Friday, May 1, 2009

The beloved Dr. Mahanes will no longer be at PBA

The following is a letter sent to PBA Faculty and Staff concerning more budget cuts including the dissolution of Dr. Mahanes' position as Vice President of Religious Life. 

Dear PBA Family,


In this difficult economic environment, I am certain we all feel pressures as expenses rise and our resources are stretched to their limits.  It is the same with the University budgeting process.  Our Trustees have commissioned our Administration to enter the coming academic year with a balanced budget and doing so requires serious evaluation of virtually every position and role on our campus. 


With a desire to fulfill the Trustee’s mandate for a balanced budget as we move forward, it has become necessary to creatively explore various solutions to meeting these financial challenges.    Sadly, this has required us to leave positions unfilled and to eliminate some positions.  One of these positions is the Vice President for Religious Life.  This will require dissolving the department of Religious Life by reassigning staff positions to other existing departments.


 Dr. Ken Mahanes has been serving as the seasonal pastor of the Lost Tree Village Chapel and will continue to do so.  He also plans to explore other ministry opportunities as the Lord opens the door.  


Beginning on July 1, the following new reporting structures will be implemented:

·         The Campus Pastor and Chapel Office will report to the President

·         The Workship Office will report to the Vice President for Student Development

·         The Campus Ministries and Missions Office will report to the Dean of the School of Ministry.


We, at PBA, are grateful for Dr. Mahanes’ eleven year ministry with PBA.  His ministry to our students and campus community, his efforts in advancing our church relations with local, state and national organizations and his unflagging commitment to share the wonderful story of PBA with acquaintances, friends and donors leave a lasting mark on PBA’s history.  Truly, we have been blessed by Dr. Mahanes’ talents, humor and gifted ability to relate to the needs of our students and he will be greatly missed.


Please take a moment to jot down your thoughts and well-wishes in a card or letter and send them to him.  I know this will serve as a meaningful reminder to him in the days ahead as he seeks the Lord’s generous provisions for the next phase of his life. 


Faithfully in Christ,

David W. Clark, President

Someone has also created a Facebook group for the purpose of opposing this decision.



Demmler said...

This makes me so sad.

Good People said...

I kind of feel sick.

ivy league said...

PBA would cut the Religious Life Department while increasing Student Activities. Are we turning into the new ivy league schools...leaving Christianity behind?


Shocking, This should not happen.

kkp said...

They're just moving Christianity around, not really cutting it.

Hadouken said...

I think Mahanes would make a great VP of Student Development. I also think this is just giving him a little break before he becomes PBA's next president.

Anonymous said...

When did they increase student activities? I think their budget has been cut almost in half since Trigger left. Every department is getting cut, except for maybe admissions and you can't really make cuts there.

Back to the point at hand, he will be sorely missed.

Anonymous said...

Searle gets more power

KW said...


Anonymous said...

Yuck. Makes me sick to my stomach.
Big mistake.
Dear Teachers and PBA staff: Warning. Don't become popular with students. Don't love them back.Don't hang out with them or listen to their personal problems. Don't encourage their dreams. The moment you do, you'll be dismissed.
PBA students, don't convey love or affection for your favorite teachers or anyone on staff. Don't smile at them or spend much time with them. Somebody might be watching and taking notes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Why do all of the Bacon readers seem to living in this dream world. PBA is a business, and in the world of business cutting one of the higher paid people on staff who is the head of the easiest department to disolve makes sense. Yes, Dr. Mahanes is my favorite person at PBA, but you can't take everything so personal. Dr. Mahanes has been here for years, and was just as well like and popular five years ago as he is now. In fact he was probably more popular and well liked considering he was the interim President.

Anonymous said...

Shit happens, get over it. Millions of people all across the country are being laid off because of the economy. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

The scariest part of this is that Searle is now in position to usurp the throne.

Anonymous said...

i love dr. mahanes! he is so sweet and really really cares about the students and PBA! i'm so so sad that he will not be there any longer he will be deeply missed!

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't religious life become even more important in economic crisis? How ironic that this is the department that is dissolved. If this is the direction PBA is heading I don't know if this is the place I really want behind my college education.

pre-pharm sans bible said...

First they took exploring the bible out of the required classes for pre-pharm and now this. I do question the direction we are heading in. And to those who are telling people to wake up and see that Mahanes should be let go are off track. This is a thinly veiled way for Student Development to gain even more power. There are hardly any departments they don't control anymore.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Hopefully he will be rehired in the position of the man who fired him.

