 2017

    A new resource for news, information and important updates about the Trinity Lutheran Seminary/Capital University reunion launched today. is a central and public information hub designed to keep anyone interested in reunion news informed and connected.

    The site is easily accessible from and Featured sections include:

    • News and Updates – a record of all news stories and email updates
    • Reunion FAQ – a living repository of frequently asked questions and answers
    • Student Information – a dedicated space for the most pressing student information needs, including key dates, important information and student-focused FAQs
    • Trinity Admission – a connection to admission resources for prospective students

    Integrating separate institutions is a complex, progressive process. Capital will carefully manage this site to support the shared commitment to transparent, timely and open communication. Users can choose from several tools exist throughout the site to submit a new question, submit feedback about the site or the integration process, or to communicate directly with the Student Experience Integration Team.

    Please visit the site and share feedback with for functionality, content or performance issues, or for questions and suggestion on how we can best support all students throughout this transition.

    Other updates

    Parking application form and map
    As announced last week, all Trinity students and employees will need to obtain parking hang tags, which will permit access to parking in Capital and Trinity parking lots, consistent with the university’s parking regulations. To obtain a parking permit, fill out this form and turn it in to Capital’s Public Safety Department, located in the house at the corner of Mound Street and College Avenue. Parking permits can be obtained now through August 21. View a campus map with parking lot information here (PDF). Students will be issued student parking permits dependent upon their status as resident or commuter. Trinity faculty and staff will be issued parking permits for the northeast section of the Trinity lot, which will be reserved through December 31 for Trinity faculty and staff parking only. The parking fee will be waived for the Trinity community during the 2017-18 academic year.

    Director of Contextual and Experiential Formation
    Trinity is in the final stages of its search for a Director of Contextual and Experiential Formation, a forward-thinking position in a streamlined structure for academic administration under a new dean. This is a highly integrative role and is established to create visionary leadership and oversight to the matrix of contextual and experiential disciplines that, together with Trinity’s academic rigor, work to form whole persons who are purpose-ready at graduation. This position is a strong complement to Capital’s strategic emphasis on high-impact practices and experiential learning.

    University Pastor
    Capital has launched a search for a dynamic leader for the freshly re-envisioned position of University Pastor. Capital seeks an experienced pastor who is passionate about mission-directed work with undergraduate and graduate students of diverse backgrounds in a vibrant and inclusive residential community. The search committee, under the leadership of Dr. Steve Bruning, professor of communication and director of the Convergent Media Center, is building and evaluating the candidate pool. View the prospectus at, and share it with qualified candidates.

    See All Updates


  • TO: Trinity Community
    FROM: Student Experience Integration Team
    DATE: August 3, 2017
    RE: Integration Update

    Student Experience Integration Team Updates:

    Parking Passes and Enforcement – Trinity students and employees will need to get a Capital parking pass. Parking policies will be enforced beginning the week of August 15. Capital’s parking application form asks for a Capital ID Number and a Capital Mailbox Number (among other information), but neither of these numbers is required for a parking pass to be issued. If you have a Capital ID Number, please include it. If not, that’s OK. Trinity employees and students can get their passes now by filling out the parking form here (PDF) and returning it to Public Safety, located at the corner of Mound Street and College Avenue.

    • Capital ID Number – When a Trinity student or employee is entered into Capital’s database of record, called Datatel, they will be assigned a seven-digit Capital ID Number. Students are assigned this number when someone from the Admission Office or Registrar’s Office enters them into the database. Employees are assigned this number when someone from Human Resources enters them into the database. This seven-digit number is required before students or employees from Trinity can begin engaging with any Capital system or database, including email, WebAdvisor and iLearn.
    • Trinity students have been assigned their Capital ID number. Students should have received an email in their Trinity email inbox from Chris Healey with instructions for “User Account Retrieval,” which will walk them through a secure process for retrieving their Capital ID number and setting up their Capital Computing Username and Password. This Username and Password will be used to access Capital IT systems such as Wi-Fi, email, iLearn, WebAdvisor, etc. If you are a Trinity student and did not receive an email from Chris Healey, please contact him at
    • Trinity faculty have been assigned their Capital ID number. If you did not receive your Capital ID number, please contact Autumm Caines at or for more information.
    • Trinity staff and administrators will be assigned their Capital ID numbers by Capital’s Human Resources Office after they fill out and return the Personnel Record Survey Form and return it to Capital’s Human Resources Office, located in Room 136 of Yochum Hall. Please fill out and return the form by August 11. Once you return the form, watch your Trinity email account for an email from Human Resources with instructions to set up your Capital user account and password. Questions can be directed to or 614-236-6168.

