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Luther Seminary continues to focus on mission amidst changes to faculty, staff and programs

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St. Paul, Minn. -- On March 19, Luther Seminary announced important changes to help the school continue to deliver on its mission of educating leaders for Christian communities. As costs have outgrown revenues, the school is making necessary changes to balance the budget. In the last few months, many options have been explored to find ways to cut more than $3 million out of the annual operating expenses. The Luther Seminary Board of Directors met on March 18 and affirmed the recommended cost saving plan.

The changes include eight retirements, not filling nine open positions, 18 reductions in staff and three individuals voluntarily pursuing new opportunities. In addition, the seminary has announced it will not recruit new students to its Master of Sacred Music (M.S.M.) program or its Ph.D. program until a further analysis of viable options can be conducted. The current students, five in the M.S.M. program and 61 in the Ph.D. program, will be supported by the seminary in the completion of their respective programs. The seminary will also be closing its early childhood education program, Wee Care, on June 30, 2013.

"This is a hard day for Luther Seminary as we announce very difficult decisions," said Rick Foss, interim president. "When we looked at our options, we found we were spending our money on excellent initiatives, including personnel, programs and innovative missional work. However, it was clear we could not sustain this rate of spending. We will deeply miss the people who are leaving us and are thankful for all their contributions."

As the changes are made, the seminary is continuing to actively recruit students for the Master of Divinity program, the Master of Arts program, the Master of Theology program and the Doctor of Ministry program. The faculty is also working on the development of an enhanced curriculum model which will continue to provide an excellent education while reducing the overall expense for students.

Luther Seminary educates leaders for Christian communities across the country and around the world. It is one of eight seminaries in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).