Mahanes for President!

Kate said...

student development gets more power?? power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Actually, what I just found out from the Dean of the School of Ministry is that Dr. Mahanes retired, and that they decided not to fill the position. He wanted to leave, and has been considering retiring. Instead of hiring a new VP they have decided to save money and dissolve the position. Read the email closely, it doesn't say that they let go of Dr. Mahanes. Get the full story before rushing to conclusions Bacon writers.

KW said...

Well Mrs. Anonymous 1 up from me,

You use some interesting (read: faulty) reasoning there. You assume that the dissolution of a job that is essentially the core of what PBA stands for is of little consequence. All the useless crap that PBA drains its money into wont endure long, but I will remember people like Mahanes who take and interest in and invest in students for many years - PBA has a bad habit of scaring them away, and 'dissolving' them in a great show of messed up priorites.

KW said...

Also, the email does not explicitly say that PBA 'fired' or whatever nicer word ('let go of' etc.) Dr. Mahanes, but it also does not say they didn't. And great - you heard he was retiring from the Dean of the School of Ministry - this is completely unverified by anyone but you, Oh Keeper of hidden knowledge. I'm sure glad Gossip isn't one of those detestable sins Paul talked about or anything.

And the "get the full story," variety of the "get your facts straight" argument, as much as I love to dismantle it, actually doesn't apply at all here - The Bacon merely pasted an email that was sent out, and actually gave no commentary of their own. And you have quite a bit of audacity to think you know 'the full story' from talking to one person. It's PBA - no one knows the full story.

Anyways, I could continue to dismantle your comment ad nauseum, but I think that will do for now. Please think through your statements before you write them, as literary diahharea does not suite you.

as always -



meadows the younger said...

this hurts my heart...

Anonymous said...

PBA is slowly but surely becoming a secular school. Just wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Mahanes has has been the fulltime pastor of a local church (Lost Tree Chapel) 5 months out of the year for two years. He also preaches a great deal at other churches. He has important work to do outside of PBA. I would love to have taken a course from him but he never taught a course I dont believe.

Anonymous said...

How do you figure that religious life is weakened with the campus pastor now reporting directly to the president? That looks like a more important role for religious life in the university. Workship probably is more a student activity not primarily a ministry and only one person is moving to student development. How could this be a power play on their part? Missions and on campus ministry fits in the school of ministry where they actually teach these subjects.

Allison said...

The reality of the situation (whether Dr. Mahanes "was let go" or "is retiring") certainly affects whether this was an acceptable decision; if he was let go, he is yet another case of the students' favorite faculty/administrator's selectively asked to leave. If he actively chose to retire, however, I'm sure that Dr. Mahanes will have a joy-filled retirement.

Regardless, the "Faithfully in Christ" with which Dr. Clark signed his name to this email is appalling.

The email was unclear about exactly what Dr. Mahanes' circumstances are, and it only acknowledged his job outside of PBA; this should clearly lead us to believe that he is not retiring, but was let go. Dr. Clark is not known for being a caring man in touch with the student body, and in fact, he is known for being quite the opposite. He has not made an effort to get to know any of the campus's most prominent members, nor even our esteemed "student leaders."

I do not appreciate that such a man has sealed what is a purely business-oriented decision by arrogantly signing this email "Faithfully in Christ." The decision to let Dr. Mahanes go is what it is, a business decision, and Dr. Clark has only made himself look foolish by trying to dress it up as a Christian action. I am deeply upset that this man is the president of the university from which I will be graduating this May, and I certainly hope that a more ethical person will assume his position soon (i.e., not another educrat like Dr. Searle).

Anonymous said...

Dr. Mahanes confirmed with the Beacon that he is not retiring.

Anonymous said...

Allison must be out of touch or blind. You may not like him but Clark has been more available to students than any president I have ever known. He eats in the caf a couple of times every week and any student can talk with him about anything and many do. Have you ever actually had a conversation with him? If you really are that negative skip graduation.

Chinatown said...

Sad to see him go.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Clark "We fired him, so make it up to him for us by sending him a card."

That's a great idea cards will definitely make this whole situation better.

Seriously, Dr. Clark? So I guess that it is God's will to spend $25 million on the library and let Dr. Mahanes go. I'm sure you got that idea from Jer 29:11 and the 4th floor of the library

Anonymous said...

GREAT guy.

That VP position supervised... 5 people?
Vs. the academic VP (Kloba) supervising 100?

