Over the past academic year, it has been my honor to advise and co-lead a joint project with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) on governance which has engaged the leadership teams (president, board members, deans and/or faculty members) of 21 schools. Each school has focused on a unique issue or challenge related to governance at their institution.


During the final meeting, as the initiative drew to a close, participants offered reports based on their findings. From these reports it became clear that this was only a single stop on a long governance path. The work of governance never ends.

Some of the themes that emerged: 

  • The importance of being mission-focused
  • The critical nature of good communication
  • The strength of trusting relationships
  • The importance of clarity of roles and responsibilities

Eliza Smith Brown, director of communications and external relations at ATS, sums up the lessons learned in a catchy top-ten list. “Personal relationships and trust are critical to success,” she says. And “don’t wait for a crisis to improve governance processes.”

Which lessons do you need to tend to now as you consider where you are on your governance journey?

Read the full list of lessons learned at Colloquy Online