FAQ – Securing the Future: An Exploration of Institutional Partnerships
The following questions are intended to provide information on the seminary’s future plans to the degree that they can be known at this time. We are in the very earliest stages of looking at potential institutional partnerships and so there are many variables that may alter the plan outlined below. This is the best information that we can provide at this time.
- What does it mean that the seminary is exploring merger? The Board of Trustees of the seminary have voted to explore the possibility of merger with another institution of higher education. No single institution has been identified and no agreement has been reached. The Board is weighing a number of potential options and as it is appropriate will open dialogue with those institutions it views as potential merger partners. The word “exploring” is very important to keep in mind. The Board has not made a formal decision to merge with a specific partner at this time.
- If a merger did occur what would that look like? Because no partner has been identified it would be difficult to speculate about the specifics of any agreement. Those specifics could change depending on the partner as different institutions would carry different advantages. The Board’s commitment is to seek a merger that will be advantageous to our current and future students and that will preserve the mission of the seminary.
- Why merge now? Is the seminary able to continue serving students? The answer to the last question is yes. The seminary has the resources necessary to continue to serve its current students for the foreseeable future. The Board’s primary consideration in exploring merger is the long-term sustainability of the seminary. When we examine the best available data related to those seminaries that are most likely to remain viable into the future, it is clear that the most sustainable model is a seminary embedded in a larger institution. The stand-alone seminary model is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. The Board made the very wise decision to seek a merger while the seminary remains in a situation of relative strength.
- If the seminary merges, will it affect my ability to graduate? No, the seminary will provide pathways for graduation for any student enrolled in its program at the time of merger.
- I am a potential student should I consider enrolling or wait? By all means, we would encourage you to enroll in one of the seminary’s outstanding educational programs. As stated above, we are committed both by our own sense of responsibility and by regulation to provide you a pathway to graduation if you are admitted to the institution.
- Can you guarantee that the seminary will merge with another institution? No, we cannot guarantee that our interest in merger will result in a merger. We have to go through the process trusting in God’s guidance and grace. We have to identify a partner, come to agreement with that partner on the specifics of merger, get the approval of our Board and the blessing of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church on that merger, and receive the approval of our accrediting agencies all before a merger can be considered final. While we move forward optimistic that we have made the best decision possible, we are open for God’s providential intervening in our plans.
- What can I do in the mean time? We ask that you pray that God will guide the Board and leadership of the seminary as they make decisions and seek a positive future for the seminary.
- When will we receive further information? We will notify all constituents when the Board has a concrete partner and the necessary approvals to proceed with the merger. This could be a lengthy process. We ask for your patience and trust as we work through it.