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Shannon Beaudry's Articles

A case study in mission-driven publishing

 

For seminaries, coming up with sustainable revenue-generating ventures is often imperative. But schools must consider whether those venture support their mission and values.

Highlights from In Trust's Autumn 2017 issue, available now

The Autumn 2017 issue of In Trust was recently mailed  to subscribers and is now available online. Click "Read the rest of entry" for highlights.

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.

A review of David F. Labaree’s A Perfect Mess


The “fundamental thesis” of David F. Labaree’s A Perfect Mess, according to Edwin Woodruff Tait, is that “American higher education is an instrument in maintaining both social mobility and social stability.” 

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.”

Board members talk finances



In August 2009, In Trust emailed more than 1,800 board members (excluding board chairs) with a short survey on school finances. Of the board members contacted, 293 responded. In a summer 2010 article, Mary Catherine Bolster shared responses to this survey and offered her insights about what these responses said about the role of the board in financial matters. 

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. 

Addressing domestic violence in faith communities

Domestic violence is a serious concern that can affect members of any congregation or faith community. As such, faith leaders often encounter both victims and abusers in their ministry and should be equipped to respond appropriately.

Orientation is the key to keeping a board on the right course



To stay focused on the mission, a school's board members must be guided and redirected as a school's needs change in response to a shifting environment. Using the metaphor of a ship, Tracy Schier likens board orientation to the compass guiding a seminary toward “true north” -- the school’s mission. If a board is going to avoid getting lost at sea, orientation is vital for new and continuing board members alike.

Policies are powerful tools for effective governance



“Sometimes boards are the last to acknowledge that policy making is the environment in which they operate,” says Rebekah Burch Basinger in a Spring 2010 In Trust article. Nevertheless, boards rely on policies to govern their own work, as well as the work of their administration and organization. As such, having clearly defined, well-organized policies is essential for any board to function successfully.

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.

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! 

Canadian theological school governance




For those outside of Canadian theological education, and even for some inside it, the organization of Canadian theological schools can seem complicated. Higher education in Canada encompasses a wide variety of governance structures, due in part to the provincial (rather than national) oversight of education.

In Trust wins Associated Church Press awards




In Trust was recognized with four “Best of the Christian Press” awards at the Associated Church Press annual awards banquet, held on April 28, 2017, in Chicago. 

Need a succession plan? The In Trust Center can help!


In an ideal world, institutional leaders know well in advance when they plan to step down from their positions. After a long, successful presidency, boards and administrators have ample time to plan for the departure of a leader and the arrival of a highly qualified successor. But what if a president unexpectedly takes another job or falls gravely ill?

But what if a president unexpectedly takes another job or falls gravely ill?
But what if a president unexpectedly takes another job or falls gravely ill?
But what if a president unexpectedly takes another job or falls gravely ill?

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? 

Technological solutions for board collaboration



At your school, how do board members communicate between meetings? How are board documents relayed and important decisions made ahead of meetings? Is it sometimes challenging to collaborate with your board members, who are busy and scattered across the country (or globe)? If so, take heart -- there are technological solutions that may help.

Board leadership for rainy days or sunny skies



During tough economic times, theological school boards may wonder what they should be doing to weather the storm. According to Rebekah Burch Basinger, the answer is “what you should have been doing all along.”

Executive committees and governance


 

Executive committees can serve a useful purpose in board governance, but they have the potential to create division within a board. Executive committees, writes Rebekah Burch Basinger, can become overly powerful and cliquey, keeping all important decision making for themselves and expecting the board at large to approve any decisions they make. And that can cause trouble.

Calculating the "public value" of your school


Sometimes a theological school must communicate its worth to a larger community -- perhaps as part of an outreach effort or in an appeal to donors. In these instances, it’s helpful for school leadership to make the case for the institution's value to the community. A few years ago, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary conducted an economic impact study and was subsequently able to quantify its value after local residents expressed concern that the seminary was not giving enough to the community. In addition to actual dollar amounts given, the seminary also calculated the value of residents employed by the school, hours volunteered, and benefits not easily quantified, such as diversity. As a result, not only was the school able to communicate its worth, but they also developed stronger town-gown relationships.

Article highlights family-leave policies at evangelical seminaries




A recent Christianity Today article examines the parental leave policies of several evangelical seminaries and what these policies inadvertently say about the value of women and families to these institutions. 

Strategic framework resource available from BoardSource


Does your school have a strategic plan? Or have you chosen a less formal planning strategy? BoardSource has recently released an infographic that explains the differences between strategic plans and strategic frameworks -- and why boards are increasingly moving towards the more flexible framework model.

How one school is integrating field education into clerical training


 

A recent article in The Christian Century by Celeste Kennel-Shank features Bexley Seabury Seminary’s revised M.Div. program, which integrates field education throughout seminarians’ education. The Chicago seminary's newly relaunched M.Div. program requires students to work with faculty, pastors, congregational leaders, and parishioners in a real-world context as they simultaneously take courses, both online and in person.

 

The board's role in cultivating generosity


 

When institutional mission and individuals’ calls converge, the miraculous happens,” says Rebekah Burch Basinger in her 2010 In Trust article, “Giving as a response to God’s call.” Basinger was referring to the role theological school boards can play in reframing giving as a calling from God.

 

Presidential evaluation resources




Is your board planning a presidential evaluation soon? In any evaluation process, it is important to consider what you hope to gain -- including the board's (and the president's) priorities and plans. Are you unsure of where to start? The In Trust Center can help!