From category archives: In Trust Blog

Administration & Staff

Resource roundup: Title IX

In May, the U.S. Department of Education announced new Title IX regulations that go into effect on August 14, 2020. These regulations not only provide more clarity on the responsibilities of institutions in responding to claims, but mandate that schools conduct live hearings in sexual misconduct cases with opportunities for cross-examination. The In Trust Center has assembled a list of resources to help your school stay up to date on the changes.

Read the rest of entry

Anti-racism resources for schools, organizations, and individuals

Many schools, organizations, and individuals are now seeking to address systemic racism. To spur hard conversations and to help institutions to address the work of justice and inclusion, the In Trust Center has been curating resources from peer organizations.

Read the rest of entry

No experience required?

If you have worked on a candidate search, you know the routine. First: a list is made of everything the new hire will have to do. In an ideal world, this newbie shows up on day one with HR paperwork complete, knowing where to hang her coat and whom to avoid in the employee break room, and of course, which reports are due when and how to complete them.

Read the rest of entry

Four questions for your enrollment team

Enrollment is critical. You might have a wonderful vision, an outstanding strategic plan, and top-notch personnel in all the key spots – but without enough students, your school will struggle.

Read the rest of entry

Attracting better fish?

Adam Grant of the Wharton School of Business recently wrote an interesting article published in the New York Times that considers the best way to position yourself for career success. 

Read the rest of entry

Student enrollment by the numbers

If you are a leader in theological education, you are already familiar with overall trends in seminary enrollment. Usually, reports about enrollment are gloomy, with a half-hearted silver lining that suggests, “Well, at least we’re not the only ones struggling.”

Read the rest of entry

AGB report on the current state of shared governance

In North America, shared governance is a central component of higher education. Yet plenty of research shows that shared governance is not clearly understood by many who are tasked with it.
 

Read the rest of entry

Resource roundup: Succession planning

Succession planning isn’t just for a school’s presiding officer. Having a plan for transition and succession that applies to the entire institution can reduce stress and avert ad hoc emergency decision making when change inevitably occurs. 

Read the rest of entry

Resource roundup: Social media management

With the right resources, it is possible to run successful social media campaigns without hiring a full-time social media marketer.

Read the rest of entry

Leveraging the power of Facebook

By now, we all know the vast reach that Facebook has across the globe, and many are aware of how powerful a tool Facebook can be for nonprofits and educational institutions to engage with constituents and potential donors.

Read the rest of entry

Resource roundup: Assessing institutional culture

How do your faculty, staff, and administrators experience the culture of your institution? Knowing the answer can help you make improvements that result in lasting benefits and contribute in significant ways to your school’s success.

Read the rest of entry

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.

Read the rest of entry

Visualizing governance systems

The dashboard of a car can tell you a lot — fuel level, speed, air temperature, tire pressure. The one thing it can’t tell you is where you’re going. For that we need another metaphor. Randall Basinger at Messiah College has just the thing: GPS, or governance positioning system.

Read the rest of entry

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.

Read the rest of entry

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.

Read the rest of entry

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.

Read the rest of entry

Administrators strive to serve international students

Students from Africa and East Asia come to study in North America because theological schools in the United States and Canada offer top-quality education. However, immigration and financing systems don’t always prepare these students for the hurdles they inevitably encounter.

 

Read the rest of entry

A community-based leadership “creed”

Boyung Lee is the first Korean American woman dean at an ATS school. She cites the work of a group called Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry (PANAAWTM) as pivotal to her development as a leader. Here she shares her 13-point "Leadership Creed," an embodiment of the lessons she's learned in PANAAWTM.  

Read the rest of entry

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?

Read the rest of entry

Strategic planning = spiritual discernment

Leaders of theological schools routinely navigate the nuances of Torah law; Trinitarian controversies; the oeuvre of Rahner, Barth, and Marion; not to mention the subtleties of shared governance. Yet we can still be intimidated by the occult mysteries of strategic planning — not just planning, mind you, but strategic planning.

Read the rest of entry

When it comes to development, the personal touch might just be the Midas touch

What can board members, who have a big role to play in development, do to make fundraising more productive and, dare we hope, less onerous?

