- Written by Tyler Owen Hendricks
Accreditation reaffirmed: On June 29, I received a letter from Middle States Commission on Higher Education chair Peter F. Burnham. The critical objective, reaffirmed accreditation, is accomplished. Congratulations to everyone involved with the Periodic Review Report, to Dr. Winings for her leadership of the project, and to the core administrative team.
Restructuring: The Board at its May 22-23 meeting requested a restructuring plan based upon an enhanced partnership between the seminary and church, with the Executive Committee overseeing the process. This has led to a series of productive meetings with church leadership.
New Board Chair: At its June 14 meeting by conference call, the Board elected Rev. In Jin Moon to serve as its Chair. This has been the most important single accomplishment since the May Board meeting. Rev. Moon is bringing church resources and expertise to bear upon the seminary's future with judicious care, beginning with confirmation of the plan to run the major academic programs this year out of the Extension Center instead of Barrytown.
Returning Barrytown students: All students will bear a much greater part of the financial responsibility than they did last year and so we are concerned for them. I am happy to report that I have heard from 18 of our Barrytown students; 15 indicate that they intend to return, 3 say they need to take a leave of absence. If all succeed, this is a higher rate of retention than we had hoped for and it bodes well for the future. UTS will be launching a major fundraising drive later this summer to assist these students complete their degree programs. Among them is Kate Korda, a student from Poland, who will be serving in a chaplaincy full-time internship at Westchester Medical Center.
India recruitment: Mr. Rajan has submitted 5 applications and has 25 more in the pipeline. He is confident to bring 10 or more students, who will receive reasonable financial aid and contribute to the spiritual, educational and financial success of UTS. Success with this first group will open UTS access to a major student market.
Other recruitment: Mr. Kyoung Hyo Kim is working to bring new students from the Philippines, and perhaps other countries, by an arrangement with UTS Asia. Mr. Kamal Thabet, a Palestinian AP, has arrived; he is our one new student at this point. Rev. Hardaway and Mrs. Ogunlola are contacting returning ecumenical students and recruiting new ones.
Property and financial management: We are bringing greater professional expertise to support healthy year 'round operation of the Barrytown property and overall financial management and allow the educators to focus on the educational mission. A new property manager spent two days here this week researching this beautiful and historic asset.
Expanding use of the NYC Extension: The church has indicated that the 43rd Street building that houses the Extension Center can handle expanded UTS program offerings. The relocation of additional books, equipment and furniture will begin July 20 and should be completed before the D. Min. starts on August 9 at Barrytown.
Academic offerings: This is the most important topic of all. In conversation with church leadership, the Academic Dean is developing a menu of products ranging from half-day, to 18 credit certificates, to the Masters and D. Min. programs, to be offered at 43rd Street, Barrytown (D.Min. only) and, in the case of certificate programs, venues around the country as per market demand. UTS may be coming to a location near you! These offerings will focus on practical ministry and church education, Unification theological topics, professional and interfaith competencies and other subjects in which you are interested.
Dr. Isaacs is launching the first online UTS ministry course on August 1, and has more coming soon. These are geared especially for alumni with masters degrees to get the courses they need in order to enroll in the doctoral program. Dr. Wilson intends to get his courses online next.
The certificate and online programs are designed to strengthen church ministries to its members, local communities and nation, and generate needed revenue. We need to attract a large number of students to the shorter programs and move those prepared toward the degree programs.
Thanks to a grant from True World Group, Dr. Mickler and Dr. Noda are building a foundation to bring UTS research and resources, including student work, into church and public access through the Educational Resource Center. We will inform you-the authors-and gain permissions appropriately in our effort to maximize the value of UTS, which means its teachers and students, to the publics it serves.
As an example of innovation at UTS, Dr. Noda will hold an SAT Summer Intensive program entitled "Faith, Character, and Aptitude." The 9-day program, very reasonably priced, will provide intensive training for the SAT Reasoning Test, combined with religious education in Divine Principle and college advising sessions for participants and their parents.
The MA application is still in process in Albany.
Conclusion: I believe that these components together constitute a careful restructuring. It is still in process and numerous hurdles need to be jumped, but, if successful, this will bring God's blessing down upon the seminary and the students and sponsoring church it serves. We are grateful for our Trustees' and alumni ongoing support.
If you would like to make a one-time donation, or consider joining our growing community of regular givers, please visit the following link: Support UTS.
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