From category archives: In Trust Blog

Faculty

Faculty development, with feeling

If you look hard enough, there seems to be research available about every aspect of higher education — most of it concerned with determining what contributes to successful educational outcomes. Inside Higher Ed recently posted an article about some research being done around the emotional lives of professors and how their emotional response to the demands on their time and energies contribute, ultimately, to their ability to teach.

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Still questioning the effectiveness of online education?

One of the questions that admissions officers regularly field from potential students is, “Do you have an online program?” And it’s not just younger, presumably more tech-savvy students who are asking the question either — nor is it just students who live in other cities or on other continents. At the non-residential seminary where I work, most students live locally. But the idea of fighting traffic after work to take classes a couple nights a week is a hard sell. So they ask: “Do you have an online program?”

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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.
 

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Questioning tenure

At some point every board member will hear arguments for and against tenure, the policy that has been called “the most sacred cow munching on the ivy that covers the towers of academia.”

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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.

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Seminaries and a theology of work

Most ministers who want to engage the working world will find that their theological school left them unprepared,” argues Chris Armstrong in “The other 100,000 hours,” an article in the New Year 2013 issue of In Trust. 

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Instructional design

Instructional designers and instructional technologists are often confused, but the titles aren’t interchangeable,” says Sue Ann Husted, who has held both positions at various institutions during her 24-year career.

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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."

 
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Hispanic Theological Initiative helps students thrive

Ninety-seven percent of scholars who participate in the Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI) complete their doctoral degrees within 5.5 years. 

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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.

 

 

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Check out our Spring 2017 issue, available now

The Spring 2017 issue of In Trust is now online. Click "Read the rest of entry" for highlights! 

 

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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. 

 

 

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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.

 

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Influence of presidents rises

The influence of seminary presidents in decision making has substantially increased over the last decade, while that of faculties and denominations has decreased. At the same time, board influence remains unchanged. 

 

These findings were discussed in “Who’s in Charge? Effective Decision Making in a Time of Crisis and Fundamental Change,” a January 21 webinar jointly sponsored by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the In Trust Center.

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The role of faculty in shared governance



 
Sarah Drummond Israel Galindo Joretta Marshall Rebecca Slough

No one disputes the central role of faculty in the classroom. But what role do faculty members have in the boardroom? In Trust wanted to know, so we asked Nadine Pence, executive director of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, to recommend a few conversation partners. Pence suggested four respected academic leaders, each representing a different seminary, and In Trust invited them to discuss how shared governance plays out on their campuses. 

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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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The value of classroom tech: A professor chimes in

Technology has made every area of human endeavor better, or at least more productive, and it seems downright curmudgeonly these days to say otherwise. We all agree with that. . . right?

 
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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.

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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.  

 

 
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Why you should understand theological school finances

 

If you're a stakeholder at a theological school — especially if you're a board member, administrator, or faculty member — it's vital that you really understand your school’s financial standing, rather than solely relying on the CFO or other financial staff.

 
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One perspective on tenure

In a recent Christian Century blog post, Greg Carey provides a defense of tenure at theological institutions. He begins his post by acknowledging that in times of change and financial unrest, theological schools may be tempted to rely principally on adjunct faculty. After all, tenured faculty cost more --and some may be resistant to institutional changes. But Carey argues against the move toward adjunct faculty.

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Rapidly approaching deadline for new Luce Foundation fund

 

The deadline to submit letters of inquiry for the brand-new Luce Fund for Theological Education is March 15. The Henry Luce Foundation is encouraging requests from seminaries and other organizations for amounts of $250,000 to $500,000. A select number of inquirers will be invited to present full proposals.

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Calvin College offers inmates a second chance

“To have this opportunity is an answer to prayer and an opportunity to fulfill my calling,” says David. He's pursuing a bachelor of arts in ministry leadership degree offered by Calvin College. He's also an inmate at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan. 

The Calvin Prison Initiative offers 20 inmates in the Michigan correctional system the chance to pursue a B.A. while incarcerated. The initiative, which accepted its first class in August, has been positively received by inmates, prison staff, and Calvin faculty alike.

 
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Special issue: The role of faculty in governance

Shared governance is one of the most popular topics that In Trust covers. We’ve addressed it not only in the magazine, but also at In Trust Blog and in webinars. Our Resource Consultants field cases on this topic monthly. But the role of faculty in shared governance remains mysterious to many.

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Faculty at accredited theological schools: By the numbers

Are you curious about how your school’s faculty compares to faculty at other theological schools? Do you know your ration of full- to part-time faculty, or how many have terminal degrees?

Answers to these questions can be found (along with mountains of other data) in the 2014-2015 Annual Data Tables from the Association of Theological School (ATS). Those of us who don’t have time to wade through this 172-page treasure trove can read a two-part summary that unpacks some of the numbers.

 

 

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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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#CharlestonSyllabus: A list of resources

Has your school considered how to engage students and other community members around the issues of race and racism?

The following are resources to help you do just that.

 

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In the news: Wisconsin's proposed changes to tenure

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is proposing changes that would weaken tenure protections in the state’s system of public universities. And faculty members are naturally outraged.

The faculty of the University of Wisconsin enjoys an unusual perk in the landscape of American higher education: their system of tenure is protected under state law. Currently, those with tenure may only be fired for just cause or in cases of financial exigency. According to the New York Times, a new proposal from Governor Scott Walker seeks to remove tenure protections from state statute, allowing instead the university’s Board of Regents to set tenure policies.

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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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Dunk-worthy: How do you handle unpopular opinions?

Recently, views opined on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict led to the resignation of the Rev. Bruce M. Shipman, the head of the Episcopal Church at Yale University, and the withdrawal of an offer of tenure for Steven G. Salaita, who was to teach with the American Indian studies program at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Offering an opinion can be a dangerous thing in the world of higher education. In some of our seminaries, where right thinking . . .
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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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