The recent meeting of the United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) Board of Trustees was marked by a series of positive developments for the seminary community.
First, we welcomed back our student representatives as well as two representatives of the LTSP and LTSG alumni associations. It was wonderful for the board to hear directly from students regarding their life at ULS. The board appreciated hearing the aspirations and concerns of our student body. We as a board hope that having our alumni representatives at the table for our board meetings will continue to provide valuable input to the way our work is carried out and look forward to representation from the new ULS alumni board.
The board approved the Welcome and Equity Statement. This statement, which is the work of the new board Diversity Committee and the Diversity Task Force has been in development for several months with input from across the ULS community. The statement will inform the seminary’s mission going forward. The statement also helps to lay the groundwork needed to regain Reconciling In Christ status for the seminary. The Board of Trustees is grateful to everyone who participated, and we look forward to living into the challenges the statement places before us.
The board also approved a statement brought before it by the Academic Leadership and Development Committee (ALDC) that will provide the basis for faculty tenure as defined at ULS. The statement defines what tenure will look like at ULS and provides a framework that both honors the work of our faculty and provides flexibility to the seminary. The statement is the result of nearly 18 months of work done by a special Faculty Permanency (Tenure) Task Force appointed by the board of trustees and working under the direction of the ALDC. The committee was comprised of faculty, administration, and members of the board. The approval of the statement by the board of trustees will help bring long term stability and assure that ULS will have the very best faculty and curriculum with which to carry out its mission.
In addition, the Resource Development and Financial Management Committee of the board brought forward a very solid plan to ensure the long-term financial stability and growth of the seminary. In recent months a financial task force was appointed consisting of representatives of the ULS Board of Trustees, the ULS Endowment Foundation (ULSEF) board, the Seminary Ridge Historical Foundation board, and the LTSP board (the LTSP board holds property on the Philadelphia campus and oversees the LTSP endowment fund), in order to better understand and coordinate financial planning for all ULS financial needs. The plan will assure that short term cash flow remains positive, while assuring long term financial stability and growth of both ULS and the ULSEF. With the recent large estate gift to ULS, the board of trustees is exploring a variety of ways to assist students through the enlarged scholarship program made possible by the gift.
The board also continued to fulfill its commitment to diversity training by inviting Judith Roberts, program director for the ELCA’s Social Justice Ministries, to lead it through an anti-racism training workshop. In this area so vital to the health of our seminary, the trustees are committed to leading by example, and will continue to receive training at future meetings. We are grateful to Judith Roberts for the expertise and sensitivity with which she led us.
The board of trustees also recently approved the plan for fleshing out the Presidential Search Committee and appointed co-chairs in the persons of Dr. Tommie L. Robinson, Jr. and Bishop Michael Rhyne to lead the search. This committee will be working with a variety of ULS constituencies to assure that the search committee has broad representation when the search gets underway.
As the chair of the board of trustees, I am very grateful to work with all of the very talented and committed people who serve on the various contributing boards as well as the ULS Board of Trustees. Blessed by the Holy Spirit, their personal investment in ULS bodes well for the seminary’s future. The ULS Board of Trustees thanks Dr. Richard Green for the exemplary work he does on the seminary’s behalf. The ULS Board of Trustees is also very thankful for the participation of so many members of the seminary community in our meetings, and for the prayers of all those who continue to support our efforts to live into our mission of Unifying, Learning and Serving.
Chair, ULS Board of Trustees