Charis University

Marv Overman has led the effort to create Charis University. But a plan to house the school on the former Dana College campus is on hold.

Charis University, a Christian school proposed for the metro area, will not launch this fall and has changed and downsized its plan.

Charis, which was to be the offshoot of the defunct Grace University in Omaha, has a memorandum of understanding and tentative plans to partner with the Illinois-based Trinity International University.

And for now, Charis’ hopes are on hold to move onto part of the old Dana College campus in Blair, Nebraska.

With the necessary approvals, Trinity and Charis might start their local program in January out of Brookside Church, 11607 M Circle in Omaha. Tim Wiebe of Brookside said, however, that it would be only one class, a couple of nights a week.

Nevertheless, Wiebe said, Brookside is excited by the potential for Trinity to come to the area.

It’s not clear what the name of the Trinity-Charis institution would be. It might be something like the Trinity University-Nebraska Extension, said Marv Overman.

Overman, who has led the effort to bring Charis to fruition, said he hopes the college can roll out slowly early next year and start ramping up next fall.

Overman said Charis is basically starting over with the new plan. In June, he expressed a goal of raising money, recruiting students and professors, and getting the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education’s approval in time to start this fall as Charis University on the Dana campus.

Kathleen Fimple, academic programs officer for the coordinating commission, said her agency has received a memorandum of understanding between Trinity International and Charis.

The institution would need the coordinating commission’s authorization to operate in Nebraska, Fimple said. She said the commission hadn’t received the necessary documentation this week, the deadline to get on the commission’s October agenda.

But if the institution received commission approval at the following meeting, in December, that could give the school adequate time to start in January, she said.

The school would need to show financial stability, quality instruction, and access to vital resources, such as a library, computers and other things, she said.

Overman said the Charis group would provide faculty members who would become Trinity International faculty members.

Mark Kahler, a spokesman for Trinity International in Deerfield, Illinois, said his institution has two extension sites in Ohio and one each in Illinois, Wisconsin and Florida. The main campus is in Deerfield.

“The proposed extension site is in the early stages of development,” he said of the Nebraska concept. Kahler said no firm dates will be set until formal approvals are granted by the coordinating commission and any other agencies that might need to sign off on the plans.

He and Overman said Trinity International and the Charis group hope to offer programs in psychology, criminal justice, business and Christian ministry.

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