Transition Team Update on Faculty Recommendations

(September 23, 2016) Among the responsibilities entrusted to the 12-member Transition Team appointed by the boards of Gettysburg and Philadelphia seminaries is “recommending persons [to be appointed] to the Faculty.”  This week, each current tenured faculty member of both schools was informed of the Team’s recommendations.  Weighed heavily in the process was input received from faculty members themselves, including offers of some to move to part-time positions or to transition into retirement.

During the fall, faculty members recommended for positions with United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) will be meeting to work out details of the new curriculum, which will further shape individual faculty positions.  Once specific positions and offers are extended by the new ULS board early in 2017, faculty members will then have the customary 30 days in which to decide whether or not to accept positions.

In addition to the above factors, some current faculty members recommended for ULS positions continue to discern among other options they may have.  Accordingly, and to preserve the freedom of faculty to discern their future, there likely can be no public announcement of the ULS faculty until early 2017 when all involved have made their decisions.  In the meantime, individual faculty members are free to share the Transition Team’s recommendations at their discretion.

Much appreciated are the many expressions of support and prayers for all the dedicated persons who serve at LTSG and LTSP.

This update was provided by: David Lose and Michael-Cooper-White, Presidents of LTSP and LTSG Bishop James Dunlop, Chair of the Transition Team

Transition Team Designates United Lutheran Seminary Leadership Team

(September 14, 2016)  At its meeting on September 6th, the Transition Team of the United Lutheran Seminary affirmed recommendations from the presidents of LTSG and LTSP regarding a nine-member leadership team that will shape the staffing pattern, develop detailed budgets, and propose all administrative policies and procedures for adoption by the board of United Lutheran Seminary (ULS).  Beginning its work immediately, the leadership team’s permanent configuration and makeup will be determined by the ULS president in consultation with its Board of Trustees.

The Transition Team conferred with the appointed chair of the Presidential Search Committee, the Rev. Charles Miller of New York City, as well as with Dr. Jonathan Strandjord, ELCA Program Director for Seminaries, who will be an adviser to the committee.  An institutional profile is being developed in conjunction with the presidential position description.  It is anticipated these key documents will be finalized over the next month, enabling launch of the search for candidates in October.  The ULS Board of Trustees, which will elect the new president, and employ faculty and staff, is anticipated to begin serving early in 2017, although ULS does not officially commence until July 1, 2017.   All current staff positions at LTSG and LTSP remain in place until June 30th, and seniors will graduate with diplomas from the two existing schools.

For the purpose of successful organizational preparation for July 1, 2017 launch, the following leadership team will be recommended to the new president in consultation with the ULS board:  Serving as Senior Vice President for Administration and convener of the transitional leadership team will be the Rev. John Spangler, currently Executive Assistant to the President for Communication and Planning at LTSG.  Mr. Dennis Trotter, currently LTSP’s Vice President for Advancement and President of its endowment foundation, will be Senior Vice President for Advancement, based on the Philadelphia campus.  The Rev. Angela Zimmann will be Vice President for Advancement, based at Gettysburg.  The Rev. Trina Johnsten will be United’s Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment, the role in which she currently serves at LTSP.  Co-directors of Finance will be Ms. Jennifer Byers and Ms. Mariam Nowar; each serves in a similar current role at LTSG and LTSP respectively.  Co-directors of Information Technology will be Mr. Donald Redman and Mr. Kyle Barger, again currently in similar positions at the two schools.  Finally, Ms. Elizabeth Meighan will be recommended to the new president as Assistant to the President and Director of Human Resources.

During its meeting at the Lower Susquehanna Synod office in Harrisburg, the Transition Team, chaired by Bishop James Dunlop, also met with tenured faculty members from the two schools.  At the faculties’ request, notification of ULS faculty positions will be delayed slightly from the original mid-September target date, affording faculty members the opportunity to provide more input and offer proposals to achieve the necessary reduction in overall faculty size and budget.  It is expected that all faculty will be notified regarding the Transition Team’s determination by later this month.

In the course of the second round of special joint board meetings over the summer, the LTSG board amended personnel policies to provide up to 10 weeks of severance for any staff members who will not be offered positions as United Lutheran Seminary commences on July 1, 2017.

Questions may be directed to either Seminary’s President’s Office, the Rev. Dr. David Lose at LTSP or the Rev. Michael Cooper-White, LTSG.