Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bethany Seminary trustees welcome new president and new chair.

The Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees met on Oct. 26-28 in Richmond, Ind., led by a new chair and a new president. The meeting began with a time of worship and an anointing service for incoming Bethany Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen. Board chair Ted Flory of Bridgewater, Va., directed the board through the agenda.

The board also welcomed new member Martha Farahat of Oceana, Calif., and accepted with regret the resignation of Jim Hardenbrook of Caldwell, Idaho, as he and his wife, Pam, prepare for mission work in Sudan on behalf of the Church of the Brethren.

The Academic Affairs Committee reported that faculty are considering ways the seminary can respond to recent Annual Conference statements such as "Becoming a Multi-Ethnic Church" and "Reverse Membership Trend." They also shared a progress report on the search process for two fulltime faculty who will be responsible for the areas of theology, church history, Brethren studies, and the master of arts program. Because of the potential for faculty overload, the board approved an additional search for a half-time position in Brethren studies.

The Institutional Advancement Committee reported that Bethany's website has been redesigned and includes many new features. The committee announced the launch of two new development initiatives: a Congregational Ambassador program for church relations, and a President's Associates group for donors.

The board approved a recommendation from the Student and Business Affairs Committee to increase tuition for the 2008-09 fiscal year from $296 to $325 per credit hour. The committee shared a synopsis of the annual questionnaire completed by graduating students for the Association of Theological Schools. The students expressed satisfaction in class size, quality of teaching, and accessibility of faculty. The top five skill areas cited as most improved were ability to conduct worship, knowledge of their own religious tradition, ability to relate social issues to faith, ability to preach well, and ability to use and interpret scripture.

A joint committee of board members, faculty, and staff announced dates for an Inaugural Forum on March 30-31, 2008. More information will be made available.

On Saturday evening, the board invited faculty and staff to a dinner and an envisioning discussion to identify the core values that guide the seminary's mission. Sunday's closing session included a report by president Johansen on her first 100 days. She has experienced Bethany as a welcoming community of creative and competent students, faculty, and staff, and has identified three items for development: strengthening internal procedures, clarifying and renewing the seminary's mission focus, and marketing that mission.

--Marcia Shetler is director of Public Relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

Source: 12/05/2007 Newsline

No comments: