Videos


Published on September 22, 2015

A workshop by Jay Blossom on SOCIAL MEDIA and INSTITUTIONAL CONFLICT for presidents of theological schools, but relevant to leaders of many institutions of higher learning, as well as other organizations.



Published on Jun 18, 2012

Rebekah Burch Basinger explains that there are two ways to understand the role of the board of trustees in fundraising. (1) The board's role as a corporate body -- the best gift that a board gives to the school is good governance! (2) But there is the expectation that when the board leaves the boardroom, they take off their governance hat and put on their volunteer hat. As volunteers, they identify potential funders, introduce the school to people who can advance it, act as advocates on behalf of the school, and make their own generous gifts.



Published on Jun 15, 2012


Randy Thomann explains how strategic planning charts an institution's journey into the future and establishes markers along the way. Other benefits include getting stakeholders to take time to focus on the institution's future, strengthening a sense of community among leaders, and offering hope for people who care about the school.




Published on Jun 15, 2012

Robert S. Landrebe says that a strategic plan is like a road map. Just as you can take various paths from Point A to Point B on a map, a strategic plan declares that of all the possible ways to get to a desired future, the school is going in a certain direction. Benefits of strategic planning include: (1) Providing a focused time for outlining a school's potential future. (2) Building a stronger community. (3) Helping align resources and motivations toward achievable goals. (4) Offering hope in the midst of daily urgency and stress.




Published on Jun 15, 2012

Delores Brisbon says that for shared governance to succeed, an institution needs to do the following: (1) Be clear about which groups have decision-making responsibility. (2) Map out major issues, identifying who has primary responsibility for each. (3) Identify all stakeholders for the various issues, and determine how each group will be consulted. (4) Allow enough time to address issues and build consensus. (5) Review the governance process and be willing to adapt the governance process to your specific needs.




Published on Jun 15, 2012

William R. Myers shares three myths about shared governance. Myth 1: Shared governance means that the board, president, administrators, and faculty have an equal say in every decision. Myth 2: Shared governance means that the faculty can exercise veto power over board decisions. Myth 3: Shared governance slows down the decision-making process. None of these is true, but boards often struggle to find ways to implement shared governance while fulfilling their authority and meeting essential deadlines. Here are two tips. Tip 1: Use dashboard data to track basic financial information. The goal is to allow plenty of time for discussion based on key data. Tip 2: Shared governance doesn't mean that every group on campus gets to weigh in on every decision.




Published on Jun 15, 2012

Randy Thomann says that while strategic planning is important, but there are pitfalls to avoid. (1) Be sure to invite the right people to the table, making sure not to assemble a chorus of clones. (2) Be sure the right number of people are involved, with neither too many (which can be chaotic) nor too few (which gives the impression that planning is a top-down exercise. (3) Don't forget God -- you're trying to discern God's agenda, so start with prayer.




Published on Jun 15, 2012

Delores Brisbon outlines the questions seminary and theological school boards should ask as they consider forming a partnership or merger with another school: What kind of merger or partnership are you considering? Should you limit your partners to similar schools? What are the potential payoffs? Where do you draw the line? What are you not willing to forfeit? Do you need a facilitator? Do you need a lawyer? A coach?




Published on Jun 15, 2012

Rebekah Burch Basinger says that board member orientation is a critical piece to ensure the long-term success of a board member, but it's an area that is often glossed over. We tend to think of board orientation as a once-and-done activity, but in fact, orienting new members is an ongoing process. We're always being oriented.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
Rebekah Burch Basinger says that board orientation should focus on the essential pieces of information that a board member needs, and the temptation to dump everything on the new member should be resisted. A good board handbook gives the board member a chance to go back and check the bylaws and other documents.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
William R. Myers says that if your seminary or theological school wants to give new board members a running start, you should try these five strategies: (1) Invite newcomers to sit in on a meeting before they join. (2) Send copies of past minutes and agendas. (3) Suggest they read "Wise Stewards" from In Trust. (4) Clearly spell out expectations for board service. (5) Mark the beginning of a member's term with a campus tour and installation ceremony.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
Robert S. Landrebe says that the primary benefit of strategic planning is the gathering of new insights. Strategic planning is all about looking at alternatives and identifying those that are going to make the greatest impact for your future as a school.




