Newbold College in Restructuring Move
Plans layoffs, drops media studies course
xtensive consultations on restructuring were February’s theme at Newbold College, a Seventh-day Adventist-owned institution, led by acting principal Svein Myklebust. As part of the process, 15 members of staff received “notice of possible redundancy” letters on February 11. At the same time all recipients were invited to apply for the 7.5 new positions the college is creating in order to redirect its resources.
NEWBOLD CAMPUS: Part of the campus of Newbold College in suburban London. The Adventist Church-owned school recently announced a restructuring. PHOTO: Kay Choudary/Newbold College
Myklebust and the school’s senior management team hope that the restructuring process will be completed by the middle of March, and as a result the college will be able to respond more effectively and economically to the needs of the church in the Trans-European Division (TED). The college is seeking to generate a new mind-set for communicating the gospel in the modern world. A robust recruitment process continues, and all the courses in theology and ministry and in English as a second language remain strongly subscribed. The college has plans to develop further its offerings for its business students and those from the U.S.A. The course in media studies has been discontinued.
Pastor Bertil Wiklander, TED president and college board chair, said, “Members of the board of governors are well aware that these changes will create a lot of uncertainty about the future in the minds of staff. We are doing everything in our power to minimize that uncertainty while putting Newbold on a firmer footing for the future and preserving most of what makes Newbold valued by so many people.”
Myklebust added, “The college has always exercised a significant influence in the Seventh-day Adventist Church disproportionate to its size. Everyone involved with the college is hopeful that this will continue to be the case.”
Job insecurity is obviously difficult for staff at this time, but the program is being worked through in as positive a manner as possible. Support and counseling systems have been put in place. The college’s senior pastor, Patrick Johnson, said, “All staff know that the church family has them in their prayers, and this has equally been expressed during worship services and prayer meetings. Our office has been open, and some have stopped by for a listening ear and for a word of prayer.” He added, “Newbold is my alma mater too, and an institution I want to see prosper. Equally my heart goes out to all those staff who are dealing with these challenging issues.”
Myklebust is a longtime friend of the college and is putting a lot of much-appreciated energy into securing a strong future for the institution. He concludes, “We ask all those who have a place in their affections for Newbold to keep it in their thoughts and prayers as it puts a new shape on its future.” n
—reported by Katie Ramharacksingh, tedNEWS