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From category archives: In Trust Blog

Administration

Connecting the dots between the board and the library



At most institutions, the relationship between board members and the library is mediated through the administration. In an informal survey of 35 library directors, In Trust found that most have little direct contact with board members. Twenty-four library directors said that they never have contact with their school’s board members outside their board meetings. And 19 of the 35 said they have never submitted a formal report to their board.

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The long arm of history: Understanding the past helps decision-making today

 

When I was in seminary, I remember a professor telling a class that when new pastors arrive at a church, they are directly affected by the last 30 years of that church’s history. If the pastor of 20 years ago ran off with the organist, the current pastor needs to know about it. The congregation certainly knows about it. If there was a church split at some point, the whole town probably knows about it. In light of this, our professor strongly recommended getting as complete a history as possible early in the interview process. Pastors need to know up front what can be changed, what can be worked around, and whether they have the skills to manage that ministry. Institutions of theological education are no different. . . .

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Operational and educational models in theological education

How might we affirm or challenge the funding and operational assumptions that undergird theological education?

 

I believe it is important for theological schools to think critically about their operational and educational models. We have not adequately addressed several issues that have been present for many years within theological education. 

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Selling the seminary -- statistics and all


As seminary leaders engage with donors, many find a reluctance about investing in theological education. North America’s changing religious landscape means that there are fewer people in the pews, at least in many churches. A growing number of seminaries is recruiting potential students, but the absolute number of seminarians has remained essentially flat over the last 20 years. Furthermore, the prohibitive cost of the traditional master of divinity degree can all lead potential donors to question whether their gift might be better given elsewhere.

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Upcoming webinar from ATS: Theological Education 2015: State of the Industry

 

On Friday, September 18, 2015, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) will present a free webinar entitled Theological Education 2015: State of the Industry. ATS Executive Director Dan Aleshire will “provide a broad overview of what the latest data are telling us about enrollment, financial issues, faculty, and more.”

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Resources for your board: Books from BoardSource

We love to connect our members with information and resources that encourage good leadership and effective governance. So we keep our eyes open for helpful books and articles that contribute to that goal. Some of our favorite resources are published by BoardSource. Here's a rundown of some of the best.

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Resources for your board: Succession planning

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has published a great article on succession planning for boards, and it includes both an outline of the process and a list of downloadable resources.

What is succession planning? “Succession planning is a means for an organization to ensure its continued effective performance through leadership continuity.” 

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The right fit: On finding the right VP for advancement


The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) recently published a blog post about how to find the right vice president for advancement for your school.

The post offers some great advice for institutions and search committees to consider as they look to fill this important position.

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Book review: "A Guide to Fundraising at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An All Campus Approach"



A Guide to Fundraising at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An All Campus Approach by Marybeth Gasman and Nelson Bowman III is a comprehensive overview of how historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) can transform their fundraising. As leading authorities on HBCUs, Gasman and Bowman closely examine the unique roles that the school president, board, faculty, alumni, and student body have in capacity building.


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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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Financial concerns? Share them.



The Chronicle of Higher Education
 recently published a provocative post
about financial transparency on its Vitae blog. Allison M. Vaillancourt, an administrator at the University of Arizona, writes that frank discussion of financial issues with faculty and staff can benefit university employees. She argues that rather than avoiding the conversation or trying to protect people from a scary reality, it's best to give them the details they need to make changes.


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A gentle evaluation turns away anger



In the coming months I will assist with two evaluation processes – one of a seminary president’s performance, the other, a board self-assessment. When approaching such assignments, my modus operandi is to accentuate the positive before broaching the negative. To paraphrase the author of Proverbs, I've found that a gentle evaluation turns away anger, while a harsh review encourages the one(s) under scrutiny to dig in his/her/their heels.

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Theodore Hesburgh, influential university president, dies



Father Theodore Hesburgh, president of the University of Notre Dame 
from 1952 to 1987, has died at age 97. Widely acknowledged as the most influential college president of his generation, Hesburgh was also a founding member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and served as Vatican representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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Social media resources



Jay Blossom, Publisher of In Trust magazine and In Trust's Vice President for Communication, recently presented a workshop entitled Social Media and Institutional Conflict at the 2015 ATS Presidential Leadership Intensive Conference. The following was created as a supplemental resource for the workshop participants.

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Governance in the news: Avoid easy answers


 

Sexual assault on college campuses has been in the news a lot over the last several months. One of the latest articles to go viral is Rolling Stone’s recent piece on rape at the University of Virginia. Though the credibility of the article has been challenged recently by The Washington Post and other media, the article’s account of the September 2014 meeting of the University of Virginia board of visitors offers insight into how a board and administration address difficult issues.

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How to manage your consultants


During a recent conversation with a seminary president, we talked about consultants. How many consultants were presently being used in this president’s institution? “I simply don’t know,” he admitted. “Each department brings in and works with its own consultants. I just know we use lots of outside talent. We have to.”

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Shared governance is flawed but fixable



Few people appear happy with the state of shared governance at American colleges and universities.”

That’s how Brian Rosenberg, president of Macalester College, begins a thoughtful essay on how to reform shared governance in higher education.

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Educators of fortune (or "Schools contract adjunctivitis")



The number of adjuncts continues to grow, and the issues involved with hiring part-time contract instructors are coming to a head, and board members and seminary trustees are going ...

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Do you offer online classes? You must register in every state where students live



If you’re the institutional liaison with your state office of higher education, or with the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), or with a regional accrediting agency, you know that there’s a deadline approaching: July 1, 2014.

If you have any kind of online presence that draws students from across state lines — and at least 112 ATS schools do! — then you should be prepared for it.

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What do professors do all day?



What do professors do all day? Jonathan Ziker, an anthropologist at Boise State University, tackled the work of finding answers. During structured interviews, subjects were asked to report everything they did from 4 a.m. the previous day until 4 a.m. on the current day. On average, faculty participants reported working 61 hours per week. They worked 10 hours per day Monday to Friday.

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Everything you need to know about shared governance



Several years ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article on shared governance. The writer worried that few people in education seem to understand what the phrase means. . . . This piece made me wonder, Can that be true of readers of In Trust? We talk a lot about shared governance. (I mean, a lot.) Could it be that some of our readers—seminary presidents...

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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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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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Maintain the mission while firing the faculty?



According to Inside Higher Ed,
Iowa Wesleyan College is cutting 22 of its 52 faculty positions and 16 of its 31 academic programs, saving the school $3 million per year out of its $20 million budget. After the cuts, there will be two faculty members in the English department, and none in math. Naturally, people are distraught, but I’m not inclined to criticize the radical pruning. This is a college with . . .

 

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Taking a stand on a controversial issue



Since reading the “Church and State” piece in the recent issue of In Trust, I’ve been keeping my eye on the news for stories of schools that have taken a position on an issue, perhaps schools that don’t often make headlines. Here's one . . .

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