 

 

Read the rest of entry

Embedded seminaries: How they thrive

An "embedded" theological school is a seminary or divinity school that is part of a college or university, as contrasted with a "freestanding" seminary, which is an independent graduate-level institution. Embedded schools face unique challenges, according to Mark Markuly, dean of the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. One of these is that “you’re kind of off the grid in the ways people traditionally look at governance boards."

 
Read the rest of entry

Where do the “best” seminarians come from?

Why are some seminarians more successful than others? What is the background of these star students? Is there such a thing as a "best" seminarian? 

 

Read the rest of entry

The value of successful interim presidencies

According to a 2014 In Trust article by Heidi Schlumpf, "...interim or 'acting' presidents...can be valuable to a seminary, offering stability and continuity, achieving specific – often financial – goals, and providing time to reexamine mission and vision while searching for the most appropriate permanent leader." 

Read the rest of entry

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? 

Read the rest of entry

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.

Read the rest of entry

A good example of a presidential search update letter

When a school is looking for a new president, rumors fly and questions abound. The search process takes many months, and often confidentiality is paramount.

 

Read the rest of entry

Writing for the mass media: A practical how-to

On November 2, the In Trust Center hosted a webinar on “Writing for the mass media” aimed at seminary leaders. 

 

Read the rest of entry

Writing for the mass media: A practical how-to

On November 2, the In Trust Center hosted a webinar on “Writing for the mass media” aimed at seminary leaders. 

 

Read the rest of entry

Show me the data

 

A key priority for Pierce College, a community college in Washington state that serves more than 20,000 students at two campuses (as well as online and at a local military base), was bettering its college completion rates. Ben Gose writes about this initiative in the October 6, 2017, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

 

 

Read the rest of entry

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.

 

Read the rest of entry

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.

Read the rest of entry

Tips for ensuring the show goes on, despite a smaller cast of characters

The North American nonprofit sector is no stranger to getting by on less. But these days less is edging toward subsistence, with budgets and personnel close to the breaking point. What’s a leadership team to do when the show must go on but with a smaller cast of characters to cover all the roles? Create a plan.

 

 

Read the rest of entry

Calculating the "public value" of your school

Sometimes a theological school must communicate its worth to a larger community -- perhaps as part of an outreach effort or in an appeal to donors. In these instances, it’s helpful for school leadership to make the case for the institution's value to the community. A few years ago, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary conducted an economic impact study and was subsequently able to quantify its value after local residents expressed concern that the seminary was not giving enough to the community. In addition to actual dollar amounts given, the seminary also calculated the value of residents employed by the school, hours volunteered, and benefits not easily quantified, such as diversity. As a result, not only was the school able to communicate its worth, but they also developed stronger town-gown relationships.

 

Read the rest of entry

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. 

 

 

Read the rest of entry

How can you foster board engagement?

“No school can afford a board that is unaccountable, uncreative, and uncooperative.” This was the driving idea behind Eugene F. Roop’s article “Board governance can be accountable, creative, and cooperative: three ways of understanding the board’s work,” published in a 2011 issue of In Trust.

 

Read the rest of entry

Protect yourself from cyber threats

Staff of the In Trust Center recently attended a webinar on cyber security for nonprofit organizations. The webinar was provided by the Delaware Small Business Development Center and presented by Michelle Wang, assistant director of information security administration for the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church. Although the webinar was presented for an audience of Delaware nonprofits, the information provided is pertinent to any organization that would like to improve their cyber security efforts.

 

 

Read the rest of entry

Saying "no" to a donor gift

Sometimes it makes sense to turn down a gift. That's what Dorothy Ridings warned in a 2010 article titled "Recipient beware!" that appeared in In Trust.

 

 

Read the rest of entry

A dissertation review: “Work-Life Balance of Women Leaders in ATS” by Kelly Campbell

“Work-Life Balance of Women Leaders in the Association of Theological Schools,” Kelly Campbell’s 2015 doctoral thesis, addresses an important question: how do female seminary administrators handle the relationship between their profession and their personal lives? This is a question often raised about professional women in particular, a fact that has generated some controversy.

 

 

 

Read the rest of entry

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.