Published on Jun 15, 2012


Randy Thomann explains that for board members who feel inadequate about tackling finances, there is good news and bad news: The bad: Overseeing finances is every trustee's responsibility and cannot be passed along to colleagues who a knack for numbers. The good: It's a shared responsibility, and CFOs have an obligation to help by presenting a school's finances in an understandable way. Board members of seminaries and theological schools should ask themselves whether their school is living within its means, and whether resources are being managed in a way that supports the mission.





Published on Jun 15, 2012


Robert S. Landrebe says that it's important for a board to understand their school's financial health so that their strategic planning is well informed. Board are inundated with financial data, but most financial information can be boiled down to four key ratios. The key ratios answer the most important questions: (1) Is a school living within its resources? (2) Does the school have sufficient resources and flexibility to advance the mission of the school? (3) Are the financial resources, including debt, being managed strategically? The Composite Financial Index score can help the board understand what capacity the school has to launch new strategic initiatives. It doesn't make sense for a board to approve a strategic plan if they don't know whether they have the capacity to accomplish the initiatives. Understanding the school's financial health helps the board make the best decisions.





Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
Rebekah Burch Basinger says that to be effective ambassadors, board members should be able to tell the story of their connection with the institution -- their elevator speech. Having board members create their elevator speech during a board meeting can serve as an orientation activity or a fundraising training activity. Board members can share their elevator speeches with their board colleagues and critique one another.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
William R. Myers explains what a dashboard or strategic indicator status report is, how it's used by a board, and how it can help a seminary or theological school board.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
Paul Dovre explains the essential elements of presidential assessment: (1) Clarity about the personal characteristics the board is looking for in the president. (2) The president's job description. (3) An instrument or instruments to do the assessment (anonymous surveys plus interviews with key people). (4) A meaningful narrative framed around the stated expectations. (5) Meaningful conversations first with the board and then with a close group that has particular responsibilities for the president's welfare. (6) A plan to go forward -- to care for the president and help the president continue to develop.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
Rebekah Burch Basinger says that a "board buddy" or mentor can help a new board member get up to speed quickly. The buddy or mentor can help the new member at meetings, but the buddy can also contact the new member between meetings to answer questions.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
Rebekah Burch Basinger says that theological schools face significant challenges, and when you accept a seat on a school's governing board, those challenges become yours -- you are a steward of the school's core mission. What do the most effective board members do to ensure that their schools are strong? (1) They respect both the past and the future. (2) They pursue ongoing self-growth. (3) They seek to ensure that the mission is fulfilled with financial vitality. (4) They commit to effective shared governance. (5) They implement planning and assessment at all levels.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
William R. Myers describes how seminary and theological school boards can govern without meddling, how they can share responsibilities without relinquishing responsibilities, and how to meet the legal requirements of board services without losing a focus on faith. Self-evaluation is essential to a board's health, he says.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
Rebekah Burch Basinger says that a dashboard is a visual indicator of specific aspects of the institution's performance at a particular point in time -- a snapshot of how the school is doing. When creating a dashboard, the board should go to the strategic plan. The board should not ask the president or staff to create the dashboard -- the dashboard needs to come from the board itself. Usually the dashboard is color-coded. Green means everything is OK. Yellow means that the board should stop and look. Red means the school is in big trouble. A board doesn't want to see red -- the board should address problems before they get to the red stage.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
Rebekah Burch Basinger describes the key to an effective president-board chair relationship: Believe that your school is no stronger than its board. Similarly, the board is no stronger than the relationship between the president and the board chair. To have a strong relationship, the president and board chair need to develop trust, understand their communication styles, and commit to talk regularly. They need to have a shared set of goals. And they should never disagree in public or in front of the board.




Published on Jun 15, 2012
 
Paul Dovre, a former college president and current seminary board chair, explains why third-party evaluation is essential to presidential assessment. Independent, third-party evaluation speaks to the integrity of the process. It bring a sense of objectivity and rigor to the evaluation process.




Published on Jun 15, 2012

Paul Dovre says that there are three characteristics of an effective board chair: (1) Knowledge of governance -- for example, an understanding of administration and policy and of the differences between tactical, strategic, and generative roles -- and some experience in it. (2) A strong professional relationship with the president -- a relationship focused on goals, with continuing dialog around key subjects. (3) Effective oversight over governance, including tracking the leadership of the board's committees, board recruitment and evaluation, and keeping track of the board's agenda.