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From category archives: In Trust Blog

Mergers/partnerships/affiliations

Two to tango: Insights from a partnership

In the May issue of Colloquy, the online newsletter from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), two representatives from Andover Newton Theological School and Yale Divinity School offer some reflections on Andover Newton’s transition from a freestanding theological school to an embedded seminary.

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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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An American icon that fell victim to the “competency trap”

The New York Times has run an obituary of sorts for Xerox, the American corporation that is merging with Japanese behemoth Fujifilm Holdings. The company prospered and innovated for decades, but then they began to fall behind. What lessons could we in theological education learn from their example? 

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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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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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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? 

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Reaching seminarians and communities alike through congregational partnerships




The challenges for modern theological schools and the needs of seminarians are great and ever-changing. Among these include the rising costs of obtaining seminary degrees and many seminarians’ desire to remain close to their homes and families. In a February article in The Christian Century, Jason Byassee and Ross Lockhart highlight how some schools are meeting these challenges by partnering with flourishing megachurches.

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Special section on mergers, partnerships, and alliances in Autumn 2016 issue




The Autumn 2016 issue of In Trust, recently sent out to subscribers, features a special section on mergers, partnerships, and alliances. This special section features an interview with Tom Ingram, president emeritus of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, on how to conduct a merger, plus eight case studies of mergers and partnerships.

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Gettysburg and Philadelphia seminaries announce ‘new school of theology’




The Lutheran seminaries in Gettysburg and Philadelphia have announced that their boards have adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”


 

Last week, Gettysburg Seminary and the Lutheran Philadelphia Seminary jointly announced that their boards had adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”

The two schools, both located in Pennsylvania and both seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held simultaneous meetings of their boards to adopt the identical resolution. You can read more about the announcement here and here. We will keep you posted as the schools share more about this process. 


 


 

Last week, Gettysburg Seminary and the Lutheran Philadelphia Seminary jointly announced that their boards had adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”

The two schools, both located in Pennsylvania and both seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held simultaneous meetings of their boards to adopt the identical resolution. You can read more about the announcement here and here. We will keep you posted as the schools share more about this process. 


 


 

Last week, Gettysburg Seminary and the Lutheran Philadelphia Seminary jointly announced that their boards had adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”

The two schools, both located in Pennsylvania and both seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held simultaneous meetings of their boards to adopt the identical resolution. You can read more about the announcement here and here. We will keep you posted as the schools share more about this process. 


 

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Who is your most strategic partner?

First, throw out the “M-word.” Mergers scare people, so most schools are approaching partnerships in terms of new models of collaboration. A merger gives people the perception that there are winners and losers, but collaborations open up space for creativity and exploration: “If we were to imagine a future together, what might that look like?” 


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Thinking about a merger? Some things to consider




Thinking about a merger? Here are some things to consider.

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Seeking a blessed union: Is a merger on your horizon?

Union Street, Traverse City

Seminaries share little with the ambitions of corporate America, but it’s interesting to compare the matter-of-fact approach to mergers held up by the business world to the apprehension that talk of a merger can bring to a seminary boardroom.

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What happens when schools weaken denominational ties?



A recent article in Christianity Today showcases a new three-part study from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) that examines what happens to schools when they weaken denomination ties. While some students welcome a broader, less sectarian . . .

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Culture wars: A look at merging institutions


One of the solutions that’s floated to the problem of overall declining enrollments at seminaries and other theological schools is the idea of merging with a larger institution — preferably a university with some resources. But it doesn’t take an expert to know that this kind of venture is ...

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Signs and portents?


A small private college in Virginia has closed
; could this mean anything for your school? Well, perhaps. “The pending closure is credit negative for a small subset of the higher-education sector with similar attributes to other closed colleges: very small, private colleges with a high reliance on student charges, indistinct market positions, and limited donor support,” Moody’s analysts said. Seminaries, beware!

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Harnessing technology to educate the public about a three-school merger


George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of GodMergers and consolidations are in the news these days. Just off the top of my head, I can think of several:

With some exceptions, most of these consolidations involve a seminary becoming a graduate division within a small university of the same theological tradition. That seems like a winning combination.

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More on mergers and alliances

Mergers and other forms of partnerships are on the minds of seminary leaders these days. Some theological schools are hoping to join forces with a nearby college or university; others are seeking greater collaboration with other theological schools. Over at the Nonprofit Finance Fund, consultant Tom McLaughlin has been writing about mergers and alliances. Several of his articles are well worth reading. Here's a sample: "Determine Your Goal Before Seeking Partners for an Alliance." In this short essay, Tom McLaughlin offers a reminder that you be clear on your own goals before you seek a merger partner. If you don't know what you want an alliance to accomplish, you won't know if a potential merger partner is the right fit. Read the essay here. "Who Are You? Mergers Don't Mean Lost Identity." When considering a merger with another organization, many leaders are worried about "loss of identity." In this article, McLaughlin suggests that there are certain kinds of identity that you don't need ...

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Thinking about mergers and alliances

p>Merge sign in a field
The Summer 2009 issue of In Trust includes three articles about joint ventures.

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Mergers help charities survive

These days, theological school board members regularly ask In Trust for advice on seminary mergers and other partnerships. The current issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy offers some analysis and reflections on the rise in mergers and partnerships among nonprofit organizations. Again and again, compatibility of mission and culture prove to be the most important factors for boards to consider. Of course, analyzing the cost savings is essential too. The following three articles can be read in full by subscribers to the Chronicle of Philanthropy: Economic Woes Bring More Charities Together: Nonprofit organizations look to mergers and collaborations as a way of surviving in tough financial times An excerpt: The turbulent economy is creating new incentives for charities to cooperate. More organizations are starting to share fund-raising and marketing ideas, while others are considering merging, combining "back offices" to handle administrative duties, or other forma ...

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