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Just as Lent is a time to examine our lives, institutions must also engage in self-examination. Taking a new direction is not a moment in time but a process, which opens the way to both sadness about what we are leaving behind, and hopeful anticipation about new possibilities. I want to share some of the transitions we are undergoing.
We have new leadership in virtually every area of the school. Ann Hallisey is in her first year as the Dean of Students. Linda Clader willcontinue teaching but retire as Dean of Academic Affairs. Ruth Meyers will assume the Deanship. Rick Felton, the interim Chief Advancement Officer, will serve briefly in the transition, as we begin new leadership of advancement under Caitlin Curtin. We will search soon for a new Chief Financial and Operations Officer. You may recall that the GTU common enterprise, PSR, and CDSP, committed to a worthy experiment to see whether one person, Steve Argyris, could meet the financial and operational needs of three schools. After review, Steve and the presidents of the three schools concluded that in a time of restructuring each school would be best served by full-time operational support. And change continues. Margo Webster, after 40 years of service to CDSP (a number of biblical significance!) will retire at the end of the academic year. Finally, Ann Coburn has retired from her role as Director of Alumni and Church relations. All of this has been approached deliberately and thoughtfully.
We are responding to the expressed need of the Church to offer flexible, high-level education in a low-residency format, which involves both on-line education and summer in-residence intensives. This, along with the CALL program, provides courses and programs taught by our excellent faculty and adjuncts with an enormous wellspring of expertise. Our educational mission begins and has its center in residential programs and builds out to new formats. Similarly, our course offerings include the classic subjects of the theological domains — scripture, history, theology, ethics, and the practical theological disciplines — and expand outward to frontier interests at the boundaries of theology and public life.
Through the Easton Hall Conference Center and other centers of activity on campus, we are determined to extend the relationship between theological education and civic life. This will include conferences in youth ministry development, liturgical leadership, and professional conferences in areas of social service. We are exploring ways to make our professional kitchen and refectory in Denniston Commons a site for collaboration with a program of the Diocese of California’s Episcopal Community Services that trains formerly homeless people in food services skills as part of rehabilitation. You will read more about this as the details develop. We are seeking volunteers with experience as chefs who might be interested in helping with this project.
Through this ebb and flow, I remain mindful of CDSP’s mission to respond to the challenges of contemporary society with the good news of Jesus Christ.