Bethany Board of Trustees Holds Fall Meeting

Church of the Brethren Newsline
“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008″
November 12, 2008

The Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees gathered for its annual fall meeting Oct. 24-27. The business meeting was preceded by a two-day retreat for board members and seminary faculty at Hueston Woods State Park in nearby Oxford, Ohio. The Bethany Seminary campus is located in Richmond, Ind.

The retreat was a continuing step in the process of clarifying, renewing, and revising Bethany’s mission and educational objectives. Bethany received a grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion to engage the services of Faith Kirkham Hawkins as facilitator. In addition, the board approved funds to bring two representatives from Crane MetaMarketing to be listening presences at the retreat and provide feedback.

In business sessions, the board approved an 8.5 percent tuition increase for the 2009-10 academic year, to $385 per credit hour. The board also approved an audit report from Batelle and Batelle for the 2007-08 fiscal year. Bethany received an “unqualified opinion” audit, which is the best designation possible. The Institutional Advancement Committee shared goals and year-to-date progress for gifts to Bethany’s annual fund from various constituency groups.

The board’s Academic Affairs Committee reported their delight that the faculty is fully staffed. Follow-up reports related to Bethany’s 2006 re-accreditation requested by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools have been submitted.

The Student and Business Services Committee shared highlights of the Bethany graduating senior questionnaire completed for ATS. Students graduating in 2008 cited accessibility of faculty, upkeep of campus, and class size as their top areas of satisfaction with seminary services and academic resources. Eighty percent of Master of Divinity graduates indicated they planned to pursue fulltime parish ministry. All graduates indicated that their debt load did not increase during their seminary studies.

The Student and Business Services Committee also reported that students entering Bethany’s Connections program this fall expressed appreciation for the revised format. New Connections students participate in a weekend retreat instead of a two-week intensive, and attend orientation with residential students.

As part of the Executive Committee report, Bethany Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen shared that the second Presidential Forum, titled “Weaving Wisdom’s Tent: The Arts of Peace,” is scheduled for March 29-30, 2009.

During the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of secretary Frances Beam. Lisa Hazen was elected as the new secretary.

–Marcia Shetler is director of public relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

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The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to Submit news to the editor at For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

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