We are conducting a survey among executive leaders, board members, and advisors of all freestanding and embedded ATS-accredited schools to gain insights into current board demographics, structures, and practices. If you are a board member or executive leader at an ATS-accredited school, please help us by completing the survey that describes your role.

Click here for link to freestanding trustees survey.
Click here for link to freestanding executive leaders survey.
Click here for link to embedded advisors survey.
Click here for link to embedded executive leaders survey.


We are offering the following incentives for schools whose board participation reaches 50% or more:

  • Eligibility to be considered for a grant to support board development
  • Custom analysis of your board's survey results including comparison to field

Lilly Endowment  has granted the In Trust Center a multi-year award to fund the Governance Initiative spanning the next five years. The initiative is in response to trends including accelerated executive leadership transition, complexities related to institutional culture, and increasing pressures on boards to provide continuity and stability in ways they have not in the past.

We seek to explore three significant questions:

  1. What does governance need to look like?
  2. What are the necessary practices and models?
  3. How do we best offer support?

The In Trust Center will begin to explore these complex questions first via a research project in partnership with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). In April 2024, a quantitative-focused survey will be sent to all executive leaders at ATS-accredited, free-standing and embedded schools. Via this survey we seek to gather information and data on current board demographics and practices on the board as a whole body. In addition, a survey will be sent to all governing board members at free-standing schools and all advisory board members at embedded institutions to gain insight on individual experiences.

A subsequent phase of research will be qualitative-focused, including in-depth interviews and possible focus groups. In aggregate, the data collected will allow for better understanding of current structures, practices, and governance models.

Interested in learning more?


Frequently Asked Questions

What can you expect from the initiative?

The purpose of the Governance Initiative is to expand resources for both governing and advisory boards, including expanded content via online resources, articles, webinars, learning community space, board leadership support, as well as wise practices and principles of good governance to shape a sustainable governance model in theological education. After the initial phase of research, programmatic offerings will be outlined and accessed on this webpage.

How can you help?

It is our goal to learn about the governance practices from all theological schools. You will receive an invitation to participate in the surveys outlined above; please take the time to complete the surveys and encourage your board members to do the same.

Our Team

 David Rowe, Project Director and
 Senior Advisory for Governance and Strategy




Theresa Griffith
Director of Programs, In Trust Center

Advisory Committee

An advisory committee will support the initiative to serve as thought partners, provide insights, and contribute to developing responses. Several governance consultants and leaders from within and outside of theological education will join the In Trust Center as we consider issues, research findings, and informed responses.

Donna Alexander
Donna Alexander

Donna K. Alexander, President & CEO of Advoxum Global Strategies, a global consulting firm, has more than three decades of experience in executive leadership roles within global, national, and regional organizations. Her expertise spans myriad areas on leadership selection and transitions, board development, corporate governance, shared governance, restructuring, strategic planning, collaboration amongst competing stakeholders, trust-building, performance improvement, and business innovations. Ms. Alexander helps leaders navigate institutional challenges and achieve the mission at non-profit and for-profit institutions in the higher education, religious, commercial business, and government sectors.

Ms. Alexander formerly served as President & CEO of a global financial services organization, practiced law and worked in the financial services sector for many years, and served in senior policy staff positions for the U.S. Congress, and at the U.S. Department of Justice. She has served on a number of boards, including as a seminary Board Chair. Ms. Alexander resides in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Rebekah Basinger
Rebekah Basinger

For 30 years, Rebekah Burch Basinger has served theological schools and other faith-based nonprofits as an independent consultant, focusing on board development and fundraising. This work has been enriched by her lifelong commitment to board service, which began with her involvement in her children’s daycare center and expanding to the In Trust Center, MAP (Medical Assistance Programs) International, ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability), MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International, and continuing today with Lancaster Theological Seminary and the U.S. Foundation of the Theological College of Zimbabwe.

Ms. Basinger has been affiliated with the In Trust Center since the early 1990s, taking on various roles, including interim editor of In Trust magazine, program director, and governance coach. Since 2017, she has served as the Project Director for the In Trust Center’s Wise Stewards Initiative. Ms. Basinger is also a frequent contributor to the Center’s growing resource base of webinars and podcasts. A highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader, Ms. Basinger has authored numerous articles on fundraising and board governance. She is the co-author with Thomas Jeavons of Growing Givers' Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry (Jossey-Bass, 2001) and the lead author of "The President's Role in Institutional Advancement" in the ATS Handbook for Seminary Presidents.

Ms. Basinger received a B.A. in English from Trinity College, Deerfield, Ill., a master’s in English from Wichita (Kansas) State University, and holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She is a founding faculty member of Messiah University’s (Grantham, PA) master’s program in higher education administration. Ms. Basinger and her husband, Randall, are active members of the Grantham Brethren in Christ Church. 


Darren Dias
Darren Dias

Dr. Darren Dias, a member of the Order of Preachers (OP) and holder of a Ph.D., currently serves as the Executive Director of the Toronto School of Theology and holds the position of Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College. His academic research and publications focus on Christianity’s relations with other faiths, postcolonial theologies, and methodologies.