I'm afraid it does make some sense.

still though, a great guy.

ivy league said...

Anonymous 2 under Allison,

You honestly are the only student in the entire University that Clark actually talked to. It is completly unreal that he does not know the name of at least some of the 'student leaders' that do EVERYTHING for him. Shocking actually.

Anonymous said...

I've had lunch with Dr. Clark on more than one occasion and he knows my name. Do I agree with everything he does? No. Do I think he's approachable? Yes. There are 3,000 of us, and ONE of him. If you want to get to know him just say hi. He loves to talk.

Anonymous said...

I read the Beacon article you linked to and it said nothing about Mahanes confirming he was not retiring.

If a guy doesn't even work here for 5 months of the year, doesn't it seem that there might be a better way to spend the money? Maybe they can pay him for 7 months instead of 12. That way he stays and PBA saves some of the money as well.

Also, I wonder how many schools in the CCCU have a VP for Religious Life. If someone is more ambitious than me they can go to and see what schools are charter members. Then go to their websites and see if they have a VP for Religious Life.

no seriously, they don't have to take bible said...

1. Don't drink the Kool Aid, he was fired.

2. There are a hundred ways PBA could have saved money other than dismantaling Religous Life.

3. Seriouly people, a CHRISTIAN school is dissolving, instead of other things, the RELIGOUS LIFE DEPARTMENT. How can you not be outraged?

Anonymous said...

Since when was it the sole responsibility of the religious life department to make a school christian? Isn't it everyone's responsibility? I don't think that an organizational structure makes a school christian or unchristian; I think the students, staff, administration, and faculty decide that by how they live their lives. This is a sad occurance, yes, but I don't think it determines which way PBA is headed; we do that.

Anonymous said...

Development, according to is "act of improving by expanding or enlarging or refining." Therefore the role of Student Development is to improve us. The fact is that most schools don't have a VP of religious life, and it's understandable why. Religious life for most Christian schools is under Student Development. That kind of makes sense doesn't it? Instead of causing this huge fiasco, and marring Dr. Mahanes last days of being at PBA, lets honor him in ways that won't cause controversy. Stop by his office and say Hi... of course most of you have probably never met Dr. Mahanes, and wouldn't even know where to look for him.

Anonymous said...

Who are the strong candidates for PBA president?

Answer that question and then consider this action.

Are they connected? How would anyone know without information?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Mahanes wouldn't want to be President. They've gone that route before.

Allison said...

I'm sorry if this post is backtracking too much, I just wanted to quickly say that, yes, I have in fact had conversations with Dr. Clark, most notably:
[sort of interrupting a conversation I was having in the caf]
Clark: What do you think of the new library?
Me: Oh, hi! Well, I think it's appearance is a lot better than the old--
Cut off early as Dr. Clark walks away, without having said hello not to mention goodbye, nor other pleasantries that might indicate an actual interest in the campus's students. I'm sure that many similar experiences could be shared by the student body on the whole, as well as from students who have even had Communications classes with him. There are a small number of people who might have had different experiences with him, but I am certainly under the impression that he has done little to nothing to better "reach out." He hasn't even needed to actively reach out, he's just needed to seem like less of an educrat.

KW said...

To the anoymous 7 up - all of your professors only work 7/12 months as well. It's called winter and summer break.

And to any PBA admin people out there: If Mahanes goes, not a cent of my future income will go to this institution - It will go to someplace that doesn't bury its talents in the ground (pun intended.)
Anybody else with me on that? Apparently all PBA cares about is money, so if a good number of students say they won't give anything in the future to PBA if Mahanes goes; it might ruffle some proverbial feathers.



Logic said...

