Thursday, November 02, 2006

Message from Dr. Kalas, Interim President of Asbury

This now from Interim President Kalas:
Dear Asbury friends,

As I seek to listen to you day by day, I find that we are at different places in our attitude toward what has happened on our campus in the past two months. Some are ready to move on; whatever the past has been with its misunderstandings and disappointments, these persons feel that they want now simply to move forward with faith and love.

On the other hand, some are still wrestling with earnest and justified concerns about Dr. Greenway’s departure and the responses of the Board, the faculty, staff and students. They feel not only the need for personal and community healing, but also for an effective processing of what has happened so that mistakes of the past won’t be repeated.

With this in mind, I have asked – with the guidance of our President’s Leadership group -- to bring to our campus Dr. --- and one or two of his associates. He was with us for most of a day last week, doing preliminary interviews with a rather wide variety of people from our campuses. I am very impressed with his professional skills and his Christian commitment. ... He deals with organizations as varied as public school systems, churches, corporate bodies, and educational institutions, guiding them through a range of complicated and difficult circumstances.

He and associates will confer with numbers of students, faculty, and staff while he is on campus and with our entire Seminary Board when they convene for their semi-annual meeting. Please watch for more details that will be released soon as to how you may be involved in these upcoming meetings.

It is my hope, that by God's grace this process will also help us discover and deal with some of the hidden realities that may have long preceded this present crisis and that have undoubtedly contributed to our current condition. I am counting on all of us to cooperate in every possible way with Dr. --- and his associates, supporting their work by our prayers and by our readiness to learn from them.

Thank you, gracious friends in Christ, for working with me for God’s high purposes for our beloved school.

Your friend,
J. Ellsworth Kalas

I might say that while I do not anticipate being at Asbury next year, I met with Dr. Kalas earlier this week and believe him to be a genuinely conciliatory individual. While he and I have a slightly different view of recent events at Asbury (only slightly), I believe that he has no agenda other than the healing of the seminary.

I might also say that (following up on my doubts about the trajectory of Asbury last year) if the current faculty remain, I believe Asbury is a very good place for Wesleyans to do their seminary education. Their faculty are top rate and the Wesleyans and IWU graduates I saw there are really thriving. Asbury is not perfect by any means (in my view), but I'll not speak of that :-)

But I was impressed that 1) the faculty have engaged developments in how to teach (e.g. problem based learning, etc...) and 2) they have engaged the legitimate issues raised by postmodernism.

I very strongly hope that these strengths are not inadvertant casualties in any way of this crisis. Whatever Greenway's faults might have been, these were his strengths! I believe Asbury to be in a very vulnerable place right now. If they can hold it together, even plateau for a year, then hire a good, not reactionary president, it can continue on its positive way.

Blessings to Asbury as it tries to move forward.


Jessie said...

I guess you didn't get the job.

Ken Schenck said...

Ha! I've not been notified of any decision yet.

James Petticrew said...

From a selfish point of view I would like to see you going to Wilmore as I think you are exactly the type of lecturer they need, but I could certainly understand you being very wary if they offered you position.

Ken Schenck said...

This probably isn't a place to discuss this--I just didn't want people to think I was saying nice things about Kalas to help my application. I wouldn't assume at all that they will offer me the position. And while I am nervous about what will happen at Asbury in the wake of the crisis, any wariness would have to do with family matters more than Asbury's environment.

Hate to have this discussion--I just wanted people to know that I was being honest about hope for Asbury and not working some angle.