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From category archives: In Trust Blog

Students

   
                

Seminary classes in churches: creative experiments and tough questions

           
         

 

Is theological education for everyone — or only for those with special vocations? That question is not new. Nor is it new for seminary classes to be held in church basements in order to bring education closer to the people in the pews. Yet it’s worth repeating that seminaries are continuing to experiment with bringing theological education to untapped audiences. One of these new-yet-old experiments is “taking seminary to church” — holding seminary courses in congregational settings with regular church-goers invited to learn along with officially enrolled seminarians.

   

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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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Administrators strive to serve international students

           
         

Students from Africa and East Asia come to study in North America because theological schools in the United States and Canada offer top-quality education. However, immigration and financing systems don’t always prepare these students for the hurdles they inevitably encounter.

   

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Where do the “best” seminarians come from?

           
         

Why are some seminarians more successful than others? What is the background of these star students? Is there such a thing as a "best" seminarian? 

 

   

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Hispanic Theological Initiative helps students thrive

           
         

Ninety-seven percent of scholars who participate in the Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI) complete their doctoral degrees within 5.5 years. 

   

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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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ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire Webinar available

           
         



On October 4, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) presented a webinar titled “GSQ Webinar: Highlights from the Total School Profile.”

   

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Seminary rector interviewed by Crux magazine

           
         



Bishop Timothy Senior, rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, recently gave an interview for Crux magazine. During the interview, Bishop Senior offered his reflections on priestly formation one year after Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Philadelphia.

   

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Webinar on five-year B.A./M.Div. programs now available

           
         



The In Trust Center recently presented a free webinar sponsored by the Kern Family Foundation on five-year pastoral degree programs, which are currently underway at 19 institutions. During the webinar, Josh Good, program director of the Faith, Works, & Economics program at the Kern Family Foundation, presented the history of the foundation's support for five-year programs

   

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Chronicle highlights challenges of rural colleges

           
         



The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article that addresses the challenges of rural colleges and the efforts of some schools to attract more students and faculty. Written by Lawrence Biemiller, the article highlights colleges facing difficulties because of their remote locations.


   

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Understanding the graduate programs that shape faculty

           
         


In a 2011 In Trust article, Helen Blier addressed the need for boards to understand both their own graduate programs and the programs from which their faculty come. This was in response to the economic recession that resulted in rising student debt and a grim job market. Although we are five years out from this article, and the economy has gradually improved, the point that Blier makes is still significant — boards should understand the programs that shape faculty.  


   

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Graduation gap remains between black and white students

           
         


New research about the graduation rate disparity between black and white students is highlighted in a March 2016 article in Inside Higher Ed.


   

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Already in debt, incoming seminarians plan to work part time

           
         


In a January 20 webinar for seminary leaders, a researcher for the Association of Theological Schools highlighted sobering data gleaned from surveys of new students at the association's member institutions.


   

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Do bequests make a difference?

           
         



Donors make bequests to make a difference after they're gone. Mary Goodman, a New Haven laundress who bequeathed her life savings (nearly $5,000) to Yale Divinity School to provide scholarships for African Americans, was especially successful in this regard: her bequest supported the school’s first black students, and continues to support students today, nearly 144 years later.

   

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Engaged with the community, or just dating?

           
         

One of my day jobs has me working at a large state university, writing for an office dedicated to “outreach and engagement.” For the uninitiated, the phrase “outreach and engagement,” could refer to a host of missions -- Are we trying to connect alumni with the university? Is this office dedicated to building a better relationship with the community? Is this the student recruitment office?

The actual mission is much more interesting: We work to connect professors with outside partners so that they can do research together, co-create knowledge, and share the benefits of strong partnerships.

   

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Need to know: Explaining board governance

           
         

In conversations on campus, Ithaca College trustees were surprised that many of the people had no idea how the board fits into the governance of the school. In response, the trustees penned an article.

   

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How does debt affect your school’s students?

           
         

The Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ) is a survey that compiles data from recent graduates of more than 170 member institutions of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Jo Ann Deasy, Director of Institutional Initiatives and Student Research at ATS, recently wrote an article for In Trust on what the GSQ has to say about student debt. 


   

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Online course design: A conversation with Roxanne Russell

           
         

 

Recently Amy Kardash (Director of Programs at the In Trust Center) chatted with Roxanne Russell (Director of Online Learning at Candler School of Theology) about the In Trust Center’s upcoming webinar, Online Course Design.

The following is a peek into their conversation about the upcoming webinar, especially focused on the question, "Why does this topic matter to board members and administrators?"

 

   

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Changing demographics at Catholic seminaries

           
         

 

Since the '70s, the number of priests in the United States and Canada has dramatically decreased, while the number of Catholics has grown. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reports that in 1965, 549 U.S. parishes did not have a resident priest pastor. By 2010, that number had increased to 3,496. Nevertheless, a recent story from NPR highlights some good news for U.S. Catholics.

 

   

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Operational and educational models in theological education

           
         

How might we affirm or challenge the funding and operational assumptions that undergird theological education?

 

I believe it is important for theological schools to think critically about their operational and educational models. We have not adequately addressed several issues that have been present for many years within theological education. 

   

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Key takeaways and resources on student debt and finances

           
         


 

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) recently convened a meeting of the participants in the Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers project (ECFFM). ECFFM is aimed at addressing student debt in theological education. Greg Henson, president of Sioux Falls Seminary, shared a presentation at the event, which he has since published on his blog.

Though Henson's presentation doesn't include sound, I gained some great insights by simply reading the presentation as it progresses. Here are the two slides that struck me as especially important.

 

   

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Online course design: Why it should matter to you

           
         

 

Online Course Design. It’s probably not something that most board members or administrators consider, and yet it is the topic of the In Trust Center’s next webinar.  

What does online course design have to do with the governance and leadership of theological schools? Amy Kardash, the In Trust Center’s director of programs, tells us more about this webinar and why it is relevant to the work of our readers.

   

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Is a seminary a school or a church?

           
         

 

 

A seasoned faculty member once complained to me after completing a long counseling session with a student. He lamented about how he was spending more and more of his on-campus time: “Sometimes I feel like I’m spending more time counseling my students than teaching them. This was not the case 20 years ago when I began teaching. Something has changed.”

 

   

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Our condition: Americans with Disabilities Act, 25 years later

           
         



Twenty-five years ago,  when I was a college freshman, my university unveiled a program to address the needs of disabled students on campus. Since this was the same year that Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I can only assume that the new law was the impetus behind the effort. 

   

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Is there a place for young people in governance?

           
         

Nonprofit Quarterly recently published an article that got me thinking about the benefits and challenges of including young people in governance structures. “Preparing the Board Leaders of Tomorrow by Involving Youth in Governance Today” explains how the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) have involved the girls they service into the organization's governance. As a youth development and leadership organization, the the Girl Scouts are well positioned for this. It aligns with their mission and quite frankly, makes sense. 

   

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