Legacy Partner Transparency Report

 

Sioux Falls Seminary and its legacy partners strongly believe theological education is something that must happen in community and that the community in which it happens has a profound formational impact on students. As a result, when working with Legacy Partners the seminary makes a commitment to honor the history, heritage, and identity of each Legacy Partner. The stakeholders, local communities of faith, students, faculty, and administrators of each Legacy Partner have faithfully pursued their respective missions, and Sioux Falls Seminary is committed to honoring that work.

While honoring the past, the seminary and its Legacy Partners are also embracing a future wherein students from around the world can access a wider array of expertise, theological traditions, and unique learning experiences – all while adhering to our shared desire to provide a system of theological education that is affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful.

To achieve this goal, each Legacy Partner enters into a teach-out agreement with Sioux Falls Seminary wherein each partner commits to formally close its accredited degree programs and invite Sioux Falls Seminary to receive its students. For its part, Sioux Falls Seminary pledges to continue each Legacy Partner name and identity as a unique brand (“dba”) of the seminary. This approach is designed to show a deeply rooted commitment to enhancing and strengthening the work of each Legacy Partner. Legacy Partnerships are formed to accelerate mission fulfillment and broaden missional scope.

 

What are the implications for Legacy Partner students?

Teach-out plans developed by each Legacy Partner provide a pathway for both existing and new students.

New students (i.e. students who contact a Legacy Partner after it has entered into the teach-out agreement with Sioux Falls Seminary) are enrolled directly into compatible academic programs within Sioux Falls Seminary and complete their entire degree on that platform. Because Sioux Falls has pledged to maintain the history, heritage, identity, and brand of each Legacy Partner, new students are enrolled as Sioux Falls Seminary (i.e. Kairos) students. At the same time, however, they are encouraged to maintain a connection to the historic brand of the Legacy Partner. In some ways, this is like a student in The Wharton School seeing herself as both a student of Wharton and a student of Pennsylvania University.

Existing students in each Legacy Partner are given the opportunity to complete the degree into which each matriculated provided they do so in the agreed upon teach-out window. During this time, they are able to utilize coursework from any of the partnering institutions in the Kairos Network to satisfy degree requirements, thereby gaining access to a wider array or expertise, theological traditions, and unique learning experiences.

Existing students in each Legacy Partner who will not be able to complete their degrees within the teach-out window may transfer, at any point, to Sioux Falls Seminary (i.e. Kairos) to finish their degrees in a comparable academic program, with full credit being given for work completed through the Legacy Partner.

Existing students at all Legacy Partners, including Sioux Falls Seminary, have a significantly wider array of opportunities available to them through the option to take coursework directly from any Legacy Partner at no additional cost. Because each Legacy Partner brings historic distinctives and contexts, all students are able to enhance their own education by accessing those distinctive offerings that are relevant to their own contexts.

All students are fully advised of their options, both at the beginning of this process and throughout, and are supported in pursuing them.

 

What are the implications for Legacy Partner faculty members?

Core faculty members of each Legacy Partner (that is, those with annual contracts) continue to serve students and programs of the Legacy Partner through the teach-out period, although under the management of Sioux Falls Seminary.  In this way, each faculty member of each Legacy Partner is, by virtue of a Joint Venture Agreement, a faculty member of Sioux Falls Seminary. As the teach-out continues, faculty workloads shift from a focus on Legacy Partner students and programs into increased participation with the students and programs of Sioux Falls Seminary and the Kairos Network.

When the teach-out period for each Legacy Partner is concluded, its core faculty are invited to continue their service at Sioux Falls faculty, albeit with an ongoing identification with the Legacy Partner’s name and market region. Through this network approach, the faculty of Sioux Falls Seminary becomes a larger, more diverse, and more widely-credentialed network of faculty. See list of Kairos network faculty by clicking here.

 

What are the implications for Legacy Partner academic offerings?

In most cases, Sioux Falls Seminary offers academic programs comparable to or compatible with those of the Legacy Partner. However, it does not usually carry the same expertise or rich traditions as the Legacy Partner. In order to serve students well while also ensuring an ongoing commitment to the Legacy Partner’s expertise and tradition, Sioux Falls Seminary works with each Legacy Partner’s academic offerings in two ways: 1) expertise and tradition integration or 2) new program development.

