The business section of the bookstore abounds with titles that promise new approaches to better leadership and management. Today’s CEO has as many professional-growth resources as today’s hipster has flannel shirts. By and large, there’s a lot of good advice, a lot of great strategies, and a lot of effective programs out there for leaders.

For leaders in graduate-level theological institutions, however, there are only a handful of organizations dedicated to your particular niche. Thankfully, they produce well-researched quality resources. The Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education, for example, is always doing useful research that can directly impact how schools achieve their mission with financial vitality.

A while back the Auburn Center published a report that still resonates: “Leadership that Works.” Over several years, researchers talked to new presidents, board members, faculty, and staff at 10 schools. From these extensive interviews, researchers were able to glean five “core functions” that define an effective seminary president. 

  • Team-building
  • Faculty relations
  • Financial management
  • Institutional advancement
  • Vision

In her Summer 2010 In Trust article on the report, "Effective presidents: New research reveals the marks of strong leaders," Barbara Wheeler unpacked each of those core functions and laid out a blueprint not only for leaders who want to identify areas for growth, but also for boards looking to hire a new president.