CBC to Focus on Helping Faculty, Students Transition

Post a Comment » Written on February 22nd, 2007     
Filed under: News
STRATHMORE, AB (February 22, 2007) – Covenant Bible College (CBC), which will close May 31, will assist laid-off employees in finding new employment, says Acting President Paul Lessard.

He is optimistic that most of the employees in Canada will be able to find positions quickly, explaining that “the job market in Alberta is booming.” The college will make career counselors available to assist in the transition.

Meanwhile, North Park University is encouraging students who had planned on attending CBC to consider the Chicago institution. “The North Park office of undergraduate admission will receive and prioritize applications for consideration from students who had planned on attending CBC,” says Mark Olson, dean of enrollment and director of church relations at NPU.

Lessard announced Wednesday that the CBC campuses in Canada and Ecuador will close May 31, noting that “it is no longer economically feasible to run CBC.” He projected the school will have debt of more than $1 million by the end of the academic year.

Increased costs, a continued decline in enrollment, and fewer donations forced the Board of Directors to make the unanimous decision over the past weekend, Lessard says. The college closed its Windsor, Colorado, campus prior to the current academic year. All CBC assets will be sold in an effort to cover the debt.

Ten staff members at the Canada campus and four others in Lessard’s office will be laid off, he says. The three full-time faculty members in Canada who desire to continue in ministry will work in cooperation with conference superintendents, Lessard says. Todd Slechta has served as an instructor and as executive director. Brian Frable and Amanda Olson are instructors.

Nine full-time and three part-time nationals will lose their jobs at the Ecuador campus, says instructor and Executive Director Bob Auger. “Many of them have had the opportunity of learning new skills during their employment at CBC,” he observes.

Two of the men have improved their skills enough in carpentry, plumbing and electrical work that they will be considered among the ‘maestro’ level of desirable employees, Auger says. “We are certain that they will be able to find work locally and we will be assisting them to do so over these next three months.”

The kitchen staff has learned many new cooking and baking skills, Auger adds. “They have been talking about the possibilities for their futures and feel confident that they can find other cooking positions or even open a pasteleria (bakery) in La Merced.”

Auger says the employees have handled the news as well as can be expected. “As the national staff were informed of the closure, the sweetest part of our time together was to see their amazing gratitude, not only for these steady jobs, but for the role they have played in the lives of students, their sense that they were able to see God’s love through the staff at CBC, and the reality that their lives have been changed in amazing ways that go beyond a job.”

Missionaries have served as administrators and instructors at the campus. Covenant World Mission missionaries Andy and Jenell Pluim already had made the decision to return to Canada after this academic year, Auger says.

Missionaries Baxter and Margie Swenson are exploring various options and expect to reach a decision soon on their next area of mission service. Denominational leaders will work with Auger and his wife, Deborah, director of ministry arts and an instructor.

Students who already had decided to attend CBC also must quickly make plans for their future. Olson says the CBC enrollees still have time to register at North Park and will receive full consideration. Several parents and students already had called North Park as of Thursday morning.

Most CBC students completed the discipleship program before entering a traditional four-year undergraduate program. North Park and CBC have long had a good relationship with each other, Olson says.

“Prior to 2003, between 15 and 25 students (annually) transferred to North Park,” Olson notes. “Since then, the number has increased to between 32 and 39 students per year who came directly to North Park.” He adds that other students who first attended another institution following their time at CBC also later transferred to NPU.

Olson’s daughter, Kjerstin, attended the Strathmore campus, and he acknowledges the experience at NPU will be different from that at CBC. “Covenant Bible College has a long and unique history of effective discipleship in the context of a small and close-knit community,” Olson says. “North Park obviously cannot replicate that experience.”

Olson says the undergraduate biblical and theological studies faculty is strong and points to the growth of campus University Ministries, in which a majority of students participate. “So although North Park does not replicate the CBC experience, it does offer a viable alternative to students who want to prepare for lives of significance and service as followers of Jesus.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog