The Future of the Church-Related University Consultation

The Lilly Fellows Program, based at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, IN, in partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University’s Lumen Research Institute in Marion, IN, announces the establishment of the “Future of the Church-Related University” consultation.

Over the course of the last decade, the landscape in which higher education found itself grew more financially, legally, philosophically, politically, socially, and technologically challenging than in recent memory. Despite being established by the Church over a millennium ago, the Church-related university is not immune to those challenges.

The “Future of the Church-Related University” consultation will engage those challenges and provide resources for discernment for leaders, teachers, and scholars called to care for the Church-related university’s future.

To do so, this consultation will begin with the “Funding the Future” initiative led by Jon S. Kulaga (President, Indiana Wesleyan University) and Beck A. Taylor (President, Samford University). A second initiative, “Minding the Mission,” will be led by David W. Wright (President Emeritus, Indiana Wesleyan University), Barry H. Corey (President, Biola University), and Perry L. Glanzer (Professor of Educational Foundations, Baylor University). Subsequent initiatives may focus on administrators, curriculum, faculty, students, and trustees.

According to Lilly Fellows Program Director Joe Creech, “Everyone acknowledges that the funding model for higher education—church-related higher ed. included—is broken, so I’m excited about the opportunity to address this issue head on. But we need to do more than just survive. We need to move forward with a sense of purpose that permeates our institutions, and so it’s critical that this funding conversation take place within the larger context of mission.”

With Joe Creech serving as chair, a thirteen-member advisory board will provide oversight for this consultation as well as review efforts made by the initiative leaders. Board members include:

  • Joe Creech – Director, Lilly Fellows Program
  • Heather Templeton Dill – President, John Templeton Foundation
  • Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A. – President, Villanova University
  • Romanita Hairston – Chief Executive Officer, The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
  • Marjorie Hass – President, Council of Independent Colleges
  • Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J. – President, Creighton University
  • Rev. Dennis M. Holtschneider, C.M. – President, Association for Catholic Colleges and Universities
  • Shirley V. Hoogstra – President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
  • David P. King – Associate Professor of Philanthropic Studies & Karen Lake Buttrey Director of the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
  • Linda A. Livingstone – President, Baylor University
  • Philip Graham Ryken – President, Wheaton College
  • Molly A. Schaller – Professor of Higher Education & Associate Dean of the School of Education, Saint Louis University
  • Laurie A. Schreiner – Professor of Higher Education, Azusa Pacific University

As the consultation coordinators, Todd C. Ream (Professor of Humanities & Senior Fellow for Programming for the Lumen Research Institute, Indiana Wesleyan University) and Jerry Pattengale (University Professor and Co-Director of the Lumen Research Institute, Indiana Wesleyan University), will resource members of the advisory board and the initiative leaders.

The first meeting of the advisory board is scheduled to take place in Chicago, Illinois in late October. On dates to be determined, the spring 2024 meeting will take place in Dallas, Texas.

Further details concerning the “Future of the Church-Related University” consultation can be found at Questions concerning the consultation can be directed to the Lilly Fellows Program at or Todd Ream at

Founded in 1991, the Lilly Fellows Program seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning through a variety of fellowships and through the collaborative and ecumenical Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities. The Lilly Fellows Program is based at Christ College, the interdisciplinary honors college of Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana.

Established by Indiana Wesleyan University in 2016, the Lumen Research Institute is a global collective of Christian scholars who pursue questions of social concern through collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts.

Additional details will be posted soon.