TO: Trinity and Capital CommunitiesFROM: Student Experience Integration TeamRE: September 12 Update
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 CommunicationAs a reminder, Trinity students have both a TLSOhio.edu and a Capital.edu e-mail address. Students should to go to www.outlook.com/capital.edu to access their Capital e-mail. You may find it helpful to forward all mail received in your Capital inbox to your TLSOhio.edu account. Instructions for setting that up can be found here. New Student Experience Integration Team groupsOur 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 campusWelcome 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 systemsTrinity 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.
ParkingPlease remember to observe the parking restrictions as Public Safety is now enforcing the parking policies.
Key Dates to Keep in Mind
CommunicationAs part of the work of this group, we will send regular updates but any questions, concerns or ideas can be sent to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
TO: Trinity and Capital CommunityRE: 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 ProgressSignificant 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:
Next StepsIntegrating supports and systemsThank 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 SearchTo 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:
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. BP
April 19, 2017Dear 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:
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, PresidentTrinity Lutheran Seminary Capital University
By Capital University President Beth PaulPublished 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.”
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.”
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.
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 PaulPresident, Capital University
TO: Capital and Trinity CommunitiesFROM: Presidents Beth Paul and Rick BargerDATE: Thursday, March 16, 2017RE: Progressing Toward ReunionWe 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 dialogueAlong 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 operationsThrough 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 leadershipIn 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 http://www.tlsohio.edu/careersJoint notification to accreditors and ELCAShortly 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 togetherAs 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:
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:
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 CommunitiesFROM: Presidents Beth Paul and Rick BargerDATE: Thursday, March 6, 2017RE: 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:
Look for another communication in the near future.
TO: Trinity CommunityFROM: Student Experience Integration TeamDATE: July 17, 2017RE: 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).
Key Dates to Keep in Mind:
CommunicationThe 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 email@example.com.
TO: Capital and Trinity CommunitiesFROM: Capital CommunicationsRE: Introducing Capital.edu/TrinityDATE: July 21, 2017A new resource for news, information and important updates about the Trinity Lutheran Seminary/Capital University reunion launched today. Capital.edu/Trinity is a central and public information hub designed to keep anyone interested in reunion news informed and connected.The site is easily accessible from TLSohio.edu and Capital.edu. Featured sections include:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for functionality, content or performance issues, or email@example.com for questions and suggestion on how we can best support all students throughout this transition.
Parking application form and mapAs 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 FormationTrinity 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 PastorCapital 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 capital.edu/employment, and share it with qualified candidates.
See All Updates
TO: Trinity CommunityFROM: Student Experience Integration TeamDATE: August 3, 2017RE: Integration Update
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 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 http://www.capital.edu/Title-IX-and-Sexual-Harassment/ 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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital University: A Resurgence
By Beth Paul, Ph.D.Capital University PresidentAugust 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:
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.