2013-08-30 / Faith

Theological seminary merges with Cal Lutheran

The Board of Regents of California Lutheran University recently approved a merger that would result in Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley becoming part of CLU.

CLU and PLTS are both schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with complementary missions. The merger will allow the schools to share resources and enhance the educational programs of both institutions.

PLTS and CLU faculty will be able to collaborate to support each other’s programs, develop new approaches to teaching and deliver shared programs for the ELCA.

PLTS will continue as a full seminary and remain at its current location.

In preparation for the merger, CLU has started the search for a combined dean and chief administrative officer for PLTS to replace Phyllis Anderson, who plans to retire as the seminary’s president at the end of the year.

The new dean is expected to start Jan. 1 and will report to CLU Provost Leanne Neilson.

In October, CLU’s faculty will consider endorsement of the seminary’s academic program, and the university’s convocation will vote on support for the merger.

The last step of the process will be the final approval of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges commission, which is expected in November.

The PLTS board of directors and the ELCA Church Council have already approved the merger.

The merger comes at a time when many seminaries are considering new ways to ensure long-term survival. This is the second merger of an ELCA university and seminary.

PLTS, the only ELCA seminary in the western United States, offers the Master of Divinity as well as master’s degrees in theological studies and church ministry. Enrollment is about 80 degree students.

The seminary is a member of the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of seminaries and research centers that offers combined programs.

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