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From category archives: In Trust Blog

Dashboards

Visualizing governance systems

The dashboard of a car can tell you a lot — fuel level, speed, air temperature, tire pressure. The one thing it can’t tell you is where you’re going. For that we need another metaphor. Randall Basinger at Messiah College has just the thing: GPS, or governance positioning system.

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Show me the data


A key priority for Pierce College, a community college in Washington state that serves more than 20,000 students at two campuses (as well as online and at a local military base), was bettering its college completion rates. Ben Gose writes about this initiative in the October 6, 2017, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

 

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Developing and maintaining effective dashboards




 

A dashboard is a display of key indicators that help institutions steer their activities towards their declared strategic outcomes. The imagery, of course, is obvious to anyone who drives a car. Just like the dashboard on your 1981 Ford Fairmont, it’s critical that indicators be visible and the data easy for a user to assimilate. This typically necessitates graphic displays such as graphs, pie charts, or something more creative.

The In Trust has presented a webinar on how to use dashboard effectively. Here's a summary of it, along with a few helpful hints to get you started.

 

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Why you should understand theological school finances


 

If you're a stakeholder at a theological school — especially if you're a board member, administrator, or faculty member — it's vital that you really understand your school’s financial standing, rather than solely relying on the CFO or other financial staff.


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Annual giving: Is your board doing its part?

 

The annual fund is essential, even in institutions with big endowments. In a 2011 article in In Trust, Rebekah Burch Basinger highlighted the steps boards should take to ensure the success of annual giving campaigns.

 

 

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Already in debt, incoming seminarians plan to work part time


In a January 20 webinar for seminary leaders, a researcher for the Association of Theological Schools highlighted sobering data gleaned from surveys of new students at the association's member institutions.


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Faculty at accredited theological schools: By the numbers

Are you curious about how your school’s faculty compares to faculty at other theological schools? Do you know your ration of full- to part-time faculty, or how many have terminal degrees?

Answers to these questions can be found (along with mountains of other data) in the 2014-2015 Annual Data Tables from the Association of Theological School (ATS). Those of us who don’t have time to wade through this 172-page treasure trove can read a two-part summary that unpacks some of the numbers.


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The Strategic Information Report: What you need to know

 

Because the SIR has been completely revamped, the Association of Theological Schools has provided an overview article that explains how presidents and board members can use it. “Why the Strategic Information Report is an essential tool in every school’s toolbox,” by Chris Meinzer, explores ways to use the SIR as a tool in assessing their institution's overall health.

 

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Summer issue preview: Do seminaries train pastors for the church?

The upcoming issue of In Trust, due to be mailed July 8, includes an article from Sioux Falls Seminary president Greg Henson about the Entering Student Questionnaire (ESQ) and Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ).

In the article, Henson provides an introduction to these two tools, which capture data provided to the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) by more than 5,600 incoming students and 6,300 departing graduates. 

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Resources for your board: Dashboards



Dashboards are a great way to track key metrics of your school’s performance. But which metrics should you track? And how do you know if you’re getting -- and sharing -- the numbers that matter?

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Jargon that works: Dashboards

Instrument panel from a Ford Model A

One particular piece of jargon that appears to me to have some staying power, simply because it does such a fine job of helping us visualize an idea, is the dashboard. There may be a risk that best practices start to require too many key indicators on the dashboard, but when someone uses the term...

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Color-coded dashboard indicators streamline board reports

Honda dashboard
For years, In Trust and other organizations have promoted the value of dashboard indicators (also called "strategic indicators"). For example, in Spring 2005, Rebekah Basinger wrote about using dashboard indicators in a board's academic affairs committee, and in the Autumn 2007 issue, she explained how to use dashboard indicators to track the work of the development office. (People associated with In Trust's member schools can read the full text of both of these by clicking and then signing in.)

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