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The gift of a learning community

An interview with Tim Shapiro, president of the Center for Congregations and author of How Your Congregation Learns: The Learning Journey from Challenge to Achievement.

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Get merger discussions started by reviewing a document required by ATS



Schools accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) that are considering a merger should download and peruse a key ATS petition early in the process.

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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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The value of successful interim presidencies

According to a 2014 In Trust article by Heidi Schlumpf, "...interim or 'acting' presidents...can be valuable to a seminary, offering stability and continuity, achieving specific – often financial – goals, and providing time to reexamine mission and vision while searching for the most appropriate permanent leader." 

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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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Writing for the mass media: A practical how-to



On November 2, the In Trust Center hosted a webinar on “Writing for the mass media” aimed at seminary leaders. 

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Leading with Intent: BoardSource report available now


At the recent BoardSource Leadership Forum in Seattle, there was a lot of discussion about the results of a recent report, Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices. The report highlights findings related to the composition, culture, responsibilities, and impact of nonprofit boards. BoardSource collects data from chief executives and board chairs and breaks the data down to reveal the differences in responses. 

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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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When board members go AWOL between meetings, try this


The complaint we hear more than any other from nonprofit execs and/or board chairs is this:

Board members disappear between meetings. Poof! They’re gone. Most can’t even be bothered to respond to my message with a one-word reply: “received.”

Sound familiar?

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Key qualities of a new president


Leadership turnover is inevitable. Every institution faces it at some point — usually before they want to. Searching for a new leader is challenging, and even before beginning a search, the governing board must be clear about what kind of leader it seeks.

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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.

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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.

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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.” 

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Growing your next board chair


You may stumble onto a good, or even great, board chair by luck, but it’s not likely. Schools and other nonprofits typically get the chairs they have “grown,” but when there is no advance development, schools tend to get board chairs who are unprepared, untested, and weak. 

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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.

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Who understands your school’s financial statements?



Who understands your school's finances? The answer should not be "just the CFO." Or even just the CFO, the president, and the finance committee chair. Ideally all board members and senior administrators should have a solid understanding of a school's finances -- and perhaps the faculty and staff as well. 

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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.

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Caring for our leaders


How can you care for your school’s president or dean? You may think of things like benefits, salary, onboarding, and board support. But you're probably not thinking of yearly evaluation, contracts, or succession planning.

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The good governance journey


In Trust Center president Amy Kardash shares ten governance lessons from a joint project with the Association of Theological Schools. 

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Measuring the effectiveness of online programs

Online programs fill the educational landscape these days, but how do we measure their effectiveness? During a recent webinar, Roxanne Russell presented some strategies for doing so, drawn from her work in shaping the revised online/hybrid D.Min program at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. 

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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.

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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?

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Ready or not



"People act shocked when the usual crises occur and they have no adequate plan." 

Why? Perhaps it's because of where we as leaders invest our time. Many of us are so focused on deadlines and day-to-day obligations that we never take the time to plan for crises that may or may not take place.

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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.

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