…regarding a potential CTS and Butler Collaboration
January 20, 2017
Why would CTS consider a collaboration with Butler University?
In order to more effectively pursue our historic mission – to form disciples of Jesus Christ for church and community leadership to serve God’s transforming of the world – and ensure its viability into the future, CTS should consider potential collaborations that can enhance the school’s ability to thrive. CTS and Butler have historic ties, many collaborations in the past, and geographic proximity.
Are the two schools discussing a merger? What would diplomas say?
CTS and Butler are not discussing merger. Rather, the two schools are discussing collaboration. CTS graduates will continue to have diplomas from Christian Theological Seminary.
Why is CTS engaged in these negotiations?
A collaboration agreement could help CTS fulfill our mission.
CTS and Butler have been collaborating for many years. In 2015, after the two institutions agreed to explore what that might mean for the 21st century, the two faculties discussed possibilities, and we asked for input and advice from CTS students, staff, and alumni. We received more than 150 different ideas and comments. In the fall of 2016, senior staff from both schools entered into more formal explorations, in close consultation with faculty.
The reasons for the negotiations are the same reasons that gave rise to the explorations in the first place: (1) Because the Seminary seeks to be creative, generous, and responsible with God’s blessings, we are wise to look for mutually beneficial collaborations with our neighbors, much like those that have characterized most of CTS’ and Butler’s history since 1958. (2) Because the Seminary seeks to be faithful to God’s calling, we are wise to look for ways to leverage our inheritance even more fully toward our mission, so that we can redirect spending toward student financial aid, faculty and staff salaries, and other ways to most effectively form disciples of Jesus Christ for church and community leadership to serve God’s transforming of the world.
Will we retain a sense of community if we share space in our building with Butler?
Protecting community gathering and meeting space for CTS students, faculty and staff, as well as pursuing other ways to enhance CTS community life, are high priorities for the administration.
Isn’t Butler secular?
Will students and others currently living in the apartments have to move out?
Yes, Butler University is not affiliated with a particular religious tradition and does not train individuals for ministry. However, Butler does offer courses of study in religious studies and encourages the multi-faith activities of the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler.
No. Butler has expressed interest in our student housing, and CTS is open to that discussion if the value appears appropriate and we can accommodate future needs of residential students, including our current residents.
What’s the timeline?
CTS and Butler leadership are currently in negotiations which will conclude sometime in the Spring semester 2017 either with a Definitive Agreement or with no agreement.
How long has this conversation been going on?
CTS and Butler have been collaborating for many years, even decades. Joint degree programs were offered in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. In 2015, after the two institutions agreed to explore what collaboration might mean for the 21st century, the two faculties discussed possibilities, and we asked for input and advice from CTS students, staff, and alumni. We received more than 150 different ideas and comments. In the fall of 2016, senior staff from both schools entered into more formal explorations, in close consultation with faculty.
Is CTS financially viable without an agreement with Butler?
Yes. While this makes sense for CTS, it is not done out of necessity. However, we do face the same challenges faced by other seminaries. Because we seek to continue our mission over the long term, we recognize that significant savings and earnings must be identified in the short and middle term. The CTS board, faculty and staff want to move proactively, before any financial crisis point is reached.
Who should I talk to if I have more questions?
Any senior management staff person is available to discuss this with you. The President’s office, in particular, welcomes your ideas, feedback, comments and questions via Collaboration2017@cts.edu Additionally, student town-hall style meetings will occur periodically through the Spring; email updates will be circulated to students, staff and alumni; and the main webpage will provide the latest information.