CLU regents OK merger with seminary

PLTS in Berkeley would become part of university

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., – Aug. 23, 2013) The Board of Regents of California Lutheran University today 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 them 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 to be a full seminary and remain at its current location.

In preparation for the merger, CLU already has started to 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 December. 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 & 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 master’s degrees in divinity and theological studies and is a member of the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of seminaries and research centers that offers combined programs. It has about 80 degree students.

With an enrollment of 4,200 students, CLU offers undergraduate and graduate programs within the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Management, Graduate School of Education and Graduate School of Psychology. It is based in Thousand Oaks with centers in Oxnard, Woodland Hills and Santa Maria for graduate courses and its Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals Program. Members of the CLU student body come from across the nation and around the world and represent a diversity of faiths and cultures.