Seeing how dumb most PBA students are makes me wish I wasn't a PBA student. People complaining about buildings being built. Buildings being built comes from a completely different budget than paying professors and administrators. EVERY DIME SPENT ON A BUILDING COMES FROM DONORS WHO WANT TO DONATE TO A SPECIFIC BUILDING PROJECT. As far as threatening not to give PBA a dime after you're gone, If you're that dumb than I don't think you'll have any dimes to give. Are you really that dense to think that PBA is getting rid of Mahanes because people love him? If that were the case Dr. Stan, who in many situations has been a sore in PBA's side, would be gone. Neil and Susie Best would be gone. Vince and Michelle Diller would be gone. Tyler Hamilton would be gone. Jeff Timmer would be gone. Dr. Lovejoy would be long gone. Cindy Lamerson would be gone. Dave Bates would be gone. Dr. Byrd would be gone. Mark Kaprive would be gone. Nobody cried foul play when any of the other positions were resolved. PBA is a business, and in economic troubles, sometimes jobs have to be cut. Our neighbors, First Baptist, have made 14 cuts from their staff in the last year for budget reasons. It's sad that he's going. But it is necessary. He is one of the higher paid people at PBA, and of those higher paid people, Dr. Mahanes is the easiest to get rid of. His position doesn't exist at most Christian universities. Sure they could have gotten rid of Dr. Kloba, but he is responsible for 100's of Professors. They could have gotten rid of the VP of Development, but then who would run the business side of the school? They could have gotten rid of Searle, but she runs Res Life, Student Accountability, Student Leadership and Involvement, Student Success Center, Career Services, Admissions, Health and Wellness, and who knows what else. The only other option was to get rid of some lower level positions. Would you rather PBA get rid of 2 or 3 more lower level positions? Would that make you feel better if two people who had families with children were let go of to save Dr. Mahanes' job, who has another income from a church with nothing but wealthy members? In the perfect world no one loses jobs, but in America people are losing jobs every day as a result of the economic troubles that Bush and Obama have put us in. Stop romanticizing life, and get over yourselves. It's part of life. His being let go, if that's even what happened, had nothing to do with students liking him. It had everything to do with the fact that PBA is paying more out than they are receiving right now.

Anonymous said...

If we're not allowed to romanticize life, then life's not at all worth living.

You have a good and valid point, but you're an asshole, so no one will listen to you.

KW said...

That’s a pretty sweeping generalization you just made there, ‘Logic’ – You said most PBA Kids are dumb? Do you know even half? I seriously doubt it. As for alumni giving,…Let me rehash what you said for you – “As far as threatening not to give PBA a dime after you're gone, If you're that dumb than I don't think you'll have any dimes to give.” You managed to piss off a whole sentence without actually making a point. Why is it ‘dumb’ to ‘threaten’ (It was not actually a threat, but whatever) to not give PBA a dime? I think it’s entirely valid to let the University that they will not be trusted with my future funds because they have proved untrustworthy.
And I don’t recall anyone saying Mahanes is being let go because the students love him – It has however been argued that he should not be let go because he is well liked… Try not to confuse the two, I know it may be tough – kind of like forming paragraphs. The bottom line is PBA as a Christian university should not submit to money or lack thereof.
Stop romanticizing life, you say? Great! We’ll all just become like you and throw up our hands because nothing can be done, and become bitter and jaded and cry ‘woe is me’. No thanks – because it is far better to see the world as it should be and not as it is, because the people who do that are the people who have the creativity and imagination to make things as they should be. Maybe we won’t be able to save Mahanes’ job at PBA; but I’ll be dam*ed if something like this happens and I don’t speak up about it.


PS …Amen to the anonymous 1 up…

Reason said...

"Logic," you're an idiot.

Max Power said...

This is a tricky situation because I do not know the full background behind this little bit of turnover. And (if I may be so vain), I'm one of the very few to admit this.

If Dr. Mahanes' position was superfluous, if he could not have been utilized at a different position, if he is most gifted as a minister rather than as a University leader, PBA is justified. If otherwise, then this situation could have been handled more effectively. However, I do not know what went through the minds of the people who made this decision so I cannot pass judgment.

Though I never met Dr. Mahanes, much less took a class with him, I can only go by the words of those who love and praise him, numbering much more than a few. I'm sure we all wish him the best of luck as he moves on, possibly focusing on leading the church at which he is already involved.

As an alumnus who gave back all three dollars received at graduation, I want to see my alma mater succeed and I refuse to disown her and threaten to withhold any future donations. This just seems like a Limbaugh-like hope for failure. Do I want the University to retain its best faculty and staff and to hire people who would build up an institution with a reputation for academic excellence? Of course. I can only hope the new leadership taking effect this summer will help fulfill these wishes.

Max Power said...

Two more notes:

First, I also wish Dr. Clark the best as he retires this summer. Through my own limited interaction with him, he seemed personally a great man, even though I may disagree with some of his decisions.

Second, come on guys. Let's stop calling each other "idiots" and such. You're too old to be this immature.

Logic said...

"Why is it ‘dumb’ to ‘threaten’ (It was not actually a threat, but whatever) to not give PBA a dime?"

