On August 24, 2007, the Task Force met on Multnomah's campus
to continue its work of discovery and analysis behind the possible
consolidation of Multnomah Biblical Seminary and Western Seminary. The Task
Force spent time analyzing information about both institutions, gathered by its
five sub-groups to prepare for the process of affiliating the two seminaries.
If successful, the affiliation could culminate in a consolidation of the two
venerable, Northwest-based institutions. The task force was joined by Dr.
Robert Cooley, President Emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, who
serves as consultant.
That same weekend, the two trustee boards met at a trustee's
home where they heard a presentation by Dr. Cooley about shared governance, interacted
with questions, and spent time in prayer.
Future events for relationship-building between trustees, faculty, and
administrators are planned.
"Under God's leading, our two trustee boards have initiated
an exciting process. Many uncertainties exist," said Dr. Daniel R. Lockwood,
chair of the task force and president of Multnomah. "It will be lengthy, with
both unanticipated challenges and unexpected breakthroughs. A substantial
investment of time, energy, and resources will be necessary, but I believe the
rewards in expanded impact for biblical education and vocational ministry and
pastoral training may well be immeasurable."
The Task Force
Last April and May, the two boards of trustees authorized the
Task Force to oversee a process of collaboration between the two institutions. The Task Force held its first organizational
meeting in late June 2007; and, since then, it has been busy studying,
planning, and implementing a strategic plan for a potential consolidation. This plan would guide the boards through the
various stages of assessment, negotiation, agreement, and implementation, and
provide the institutions' stakeholders with timely information and
The Task Force reports directly to a steering committee made
up of Drs. Lockwood, Bert Downs, Jack Dryden, and Tom Tunnicliff, the two presidents
and two chairs of the trustee boards of both institutions. Dr. Robert Cooley, also
serves on the steering committee.
Task Force Sub-Groups
The five sub-groups that began their work at the end of June
are made up of Multnomah and Western representatives. Each subgroup represents one of
the five major "zones" of institutional life.
Each also has its own set of goals and objectives to achieve as part of
the Task Force.
- The Governance and Mission Fulfillment
sub-group will research a decision-making system of governance for the
consolidated institution that balances the board of trustees, the office
of the president, and the faculty. It will also fashion a mission and vision
statement for the consolidated institution. Priority tasks include proposing a name
for the consolidated university, conducting a preliminary legal audit, and
notifying accreditation agencies of the affiliation and consolidation
- The Enrollment Management subgroup
addresses all aspects of student life outside the classroom, including
financial aid, housing, graduation, placement, alumni, and recruitment. They will research consolidated student
enrollment projections and assess financial aid and loan resources.
- The Educational System subgroup seeks
the effective integration of the educational system of both institutions. They
will address both institutions' doctrinal and value statements, identify
proprietary programs or emphases, and assess denominational identities.
- The Resource Development sub-group
will analyze fundraising and friend-raising issues involved in
consolidating the two institutions, compare joint donor and fundraising
goals, and contact foundations.
- The Economic Vitality sub-group will
assess the economic strength of a consolidated institution in order to
design an integrated operation and finance system for long-term
While the five subgroups continue their important work of discovery,
the Task Force will begin to encourage the two seminaries to begin a process of
affiliation. Affiliation involves
working together without changing each institution's fundamental identity. Name, governance structures, campus location,
extension sites, and budgets will remain in place. However, administrators and faculty will
begin to investigate ways in which the two seminaries can increasingly share
faculty, library resources, academic programs, and even information technologies. The steering committee believes that affiliation
at this level will have a positive benefit whether or not consolidation ever
takes place. Deepening these affiliations,
however, will lay a foundation vital for future consolidation.
A Working Timeline
This fall, the processes of
discovery by the task force sub-groups, and the steps of affiliation by the two
seminaries, will be the focus of activity.
The task force plans a meeting in October and will prepare a fuller
report to the two boards before February 2008.
Board authorization of the affiliation stage could occur in the spring
of 2008. And, if successful, the process
of institutional consolidation could begin by the fall of 2008.
For more information about the Multnomah Bible
College and Biblical
Seminary and Western Seminary consolidation, go to www.multnomah.edu/consolidation
or contact Multnomah's Director of Promotions and Communications Robert
Leary at 503.251.6452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contribute to discussions regarding the latest consolidation updates, visit
the blog at seminaryconsolidation.wordpress.com.