Report from the Board Chair
The Board of Trustees of United Lutheran Seminary met virtually on January 24 and 25, 2022, with the latter date including two open gallery sessions for staff, faculty and students. The board received reports from the President and the President’s Cabinet, including the departments of Academics and Student Life, Advancement, Finance, Operations, Strategic Marketing and Communications, and Church Relations.
The board also received reports from Rev. Dr. Javier Goitia representing the ELCA, Dianne Lewis and Robin Hinton representing students, Dr. Jon Pahl and Dr. Kyle Schiefelbein-Guerrero representing faculty, Rev. Dr. Donald Green representing TULSAA, and Peter Miele representing the SRHPF/Museum and Education Center. Emried Cole also spoke to provide additional context on the proposed motions amending the bylaws of the SRHPF Board. The board approved the blue lined version of these bylaws, which allow the Ridge Board greater control over their executive committee. The slate of proposed SRHPF board nominees was also approved, reappointing Bruce Albright, Robert Berk, Paul Dende, Pete Knudsen, L. Baird Tipson, David Russell, Scott E. Schul, and welcoming new member, Russel Dicks.
Mr. David Russell presented the Resource Development and Financial Management Committee report. The board approved a motion to accept the audited financials from the 2020-2021 fiscal year, as well as a second motion to approve the allocation of an anonymous bequest of $200,000 towards deferred maintenance.
Mr. Fred Risser presented the report of the LTSP Reconstituted Board. Campus development is on pause, waiting for the roll out of a new strategic planning process. Efforts to satisfy the underwater position of the endowment have had great success, and no funds have been withdrawn from the LTSP endowment until that process is complete.
Pastor Constance Mentzer presented the Governance, Infrastructure and Policy Committee report. Motions regarding the travel and meeting reimbursement policy for board members, and amendments to the commitment to shared governance were passed. Pastor Mentzer and Pastor Craig Miller reminded board members to suggest names for individuals who may be willing and interested in serving on the ULS board. Ms. Cheryl Williams pointed out that diversifying the Board should be a priority.
Dr. Tommie Robinson presented the report of the Academic Affairs Committee. Though there were no motions to present, the committee is working on ways to highlight the work of the faculty in future meetings.
Pastor Sara Lilja presented the report for the Enrollment Services and Student Life Committee. There were no motions to present, but they thanked the involvement of the students and the student government for their work especially amid current challenges.
Pastor Cean James presented the report of the Diversity Committee and announced that Evan Boyd would be taking over for Rev. Marcia Williams as chair. He thanked Rev. Williams for her work over the past several years.
Ms. Karen Arnold presented the report from the Executive Committee. The board approved a motion to allow Dr. Erwin to nominate an Ad Hoc Committee to vet the candidates for a strategic plan consulting firm and make recommendations.
As we walk through this challenging time, I want to thank our students, faculty, staff, administration, and trustees for your perseverance, attention, and faithfulness. Your commitment to the larger Church community and to ULS, is vital to everything we do, and everything we hope to accomplish together. Please hold the mission of ULS in your prayers as the Spring semester begins.
The next Board of Trustees meeting will be May 9 – 10.We hope to hold those meetings in person in Philadelphia and will communicate any changes to that plan with the ULS community.
Rev. Dr. Peter D. Boehringer