July 2, 2020
OPEN LINE is a means of communication between Dr. Amnuay Tapingkae, Interim President of Payap University, and the Payap community of students, staff and friends of the university. It is a simulated interview between Dr. Amnuay and Dr. Ken Dobson, Adviser to the President.
A: Well, Ken, this will be our final session of OPEN LINE, I think. Yesterday I submitted my resignation as Interim President of Payap University to the chair of the Payap University Board of Trustees, and I handed copies to the executive officers of the Church of Christ in Thailand Foundation. My term will end on July 31.
K: This has been a tumultuous year trying to help the university regain its financial balance and then a second blow when the COVID-19 epidemic closed the campuses through the summer term and delayed the start of this new academic year.
A: The new year started officially yesterday, July 1. We have 583 students entering Thai programs, which is close to our goal of 600. International programs begin on August 17. It is disappointing that we will not be able to bring students from China until at least the second semester which will begin after Christmas.
K: In the previous sessions of OPEN LINE, which you initiated, you have tried to tell us what is really going on. Replies, both in writing and in person, have expressed appreciation and maybe surprise at this. Do you think this sort of transparency...
OPEN LINE is a medium of communication between Dr. Amnuay Tapingkae, Interim President of Payap Univesity, and everyone in the Payap community. Once a week he is interviewed by Dr. Kenneth Dobson, Adviser to the President, about how the university is responding to the urgent and emerging issues being brought to his attention.
K: Dr. Amnuay, what’s your top concern this week? What do you want us to know about how the university is responding to our financial and enrollment difficulties?
A: As we wait for another installment of financial help from the Foundation of the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT), the foundation has requested a response from the Ministry of Higher Education about our restructuring and downsizing. This week I found out that a friend, Dr. Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, President of Siam University in Bangkok is on the governing commission of the Ministry. I have asked him to help us get the response the CCT needs, and he agreed to help. Dr. Pornchai has valuable contacts through the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning and as a past president of the Association of University Presidents, both of which we have been members over the years.
K: Personal contacts can often clear the way when formal channels get bogged down.
A: I think it might be that way all over the world. As Payap was getting started it was Dr. Konrad Kingshill’s contacts in the USA that...
Session 4, June 18
OPEN LINE is formatted as a weekly conversation between Dr. Amnuay Tapingkae, Interim President of Payap University, and Dr. Kenneth Dobson, Adviser to the President. This is an “open line” between Dr. Amnuay and everyone in the Payap community.
K: Dr. Amnuay, we are all hearing that the “winds of change” are blowing. What news do you have for us this week?
A: You, Ken, as a former seminary teacher, will be interested in our biggest news of the week. A plan is being made to have the McGilvary College of Divinity (MCD) become a separate institution education under the Church of Christ in Thailand.
K: The seminary is Payap’s oldest component. It was established more than 130 years ago.
A: When I was invited to become the first president of Payap College, the Church of Christ in Thailand agreed to have the Thailand Theological Seminary become a faculty of the college. This was not easy because the Thai government was skeptical at that time about religious institutions becoming degree-granting colleges and universities. But it helped the seminary in two ways, by giving government accreditation to the bachelor’s courses which meant that graduates had full-fledged degrees rather than certificates on the same rank as barbers, automobile mechanics, and Thai boxing coaches. It also meant that the seminary’s operating expenses would...