A challenging new landscape for Christian graduate education forces major moves.
Fuller Theological Seminary announced plans this week to sell its 70-year-old Pasadena, California, campus and move to a new location designed to facilitate its expanded online education offerings in the wake of shifting enrollment.
The decision to leave its main campus for a site in Pomona, California (about 30 miles away), follows downsizing efforts at the country’s largest multidenominational seminary, which last summer announced plans to close three of its eight satellite campuses and to cut degree options at two more.
“In the last few years we have been through meticulous financial excavation, budget scrutiny, and painful cuts as we’ve navigated an increasingly challenging and disrupted higher education landscape,” wrote Fuller president Mark Labberton in a letter released Tuesday.
“Trustees, senior leadership, faculty, staff, students, and friends of Fuller spent months in due diligence and fasting and prayer, convinced that theological education is just as necessary for this new era as ever, but knowing we must take bold risks and have a bold vision in order to transform.”
While the number of full-time students at Fuller’s main and regional locations has dropped, enrollment in online classes rose by 50 percent over four years and began outnumbering all other campuses in fall 2016, provost Joel Green noted last year.
Fuller has watched the popularity of its online classes grow by 16 percent a year. The seminary has already doubled-down on online, hybrid, and nontraditional programs and promises that the upcoming transition will continue to expand options for “traditional degree education, formation experiences, professional certificates, and resources.”
It’s the …