 

 
Read the rest of entry

Selecting an effective leader

 

What are the qualities that make an effective seminary leader? Auburn’s Center for the Study of Theological Education set out to answer just that question in their study titled Leadership that Works. In this study, the research team found that the essential characteristics of high-performing leaders are personal strength, humility, interpersonal skills, and discipline. But in selecting a new president, how do you know whether a candidate possesses all of these qualities or whether a candidate will fit in with your institution’s culture and values?

 

Read the rest of entry

Developing and maintaining effective dashboards

 

A dashboard is a display of key indicators that help institutions steer their activities towards their declared strategic outcomes. The imagery, of course, is obvious to anyone who drives a car. Just like the dashboard on your 1981 Ford Fairmont, it’s critical that indicators be visible and the data easy for a user to assimilate. This typically necessitates graphic displays such as graphs, pie charts, or something more creative.

 

 

The In Trust has presented a webinar on how to use dashboard effectively. Here's a summary of it, along with a few helpful hints to get you started.

 

Read the rest of entry

Special event fundraising, ugh! But if you must . . .

Cross-posted from Rebekah Burch Basinger's excellent blog, Generous Matters. Read her original post here

 

A flood of emails urged members of a ministry’s Outreach Committee to round-up prizes for the spring bike/walk fundraiser. We’re talking a veritable fundraiser’s dream team — networked, talented, and unafraid to ask big — being “challenged” to chase after everything from free movie passes and ice cream coupons to a $5-$10 gift certificate.  “Or whatever the owner is willing to give.”

It’s a toss-up whether I cry or scream about the colossal waste of volunteer time and connections.

Read the rest of entry

Creating an effective mission statement


 

The mission statement of a nonprofit organization is an invaluable tool. It relays the purpose and values of the organization to stakeholders and serves as a reminder to the board and staff of what they are trying to accomplish. As such, it’s important for an organization’s mission statement and its purpose to align.

Read the rest of entry

The priority of governance in really tough times

The In Trust Center recently presented a webinar on governance strategies for difficult times.

 

Barbara Wheeler and Daniel Aleshire shared some best practices and areas of improvement that can lead to institutional stability: setting terms and term limits for board members, evaluating and orienting boards, selecting board members with the appropriate skill sets, and attracting new members of different cultures and ages. Wheeler stressed the importance of engaged governance, balancing support of the president with prioritizing the institutional mission.

 
 

 

Read the rest of entry

How do you say “thanks” to faculty?


 

While it’s important to thank faculty and show appreciation for their hard work and dedication, it’s not always feasible to demonstrate this appreciation through salary increases. When budgets are already tight, it may be impossible to accommodate the extra costs.

This doesn’t mean, however, that there's no way to thank faculty. Instead, it means that seminary leaders may need to get creative. A few years ago, In Trust published an article with some ways to say “thank you” when money is tight.

Read the rest of entry

Social media strategies for good times and bad

The In Trust Center recently presented a webinar on social media to an audience of theological seminaries across the United States and Canada. 

The Center's vice president for communication, Jay Blossom, shared the webinar hosting duties with Leanne Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. 

Together they provided guidance on cultivating an authentic, trusted voice on social media platforms in “normal” times -- and then employing this voice to communicate during crises. Van Dyk relayed her experiences in developing a social media strategy during her first year at Columbia Seminary.

 
Read the rest of entry

Social media strategies for good times and bad

The In Trust Center recently presented a webinar on social media to an audience of theological seminaries across the United States and Canada. 

The Center's vice president for communication, Jay Blossom, shared the webinar hosting duties with Leanne Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. 

Together they provided guidance on cultivating an authentic, trusted voice on social media platforms in “normal” times -- and then employing this voice to communicate during crises. Van Dyk relayed her experiences in developing a social media strategy during her first year at Columbia Seminary.

 
Read the rest of entry

In Trust magazine – Spring 2016 issue

The Spring 2016 issue of In Trust was recently mailed to subscribers. Here are some of the highlights.

 
Read the rest of entry

Understanding the graduate programs that shape faculty

In a 2011 In Trust article, Helen Blier addressed the need for boards to understand both their own graduate programs and the programs from which their faculty come. This was in response to the economic recession that resulted in rising student debt and a grim job market. Although we are five years out from this article, and the economy has gradually improved, the point that Blier makes is still significant — boards should understand the programs that shape faculty.  

 

 
Read the rest of entry
Pages: Previous123NextReturn Top