    Capital Computing Username and Password – Your Capital Computing username and password are needed to access most IT systems and accounts, such as Capital email, iLearn, WebAdvisor, and more. IT generates this username and password (which you will be asked to customize) through a User Account Retrieval process. Follow the steps in this process to retrieve your username and set your password.

    Capital ID Card – Once all of these steps have been completed, you can have your Capital ID card made. Your Capital ID card will give you access to buildings with secured access, and the Mezz Fitness Center, The Capital Center; and to Blackmore Library services and even Capital Bucks, which are flexible spending dollars you can add to your account and spend at eateries on campus and participating Main Street restaurants. Students, both new and returning, will have their Capital ID photos taken from 10:30 to noon on Monday, August 28, at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Employees can have their Capital ID card made after they turn in their Personnel Record Survey Form and receive additional instructions from Human Resources.

    iLearn/Online Learning Access
    – Returning Trinity students, you should have received an e-mail from Autumm Caines and Dan Parker prompting you to establish your iLearn account. iLearn is the online learning system that will replace Sakai, the system previously used at Trinity, and will allow you to easily communicate with your faculty digitally. Faculty, Capital and Trinity’s academic technology specialists are planning training sessions to acclimate you to iLearn prior to the fall. Please note: All Sakai resources have been retained in an archive for easy access during the transition to iLearn. If you don’t have access, please call Capital’s IT help desk for support at 614-236-6508.

    Title IX – Dr. Jennifer Speakman, Capital’s Title IX Coordinator, will be holding in-person training as well as making an online training module available to all Trinity students, faculty, staff and administrators in the near future. Trinity and Capital will jointly operate under Capital’s Title IX policy beginning with the fall semester. The policy can be located at The training will be a user-friendly method of reinforcing our commitment to ensuring an environment free from all forms of sex or gender-based harassment, discrimination, misconduct and assault.

    Textbook Needs – The Capital bookstore, operated by Barnes & Noble, will not be able to provide textbooks for the fall or spring semesters of the 2017-2018 academic year. Your professors will be communicating textbook needs with you directly in enough time to allow you to purchase your books through any of the online providers. Beginning with the summer 2018 semester, all textbook needs will be provided through Capital’s website and will be purchased from the bookstore or on your own.

    Key Dates to Keep in Mind:

    • August 17-20: Welcome Weekend at Capital; new students move onto campus
    • August 19: Returning Capital students move back to campus
    • August 21: Capital fall semester begins
    • August 23-25: Trinity orientation
    • August 28: Trinity fall semester begins

    Communication – As part of the work of this group, we will send regular updates but any questions, concerns or ideas can be sent to us at

  • Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital University: A Resurgence

    By Beth Paul, Ph.D.
    Capital University President
    August 8, 2017

    I am delighted to bring you warm summer greetings from Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital University. This is a special time for me. I'm reflecting on what has been a wonderful first year as part of this community, and looking forward to all that we have ahead of us. Thank you for taking some time with me to reflect on one of the most significant things that we’ve been working on this year, which is bringing back together Trinity Lutheran Seminary with Capital University.

    One of the things that I love about our community is that we care deeply about the world. And what an interesting world that we live in right now. We live in a challenging world, and we don't shy away from facing those challenges. In our community, we care about the world especially when we find ourselves in troubled and challenging times.

    If you think about it, throughout our long history, our care for the world has challenged us many, many times. And it has prompted us to change and stretch and grow so that we stay true to our vitally important mission.

    Well, here we are again. We’re at such a time when our world is very troubled. We’re facing a time when we’re increasingly disconnected. Feeling isolated. We have this odd situation where we seek to feel alone together. We are uninformed. We’re misinformed. We’re kept in the dark about a lot that is going on. We’re confused about the dynamics in the world. And this leaves us feeling desperate for finding meaning, and finding the significance of our lives as we move into the future. Our humanity is diminishing. It’s very disturbing to me to think about how we are returning to a time of such great polarization.

    We’re questioning the value of education. We can’t disagree peacefully. We don’t have respect for people with other perspectives, and we’re losing faith in the institutions that create the social fabric that is so vitally important to us as humans.

    Our opportunity for reigniting our vital mission and brightening are troubled world is now — because of these dynamics. Together, we are agents of reform including self-reform. Nearly 200 years of shared history requires reform. You can’t avoid it; in lasting over that length of time, we constantly have to think about how we adapt and change to stay relevant in a world that needs us.

    But with reform comes challenge and pain and loss. And by making our way through challenge and pain and loss, we open opportunity for rebirth and for new vision into the future. So, we are uniquely positioned to answer this call in our world for re-envisioning a different future.

