Campus Changes FAQ
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is responsible for the accreditation of Hardin-Simmons University and all other major universities in Texas (Baylor, Rice, SMU, TCU, University of Texas system universities, Texas A&M, etc.), among 792 colleges and universities across the southern U.S. SACSCOC is recognized as a stringent regional accrediting body encompassing 11 states, including Texas.
In March, SACSCOC asked Hardin-Simmons University to respond to allegations made on various websites related to decisions made by the HSU Board of Trustees in early February 2020 as part of its strategic plan to strengthen the financial health of HSU, decisions which included the closure of Logsdon Seminary after the teach-out of all current students. After a review of the university’s 14-page response and 160 pages of supporting documents, SACSCOC found that none of the allegations published on the various websites supported a determination of noncompliance with the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation, and reported its findings in this letter from SACSCOC President Dr. Belle S. Wheelen.
If you are looking for the Logsdon FAQ, please see this page.
As part of the university’s long-term strategic plan to operate more efficiently and continue to prepare our students to thrive in an increasingly competitive economy, while maintaining the value of the faith-based education HSU provides, the university’s academic programs will be re-organized under five colleges and schools. Each school will continue to have an associate dean.
Some programs will be closing based on costs and low student demand but none of these closures will affect current students. Whether your program is closing or not, you will be able to finish that program at HSU. This is also known as a “teach out.”
New programs are being added after review, extensive feasibility and financial studies, and board approval.
In May 2021, some faculty positions will be eliminated based on program teach outs and cost reductions in several remaining programs. To respect the privacy of our faculty, none of those names or positions are being made public.
HSU’s advancement of its mission of providing an education enlightened by Christian faith and values means the decisions we make today will directly impact the university’s ability to plot a path that will allow us to preserve our assets for future generations of students.
During the last 30 years, higher education has changed substantially, but Hardin-Simmons University’s program offerings have not. We believe in being good stewards of our present resources, and this includes ongoing evaluation and enhancement of our financial condition. As student enrollment grows, so do student revenues. Tuition income is not sufficient to cover the costs of providing an education to our students. Because of this, HSU has had to redirect funds meant for long-term savings to cover the shortfall and meet ongoing financial needs. The Board of Trustees is committed to making changes that will ensure HSU is financially sustainable.
President Eric Bruntmyer spent the first two years of his presidency, which began in June 2016, talking to faculty, staff and other university constituencies about alternatives to program cuts. Changes were made in marketing and student recruitment. Faculty explored the possibility of new program offerings and new modes of delivery, several of which have been implemented.
Implementing the strategic plan has and will continue to require disciplined evaluation about all of HSU’s programs, including academics. In some instances, difficult choices have been made that have also reduced faculty and staff for those programs. These individuals are beloved members of our community, and we appreciate that these transitions may be challenging. Rest assured these decisions were not made lightly or hastily. We are closing some doors in order to open many to secure the future success of HSU.
Yes. HSU has always been an adaptive institution, willing to make significant changes to secure the university’s long-term growth and to continue to “bring students to Christ, to teach them of Christ, and to train them for Christ.” A few examples of past changes include:
In 1902, Dr. Oscar Henry Cooper, the fifth president of Hardin-Simmons University, made significant changes to numerous program offerings by removing, updating and adding a variety of programs.
Dr. Richardson, our eighth president, instituted military training on campus, as well as training for civil pilots in preparation for the possibility of World War II. This move, while not an academic one, allowed HSU to continue to prepare for the future.
Dr. Skiles, our twelfth president, removed a number of programs and replaced them with others to better prepare students for future career choices.
For 129 years, our mission has been to train students to be future Christian leaders. Because of this commitment to provide an education enlightened by Christian faith and values, graduates of Hardin-Simmons University have become pastors, missionaries, chaplains, educators, administrators, youth leaders, industry experts, business executives, politicians, actors and scientists, among many other successful occupations. HSU alumni serve as the body and hands of Christ wherever they are, carrying out the mission of Jesus to share His love through service to those who are created in His image.
The Way Forward is Hardin-Simmons University’s long-term strategic plan to help guide the university’s community of students, alumni, faculty and staff to be good stewards of our present resources and to embrace the change required of us as we boldly prepare for the future while staying true to our past, and to be united in our mission of providing an education enlightened by Christian faith and values.
The Way Forward was born out of a desire to be good stewards of the resources that have been entrusted to us by current students and alumni, and by the generations of students who have preceded us. Being good stewards has required us to close an HSU operating deficit of more than $4 million. As we continue to pursue the plan, The Way Forward will help us plot a path that will allow us to preserve our assets for future generations of students, offering the programs these students will want in a cost-effective way. Our goal is to provide for the long-term financial stability of a university that is dear to our hearts.
