Amy Kardash's Articles

New Vice President for Communication (9/23/20)

The In Trust Center for Theological Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of Matthew J. Hufman as the new vice president for communication.

Statement from the president

I join my colleagues at the In Trust Center in denouncing racism and supporting #BlackLivesMatter. I am personally sad and angry. And yet I am also hopeful.

How to lead out of a crisis

As most institutional leaders have been dealing with immediate challenges — moving classes online and the complexities of transitioning staff, faculty, and students into new spaces — the focus has been on leading during a crisis. But how do you lead during a crisis and simultaneously lead out of one? A new post from the Harvard Business Review offers some guidelines and cautions.


What should your board be asking?

Reducing expenses, decreasing enrollment, increasing costs, and shrinking revenue. These are the current realities of higher education. Are your board members asking the right questions in response?

Building a better board meeting

Board members often lament the lack of time in board meetings to focus on strategic issues and trends that really affect the future of the institution. Many boards struggle with spending too much time on the present, or even on the past. They prioritize reports from staff and committees but leave little time for robust discussions about moving forward.

The leader you need now, at this moment

If your school is in transition now, or if you've recently completed a leadership change – or even if you are not even considering one – the issue of leadership transition ought to be a part of regular board discussions. Organizational succession planning is the board's work.


What are a board's top concerns?

What are the top concerns for the future of higher education as identified by board members serving at private, nonprofit colleges and universities across the United States?

Diversifying your board

As the diversity of students entering theological schools continues to grow, many school leaders are challenged with mirroring that diversity within their administration, faculty, and board. 

Your top strategic issues

When your board meets, how much time do you spend focusing on strategic issues facing your school? If the answer is less than half of the meeting time, then your board is like many others. 

Tending shared governance

“Effective shared governance is hard work.” That’s how a new article focusing on shared governance in this month’s Trusteeship magazine begins. This is no surprise to anyone familiar with the practice of shared governance, but it’s certainly nice to read the words and appreciate that others struggle with the practice too.

The importance of the executive session

Executive sessions should be a regular agenda item for every board meeting. Are they at yours? If your board is like many others, perhaps your honest answer is no. Why have an executive session if no pressing issues need to be addressed?

The gift of a learning community

An interview with Tim Shapiro, president of the Center for Congregations and author of How Your Congregation Learns: The Learning Journey from Challenge to Achievement.

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.


Key qualities of a new president

Leadership turnover is inevitable. Every institution faces it at some point — usually before they want to. Searching for a new leader is challenging, and even before beginning a search, the governing board must be clear about what kind of leader it seeks.


Who understands your school’s financial statements?

Who understands your school's finances? The answer should not be "just the CFO." Or even just the CFO, the president, and the finance committee chair. Ideally all board members and senior administrators should have a solid understanding of a school's finances -- and perhaps the faculty and staff as well. 


Caring for our leaders

How can you care for your school’s president or dean? You may think of things like benefits, salary, onboarding, and board support. But you're probably not thinking of yearly evaluation, contracts, or succession planning.


The good governance journey

In Trust Center president Amy Kardash shares ten governance lessons from a joint project with the Association of Theological Schools. 


Moving past the stigma of mental illness

“I’m a pastor with depression. For years I thought I had to hide it. That was an eye-catching headline in a recent News & Ideas newsletter from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity. The headline was a link to a Sojourners article, and I read it with interest because we recently published an article in In Trust on theological schools partnering with psychology and social work programs. 


Ready or not

"People act shocked when the usual crises occur and they have no adequate plan." 


Why? Perhaps it's because of where we as leaders invest our time. Many of us are so focused on deadlines and day-to-day obligations that we never take the time to plan for crises that may or may not take place.

The president or the board: Who decides?

Noses in, fingers out.” That’s what we’ve suggested to boards in the most simplistic way when discussing the board’s role and responsibilities – a perennial topic for In Trust magazine, In Trust Center webinars, and our Resource Consulting work. Considering a board’s continual development cycle, board education must always include attention to the clarity of roles and responsibilities.