In early May, the Eden Board of Trustees met and reviewed a plan for the coming academic year. The plan begins with the assumption that it might not be safe to gather on campus for as long as the entire academic year. Of course, if things change, the plan will be to gather again as soon as is safe. Nevertheless, the faculty and staff are putting in place a curriculum that meets our educational goals through further development of online programs
The impact of the virus has a bearing on more than just health. Eden’s plan for the coming year also attends to the overwhelming economic impact of this global pandemic. While it is difficult to predict the length of the economic challenges Eden is anticipating significant reductions in revenue.
Attending to these challenges, the board of trustees worked with President Greenhaw and President-elect Krause to develop a budget in support of the plan. The budget has required the consolidation of several key functions in the seminary and the reduction of positions. Staff will be organized into teams: Program, Advancement, Facilities and Finance, with each team coordinated by the Office of the President. The Program Team includes degree and non-degree programs. Advancement includes fundraising and communication. Facilities includes campus and technology operations. Finance includes accounting and human resources. The number one priority in the plan and the budget is Eden’s mission.
The trustees, while recognizing the constraints on Eden’s finances, are determined to not have the burden of this economic time fall on students. Eden has adopted a one-year reduction in tuition to help students continue their education uninterrupted.
Programs like the community lunch and Eden bookstore will be discontinued for the year and the staff who support them will be furloughed. The advancement office that had increased staff size to conduct a face to face campaign has reduced its staffing. Searches for replacement in administrative positions have been discontinued when a position has been vacated due to retirement or resignation. Custodial positions needed when the campus was open to more visitors have been reduced to meet the current needs.
The COVID-19 virus has been disruptive, both as a threat to human health and economic strength. The consequences reverberate in many people’s lives and are a source for great grief. This is not the first time in the history of Eden that an epidemic has affected the leaders and supporters of the school. In fact, Eden was founded in 1850 in the middle of a cholera epidemic that killed over 1 million worldwide. Facing each of these challenges, the leaders of the school have made difficult decisions and Eden has been able to continue its service to church and society. There is every reason to have hope for the future of Eden and its mission. The school has a strong board and a strong new president in Deborah Krause.
Expect to hear more about the plans of the seminary as the new teams outline their work for the coming year.