    Trinity with Capital can make its mission relevant to more people in a broader array of disciplines. Capital with Trinity can brighten more lives and communities by moving more people to live, learn and work with purpose. Together we amplify our shared values. We have shared values that are deep — values of inclusion, values of social and ecological justice, and certainly lifting life for all.

    We are agents of change. And change is here. Seminary enrollment is down nationwide; it certainly has been down at Trinity. And the business model is unsustainable. So, we can choose to do nothing. And, sadly, Trinity will not survive. Or, we can choose to be agents of change, and we can create a new future.

    At the same time, the church is also facing change. Our seminaries and universities need to be active partners in re-envisioning Beloved Communities for a contemporary world that needs us. Again, we can choose to do nothing; change will come; and we will not be prepared to lift humanity as we are called to do. Or, we can choose to be agents of change, and we can create a new future. We are agents of change.

    We share a beautiful mission and history of answering the call:

    • in 1830 with the founding of the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary in Ohio,
    • in 1850 to extend our mission with the charter of Capital University — yes, Capital University grew out of the seminary, and
    • many more reforms later, we answered the call again in 1978 to join with the gifts of Hamma School of Theology to form a single Lutheran seminary in Ohio — Trinity Lutheran Seminary.

    Today, the world is calling us again. Given our unique position and these very high stakes, how can we not answer this call?

    I am so moved by and appreciative of the many, many individuals who are coming together to answer this call. In this first phase, we have had many, many conversations with the different constituencies relevant to this initiative, including extensive board conversation with both of the boards, and ongoing approval from the boards so that we make sure that we keep moving apace.

    We’ve also done exhaustive financial and legal due diligence, making sure that we are attending to all of the financial and legal issues that will ensure the integrity of our new relationship moving forward. We are working very hard to forge a sustainable business model — a central part of what we're doing so that we can in sure that we have a model that will sustain the seminary well into the future.

    And I’m also very pleased that we have received affirmations from some of the accrediting bodies that are very important to putting a stamp of approval on what we’re doing so that we have that support moving forward. So far, we’ve heard from the Association of Theological Schools and also the Higher Learning Commission, and we continue to work with both bodies to make sure that there is integrity throughout. This work has been challenging. At once, it has been challenging, unpredictable, messy, painful, but also vitally important for setting a new foundation for the future.

    Now, our work focuses squarely on the students. We have the students at the center of our considerations moving forward. Our work with students, our work with faculty and staff, our work throughout the University and seminary is to ensure that we have a vibrant learning community moving forward that answers the call in our world.

    We’ve formed a Student Experience Integration Team. This is a team of some 50 people, maybe more, from across the University and seminary, people who are coming together from all elements and working together to ensure that we have a wonderful student experience and infrastructure to support our students. Nothing brings our vision to life more than seeing people from all across the University and seminary come together to improve and brighten students’ lives. Again, more than 50 people are working together around the table weekly to ensure that we're moving forward in the best possible way.

    I’ve also been very pleased to share the news of new leadership, certainly the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Stanley Olson, the interim president, and also recently the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Anne Marshall, director of contextual and experiential formation. What wonderful appointments we have to support the seminary as we move into this future. So, as we are answering the call, we are seeing a pathway to the future come to life already, and there is much more to come.

    So where do we go from here? We know the world needs us. We know that together we are uniquely positioned to meet that need. We know that being agents of reform is in our DNA. We have a lot of experience with making reforms to keep ourselves relevant and contributing to our world.

    We have chosen to answer this call to create a new future together. We started out calling this a Reunion out of respect for the joint histories that have knitted us together for generations. But I was reminded recently that reunions are focused on revisiting the past. And while I am deeply respect full of — and even inspired by — our long and important history, our eyes, hearts and minds are set on ensuring a strong future.

    So, this is not a reunion. It is a Resurgence of what is important in our community and in our world. It is a renewal of a shared vision. An awakening of an urgency. A restoration of confidence that we can make a difference. We can make the difference that we have been called to make by our mission for nearly 200 years. This is a groundswell of purpose — our purpose — in this world.

    Your support, your prayers are felt and they are deeply appreciated. This is a challenging process. Reform is rarely easy. Making the necessary changes to heed the call in our world is a challenging project, and we need the community to be part of that with us. Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital University will continue to answer this call for many, many years to come.

    I am so grateful to you for joining us as we rise up and build this future together. Share this good news in your community. Help connect us with prospective students who are excited about being part of this kind of project for the future. And be part of visioning that future with us because together we will continue to make the difference that we’re called to make. Thank you.