CTU Annual Report 2011-2012
Facing the Future Without Fear
Every autumn Catholic Theological Union publishes its annual report. The 2011-2012 annual report is available for download by using the link below.
PDF Download: Annual Report 2011-12
It is a great honor to report to you, our friends and supporters, on the state of Catholic Theological Union. Because of you, at the conclusion of its 44th academic year, CTU is strong and facing the future without fear.
“Facing the future without fear” is, in fact, the theme we have chosen for this annual report. At a time when many institutions are battered by troubled economic waters and a wavering sense of purpose, we are blessed to be financially sound and inspired by a sacred and purposeful mission.
This past year was a milestone for CTU. Every 10 years our national accrediting agency, the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada (ATS), reviews its member institutions to see if they still are fully equipped to grant graduate degrees. In 2011, it was CTU’s turn. It was time for us to think back over the past 10 years to see how we have done and to look forward to the next decade.
What a 10 years it has been for us! We built a new campus, with a beautiful academic center and a completely renovated student residence hall. We undertook a thorough curriculum revision of our Master of Divinity degree and introduced an array of new masters programs. We expanded our interreligious dialogue efforts, particularly with the Muslim community. We welcomed new faculty and staff. And we successfully completed a comprehensive upgrade of our website and began online educational programming.
There is a rigorous process involved in the accrediting review. For two years we engaged in a comprehensive Self-Study that required us to evaluate CTU according to 10 standards, covering the effectiveness of our curriculum, the quality of our faculty, the integrity of our admission standards, the resources of our library, the strength of our finances, the state of our physical plant, and the legality of our norms and procedures. A number of committees had to be formed to gather and compile data into a coherent document — one that exceeded 200 pages of information!
This Self-Study in turn became the basis of judgment for an evaluation team from ATS that visited the school for several days at the end of September 2011. The visitors interviewed faculty and staff, read through all our materials, and poked around all of our facilities (the true “white glove” test). Finally, their written report was sent to ATS’ Board of Commissioners which holds the ultimate authority for renewing a school’s accreditation. In late February we received our “report card.”
I am very happy to report that CTU was granted full accreditation for the school and all of its degree programs for the next 10 years. In addition, the Commission praised CTU for the scholarship and excellent teaching ability of its faculty, for the school’s global outreach and amazing diversity, and for the outstanding quality of its library as an educational resource. And, yes, included among the commendations was praise for the Board of Trustees and Administration in guiding CTU with a steady hand through the economic challenges of the past few years. I am aware that the positive results of our accreditation review not only give reassurance to our students, faculty, and staff, but also to you, who have supported CTU over the years.
New Strategic Plan
In the wake of our accreditation visit, CTU has also renewed the strategic plan that will guide the direction of the school over the next three to five years. Under the banner of Jesus’ words from the Gospel of Matthew — “The field is the world” — we intend to strengthen and extend our mission even more intensely in the service of our world. This includes strengthening our essential ties with our sponsoring religious communities, doubling our national recruitment efforts to draw quality students for service to the Church, continuing to build a superb faculty, giving greater attention to the growing Hispanic population in the U.S. Church, building scholarship support — particularly for our lay students, and making the work of reconciliation and building bridges within the Church and among other religious traditions a hallmark of the school. We have identified practical steps under each of these headings and will be working hard in the coming years to accomplish our goals.
New Enrollment Management Department
One important strategic initiative has been to intensify our recruitment efforts. The religious order seminarians who are an essential part of CTU ’s mission are sent here for studies by their respective religious communities; each community is responsible for the seminarian’s formation and well-being. Our lay students, on the other hand, are either recruited by a diocese or they come on their own initiative. It is the role of our recruitment personnel to help these extraordinary lay men and women discern God’s call in their lives and assist them in deciding how best to prepare for their future ministry.
This past year CTU reorganized its recruitment efforts under the banner of an Enrollment Management Department. Led by Senior Director, Ryan Hoffmann, this
department coordinates the complete spectrum of activities necessary to draw and retain quality lay students from across the country and indeed from across the globe. Coordinating the efforts of marketing and communications, admissions, recruitment, financial aid counseling, and student and career services, this new department ensures a consistent and effective outreach to prospective students and a warm welcome when they arrive. We are already seeing the effects of this new initiative as the number of inquiries and applications to CTU increases.
Building our Educational Alliances
In last year’s annual report I announced that CTU had entered into two important “educational alliances” — one with DePaul University and the other with Rome’s Lay Centre. I am happy to report that these important collaborative efforts are thriving. Both of these educational alliances greatly strengthen CTU as a premier institute of Catholic theological education and extend our outreach in the world.
With DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in the United States, we have begun a series of initiatives, including the facilitation of DePaul theology majors taking advanced courses at CTU . DePaul faculty can take background courses on Catholicism as part of their faculty development. An exchange of faculty is now possible, with CTU faculty teaching in the religious studies department of DePaul and their faculty, from several disciplines, offering courses at CTU . Additionally, new opportunities for collaboration on such matters as office equipment purchase, IT information, legal issues, and a host of other practical initiatives offer mutual benefit. This fall, CTU and DePaul will collaborate on celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council with a series of programs for faculty and students. Other collaborative efforts are taking place in interreligious programming and shared overseas study-travel programs. A permanent joint oversight committee composed of administrators and faculty from both institutions will help monitor and advance this exciting educational alliance.
