Message 2020

This has been a year of imagining and planning for the future of Iliff.

In the middle of that process, we implemented a response to the pandemic. To keep our community safe, the campus buildings have been closed since mid-March and all courses have gone online. Iliff remains fully operational with all students being assured that their progress to degree will not be jeopardized.

I want to publicly thank the students, faculty, staff, and board for their creative and agile spirits in making all of the many adjustments that made it possible to deliver courses and school operations on schedule.

Within the pages that follow is an invitation to review the future direction of Iliff. Like generations before us, our time will be marked by how we embrace being a transition generation. We are looking head on at the changing patterns of support that allowed Iliff students to succeed. A pattern of declining enrollment exists across higher education of which theological education is a part. The church is working hard to decipher the cultural context in which it now expresses its service. The decreased ability of traditional support by denominations for theological study through sending its students along with the financial support for them is part of the new emerging reality. All of these trends give rise to strategic opportunities and possibilities as we plan for sharing the essence of Iliff in new ways.

In response, Iliff is creating a new expansive set of offerings that are broadly accessible to an ever-expanding community of learners and focused on engaging the moral discourse in the context of multiple cultural constructions of human meaning. Our market research indicates broad interest in Iliff creating models of education that bring our expertise and partner with groups who cannot or are not interested in more traditional classroom models. We are developing expertise for consulting, workshops, podcasts, and immersion experiences. Learning opportunities offered to the public and to degree seeking students resonate relevance by being created out of Iliff’s engagement with the larger world. All facets of these new offerings are grounded in Iliff’s time honored tradition and commitment to social justice and reflection on the deep meanings underlying personal and cultural life. In the end, Iliff’s essence is expressed through this new presence and is a model reframing theological education.

How does Iliff seek to be measured? By how it engages the moral discourse by advancing research, scholarship, and activism of public value; whom it includes, not by whom it excludes; how it seeks to serve a variety of learning needs; how it is administered congruently and transparently with its own embraced values.

How will Iliff accomplish this? By building a network of institutions, agencies, and other entities into which students and learners can circulate, and by this, create new centers of thought leadership; creating new academic programs to engage the changing nature of higher education, the church, and emerging spirituality within the culture.

Join us as we seek to strengthen those long sustaining relationships and as we initiate ever broadening partnerships. Enjoy this Iliff Year in Review.


Rev. Dr. Thomas V. Wolfe
President and CEO
Iliff School of Theology