For resources on shared governance, contact the In Trust Center

           
         



The Resource Consulting team at the In Trust Center often receives questions about shared governance and points theological school leaders to the most pertinent resources from both inside and outside the field of theological education.

   

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A review of David F. Labaree’s A Perfect Mess

           
         


The “fundamental thesis” of David F. Labaree’s A Perfect Mess, according to Edwin Woodruff Tait, is that “American higher education is an instrument in maintaining both social mobility and social stability.” 

   

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Turning campus conflict into dialogue and education

           
         

M. Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Theological Seminary, teaches a course on conflict. He found himself in the midst of one recently, when the school’s Kuyper Center announced that the Rev. Tim Keller was being honored with its annual award and would be keynote lecturer at the annual Kuyper Conference.

   

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Board members talk finances

           
         



In August 2009, In Trust emailed more than 1,800 board members (excluding board chairs) with a short survey on school finances. Of the board members contacted, 293 responded. In a summer 2010 article, Mary Catherine Bolster shared responses to this survey and offered her insights about what these responses said about the role of the board in financial matters. 

   

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Growing your next board chair

           
         


You may stumble onto a good, or even great, board chair by luck, but it’s not likely. Schools and other nonprofits typically get the chairs they have “grown,” but when there is no advance development, schools tend to get board chairs who are unprepared, untested, and weak. 

   

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Frank Yamada interviewed for Faith and Leadership

           
         


Frank Yamada, the new executive director of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), recently gave an interview for Faith & Leadership. In the interview, now available online, Yamada discusses the state of theological education and future goals of ATS. 

   

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Tips for ensuring the show goes on, despite a smaller cast of characters

           
         




The North American nonprofit sector is no stranger to getting by on less. But these days less is edging toward subsistence, with budgets and personnel close to the breaking point. What’s a leadership team to do when the show must go on but with a smaller cast of characters to cover all the roles? Create a plan.

   

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Addressing domestic violence in faith communities

           
         

Domestic violence is a serious concern that can affect members of any congregation or faith community. As such, faith leaders often encounter both victims and abusers in their ministry and should be equipped to respond appropriately.

   

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Who understands your school’s financial statements?

           
         



Who understands your school's finances? The answer should not be "just the CFO." Or even just the CFO, the president, and the finance committee chair. Ideally all board members and senior administrators should have a solid understanding of a school's finances -- and perhaps the faculty and staff as well. 

   

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Orientation is the key to keeping a board on the right course

           
         



To stay focused on the mission, a school's board members must be guided and redirected as a school's needs change in response to a shifting environment. Using the metaphor of a ship, Tracy Schier likens board orientation to the compass guiding a seminary toward “true north” -- the school’s mission. If a board is going to avoid getting lost at sea, orientation is vital for new and continuing board members alike.

   

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Policies are powerful tools for effective governance

           
         



“Sometimes boards are the last to acknowledge that policy making is the environment in which they operate,” says Rebekah Burch Basinger in a Spring 2010 In Trust article. Nevertheless, boards rely on policies to govern their own work, as well as the work of their administration and organization. As such, having clearly defined, well-organized policies is essential for any board to function successfully.

   

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Survey reveals shared concerns of college presidents

           
         

Earlier this year, the Gallup Organization and Inside Higher Ed teamed up to survey 2,890 college and university presidents about a host of topics. Although the survey sample did not include Bible colleges, seminaries, or institutions with fewer than 500 students, several of the questions asked relate to issues that theological schools are facing as well.

   

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Caring for our leaders

           
         


How can you care for your school’s president or dean? You may think of things like benefits, salary, onboarding, and board support. But you're probably not thinking of yearly evaluation, contracts, or succession planning.

   

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The good governance journey

           
         


In Trust Center president Amy Kardash shares ten governance lessons from a joint project with the Association of Theological Schools. 

   

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Measuring the effectiveness of online programs

           
         

Online programs fill the educational landscape these days, but how do we measure their effectiveness? During a recent webinar, Roxanne Russell presented some strategies for doing so, drawn from her work in shaping the revised online/hybrid D.Min program at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. 

   

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