Resolution Overview – Floor Committee 7

We want to make your life a little bit easier as you prepare for the Synod Convention. We’re compiling short summaries of all the Resolutions found in Today’s Business #1. This is not so that Delegates don’t take the time to carefully study all of the Resolutions, but for reference after that, to quickly have an idea about what resolution is what. Or perhaps these summaries will help you understand what you just read! Either way, please make use of these as you find helpful.

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Floor Committee 7 – University Education

7–01 – To Amend Bylaws Related to Structure and Governance of the Concordia University System
Every convention seems to have a “bylaw” resolution dealing with bylaws relating to the Concordia (CUS) colleges and universities, and this is that resolution. The 2016 Convention created a “7–02B Task Force” to make recommendations about changes to the governance structure for CUS schools. The Task Force submitted a report (R62, page 343 in the Convention Workbook) and a proposed overture (Ov. 7–01, page 460 of the Convention Workbook). This resolution is largely based on the proposed overture.

The resolution makes several changes. (1) Under the current bylaw the presidents of the CUS schools constituted an informal “advisory council”; the resolution makes that group a formal body called the “Concordia University System’s Advisory Council” that will assist the CUS Board of Directors with a variety of strategic planning and other issues. (2) It changes the process by which CUS schools can be consolidated or divested (but NOT closed), by including the CUS Board of Directors as one of the groups that can, by 2/3 vote, take this action if at least two of the groups agree (the other groups are the Synod Board of Directors, the Board of Regents of the school, and the Council of Presidents). (3) It adds representation from the Synod Board of Directors to the CUS Board. (4) It requires Boards of Regents to ensure that their faculty are formally trained in Lutheran doctrine (given the large number of non-Lutheran faculty). (5) It makes a number of “cleanup” changes to the bylaws.

7–02 – To Nurture Our Lutheran System of Higher Education
The resolution is structured in four parts: (1) affirming Lutheran Identity based on the Lutheran Identity Statement that was prepared the CUS institution presidents and adopted at the 2016 convention; (2) affirming that the CUS schools exist to educate both church workers and lay people; (3) affirming the CUS schools as institutions of choice for LCMS students; and (4) affirming teaching opportunities at CUS schools for LCMS members with appropriate backgrounds.

The resolution groups these issues into four sets of “whereas” clauses at the beginning to explain the purpose, and then (in the same order) includes four sets of “resolved” items that include philosophical statements, and actions, supporting each of the four tenets of the resolution. The resolution does not make any structural changes, but is intended to publicize, encourage, support, and expand efforts that are ongoing to help our CUS schools flourish.

7–03 – To Direct a Collaborative Process to Propose a New Governance Plan
The 2016 Convention created a “7–02B Task Force” to make recommendations about changes to the governance structure for CUS schools. The Task Force submitted a report (R62, page 343 in the Convention Workbook) and a proposed overture (Ov. 7–01, page 460 of the Convention Workbook). This resolution is largely based on the proposed overture and report.

The resolution acknowledges the challenges that currently face private institutions of higher education. It then directs the Synod Board of Directors, working collaboratively with the CUS institution presidents (who will be known as the “Concordia University System Advisory Council” if Resolution 7–01 passes), the CUS Board of Directors, and other groups as needed to prepare a new governance plan in advance of the 2022 Convention. Essentially, it is continuing the “task force” work that has been ongoing for the last two convention cycles (2013 Resolution 5–01A and 2016 Resolution 7–02B).

7–04 – To Advance the Prior Review Process for CUS Institution Presidential Candidates
This resolution makes a process change to the way in which prior approval is given for the presidents of Concordia University System (CUS) colleges and universities.

Currently, when there is a presidential vacancy, each board of regents issues a call for nominations. It then is responsible for reviewing the candidates submitted, interviewing them, and then making a list of at least five candidates it thinks are acceptable and qualified to serve as president. At that point, the board of regents submits its list to a three-person prior review panel consisting of the District President of the District where the school is located, the Synod President, and the Chairman of the CUS Board of Directors. Any two of those three can “veto” a name (it is NOT solely the decision of the Synod President). The remaining names go back to the board of regents, and if there are at least two, the board of regents is required to pick one of them to be the next president.

Under the resolution, all nominees who let their names stand would immediately go to the prior approval group for review. The prior approval group would then return the approved names to the board of regents. The board of regents would then have the option of electing any person from the approved list, or restarting the search, as it deems appropriate. The resolution is intended to allow the board of regents to know in advance who the approved pool will be, before significant time is invested in interviewing candidates.

7–05 – To Recognize and Give Thanks for Work at Selma
The closure of Concordia College Alabama, at Selma, was a traumatic event for many people. This resolution is intended to allow a sense of closure from the convention. The Whereas clauses contain relevant information that helps explain the circumstances under which Selma closed and to dispel some of the misinformation that has been circulating.

7–06 – To Celebrate and Give Thanks to God for the 125th Anniversary of Concordia University, Nebraska
This is a “giving thanks” resolution. The convention has typically adopted these on the 25-year increment anniversaries of the various Concordia University System colleges and universities.

7–07 – To Respectfully Decline Overtures
Declines submitted specific overtures for the reasons given.