From the category archives: In Trust Blog

Shared governance


Strategic planning = spiritual discernment


Leaders of theological schools routinely navigate the nuances of Torah law; Trinitarian controversies; the oeuvre of Rahner, Barth, and Marion; not to mention the subtleties of shared governance. Yet we can still be intimidated by the occult mysteries of strategic planning — not just planning, mind you, but strategic planning.


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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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How can you foster board engagement?


“No school can afford a board that is unaccountable, uncreative, and uncooperative.” This was the driving idea behind Eugene F. Roop’s article “Board governance can be accountable, creative, and cooperative: three ways of understanding the board’s work,” published in a 2011 issue of In Trust.


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The standard in academic governance


“Shared governance is a long-time feature of American higher education, yet it remains a frequently misunderstood and often maligned aspect of academic life,” states Rebekah Basinger in a 2010 In Trust article. In her article, Basinger acknowledges that board members, administrators, and faculty of theological schools often express doubt or confusion about shared governance and the way it works. However, if done properly, shared governance allows theological institutions to further their missions and “advance God’s purposes for the church.” 


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The role of faculty in shared governance


Sarah Drummond Israel Galindo Joretta Marshall Rebecca Slough
No one disputes the central role of faculty in the classroom. But what role do faculty members have in the boardroom? In Trust wanted to know, so we asked Nadine Pence, executive director of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, to recommend a few conversation partners. Pence suggested four respected academic leaders, each representing a different seminary, and In Trust invited them to discuss how shared governance plays out on their campuses. 


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A guide to board portals



Conducting board business requires organization and collaboration. Board members receive a vast amount of information in anticipation of board meetings, and often they have to take care of additional business between meetings. Some boards are turning to digital options for organizing, collaborating, and disseminating information.

Boards may need tools for assisting in this move to digital business. 


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The priority of governance in really tough times



The In Trust Center recently presented a webinar on governance strategies for difficult times.

Barbara Wheeler and Daniel Aleshire shared some best practices and areas of improvement that can lead to institutional stability: setting terms and term limits for board members, evaluating and orienting boards, selecting board members with the appropriate skill sets, and attracting new members of different cultures and ages. Wheeler stressed the importance of engaged governance, balancing support of the president with prioritizing the institutional mission.



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Special issue: The role of faculty in governance


Shared governance is one of the most popular topics that In Trust covers. We’ve addressed it not only in the magazine, but also at In Trust Blog and in webinars. Our Resource Consultants field cases on this topic monthly. But the role of faculty in shared governance remains mysterious to many.


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Board communication and collaboration: What are the options?


The practice of sharing materials among the players in shared governance -- that is, members of the board, the administration, and the faculty -- can be challenging. Because the materials cover complex, often confidential issues, the mechanism for sharing must be secure. It also must be straightforward, easy to use, and not too time consuming.

Board portal software can be a great solution to these challenges, but the cost is often prohibitively expensive, especially for small institutions such as theological schools. 


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Have you read the Spring issue of In Trust magazine?


In Trust
's Spring 2015 issue hit mailboxes last week. Here are some highlights from our latest issue: 

  • "Two patterns of good governance." Part 2 of our excerpt from the latest report on seminary governance from researcher Barbara Wheeler.


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Advice for presidents about boards


In January, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) gathered theological school presidents for their annual Presidential Leadership Intensive, a conference devoted to teaching the fine art of leading a seminary.

G. Douglass Lewis was one of the presenters, and he focused on “Ten things the seminary president can do to build a more effective board.”


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Shared governance: Resources for your board


Shared governance is one of the most challenging issues at many seminaries and theological colleges. And it works differently at freestanding seminaries and embedded divinity schools. If shared governance continues to be a challenge at your school, you may want to consider some of these resources.


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In Trust magazine -- New Year 2015 issue


In Trust's New Year 2015 issue was sent to subscribers last week. If you haven’t already received it, it should be arriving soon.

Meanwhile, here are some highlights:


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Shared governance is flawed but fixable


Few people appear happy with the state of shared governance at American colleges and universities.”

That’s how Brian Rosenberg, president of Macalester College, begins a thoughtful essay on how to reform shared governance in higher education.


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Everything you need to know about shared governance


Several years ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article on shared governance. The writer worried that few people in education seem to understand what the phrase means. . . . This piece made me wonder, Can that be true of readers of In Trust? We talk a lot about shared governance. (I mean, a lot.) Could it be that some of our readers—seminary presidents...


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