03/26/2024 President's Announcement

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Further updates

We recognize there are still many questions that remain. Updates will be shared here as they become available.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 - Update from the Board of Regents

Dear friends in Christ:

I am writing to the members of the Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor community–as well as the wider Church–to update you on the Board of Regents’ consideration of the future of the Ann Arbor campus.

As you may be aware, the university has carried a structural deficit for several years; during the most recent fiscal year, the deficit rose to $9 million. The university has been able to maintain a relatively healthy financial position because of the strength of market returns on its endowment and the outstanding efforts of the university’s advancement team.

The university’s leadership brought in an outside expert to analyze the structural deficit, and the results of the analysis were both clear and challenging: Each campus needs to align staffing to meet the number of students we are serving, and the Ann Arbor campus cannot generate enough auxiliary revenue to sustain its current cost structure.

The Board of Regents recognizes that we live in a time of significant disruption for higher education. The university–especially the Ann Arbor campus–cannot maintain the status quo. Because we care deeply about our ethical commitment to our students, we have asked the university’s administration to act quickly to address the financial challenges we are facing. To that end, the administration has carried out the very difficult task of enacting a reduction in force across both campuses and is now pursuing a process for program prioritization.

We also realize that the university must address the future of the Ann Arbor campus. The Board has ensured that the Ann Arbor campus will be open for the 2024-25 Academic Year, and it has created a task force to explore the possibility of the Ann Arbor campus becoming an autonomous campus within the Concordia University System (CUS) at some point in the future.

The task force includes four subcommittees: Finance, Mission/ Identity, Accreditation, and Legal/ Property. Each subcommittee is charged with answering–through the lens of its own particular expertise–whether or not the Ann Arbor campus can support itself as an independent institution. The subcommittees will include evidence to support their position and may suggest alternative outcomes for the Board of Regents to consider.

The task force includes members of the Board of Regents, the Foundation Board, and leaders from across the spectrum of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Each subcommittee also includes representation from the Michigan District. All of these individuals are highly qualified in their respective fields and bring a wealth of experience to their subcommittee’s work. We are grateful that so many faithful Lutheran Christians have graciously given their time and talents to this project.

The task force intends to complete its report and submit it to the Board of Regents by the end of May; we plan to publish their findings. The Regents will then consider the task force’s report as they protect the ability of the university to live out its mission, carry out their fiduciary responsibility for the university, and determine the next steps for the Ann Arbor campus–a task they must complete before 1 July 2024. Unfortunately, a great deal of misinformation about this situation and process continues to circulate throughout our circles. Please know that throughout this process, the university has communicated early and often with the leadership of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod to explain clearly the challenges we are addressing. Likewise, we will continue to provide the Church with thorough updates on the progress of this Task Force.

For 143 years, our Lord has graciously blessed the work of this university. He has guided it from humble beginnings near downtown Milwaukee to its present beautiful location on the shore of Lake Michigan and, for the past decade, He has extended its work to Ann Arbor, Michigan. The changes over time have been remarkable, but one thing has remained constant. Our Lord has faithfully carried out His work among us, and His Spirit has made it possible for us to help students develop in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world.

The leadership of this university asks for your prayers as we work through this process and pursue the best possible outcome for the Church, the university, and our students. May the Lord of the Church grant us His mercy, grace, and wisdom as we follow where He leads us, and may His assurance of His love for us allow us to live in His joy and peace–now and for all eternity.

In Christ,
Rev. John Berg, Chair
CUWAA Board of Regents

Contact us

We know that this news elicits strong reactions, and we fully recognize the anxiety and fear that may come from these conversations. Many have expressed a desire to contact leaders and Concordia’s Board of Regents. In order to help our leaders receive your feedback in an efficient manner, we ask that you utilize this form. Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns and questions. Due to the volume of comments our leaders are currently receiving, they may not be able to respond directly to your submission. Please know that all messages are being read and considered. We thank you for your love for Concordia.

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