Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary Constitution
I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 1. The Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary (henceforth: The Seminary) is a private school which gives practical post-secondary higher education.
§ 2. The holder of the Seminary is the United Methodist Church in Estonia (the UMC in Estonia), a non-profit organisation (registration code 80196661). The UMC in Estonia is the legal successor of the Seminary (registration code 01800659). The name of the Seminary in English is Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary.
§ 3. The Seminary is a structural (sub)-unit of the UMC in Estonia with all the rights and obligations ensuing from it. The Seminary has its own bank account, seal and other attributes.
§ 4. The address of the Seminary is 51 Narva St, 10152 Tallinn.
§5. In its operation the Seminary will observe the legislation and other decrees of the Republic of Estonia, the constitution of the UMC in Estonia and the present constitution. The constitution of the Seminary is annually examined by the Board of Trustees.
§ 6. The sphere of authority of the holder is:
1) to create legal, economic, organisational and other guarantees for the operation of the Seminary;
2) to open and close the Seminary;
3) to ratify the Constitution of the Seminary as well as any changes and amendments to it;
4) to ratify the budget as well as the report of the fiscal year;
5) to approve and dismiss the Rector of the Seminary;
6) to approve the Board of Trustees of the Seminary;
7) to inspect the activities of the Seminary and to solve problems in the work of the Board of Trustees and Rector’s Cabinet.
II. GOALS OF OPERATION
§ 7. The goal of the seminary is to prepare clergy and lay leaders for ministry in the church as well as in Christian and charitable organizations, offering theological higher education in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition based on needs of the church and society, and to support spiritual formation in the course of the study; as well as to organize continuing education and various study courses for UMC in Estonia.
§ 8. The Seminary allows study on
1) a one year program in Basic Christian Studies by the competing of which the student receives the certificate about the study;
2) a three year programm, by the completing of which the student receives an applied higher education diploma.
§ 9. In order to fulfil its constitutional tasks, the Seminary may establish necessary departments, branches and other units. Their constitutions are to be ratified by the owner at the proposal of the Board of Trustees of the Seminary.
III. ACADEMIC AND EDUCATIONAL REGULATIONS
§10. Languages used for study and business management are Estonian, Russian and English.
§11. The basis for the academic and educational regulations is the curriculum and the requirements presented in the Teaching Regulations of the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary, and Estonian law.
§12. Working relations of the Board of Trustees, Faculty, Administrative and assisting staff will be regulated by the Estonian Labor Contract Law in force.
IV. ORDER OF ADMISSION TO THE SEMINARY, DISMISSAL AND GRADUATION FROM THE SEMINARY
§13. The Seminary admits students who have finished secondary school or its International equivalent, and are aiming for applied higher theological education.
§14. Students will be admitted according to the order established by the Rector’s Cabinet. Order of admission is presente in the „Handbook for the Applicants“ and at th seminary homepage.
§15. Academic dismissal from the Seminary may take place:
1) at the student's request;
2) by the decision of the Rector’s Cabinet;
3) in connection with the student going to another post-secondary institution or upon graduation from the Seminary.
§16. The academic dismissal of the student at his/her request will take place on the basis of a written application to the Rector.
§17. The academic dismissal by the decision of the Rector’s Cabinet will take place due to:
1) academic failure of the student;
2) student not registering for the next semester;
3) student failing to fulfill terms of the contract
4) inappropriate behaviour of the student.
§18. A student has a right to complete the three year curriculum in a shorter or longer period of time, but not longer than six years.
§19. 1) In order to graduate from the Seminary the student must fulfil the requirements of the curriculum as well as all financial obligations towards the Seminary.
2) With the diploma, the student will be given a transcript, reflecting the subjects taken, their credit hours and grades.
V. THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE STUDENTS.
§20. All Seminary students pay the tuition fee. A contract is signed between a student and the Seminary which declares that the Seminary is required to give a student education according to the curriculum and a student commits himself to following the laws of the Seminary and to paying the tuition fee. The contract is signed not later than 10 days before the due date of the first tuition fee. A curriculum is a mandatory appendix to the contract.
§21. Students have a right
1) to use for study the literature, inventory and rooms, which belong to the Seminary or are given to the Seminary by the owner and are meant for student use;
2) to elect a representative to the Boards of Student organisations;
3) to appoint one elected representative to present to the Academic Committee the students' proposals and complaints and be involved in the discussion of the presented proposals;
4) to apply to the Rector's Cabinet for scholarship;
5) to apply for the academic leave according to Estonian law;
6) to apply for scholarships, subsidies and study loan according tothe Estonian law.
