Previous Communications

Message from CTS on April 19, 2017:

To read about a potential CTS and Butler collaboration, see the graphic below.  
For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please read here
For a sharable version of the graphic below, please go here.

Message from CTS President Matthew Myer Boulton on November 7, 2016:

Dear CTS Community,

As promised, I’m writing to follow up with you regarding the CTS Board of Trustees meeting last Friday, November 4.  After discussion, the Board voted to authorize me to enter a conclusive phase of negotiations with Butler University concerning future collaborations that would be mutually beneficial to both schools.  As you know, if a final agreement emerges, the earliest the agreement would be signed is early 2017, with full implementation of any agreement not happening until the 2017/18 academic year.

In general terms, the reasons the CTS Board acted in this way are the same reasons that gave rise to the explorations in the first place:  (1) because as we seek to be creative, generous, and responsible with God’s blessings as a school, 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; and (2) because as we seek to be faithful to our calling as a school, we are wise to look for ways to leverage our inheritance even more fully toward our mission, redirecting expenses toward student financial aid, faculty and staff salaries, and other ways to more effectively form disciples of Jesus Christ for church and community leadership to serve God’s transforming of the world.

The board’s action and discussion also allows me to continue dialogue with you about this matter at an even greater level of detail.  Since the negotiations are complex and ongoing, there are still details we do not know and won’t know until next year, but in the days, weeks, and months ahead, I look forward to engaging with you as much possible:  first, to keep you informed and in the loop as details emerge; and second, to gather your input and perspective on important matters related to CTS life.

For example, as we consider sharing space with the Butler College of Education in the CTS main building, we will continue to envision a layout and strategy that not only maintains the current level of CTS community life, but positively enhances it – and we would very much like your help and participation in this design process.  The opportunity before us is to think together about utilizing the building in ways that are communally warm; ecologically responsible; hospitable to all; and at the same time thoughtful about preserving and celebrating “CTS spaces” throughout the building, from the Chapel to classrooms to gathering spaces.  Another example:  as you know, as we consider the matter of how a relationship with Butler might relate to CTS housing, I have already been in touch with students currently living in CTS housing, to gain their perspective and advice.  Those helpful conversations have already affected our approach in the ongoing negotiations, and will continue to do so.

These examples illustrate the kind of input and perspective that are profoundly helpful in shaping the future at CTS, and as we now move into the final phase of these negotiations, I hope you’ll participate and join others at the table.  We are working with the CTS Alumni Board to schedule an Alumni Round Table session – accessible in-person and virtually – for questions, feedback, and discussion.

In the meantime, with questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Grace and peace,
Matthew Myer Boulton
President and Professor of Theology

Message from CTS President Matthew Myer Boulton on November 1, 2016:

Dear CTS Community,

Greetings from CTS!  As many of you are aware, over the last 18 months, CTS and Butler University have been involved in explorations about how the two schools can collaborate in mutually beneficial ways for the sake of our respective missions.  In 1958, when CTS was established (we were formerly the Butler School of Religion), the founding agreement included extensive collaboration between CTS and Butler, and for decades we offered joint degrees and cooperated in a variety of ways on services and programs.  In a sense, the recent dialogue between the two schools is in the spirit of this history, in effect asking the question, "What would a twenty-first-century version of collaboration between CTS and Butler look like?"

Last year, the two faculties explored possibilities together, and we also asked for input and advice from CTS staff, students, and alumni.  Over 150 different ideas were submitted, virtually all very positive and program-oriented.  As explorations of these ideas have unfolded, we have periodically held student forums and been in touch with the alumni board and student council.  This fall, senior staff from both schools entered into more formal explorations, in close consultation with faculty.  The CTS Board of Trustees has discussed this topic before, and will do so again this Friday, November 4.  

This email is to update you on where we are today with this process.

What the Trustees will decide on November 4 is whether or not to authorize me, as CTS president, to move into a conclusive phase of negotiations with Butler over the next few months.  This phase would conclude the negotiations one way or the other by early 2017.  If the Board does authorize me to enter this stage of negotiations, that would also empower us to do two things:  (1) share with you some further details about the potential agreement (that is, details that are confidential until the board discusses them, as you'd guess); and (2) solicit your input and perspective on aspects of the collaboration that relate to our common life at CTS, so we can work toward negotiating any definitive agreement accordingly.  Confidentiality will continue to play a role, of course, and so will input from students and other constituencies.

I have already consulted with CTS students that currently live in CTS housing, in order to get their guidance and insight regarding CTS housing in particular.  Part of what we are discussing with Butler is the possibility that they would purchase this housing.  We have already made clear that any agreement in this regard must include a provision that all CTS students currently in CTS housing who want to remain there would be able to do so (at their current rent) until graduation.  But I also wanted to get students' perspectives on how CTS, looking ahead, should think about housing generally.  The two other general topics under discussion with Butler are:  (1) Butler renting some of the unutilized space in the CTS main building (the Butler College of Education is interested in renting space) and (2) an agreement regarding non-development of CTS land to the west of the CTS main building (that is, CTS agreeing *not* to develop it). 

We will know more details about the range of possibilities after the board meeting on November 4.  I will send you an update on Monday, November 7, so you can be aware as to whether or not the Board decides to authorize me to move into the next and final phase of negotiations.  And, if the board elects to authorize me to enter a next phase, we will schedule student forums this November and December, so you can hear more details and offer your perspective and advice.

As we all know, in situations like this one, rumors are inevitable.  With that in mind, let me offer three thoughts in closing:

(1) I have heard the rumor that CTS and Butler are merging.  This is not the case.

(2) I have also heard the rumor that there is already an agreement.  This is not the case.  What is happening now is an ongoing, evolving negotiation about the potential for mutually beneficial collaboration.  We will know more about the range of possibilities after the CTS Board meets on November 4.  The earliest we would have an agreement (if we have one) is early 2017.  And that means that, if in fact the Board votes to authorize a next step, there is plenty of time to discuss and shape the outcomes over the months ahead.

(3) If you hear something about this matter and you have a question or concern, please reach out to me or other CTS leadership directly.  That is always the quickest, most accurate way to get your question answered or your concern addressed.  As long as the negotiations are open, we will continue to welcome input, so please don’t hesitate to engage constructively.  If we all can avoid speculation, and instead ask questions and connect, everyone will benefit.

(4) And finally, please know that the whole idea of these explorations is to discern ways to benefit both schools -- including CTS!  It is not in CTS' best interests, for example, to have significant unutilized space in our main building (nor is it in God's creation's best interests, since we heat and cool even empty rooms).  Or, to put it more positively, it is in CTS' best interests to be able to apply future rental value to our mission:  student scholarships, faculty salaries, program costs, HVAC efficiencies, etc.

Thank you for your attention to this update, and stay tuned for more on the other side of November 4.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to be in touch.

Grace and peace,
Matthew Myer Boulton
President and Professor of Theology

2015-16 Collaborative Exploration
Note: The information in the section below dates to Fall 2015, including the linked material.

Founded in 1855 as one entity, North Western Christian University, Butler and CTS separated into two institutions in 1958. Since then, CTS and Butler have collaborated from time to time academically, programmatically, and through shared services. We have now agreed to explore additional opportunities for collaboration.

Please read the FAQs and letters from CTS and Butler presidents here.

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