What is Happening at Trinity International University?


Trinity College, the undergraduate college of Trinity International University (TIU) in Deerfield, Illinois, recently announced that it is closing its Division of Biblical, Religious, and Philosophical Studies.

Here is the announcement from new TIU president Nicholas Perrin:

Dear Students, 

I am writing you with difficult news. Beginning Fall 2020, Trinity International University will be undergoing a partial restructure, involving the formal dissolution of one of Trinity College’s academic divisions, the Division of Biblical, Religious, and Philosophical Studies, and within it the Department of Biblical Studies and the Department of Christian Ministries. New and continuing students will be able to complete their programs and courses this academic year and indeed for the remainder of their undergraduate career without interruption. We expect to enroll new students in most if not all of the same courses in the 2020–21 academic year in a newly reconstituted Bible, Theology, and Ministry major, as well as in the continuing Philosophy major, which will be housed in the Division of Humanities. In other words, this change will have no material curricular impact on currently enrolled students who are guaranteed to graduate under the catalogue with which they matriculated. The fundamental implications of this decision revolve around faculty changes: beginning in Fall 2020, our undergraduate Bible, Theology, and Ministry courses will be taught and administrated by our TEDS faculty.

I am under no illusions: for many if not all of our majors, as well as a good many non-majors, this comes as impactful news. At the end of this year, Dr. Chris Firestone along with the Department of Philosophy will be moving to the Division of Humanities; the faculty lines for Dr. William Moulder, Dr. Sylvie Raquel, Dr. Greg Carlson, Dr. Michael Reynolds, and Ms. Jana Sundene will be eliminated. With years of teaching experience under their belt, these faculty have given their very best year-in and year-out to Trinity’s students. I am grateful for their incalculable contribution not only in providing high-level instruction in the classroom, but also in enriching the lives of countless students, faculty colleagues, and staff by their very presence.  

While there will be more communication about this transition in the months ahead, for now I would encourage you, if you have any immediate questions, to make an appointment with Dean Hedges, who will be glad to engage you. In due course, we will be inviting Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries majors to an open forum, where Dean Hedges and Dean Cole will be happy to share more information regarding this transition, and to answer any lingering questions you may have. In the meantime, if you have been privileged to take a class with any of these professors, and/or benefited from their mentorship outside class, I encourage you, as occasion presents itself, to express to them your gratitude for their dedicated service and their shaping influence on your lives. 

Here are the faculty who were fired as part of this restructuring:

William Moulder taught at Trinity College for more than 40 years.

Sylvie Raquel has been at Trinity College for 15 years.

Greg Carlson has been at Trinity College for 12 years.

Michael Reynolds has been at Trinity College for 13 years.

Jana Sundene has been at Trinity College for 29 years.

I don’t have any inside information about these changes, but it appears, at first glance, that Trinity is restructuring to look more like Southern Baptist seminaries.  Many of these seminaries have undergraduate divisions, but seminary professors teach the biblical studies and theology courses.  Maybe someone who knows more about this can chime-in.

In other Trinity International University news, the school’s last president, David Dockery, just joined the faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

4 thoughts on “What is Happening at Trinity International University?

  1. This is all very interesting. I always heard good things about Dockery and his leadership. Union seems to have taken a hard-right turn after he left, so I always assumed he was a moderating influence at Union. But I could be wrong. I did not hear much about Dockery’s tenure at TIU (I am a TEDS alum–M.A in church history and MDiv), but I always had the impression it went well. I know Trinity College has struggled for years. This was evident when I spoke in chapel a few years ago. I am not sure the Evangelical Free Church and the TIU leadership know what to do with it.


  2. Dockery’s presidency was all about TEDS. He took the job for TEDS, not for the college. He brought in a lot of Union folks to TIU suggesting the problem at TIU was about staff and administration. He then preached about “Heritage and Hope” but the Heritage was about the “good old days” of TEDS being a relevant choice and the college competing in a less competitive time. He moved the college back years through his presidency and ran off successful administrators. Then, when it starts to get bad, he retires and joins another seminary faculty. Parachute anyone?


  3. Dockery could not have cared less about the college, continuing a pattern since I graduated in 2006. These are some really good, faithful people losing their jobs, and this is an embarrassment to me and many of my fellow alums.


  4. TIU has has financial and enrollment challenges for years, heightened in the last few years under the Dockery administration. Interesting how DSD left the mess to the new guy.


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