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From category archives: In Trust Blog

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Communicating hope amid disruption

The illustration and type on the cover of Fuller Seminary's magazine pretty much says it all. Rather than an evocative photographic portrait, as usually graces the cover, this one sports a photoshopped bird – gold and in flight – which forms the first “I” in the 200-point Century Bold italicized title that reads: DIS RUP TION.

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Seminary classes in churches: creative experiments and tough questions

 

Is theological education for everyone — or only for those with special vocations? That question is not new. Nor is it new for seminary classes to be held in church basements in order to bring education closer to the people in the pews. Yet it’s worth repeating that seminaries are continuing to experiment with bringing theological education to untapped audiences. One of these new-yet-old experiments is “taking seminary to church” — holding seminary courses in congregational settings with regular church-goers invited to learn along with officially enrolled seminarians.

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Seminaries struggle to build community with affordable dining services

 

Declining enrollment and increasing numbers of distance education and off-campus students are making the economics of providing food increasingly unsustainable for theological schools. Yet everyone agrees that shared meals build community. What's a seminary to do?

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Chronicle highlights challenges of rural colleges



The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article that addresses the challenges of rural colleges and the efforts of some schools to attract more students and faculty. Written by Lawrence Biemiller, the article highlights colleges facing difficulties because of their remote locations.


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Colgate Rochester Crozer is moving



Things are looking beautiful at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS), the oldest Baptist seminary in the United States, which occupies a tree-filled campus on a hill overlooking Rochester, New York. The school is the product of a merger of Colgate (founded 1817) and Rochester (founded 1850) seminaries, which came together in 1928. A theological institute for women, the Baptist Missionary Training School, joined the institution in 1961, and a fourth school, Crozer Theological Seminary (the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr.), joined in 1970.

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Graduation gap remains between black and white students


New research about the graduation rate disparity between black and white students is highlighted in a March 2016 article in Inside Higher Ed.


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Why you can’t afford to ignore deferred maintenance

Tackling deferred maintenance


Deferred maintenance affects almost all institutions. According to a recent survey of 118 schools by the Association of Theological Schools, deferred maintenance costs ranged from $2,000 to $52 million, with a median around $437,500. Such high numbers can lead to an overwhelming feeling of discouragement, but there are ways to tackle deferred maintenance. 

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Our condition: Americans with Disabilities Act, 25 years later



Twenty-five years ago,  when I was a college freshman, my university unveiled a program to address the needs of disabled students on campus. Since this was the same year that Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I can only assume that the new law was the impetus behind the effort. 

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Summer 2015 issue of In Trust magazine


Last week the Summer 2015 issue of In Trust magazine landed in the mailboxes of people affiliated with the In Trust Center's member schools. Here are some highlights.

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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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How does your school stay connected to its constituents?



Campus updates, upcoming events, policy decisions, student stories: seminaries have a lot of things going on. How do you keep up to date?

Some presidents, deans, and faculties use blogs to connect with their constituencies and keep people up to date on campus life. The audiences may vary — current students, prospective students, churches, donors, alumni, friends — but the purpose is consistent: to make a connection with people who care.

Click through to learn more about what your peers are doing, and perhaps to gain inspiration for your own communication.

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Seminaries honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day,
a national holiday in the United States that honors Dr. King and his legacy of nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement.

Designated a federal holiday in 1986, it has only been officially observed in all 50 states since 2000. The campaign to create the holiday began in 1968, shortly after the assassination of Dr. King.

Many theological schools celebrate MLK Day through lectures, days of service, and special chapel celebrations. Listed below are a few of the celebrations taking place this week around the country.

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Location, location, location



It's the realtor's mantra: "Location, location, location." If the school system stinks, it doesn't matter how nice the house is. If there's no traffic, it doesn't matter how cheap the retail space rents for. And as student demographics change, many seminaries are learning that the . . .

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Breaking bread, extending community



Is there anything more communal than the breaking of bread, the sharing of a meal? Jesus understood this. The church in the Book of Acts seems to have gotten the memo as well. Every small town pastor knows that "the tie that binds" is as much about shared potluck dinners as it is about shared woes. It is more certain than even death and taxes: Everybody's got to eat.

The good folks at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities seem to ...

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Seminary keeps undergrad program, appoints media professor



The seminary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia
has announced that its undergraduate division will remain open. A task force had been assigned to make a recommendation about closing St. Charles Borromeo Seminary's College Division. Also, the seminary has appointed a new academic chair in "social communications" to explore the theological dimensions of mass media.

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Montana institute blends postmodern faith and fly-fishing


A group of church leaders in Bozeman, Montana,
is developing plans for a new graduate-level theological institute in their city, focusing on “emergent Christianity.” The institute’s first activities, held in summer and fall of 2013, were five-day immersion seminars that featured not only instruction, but also fly-fishing along Montana’s rivers and hiking . . . 

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Seminary sells campus, moves to smaller space

Lexington Theological Seminary has announced that it will be moving from its 63-year-old campus to a 16,000-square-foot building near the Lexington Green Mall. Earlier this year, the school sold its real estate and buildings to the University of Kentucky for . . .

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Planning a new campus


With the declining number of students
hitting up seminaries for education, and the average student age rising, schools need to be even more careful about planning new campuses.

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One of Canada's most influential theological training centres

To begin to understand the Toronto School of Theology, one needs to understand what a consortium is and what it is not, says Martin Campbell, a Toronto lawyer who chairs the TST board. “It’s a group of people or organizations who come together for a common purpose.”

In TST’s case, “it means the seven members give up only that part of their authority and power which is necessary to accomplish the common purpose, and they retain their separate identity,” explains Campbell. “That is a critical balance for TST — they all have their own heritage and are accountable to their own denominations and traditions. It’s that delicate balance that everyone has respected for more than 40 years. And the consortium could only function if that balance is respected.”

Read and print the full article here.

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The price of procrastination

Example of deferred maintenance

Deferred maintenance dogs many theological schools -- especially those freestanding institutions with beloved old campuses that were built for a bygone era. Surely every administrator knows that when you're creating an annual budget, it's very easy to put off a big capital expenditure for one more year or to balance the accounts by shaving a little off the facilities line.

A recent piece over at the Chronicle of Higher Education is a must-read for presidents, CFOs, and board members who serve on the finance or buildings and grounds committees.

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"Traditioned innovation" at Beeson Divinity School

The award-winning website Faith and Leadership has recently been highlighting "traditioned innovation." That's their term for an entrepreneurial orientation that's tempered by the wisdom of the ages. Their latest example: Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. Although part of a Baptist university, Beeson is explicitly interdenominational. Its founding dean, Timothy George, is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School who has tried to open Beeson's doors to various historic emphases: respect for Mary and the saints, appreciation for monasticism and iconography, and more. The divinity school's blend of tradition and innovation is most evident in its marvelous Hodges Chapel, which could easily grace a European capital but is an unusual sight on the skyline of Birmingham, Alabama.  Jason Byassee, the author of the article about Beeson, has written an essay for the upcoming issue of In Trust about another example of "traditioned innovation" -- the weekly congregational reports published by ...

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