CTS Butler Collaboration

CTS President Matthew Boulton and Butler President Jim Danko discuss the CTS/Butler collaboration.

CTS and Butler



Why is CTS considering this potential agreement?

  • We are blessed to have proactive leadership that is constantly identifying ways to ensure that our school can thrive in the future.  We are considering this agreement because of its potential to free up resources to invest in our mission, while at the same time maintaining our independence and identity.

Why now?

  • Higher education institutions everywhere, including seminaries, are confronting a significant array of challenges and opportunities today. The CTS Board of Trustees, always proactively seeking ways to ensure that our school can thrive in the future, has determined that now is the time to take steps in order to remain strong for generations to come.


What would this mean for the future of CTS?

  • This agreement would strengthen CTS by creating a major stream of revenue we can invest directly in the core of our mission.  All seminaries face financial and missional challenges, and this agreement would help CTS rise to meet them.  With a $100 million endowment and a debt-free balance sheet, CTS is strong; this agreement would allow us to remain strong into the 21st century.


What other seminaries have done the same thing?

  • Across the country, many seminaries have sought various options to address future challenges.  Some have sold their campuses and relocated; others have merged with nearby universities.  CTS is considering a creative third option: neither the sell-and-vacate strategy nor the merger strategy, but rather an agreement that protects the Seminary’s independence and ability to reside on campus for generations to come, while at the same time freeing up resources to invest in the core of our educational mission.


What is the decision timeline?

  • The CTS Board of Trustees will vote on this matter in early September, 2017.  If approved, the agreement would take effect this fall, and the College of Education would move into the main building in the summer of 2018.


How long have you considered this?

  • Discussions with Butler have been ongoing and evolving since the 2015-16 academic year, when the CTS Board of Trustees authorized formal explorations and discussions.


Who was involved in the decision to consider this potential agreement?

  • Our leadership, including the Board of Trustees and Faculty, has been deeply involved in seeking options that would be most beneficial to CTS.


Would Butler take over operations of CTS?

  • No. While the two schools will collaborate on some operational functions, CTS will continue to be independent and autonomous in terms of governance, finance, and day-to-day work.


Would this agreement mean that CTS is merging with Butler?

  • No. CTS will continue to be independent and oversee its own governance, mission, and financial strength.


Student Life and Academics

Would this agreement involve academic collaboration between CTS and Butler?

  • Yes. The two faculties would continue to develop academic collaborations, from cross-registration to the potential of joint programs.


Would students graduate with seminary degrees from Butler?

  • No.  Students would continue to receive degrees from CTS, which would retain governing and financial independence, as well as our identity as a graduate school of theological education.



Where would the money go?

  • Proceeds from this agreement will go into the Seminary endowment, the annual draw from which helps fund student financial aid, faculty positions, and other expenses crucial to our mission.


Buildings, Grounds, and Space Sharing

What buildings would be involved, and which property?

  • CTS would have a long-term lease (at least 100 years) on about half of the main building, all of the Counseling Center, and access to both the student apartments and the Hospitality House.  Butler University would purchase these structures and the land on which they sit, with the exception of the land parcel to the far west of the campus, which CTS would continue to own.
  • The  difference between the two lengths of time (30 years for the Counseling Center vs. 100 years for the main building) has to do with the relative age and condition of the buildings themselves.


What would this mean for the CTS bookstore?

  • Regardless of whether or not this agreement is approved, the time regrettably has come to close the CTS bookstore; the bookstore has been losing money for many years. CTS students will be able to get the books they need through the Butler bookstore.


Long-Term Lease

Why would CTS elect to lease and not own?

  • While still providing CTS the security of continuing to reside on campus, the long-term lease option would allow the Seminary to take both the purchase price and the funds that otherwise would be used for campus maintenance and invest them in the core of our mission.


How did the conversation evolve to the idea of a long-term lease?

  • On the CTS side, the sale and long-term lease option would free up considerably more resources that we can invest directly in the core of our mission.  On the Butler side, the purchase option would allow them to invest more resources into renovating the CTS main building.  The current potential agreement emerged in discussion with these interests in mind.


How long would the long-term lease be?

  • The long-term lease of the Counseling Center and the CTS portion of the main building would be at least 100 years.