For many years, the university’s strategic plan has emphasized ten goals:
- Develop a culture of innovation, diversity and openness to change
- Maintain and enhance the Christian distinctiveness of campus
- Develop a unified marketing and imaging plan
- Significantly improve campus technology
- Enrich the total faculty/staff experience
- Enrich the total student experience
- Grow total enrollment
- Develop new programs and evaluate existing programs
- Dramatically improve, maintain and expand facilities
- Enhance financial condition and resources
While the strategic plan will always focus on these 10 key elements, HSU is committed to careful and thoughtful planning as we consider how we serve our students, faculty, staff and communities.
In 2014, Hardin-Simmons University hired the Austen Group, a consulting firm that specialized in higher education analysis to analyze the university’s programs. The Austen Group identified financially low performing programs that year and in the two years that followed. The findings were shared with deans and faculty to help guide improvements and changes needed for those programs.
In 2017, Hardin-Simmons brought that analysis in-house to provide more detailed guidance to the Board of Trustees and the President, who are ultimately responsible for the university’s educational program offerings and financial sustainability. Our Board is made up of business women and men, doctors, lawyers, accountants, financial planners and pastors. Each has brought a special expertise to the data analysis and decision-making necessary to secure the university’s future. The administration includes lawyers, a CPA, former CFOs and long-time educators. Together, HSU’s leadership totals more than 200 years of higher education business experience.
Yes. The board made their decisions with the long-term stability of Hardin-Simmons in mind. HSU has been entrusted with the stewardship of significant financial and physical assets that position it well for long-term excellence, but each year it can spend only the income produced by the financial assets, not the assets themselves. The university is facing immediate short-term operational challenges that it is having to address now to preserve its assets for future generations of students, offering the programs they want in a cost-effective way.
The board’s decisions to close specific programs were not made lightly. All programs were analyzed as part of a process known as The Way Forward, HSU’s recently approved Strategic Financial Plan. The analysis did not single out Logsdon Seminary or any other specific program to address the university’s operational changes. Undergraduate programs and graduate programs outside the seminary are also closing, teaching out those students currently in the programs so they can finish their degrees, and then ceasing to operate once all have graduated.
For more information specific to Logsdon Seminary, please see this page.
Hardin-Simmons will absolutely continue to provide an education enlightened by Christian faith and values, offering 19 graduate programs, more than 40 undergraduate majors, and more than a dozen stand-alone minors.
No. Hardin-Simmons stands firmly on its foundational Christian beliefs. We are not dropping our Bible courses, which have been a graduation requirement for all undergraduates since 1902. HSU will always hold securely to the Christian values and teachings that are woven deeply and enduringly throughout our university. We will continue to provide an education enlightened by Christian faith and values.
Logsdon Seminary has been part of the School of Theology, and while the Seminary is closing, the School of Theology is not. It will continue to be a school with an associate dean as a part of the College of Liberal Arts.
These changes will not affect current students. Whether your program is closing or not, you will be able to finish that program at HSU. This is known as a “teach out.” Hardin-Simmons stands behind the commitments it has made to its students regarding both program availability and quality. Any changes to program offerings will be incremental with sufficient offerings to allow all current students a reasonable time to finish their programs. Students will be able to finish their course of study and graduate with their current major and minor.
HSU will be reorganizing its programs into five colleges and schools. At this time, this is an administrative change that will not affect where your classes are offered or where your professors have their offices.
Those graduating in May 2020 will graduate as part of their current college or school. Students graduating after May 2020 will graduate as a part of their new college or school.
No. HSU’s major in Christian Studies is in development and will not be part of the catalog for Fall 2020, so you will start as a major in one of the present programs, Biblical Studies, Ministry, Theological Studies or Worship Ministry, and transition to Christian Studies in Spring 2021.
If you are enrolled in any of the programs currently offered in the Logsdon School of Theology, you will be able to graduate in that program even if you are currently a freshman. This is known as a “teach out.” Any changes to program offerings will be incremental, and the Logsdon School of Theology will continue to offer an undergraduate major in Christian Studies, as well as courses focused on the Bible, Church History, Ministry and Theology.
Yes. Many seminary programs only require an undergraduate degree. To satisfy those seminary programs that require an undergraduate degree in religion, Hardin-Simmons is developing a major in Christian Studies.
Every faculty member will be offered a contract to return for the 2020-2021 academic year, including those teaching in a program that is going through a “teach out” and then closing. HSU is committed to giving each affected faculty member 12-months’ notice or more to make the needed career move, as well as provide for the teach out of current students enrolled in any programs that are closing.
All staff will be employed through May 31, 2020, though departing staff will be given the opportunity to work from home or however they feel is appropriate, to give them maximum flexibility in looking for a new job and making other adjustments that are important for their families. HSU is committed to assisting all staff and faculty with support and flexibility during this time of transition.
Faculty and staff affected by these changes, as well as their children and spouses, will continue to maintain their financial aid and academic status with HSU.
The total of all budgeted operating expenses for FY19 was $49,783,087.
$143,857,000 in Restricted Endowment Funds – based on donor restrictions, these funds must be used for specific programs or operations based on the donor’s request.
$50,850,000 in Unrestricted Endowment Funds – these funds are not donor restricted and can be spent by the Board of Trustees as needed.
