The decision by the Franciscan School of Theology to affiliate with the University of San Diego and to move its campus to Southern California is an occasion to thank the Franciscans for the wonderful work they have done since they joined the GTU consortium in 1968. The presence of extremely talented faculty, staff, and students has contributed greatly to the intellectual and religious climate that has made the GTU one of the most distinctive centers of theological learning in the country. We will miss FST and the FST community greatly.
The decision may raise concerns about the future and the sustainability of the GTU. While this will change the composition of our consortial membership, it does not alter our ecumenical and interreligious educational mission. There will be some fiscal implications and these issues are being aggressively addressed by the administration and the Board of Trustees. We recognize that the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and are confident that the GTU will continue to thrive.
The move of FST underscores the fact that the landscape of higher education, graduate education, and theological education is changing rapidly, and that the challenges faced are ones that are filled with both promise and risk. This year the GTU is celebrating fifty years of bringing together diverse theological perspectives, religious traditions and communities into constructive conversation and transformative collaborations. We continue to be strong in creating these collaborations. As we move into our next fifty years, we look forward to continuing to engage the Franciscan tradition in new and different ways.
FREQUENTLY ASKED AND ANSWERED QUESTIONS:
Are there other schools thinking of leaving the GTU?
No. The Jesuit School of Theology was integrated into Santa Clara University four years ago and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is currently pursuing an affiliation with California Lutheran University, but both schools have made clear their intention to remain in Berkeley as part of the GTU.
Is there an agreement that maintains and protects the consortium?
Yes, it is called the Common Agreement which was unanimously ratified all of the GTU member school boards of trustees and faculties in 2001.
Is the GTU seeking other member institutions?
We remain open to the possibility of adding new partners and, in fact, have had several conversations with other higher education institutions over the past several years, seeking potential alignments and affiliations. While, to date, these conversations have not produced new partners appropriate for the mission of the GTU, we continue to pursue this strategy.
How will the GTU address the possible gaps in faculty expertise leaving with FST?
FST’s decision calls forth a strategy we regularly use to fill gaps in faculty expertise that arise from our consortium design, i.e. where our member schools need to make faculty decisions in relation to their particular mission which, from time to time, cause these gaps in the academic programs. The GTU Dean is currently exploring ways to leverage faculty expertise across different areas and identifying additional faculty from our schools to join the Core Doctoral Faculty.
Is the GTU financially stable enough for me to complete my degree?
Yes, the GTU is in stable financial condition now and is actively engaged in planning to ensure its future sustainability.