We are also moving forward with our collaboration with Rome’s Lay Centre, a remarkable institution that provides a supportive community for lay men and women who are pursuing doctoral degrees at Rome’s various pontifical universities. In December, a delegation of CTU trustees and administrators met with our counterparts at the Lay Centre in Rome. Located in a wing of the historic monastery of Saints John and Paul, the General headquarters of the Passionist Congregation, the Lay Centre staff and students gave us a warm Roman welcome. The occasion was the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Lay Centre. We shared in an outstanding symposium that highlighted the role of women in international peacemaking, with speakers from Israel, Northern Ireland, and Serbia, and a beautiful Mass. Archbishop Joseph Tobin, CSSR, the newly appointed and highly respected Secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, warmly commended the work of the Lay Centre and its new collaboration with CTU — thanking both for our support of lay men and women in the Church.
Further, this spring the CTU Board of Trustees, at the invitation of the Lay Centre, appointed a CTU trustee, Ann Kenny Carr, as a representative on the Board of Directors of the Lay Centre. Plans for faculty exchange and educational programming with the Lay Centre, particularly in our common commitment to interreligious dialogue and education, are in process.
New Theology Review
The papers from the Lay Centre’s anniversary symposium will make their appearance in the first issue of the on-line format of New Theology Review. Previously, this important journal of theology and ministry was jointly published exclusively in print by CTU and Washington Theological Union in collaboration with the Liturgical Press. With the unfortunate closing of Washington Theological Union, CTU will be the sole owner and publisher of this unique journal. But New Theology Review will now be solely online and fully accessible to a worldwide readership at www.newtheologyreview.org. This journal, published through CTU’s Paul Bechtold Library, will make available to readers articles on Catholic theology and aspects of pastoral ministry.
A Full Calendar
Along with its core work of teaching and learning, CTU has had, as usual, a full calendar of events this year: lectures by world renowned visiting scholars and an endless stream of celebrations and exhibitions. One of the highlights in the latter category was an exhibit in our Mary-Frances and Bill Veeck Art Gallery by resident artists from Misericordia Home. The opening reception featured remarks from Sr. Rosemary Connelly, RSM, the extraordinary founder and leader of this beautiful home for more than 600 developmentally disabled children and adults. The exhibit paralleled a week-long national institute on theology and disability that brought more than 100 participants to CTU for an incredible gathering of persons with disabilities and those working on their behalf.
Our annual Blessed are the Peacemakers Trustee Dinner this June was the most successful fundraiser in CTU ’s history. We honored two exceptional Chicago couples: Renée and Lester Crown and Shirley and Patrick Ryan. Together they established the Crown Ryan Chair in Jewish Studies at CTU, greatly strengthening a program in the Catholic-Jewish dialogue that has been part of CTU since the school’s beginning in 1968. Recalling the tremendous breakthrough in relations between our two faiths that took place at the Second Vatican Council, we felt this was a most appropriate way to begin our celebration of the Council’s 50th anniversary that will extend into the coming year.
One of the great highlights of the year was our commencement ceremony that took place on May 17 in the beautiful facilities of our neighbors, KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation (located, by the way, directly across the street from the home of President Barack Obama!). We celebrated our graduating class of nearly 100 students and heard a very moving valedictory speech by Sr. Rawaa Momeka, OP , a Dominican sister from Iraq who earned her Doctor of Ministry degree. We also granted honorary doctorates to theologian Rev. Bryan N. Massingale of Marquette University, noted for his powerful writings on behalf of the Black Catholic community; Friar Louis John Vitale, OFM, a courageous witness for peace; and former Chicago Police Department Superintendent Mr. Terry G. Hillard. That roster of honorees and speakers alone is a testimony to the global diversity and vitality of CTU.
Our Financial Strength
Of course one of the main reasons for an “annual report” is to be accountable to you, our friends and donors, about the financial state of CTU . First of all, I am very happy to assure you that CTU is in fact financially healthy. As the accompanying charts indicate, this year has been one of our most robust years ever, with a balanced budget to begin with and a solid operating surplus at year’s end. That result did not come by accident. Under the guidance of our Board of Trustees, we have been implementing a three-year financial plan that calls for a careful attention to reducing our expenses, the development of new revenue sources, and measured steps to building our faculty and programs as we go forward. It is not the kind of plan that sits on a shelf but one that is actually guiding our decisions and producing results. The gratitude owed to the expertise and commitment of the Finance Committee of our Board of Trustees is enormous.
Along with sound financial management, another major reason we are financially healthy is due to the generous support we have received from numerous individual donors, organizations, and foundations. The lists of names are here for you to examine. Last year, CTU raised nearly $2.3 million in annual support for our mission. This includes major grants for our ongoing lay student scholarship campaign from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Schmitt Foundation, and the Brach Foundation. On behalf of all of us at CTU, I can only say “thank you.” Without you, our mission could not continue.
Too often these days the media reports on violations of trust by not-for-profit charitable organizations, including church organizations and parishes. On behalf of our Board and Administration, I can assure you, without any hesitation, that every penny of your gifts to us is used responsibly for the exact purpose you have specified. All of our records are an open book. We live within our budget and we live frugally. Our yearly audits are completely clean. We strive in every way to protect and develop our precious financial resources with the best practices of financial management and oversight that we know. This is not patting ourselves on the back, but simply a matter of the trust we owe you for your incredible goodness to CTU and its mission.
Thank you, dear friends, for making this a memorable year — a year of strength and purpose for CTU, and one that truly enables us to face the future without fear.
Fr. Donald Senior, CP