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From category archives: In Trust Blog

News/Trends

   
                

College-age population expected to decline dramatically

           
         

The number of college-age young people is predicted to fall by more than 15 percent within the next decade. The potential effects on theological education are obvious — and daunting.

   

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In Trust Center board of directors election results

           
         

The leaders of member schools of the In Trust Center for Theological Schools recently cast ballots to elect one new member and re-elect one continuing member of the Center’s board of directors.

   

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Communicating hope amid disruption

           
         

The illustration and type on the cover of Fuller Seminary's magazine pretty much says it all. Rather than an evocative photographic portrait, as usually graces the cover, this one sports a photoshopped bird – gold and in flight – which forms the first “I” in the 200-point Century Bold italicized title that reads: DIS RUP TION.

   

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A challenge to find the time

           
         

A recent informal survey conducted by In Trust found that of the 92 seminary presidents and chief executives who replied, 24 percent had taken a sabbatical. Both those who had and those who hadn’t said that it was hard to find the time to take the leave that they had been granted. In Trust followed up with telephone interviews with several presidents and found that they had worked with their boards to create a wide variety of arrangements.

   

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Nontraditional presidents must exercise “enterprise leadership”

           
         

 

In Trust recently published an article titled “Promising Professor vs. Prominent Pastor,” which pointed out that most theological schools hire CEOs who have moved up through the faculty ranks, while a third hire CEOs from leadership positions in their denomination or from the business world.

   

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The cost of free speech

           
         

Freedom of speech is a big deal on university campuses these days. A recent spate of decisions by university administrators to permit (or forbid) various speakers to make speeches on campus has generated newsworthy controversy. Invariably, free-speech advocates argue that a university is a place for learning, critical thinking, and critical listening. Silencing an offensive viewpoint.

   

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Sobering statistics, paths to the future

           
         

In the New Year 2014 issue of In Trust, Greg Henson and Gary Hoag provided data on charitable giving. Their conclusions, and their advice to schools, are still timely.

 

   

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Must you let people know that you're closing?

           
         

Every institution runs on confidence. Startups need investors to believe that their money won't be wasted. Banks need customers who trust that their savings won't be lost. Schools need students who are confident that the school will be around long enough for them to graduate. And the donors to these schools need to feel confident that their contributions are not being tossed into a black hole.

   

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Understanding the (stained) glass cliff

           
         

After a female faculty member was promoted into seminary leadership, a colleague stopped by her office to congratulate her. But he also asked, “Does this mean the school is in trouble?”  

It didn’t — but the colleague was assuming the theory of the so-called “glass cliff” might be at play.

   

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Accreditation and the forces that shape the standards

           
         

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) is in the midst of an ambitious project – the first redevelopment of its accrediting standards in nearly a quarter-century. The work will eventually affect every theological school -- perhaps as soon as 2022, when the new standards may go into effect.

   

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Learning from the past: Schools that thrived during the lean years

           
         


In 2014, the Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education published Through Toil and Tribulation: Financing Theological Education 2001-2011, an analysis by Anthony T. Ruger and Chris A. Meinzer of revenue and spending of theological schools during a period that encompassed the Great Recession as well as declining levels of formal religious affiliation. The fifth in a series of studies of revenue in theological education, this report told a tale of hard times and the ways in which some schools were able to strengthen their financial position in spite of a poor economy and changing religious environment, and it outlined best practices in the institutions and leaders who saw improvements during these years.

   

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An American icon that fell victim to the “competency trap”

           
         

The New York Times has run an obituary of sorts for Xerox, the American corporation that is merging with Japanese behemoth Fujifilm Holdings. The company prospered and innovated for decades, but then they began to fall behind. What lessons could we in theological education learn from their example? 

   

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New Year 2018 issue is now available

           
         


The New Year 2018 issue of In Trust magazine was recently mailed and is now available to read online.

   

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Trustees seek change amid public scrutiny of higher education

           
         




According to a recent poll, more than half of trustees agreed that public perception of higher education has deteriorated in the United States over the last decade. They are not all in agreement, however, on the causes of and solution to this problem. 

   

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Small religious colleges are struggling

           
         



A recent Religion News Service article chronicles the struggles of small religious colleges, saying that lacking substantial endowments, many are teetering on a financial cliff.

   

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In Trust Center board election results

           
         


Members of the In Trust Center for Theological Schools recently cast ballots to elect three new members and re-elect two members of the Center’s board of directors.

   

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Financial woes across the pond

           
         


The Church Times, a London-based Anglican newspaper, recently published an article about the apparent financial crisis facing Anglican theological education in the United Kingdom.

   

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Innovation, innovation, innovation

           
         


Innovation is a buzzword for our current time. Everywhere you look, someone is writing about the need to be innovative, and organizations are bragging about how innovative they are.

   

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Is your school keeping up with the ever-shifting religious landscape?

           
         




A recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute suggests that “the future of religion in America is young, non-Christian, and technicolor.”

   

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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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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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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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A law school is closing after facing enrollment and job placement challenges

           
         




Theological education is not the only sector of higher education facing the combined pressures of high costs and flat enrollment. Law schools have seen enrollment drop over the last decade, due in part to a difficult job market coupled with high tuition costs. Now, for the first time, a law school is shutting its doors.

   

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Check out our Spring 2017 issue, available now

           
         


The Spring 2017 issue of In Trust is now online. Click "Read the rest of entry" for highlights! 

   

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Rider University planning to sell choir college

           
         



Rider University in New Jersey has decided to sell nearby Westminster Choir College, which the university first acquired in 1992. The possibility of a university selling one of its constituent schools suggests that mergers can be temporary. Could the similar situations be in the cards for seminary-university partnerships? 

   

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