§22. Students are obliged:
1) to fulfill:
a) the requirements presented in the Teaching Regulations;
b) decrees and orders of the Board of Trustees, the
Rector and the Academic Dean;
2) take part in the lectures which they have registered to and submit the exams and prelims on time;
3) to pay the tuition on time.
VI. SEMINARY STAFF AND FACULTY
§ 23. Qualification requirements for staff and faculty are stated in their job description.
§ 24. Seminary faculty consist of persons with pedagogical skills and Christian ministry experience, having master or doctoral degrees, as well as experts having higher education and practical knowledge in their specific field.
§ 25. The employment contracts with seminary faculty and staff are signed, renewed and ended by semianry rector. The duties, rights and responsibilities of seminary faculty and staff are based on job description, employment contract, and teaching regulations.
VII. LEADERSHIP BODIES: THEIR JURISDICTION AND ORDER OF FORMATION
§26. Seminary is headed by the Board of Trustees and the Rector.
Board of Trustees
§27. The Board of Trustees is the highest collegiate body of the Seminary.
§28. The Church Board of the UMC in Estonia elects the members of the Board and presents them to the Annual Conference of the UMC in Estonia for approval .
§29. The Board of Trustees:
1) draws up a plan of development for the Seminary and presents it to the holder;
2) annually approves the proposed budget drawn up by the Rector’s Cabinet, and presents to the holder for approval;
3) determines the range of stipends;
4) institutes special scholarships from the resources of the Seminary;
5) decides upon the creation of paid positions, determines salaries and presents these to the holder for approval;
6) approves the permanent faculty;
7) approves the qualification requirements and job descriptions for faculty and regulations for their certification;
8) approves any joint curriculum and contract for joint curriculum before they come into force;
9) selects the candidate for the Rector’s position and presents him to holder for approval;
10) approves the heads of structural units;
11) presents proposals to the holder about changes or additions to the Seminary Constitution.
§30. The meetings of the Board of Trustees are held at least once a year.
1) The members of the Board with a right to vote are: the Bishop of the UMC Nordic and Baltic Area; the Superindendent of the UMC in Estonia; a Russian representative of the UMC in Estonia, a representative of the World Methodist Evangelism/ World Methodist Council; and other members elected by the holder. No less than 1/5 of the total board membership should be representatives of the faculty, and no less than 1/5 of the total board membership should be representatives of the student body. The Board can decide to add advisory members without vote.
2) The meetings are convened by the Bishop of the United Methodist Church in Estonia, or, in his absence by a member of the Board, to whom this task has been entrusted by the bishop. The members of the Board are elected for three years, they can be re-elected. The members of the member churches of the World Methodist Council can be elected as the members of the Board.
§31. 1) The resolutions of the Board are valid if more than half of its members, eligible to vote are present, including the chairperson.
2) The Board passes resolutions within the range of its authority. The decisions are made by the simple majority of the votes. In the case of equal pro and con votes, the vote of the chairperson is decisive.
3) The minutes are signed by the chairperson and the recording secretary.
4) The resolutions of the Board are compulsory for all the employees and students at the Seminary. They are made public according to the regulations of the Board.
§32. 1) Rector's cabinet is the executive body of the Board of Trustees.
2) The Rector, Academic Dean, accountant and the District Superintendent belong to the Rector's Cabinet.
§33. Rector’s Cabinet:
1) Draws the proposed Seminary budget and presents it to the Board for approval;
2) determines the conditions and order of payment of the allowances and stipends;
3) formulates regulations about accreditation of prior and experiential learning;
4) appoints the Seminary's Registrar;
5) approves the reports of the structural units;
6) forms sub-units of the Seminary, reviews their constitutions and presents them to the Board of Trustees;
7) reviews and solves complaints;
8) performs other activities, entrusted to them by the present constitution and the resolutions of the Board of Trustees;
9) decides upon all the issues not falling under the sole authority of the Board of Trustees, or any other leadership body of the Seminary.
§34. 1) The meetings of the Rector’s Cabinet are held according to the need, but not less than once a month during the school year.
2) The meetings of the Rector’s Cabinet are assembled and presided over by the Rector or a person appointed by the Rector.
3) The minutes of the Rector’s Cabinet meeting are taken.
4) The resolutions of the Rector’s Cabinet are valid if at least three members are present.
5) The decisions are made by the simple majority of the votes; in case of equal votes the võte of the presider is decisive.
6) the decisions of the Rector’s Cabinet ar formulated as Rector’s decrees.