Forty-two percent of our first-time freshmen and more than 450 students in total are involved in sports. Our athletic teams continue to grow as a vibrant part of our campus, attending classes, living in residential facilities and contributing financially to the university. Since HSU competes at the Division III level, our student-athletes do not receive athletic scholarships.
No. Baptist organizations and foundations provide financial support to many different institutions. Those amounts often increase and decrease based on a wide variety of factors. Any concerns about the reason for specific changes in financial support from a particular organization should be directed to that organization, which might be able to give additional insight on how charitable amounts are decided and distributed.
Any change in financial support is something that is noted by the Board of Trustees, regardless of the organization, Baptist or otherwise. Certainly, the increase or decrease of financial support from any number of organizations does have a financial impact on the overall income of the university.
Dr. Chris McNair, HSU’s provost, will be happy to respond to questions sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hardin-Simmons University will be organized in five colleges and schools. Each school will continue to have an associate dean. For a full list of programs and majors associated with each school, please see our programs pages here:
Full program list:
Updates to our colleges and schools:
- the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts, which will now also include:
- School of Music
- Department of Fine Arts
- Logsdon School of Theology
- Department of Counseling and Human Development
- the Holland School of Science and Mathematics
- a renamed Kelley College of Business and Professional Studies, which will now also include:
- Irvin School of Education
- Ed.D. in Leadership Studies
- the College of Health Professions, which will now also include:
- School of Kinesiology, Health, and Recreation
- the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing
Some programs at Hardin-Simmons University will be closing:
- Due to costs:
- Doctor of Ministry
- Master of Arts in Family Ministry
- Master of Arts in Religion
- Master of Divinity
- Due to low enrollment:
- Master of Education in Gifted and Talented Education (11 students)
- Master of Education in Reading Specialist Education (7 students)
- Master of Music in Church Music (0 students)
- Master of Music in Music Education (2 students)
- Master of Music in Music Theory and Composition (2 students)
- Master of Music in Performance (1 student)
- Minor in Music on the M.Ed. degree (0 students)
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking & Financial Services (3 students)
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Nonprofit Management (3 students)
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Public Administration (0 students)
- Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition (4 students)
- Certificate Programs
- Express Teacher Certification (1 student)
- Master Reading Teacher Certificate (0 students)
- Due to needed change in delivery method and low graduation rates:
- Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences in Physical Education
- Undergraduate Minors
- Minor in Biblical Languages
- Minor in Leadership
- Minor in Sociology
- Minor in Spanish
After an extensive vetting process, Hardin-Simmons University is adding several new programs:
- Logsdon School of Theology in the College of Liberal Arts: Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Behavioral Sciences degrees in Christian Studies, to be developed by the faculty of the Logsdon School of Theology, which will replace existing majors in Biblical Studies, Ministry, Theological Studies, and Worship Ministry
- School of Music in the College of Liberal Arts: Bachelor of Science in Music with a Concentration in Worship Leadership
- College of Health Professions: Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
- Irvin School of Education in College of Business and Professional Studies: Master of Special Education with Emphasis in Applied Behavior
Hardin-Simmons University will continue to offer more than 40 undergraduate majors and more than a dozen minors:
- General Studio
- Graphic Design
- 3D Concentration
- Painting & Drawing
- Photography Concentration
- Biochemistry m
- Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
- Business Administration
- Christian Studies
- Coaching m
- Communication Sciences & Disorders
- Computer Science
- Criminal Justice
- Environmental Science m
- Exercise Science
- Fitness, Recreation & Sports Management
- Forensic Studies m
- Geology m
- Health Psychology
- Honors m
- Human Computer Interaction
- Human Services Administration
- Information Systems
- Legal Studies m
- Media Production m
- Music Business
- Music Education Chorale (EC-12)
- Music Education Instrumental (EC-12)
- Nursing (RN to BSN)
- Philosophy m
- Physics m
- Political Science m
- Pre-Athletic Training
- Pre-Physical Therapy
- Pre-Physician Assistant Studies
- Public Health m
- Religion m
- Social Work
- Social Work and Psychology
- Strategic Communication
- Teacher Education Content Areas:
- Art (EC-12)
- English Language Arts & Reading (4-8) and (7-12)
- English Language Arts, Reading, & Social Studies (4-8)
- English as a Second Language Supplemental (EC-12)
- General Science (4-8)
- History (7-12)
- Interdisciplinary Generalist (EC-6)
- Life Sciences Composite (7-12)
- Mathematics (4-8) and (7-12)
- Music Education Chorale (EC-12)
- Music Education Instrumental (EC-12)
- Physical Sciences Composite (6-12)
- Science Composite (7-12)
- Social Studies Composite (7-12)
- Special Education Supplemental (EC-12)
- Theatre (EC-12)
- Acting Track
- Musical Theatre Track
- Stage Management
- Design Track
- Theatre Education (EC-12)
- Worship Leadership
- Writing m
m Indicates minor only