Erskine Seminary Faculty Asks Board to Separate the College and the Seminary

The faculty of the Erskine Theological Seminary voted unanimously to adopt two petitions requesting the board to act on separating the college and seminary, and adjusting salary and compensation.

The first petition was approved by the faculty on March 10, and was addressed to the members of the Erskine board as well as the Moderator of the General Synod of the ARP. It requests the board “to facilitate the separation of the college and the seminary as soon as possible.” The second petition was adopted on April 29 and requests the board to deal with matters regarding salary and other compensations.

 

At its May 27 meeting, the Erskine College and Seminary Board has a couple of significant matters for its agenda. The Due West, S.C. institution is affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP). The College and the Seminary are under the oversight of one board.

The faculty of the Erskine Theological Seminary voted unanimously to adopt two petitions requesting the board to act on both of these requests. The first petition was approved by the faculty on March 10, and was addressed to the members of the Erskine board as well as the Moderator of the General Synod of the ARP. It requests the board “to facilitate the separation of the college and the seminary as soon as possible.”

The second petition was adopted on April 29 and requests the board to deal with matters regarding salary and other compensations.

The First Petition:

Motion from the Erskine Theological Seminary Faculty to the Board of Trustees and the General Synod of the ARP Church:

The Faculty of Erskine Theological Seminary respectfully requests that the Board of Trustees and the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church establish the necessary mechanisms to facilitate the separation of the college and the seminary as soon as possible, and to effect an equitable division of institutional assets (e.g., real estate, endowed funds, library holdings, etc.) in a manner respectful of institutional history and donor’s wishes.

The names of the full-time Faculty who voted (unanimously) for separation are as follows: William B. Evans, Terry L. Eves, R. J. Gore Jr., R. Leslie Holmes, Dale W. Johnson, Loyd D. Melton, Toney C. Parks, Max. F. Rogland, Mark E. Ross, and George M. Schwab Sr.

Note of Explanation from the (Acting) Dean of the Seminary [R. J. Gore Jr.]: The following points reflect some of the concerns that have been expressed by various faculty members during our discussions on the motion to separate. These points are my effort to summarize faculty concerns; they are not part of the approved motion.

  • The college and the seminary have distinct missions and serve very different student bodies.
  • The current structure, a single administrative umbrella for college and seminary, has not served the mission of the seminary well, particularly in a time when resources are constrained and the seminary’s viability is in question.
  • Individuals, per se, are not the problem; administrative structure is the problem.
  • Serving the seminary student body may be better accomplished if the administrative hub of the seminary is located elsewhere in the upstate, perhaps in Greenville, and perhaps even in co-location with other synod agencies at the new ARP Center.
  • We believe that both the college and the seminary can benefit from this separation, as it will allow each institution and its administrators, faculty, and staff to concentrate fully on its distinctive mission.

The Second Petition:

In light of our experience over the past year, and especially in light of information obtained recently about Seminary and institutional finances, the Seminary Faculty considers it necessary to put into writing our reasonable requests and the reasons for those requests.

Whereas the Seminary Faculty volunteered to take a 25% pay cut to prevent more lay-offs of Faculty Members, and

Whereas the Seminary spends 43% of its budget in Institutional Support, flowing $500,000 to $600,000 to the overall institutional budget, and

Whereas the declaration of exigency resulted in approximately a half million dollar cut in budget for both the College (2% of the College budget) and the Seminary (25% of the Seminary budget), and

Whereas Seminary faculty have not been compensated for teaching overloads in the amount of $34,231.86 in 2015 or for dissertation supervision in the amount of $10,350.00, and

Whereas the teaching overloads for 2016 and the dissertation supervision loads have increased significantly with fewer faculty, and

Whereas the College Administration, Staff, and Faculty are benefitting from significant Institutional Support from the Seminary, and

Whereas College Faculty are paid for classes taught in an overload capacity,

Therefore, the Seminary Faculty petitions the President of Erskine College and Theological Seminary to take the following actions:

To restore overload and dissertation payments to Seminary Faculty effective immediately, to be paid at the end of the spring term 2016 as in the past;

To undo the 25% pay cuts that have affected Seminary Faculty only and distribute the necessary cuts across the institution with a small, but equitable pay cut for all Erskine Administrators and Faculty members (Seminary and College) effective 1 July 2016;

To rescind the decision to release Dale Johnson from full time employment as our course offerings have been significantly cut, our dissertation, thesis supervision has increased beyond our capacity, and our newest program (online MATS) will soon be without experienced leadership as the Program Director.

The faculty: William B. Evans, Terry L. Eves, R. J. Gore Jr., R. Leslie Holmes, Dale W. Johnson, Loyd D. Melton, Toney C. Parks, Max. F. Rogland, Mark E. Ross, and George M. Schwab Sr.

×

Aquila Report iOS and Android smart-phone apps are available Download Now