Rector of the Seminary
§35. 1) The Rector is elected for three years from among the persons with a minimum graduate degree. The order of election is decided by the Board of Trustees. The Rector’s work is evaluated by the Church Board of the UMC in Estonia and the Board of Trustees.
2) The Rector is elected and dismissed on the proposal of the Board of Trustees and approved by the Annual Conference of the UMC in Estonia.
3) In the case of the Rector's resignation or death, until the election of a new Rector, his duties will be performed by the Academic Dean.
§36. The Rector:
1) heads the Seminary as the highest official, delegating certain authority to the Academic Dean and to the accountant following the directives of the UMC in Estonia, the Rector’s Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees;
2) represents the Seminary and acts on the Seminary’s behalf without special commission;
3) makes contracts and opens Seminary bank accounts; is responsible for the general state and development of the Seminary, the purposeful and expedient use of the financial resources.
4) enrolls and dismisses students;
5) presents to the holder the employees of the Seminary who are subject for employment or dismissal;
6) if needed, appoints his temporary substitute in consultation with the owner.
§37. 1) The Rector issues decrees and gives orders within his authority.
2) The Rector's decrees and orders are superior and obligatory for all the employees and students at the Seminary.
§38. The Rector reports about educational activities and the financial situation every three months. The Rector informs the holder about the current state of the Seminary upon request.
VIII. STRUCTURAL UNITS AND THEIR MANAGEMENT
§39. The structural units of the Seminary are the Theological Department and the Department of Continuing Education.
§40. The task of the Theological Department is
1) to give applied theological higher education;
2) to initiate the publication of necessary theological literature.
§41. 1) Theological department is headed by the Academic Dean.
2) The leadership body of the Theological Department is the Academic Committee.
The Dean of the Theological Department
§42. The Dean is elected and approved by the Board of Trustees for three years from among the persons having at least graduate degree.
§43. The Dean:
1) heads the academic activity in congruence with the resolutions of the higher bodies of the Seminary;
2) reports of his/her activity to the Board of Trustees at least once a year and to the Rector's Cabinet according to their prescription.
§44. If needed, the Rector will at the suggestion of the Dean appoint an Interim Dean who will act within the range of authority, prescribed by the Dean.
§45. 1) The Academic Dean, Rector, Registrar, Seminary's faculty, translators’ and student representatives belong to the Academic Committee with a vote.
§46. Academic Committee:
1) organises the academic activity of the department;
2) approves curricula and Teaching Regulations;
3) may make a proposal to the Rector about academic dismissal of the students;
4) institutes working groups to fulfil the tasks of the Seminary.
§47. 1) The Academic Committee meetings are held according to need
2) The Academic Committee meetings are convened and presided over by the Dean or a member of the Academic Committee to whom the task has been entrusted by the Dean.
3) Minutes of the meeting are taken.
§48. 1) The resolutions of the Academic Committee are valid if at least five members have assembled.
2) The resolutions are passed by the simple majority of votes; in the case of equal pros and cons the vote of the chairperson is decisive.
§49. The resolutions of the Academic Committee and the decrees and orders of the Dean are compulsory for all the employees of the department and students.
Department of Continuing Education
§50. 1) The Department of Continuing Education organizes continuing education courses for clergy and laity in UMC in Estonia.
2) The working group leading the department is put together in cooperation with the holder, and consists of Rector of the Seminary, Academic Dean, District Superintendent, representatives of Estonian speaking and Russian speaking clergy and other invited members.
IX. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
§51. The Seminary is functioning in a building that is designed for the needs of educational activitis, and is owned by the UMC in Estonia.
§52. The Seminary draws its financial resources from tuition fees, special foundations, financial support from the UMC in Estonia, donations of private persons and corporate bodies and other income.
§53. The Seminary's bookkeeping and accounts are audited by the audit committee of UMC in Estonia.
X. REORGANIZING AND CLOSING THE SEMINARY AND ITS PROTOCOL
§54. The Seminary is closed or reorganised at the resolution of the Annual Conference of the UMC in Estonia.
§55. In the case of reorganising the Seminary the owner will appoint persons to whom the rights and obligations will be transferred.
§56. In the case of closing the Seminary its property will be transferred to the UMC in Estonia. The students, the staff and the Ministry of Education are notified at least four months before the closing down.
§57. The UMC in Estonia is obliged to launch the closing down of the Seminary according the law if the Annual Conference of the UMC in Estonia and the Board of Trustees have passed a resolution that the further activity of the Seminary has become inexpedient.