Thanks for proving my point as to the intelligence of PBA students. Do you know what a threat is? A threat is "an act of coercion wherein a negative consequence is proposed to elicit response." You told PBA that you won't give PBA any money in the future (negative consequence) unless they don't fire Mahanes(response).

You say no one made mention of him being let go because he was liked. Chew on this.

Anonymous # 3:
"Dear Teachers and PBA staff: Warning. Don't become popular with students. Don't love them back.Don't hang out with them or listen to their personal problems. Don't encourage their dreams. The moment you do, you'll be dismissed.
PBA students, don't convey love or affection for your favorite teachers or anyone on staff. Don't smile at them or spend much time with them. Somebody might be watching and taking notes."
Cause: People like teachers
Affect: Teachers get fired

Something you said earlier:
"I will remember people like Mahanes who take and interest in and invest in students for many years - PBA has a bad habit of scaring them away, and 'dissolving' them in a great show of messed up priorities(Just so you know you spelled priorities wrong, but I fixed it for you.)"
Cause: Professors actually care
Affect: Professors get disolved
(You should really pay attention to the things you said on here before you run your mouth)

"if he was let go, he is yet another case of the students' favorite faculty/administrator's selectively asked to leave."

KW, You're a babbling fool. Answer my argument? What is worse as far as stewardship goes? Continuing to pay out more than you receive, or adjusting the budget and making necessary cuts to the budget. Also what is worse, cutting someone who can afford to lose their job, or cutting two people who can't. I am a big Mahanes fan, and have probably spent more time with him than you ever will. The truth is that as much as it sucks, it was necessary. We need to show him how much we appreciate him by giving him a heck of a going away party. How about instead of having a sit in, throw the man a going away party. I think people care more about being pissed at PBA, than they do about Dr. Mahanes.

Anonymous said...

To a number of commentators here:

Does anyone know why this happened at the END of the academic year, too late for Mahanes to make a move elsewhere?

Also, who are the leading candidates for PBA presidency? Who are the logical candidates?

Anonymous said...


You should check your posts for grammar before calling people dumb.

Everyone else,

Please try to refrain from blame casting when you don't know all the details. The fact is, Dr. M is leaving. It's a very sad thing. I think he'd appreciate some encouragement in place of this bickering.

KW, Max Power, Allison, and Anonymous said...

Mahanes for President!

Anonymous said...

It probably happened at the end of the year because I doubt this move could be made without the approval of the Trustees. They just met a few weeks ago, approved it, and it took a week or two to finalize the details of the transition.

This is pure specualtion on my part, but think about it. He's a very connected man, there's no way the board didn't know about this or agree to it.

As far as candidates, it's a VERY secret process so I doubt anyone knows who are candidates and if anyone says names, I doubt they have any credibiity to do so. It kind of makes sense because some of the people they're looking at (I would guess) are in some very important positions and you don't want to cause waves by looking unless it actually comes about.

Greg said...

This is heartbreaking. The number of comments on this thread is emblematic of the impact Dr. Mahanes has had on this school.

Unfortunately, thousands of PBA students will never get to benefit from his wisdom and compassion.

And, as I asked on the Beacon Blog, what does it means when a Christian school cuts it's "Religious Life" department?


That's emblematic in itself.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Mahanes makes 124,000 a year, and does a quarter of the work Searle does, who makes 16,000 less than Mahanes.

digits said...

You're right. Tyrants deserve to be paid far more than that.

Greg, Digits, Ivy League, and Demmler said...

Mahanes for President of PBA!

The HR department said...

At Anonymous:
How would you even have a clue what Dr. Mahanes makes in comparison to Dr. Searle??? I'm calling bull@#$% on that statement.

Anonymous said...

Mahanes is a nice man but never taught even one course. Obviously the administration feels resources have to go toward teaching faculty which benefit students directly. Makes sense to me as a student.

Anonymous said...

If you go to the facebook page it lists the tax forms for PBA over the past thre years. One of the things a University must do is disclose the salaries of the top five employees and it lists it there. Mahanes made more than Searle and supvises many less people, but that alone shouldn't justify the move. It is interesting though.

Anonymous said...

dr. mahanes recruited and retained countless students. he was worth millions of dollars to the school.

Anonymous said...

You're all a bunch of brainwashed tools.

Have a great day.

Jesus saves....

Jesus invests..

Jesus retires at 63

Mahanes is Ma Homey said...

To the anonymous above:
What? You are a tool.

To the anonymous above him:
Same with Rod Sullivan.