2017 Board of Trustees Plenary Sessions

On October 5 and 6, Covenant College’s Board of Trustees met to discuss several issues, resulting in notable outcomes.

The plenary sessions began Thursday morning with a dedication ceremony: the Kirk auditorium was named Charles W. Anderson Auditorium in honor of Emeritus Professor Chuck Anderson. Jim Wildeman, former member of Covenant’s English Department spoke in appreciation about the effects Professor Anderson had on the college and on Wildeman himself.

Later on Thursday, The Board went into executive session to decide on a motion to restore funding on two accounts: the 5 percent match of employees’ 403(b) retirement contributions and the budget of the Office for Advancement. The Board passed the motion. And according to Director of Administration Jen Allen, the college will draw more from its endowment than usual to support matching up to 5 percent, dollar-for-dollar, of employees’ retirement plans.

Administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget was also discussed by board members, who decided to cut roughly $1.75 million—5 percent of the college’s overall budget. To adjust financial constraints, “the Board has cancelled an off-site Board retreat that was previously scheduled to be held in January,” wrote Allen in an email report. Chairman of the Board Dick Bowser announced that instead a smaller group of trustees will meet on Covenant’s campus to decide on the college’s long-term direction. This smaller group will include the Board’s Executive Committee and chosen trustee advisors.

To further adjust financial constraints, the Office for Advancement is tasked with growing the college’s endowment to at least $100 million by 2025, which includes formulating a preliminary campaign strategy to be presented for approval by the Board in March. A steering committee will draw up the strategy, instructed by the Board in collaboration with the Covenant College Foundation.

On Friday morning, the Board approved an omnibus motion to bring faculty salaries into line with external benchmarks (comparable institutions) over the course of six years. Staff compensation came to the Board from the Academic Affairs Committee and is already being addressed—a plan involving market analysis will be conducted on each position. Such analyses should be performed by every three years.

And now regarding PCA bylaw ordination changes, first steps are being taken. “The Board governance committee developed plans to draft language for an overture that would make changes to the PCA’s Corporate Bylaws and Book of Church Order allowing a minority of seats on Covenant’s Board to be filled by non-ordained persons. The College plans to distribute this language to interested presbyteries around the country, with a view to having those presbyteries submit overtures to next summer’s PCA General Assembly,” wrote Allen.

Lastly, trustees for the class of 2022 were nominated. This new slate of trustees will be presented for election at next summer’s General Assembly. Those nominated include current trustees Ralph Kelley, David Lucas, Rob Rayburn, and Kevin Smith. New nominations to the Board are as follow: Dr. Bill Barcley (senior pastor, Sovereign Grace Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC and adjunct professor of New Testament, RTS-Charlotte), Rev. Leon Brown (founding pastor, Crown & Joy Presbyterian Church, Richmond, VA), and Mr. John Truschel (ruling elder, First Presbyterian Church of the North Shore, Ipswich, MA). Gary Haluska, a returning trustee, will fill the remainder of a vacant slot in the class of 2020.