 

Expertise and Tradition Integration

In cases where Sioux Falls Seminary already provides degree programs offered by a Legacy Partner (e.g. Master of Divinity), students from a Legacy Partner can be easily and immediately transferred into the equivalent programs at Sioux Falls Seminary. In practice, this means that the Sioux Falls Seminary program becomes the only accredited program of that type (thereby reducing cost and making things more affordable for students). 

At the same time, however, the expertise, tradition, and unique passions imbued in the Legacy Partner’s program are integrated into the comparable or compatible program offered by Sioux Falls Seminary. In this way, students across the network gain access to enhanced opportunities for study and growth. For example, if a Legacy Partner has a strong tradition of biblical studies, those courses and learning experiences are integrated into the standing degree programs offered by Sioux Falls Seminary. To reduce duplication of efforts, and therefore be better stewards of the resources entrusted to the network, the comparable academic programs of each Legacy Partner are discontinued by the conclusion of the teach-out period.

 

Here is a list of Sioux Falls Seminary programs that will be enhanced or adapted by integrating the expertise and traditions of Legacy Partners:

• Non-degree and Graduate Certificates
Legacy Partners will expand the number of faculty and discipline expertise thereby providing more opportunities for all students. In particular, graduate certificates in spiritual formation and direction will be greatly enhanced.

• Bachelor of Arts in Christian Thought and Practice
Legacy Partners will expand the number of faculty and discipline expertise thereby providing more opportunities for all students. In particular, BLI School of Ministry will apply its experience with undergraduate students to bolster the undergraduate programs at Sioux Falls Seminary.

• Master of Arts
Legacy Partners will expand the number of faculty and discipline expertise thereby providing more opportunities for all students. In particular, new options for Wesleyan theology, leadership, spiritual formation and direction, restorative theology, archeology, and biblical studies will be more readily available.

• Master of Divinity
Legacy Partners will expand the number of faculty and discipline expertise thereby providing more opportunities for all students. The increased expertise offered here will match that of the MA degree.

• Doctor of Ministry
Legacy Partners will expand the number of faculty and discipline expertise thereby providing more opportunities for all students. The increased expertise offered here will match that of the MA degree.

• Master of Arts in Counseling
Legacy Partners will expand the number of faculty and discipline expertise with a specific focus on enhancing the school’s emphasis on marriage and family therapy. This will result in seeking approval to transfer Evangelical’s COAMFTE accreditation to Sioux Falls. 

 

New Program Development

In some cases when Sioux Falls Seminary does not have a comparable degree program, Sioux Falls Seminary will create a similar program under its own accreditation and control thereby continuing a unique Legacy Partner offering. In other cases, it may mean significantly revamping an existing program rather than starting an entirely new program.

Here is a list of programs that are currently offered by a Legacy Partner and will be new additions to Sioux Falls Seminary.

• Doctor of Theology
Currently, Evangelical Seminary offers a Doctor of Theology. Sioux Falls Seminary will seek approval to offer this degree from both the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Commission on Accreditation of the Association of Theological School (ATS). Approval has already been granted by ATS.

 

What are the implications for Legacy Partner external constituencies?

Because the original mission of each Legacy Partner continues to be supported in their respective regions and with their respective constituencies both during and following the teach-out period, alumni, donors, and other stakeholders of each Legacy Partner typically see little external change in the institution. The partner’s name, buildings, property, key administrators, and faculty remain unchanged even after the teach-out period is concluded, which means learning continues to be contextualized for those regions and those constituencies.

The legal identity and accreditation of the institution will change, however, as each Legacy Partner will no longer be a stand-alone legal entity at the conclusion of the teach-out period (as permitted by law). While the partner’s name, buildings, property, key administrators, mission, and faculty remain unchanged, ownership and stewardship of each will become the responsibility of Sioux Falls Seminary.  Each Legacy Partner’s name will be continued as a brand within Kairos. In addition, in terms of accreditation, only the campus in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, will carry the “site” designation.

Through these missional approaches to theological education, students from Legacy Partner constituencies will be offered the opportunity to participate in an accredited, innovative learning experience that is more affordable, more accessible, more individualized, and simultaneously more global than what the Legacy Partner had been able to offer on its own.