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Invited to offer a session on financial exigency at this year's ATS Biennial Meeting in Montreal, I wondered about being known as an "expert" on this topic. Our workshop was sparsely attended — perhaps a testimony to the suspicion and fear that haunts the prospect of economic distress. As I presented a case study about why declaring financial exigency was essential for our school's future, I spoke positively about the outcomes, which make me glad our board took this route.

A caveat is in order from the outset: I am not glad about the dislocation suffered by faculty and staff colleagues whose positions were eliminated. This was exceedingly painful for our institution — and for me. Back then, in May 2005, I was the new president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and I was suddenly forced to think more institutionally than personally. I knew that we had to deal with excess capacity in both faculty and staff — the largest area in our operating costs — if we were to survive. But as a faculty member who had been terminated at my former school, I knew the life-scrambling reality this would inexorably produce, and I felt terrible.

Five years later, I can see the positive impact on our school. Our board of trustees took an action that was transformative in several ways:

Article from: New Year 2011

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