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From category archives: In Trust Blog

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Must you let people know that you're closing?

Every institution runs on confidence. Startups need investors to believe that their money won't be wasted. Banks need customers who trust that their savings won't be lost. Schools need students who are confident that the school will be around long enough for them to graduate. And the donors to these schools need to feel confident that their contributions are not being tossed into a black hole.

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Understanding the (stained) glass cliff

After a female faculty member was promoted into seminary leadership, a colleague stopped by her office to congratulate her. But he also asked, “Does this mean the school is in trouble?”  

It didn’t — but the colleague was assuming the theory of the so-called “glass cliff” might be at play.

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Accreditation and the forces that shape the standards

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) is in the midst of an ambitious project – the first redevelopment of its accrediting standards in nearly a quarter-century. The work will eventually affect every theological school -- perhaps as soon as 2022, when the new standards may go into effect.

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Learning from the past: Schools that thrived during the lean years


In 2014, the Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education published Through Toil and Tribulation: Financing Theological Education 2001-2011, an analysis by Anthony T. Ruger and Chris A. Meinzer of revenue and spending of theological schools during a period that encompassed the Great Recession as well as declining levels of formal religious affiliation. The fifth in a series of studies of revenue in theological education, this report told a tale of hard times and the ways in which some schools were able to strengthen their financial position in spite of a poor economy and changing religious environment, and it outlined best practices in the institutions and leaders who saw improvements during these years.

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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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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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Small religious colleges are struggling



A recent Religion News Service article chronicles the struggles of small religious colleges, saying that lacking substantial endowments, many are teetering on a financial cliff.

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In Trust Center board election results


Members of the In Trust Center for Theological Schools recently cast ballots to elect three new members and re-elect two members of the Center’s board of directors.

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Financial woes across the pond


The Church Times, a London-based Anglican newspaper, recently published an article about the apparent financial crisis facing Anglican theological education in the United Kingdom.

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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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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.”

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Turning campus conflict into dialogue and education

M. Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Theological Seminary, teaches a course on conflict. He found himself in the midst of one recently, when the school’s Kuyper Center announced that the Rev. Tim Keller was being honored with its annual award and would be keynote lecturer at the annual Kuyper Conference.

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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. 

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Survey reveals shared concerns of college presidents

Earlier this year, the Gallup Organization and Inside Higher Ed teamed up to survey 2,890 college and university presidents about a host of topics. Although the survey sample did not include Bible colleges, seminaries, or institutions with fewer than 500 students, several of the questions asked relate to issues that theological schools are facing as well.

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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.

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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! 

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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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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. 

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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.

 

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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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Pacific School of Religion withdraws plans for senior living community





Back in October, we shared the news that Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, planned to develop senior living housing on campus. Since then, the school has announced plans to withdraw their application for developing the proposed senior community. 

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In Trust magazine - New Year 2017 issue



The New Year 2017 issue of In Trust was recently sent out to members and subscribers. Click "Read the rest of entry" for highlights! 

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Autumn issue highlight: Teaching Islam in Christian seminaries




Teaching Islam in Christian seminaries,”an article in the Autumn 2016 issue of In Trust, focuses on the growing number of Christian seminaries that are adding programs or courses in Islamic Studies.

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Seminary rector interviewed by Crux magazine



Bishop Timothy Senior, rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, recently gave an interview for Crux magazine. During the interview, Bishop Senior offered his reflections on priestly formation one year after Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Philadelphia.

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