Dr. Dias has received research grants from prestigious institutions such as the American Academy of Religion (AAR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Templeton Foundation. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, he has served in myriad leadership roles within his religious order at international, national, and local levels. Dr. Dias understands the critical importance of board leadership having served on boards of institutions of higher education, community care, and newcomer resettlement.

The Rev. Dr. Charisse L. Gillett
The Rev. Dr. Charisse L. Gillett

Dr. Charisse L. Gillett became the 17th president of Lexington Theological Seminary in September 2011. Her appointment is historic in the 156-year history of the seminary. She is the first woman and first African American to lead the seminary as president.  

Dr. Gillett holds a doctorate in education and educational specialist degree from Northern Illinois University and a Master’s in Education and Bachelor of Arts with a major in social work from the University of Northern Iowa. Her dissertation is Transforming Two-year Colleges into Four-Year Colleges: Critical Factors in Senior Leadership and Organizational Change. In her 12th year at Lexington, she has led the seminary through a period of transformation in its academic programs, enrollment, finances, and strategic vision. Central to this transformation was the introduction of technology into the classroom, a strategic plan to help guide the institution, and a fully engaged Board of Trustees. She has spearheaded the receipt of more than $3.5 million in grants and a successful capital campaign of $4.8 million in gifts.

She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Theological Schools, with responsibilities as a member of the Finance Committee. She is the vice chair of the Board of Directors for the In Trust Center for Theological Schools, a member of the Transylvania University Board of Trustees, serving on the Student Experience Committee and Academic Affairs Committee, and a member of the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Theatre Advisory Board. Dr. Gillett is also an active member of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission. She believes that service on boards and committees is a valuable means of supporting institutions and an important means of diversifying an organization’s governance and leadership.

Dr. Gillett received a $15,000 Reflective Leadership grant from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity in 2018 to contemplate leading in the midst of crisis. She wrote about her journey and strategies for navigating difficult moments in an essay, "Reflections on Leadership in an era of COVID-19 and in the Midst of a Reckoning on Racial Injustice," which was published in the Journal of Higher Education Management 2021 by the American Association of University Administrators. In addition, she was recognized as an ATS Woman of Influence in March 2023.

David Gyertson
David Gyertson

David Gyertson, Ph.D., has a diverse and extensive background in higher education, publishing, consulting, executive coaching, ministry, and media. He earned his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Michigan State University and served as president of Regent University, Asbury University, and Taylor University. With experience in senior leadership across religious, charitable, and business sectors, including international and cross-cultural contexts, Dr. Gyertson serves as a strategic initiatives consultant and executive coach for faith-based organizations and their leaders.

Specializing in board governance training, transition planning, and on-boarding of new executives, he also conducts retreats focusing on spiritual formation for organizational leaders, ministry professionals, and others dedicated to personal and professional growth as followers of Christ. Dr. Gyertson is a frequent speaker at conferences, camps, schools, universities, and churches.

Bob Landrebe
Bob Landrebe

Before retiring in 2019, Mr. Bob Landrebe held several prominent positions, including serving as senior vice president and chief operating officer at Asbury Theological Seminary; executive vice president and chief financial officer at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; and vice president of operations and chief financial officer at World Relief. He earned an MBA in accounting from DePaul University and holds dual degrees in economic and accounting from Illinois State University. He also worked as a CPA (Illinois) with Grant Thornton.

For more than twenty years, Mr. Landrebe has engaged with the In Trust Center serving as a contributing author for In Trust magazine, as well as roles as a mentor, board member, and resource consultant. He developed several online tools for the Center, including the “Financial Health Checkup,” “Institutional Health Checklist,” and the “Strategic Financial Planner.”

Mr. Landrebe has been an executive coach and project leader overseeing various initiatives. He  analyzed the pros and cons of selling a seminary’s extension site campus, resulting in a $18 million sale and new business model. Additionally, he was a project leader to successfully spin-off a seminary’s non-educational ministry into a subsidiary non-profit organization. He has also conducted executive compensation studies and played a pivotal role as a lead consultant for a non-profit’s comprehensive five-year strategic plan.

Dr. Albert Mosley
Dr. Albert Mosley

In 2022, Dr. Albert Mosley became the 13th President of Morningside University in 2022. He previously served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Mission Integration Officer for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH), overseeing the implementation of myriad impactful community-driven programs. Additionally, he led the Methodist Healthcare Foundation and Methodist Le Bonheur Community Outreach to garner more than $35 million in grants and philanthropy to support underserved populations and food insecure patients.

Dr. Mosley earned degrees from Millsaps College, Duke University, Yale University, and the University of Georgia. He has also received a number of honors and awards, including being named the recipient of the Duke University William J. Griffith University Service Award, receiving a special citation for Excellence in Community Leadership from the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and being honored with the Richard Hernandez Religious Leadership Award.

One of Dr. Mosley’s crowning achievements occurred during his six years as President of Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA. There, he was able to retire all the institution’s debt and increase the endowment by nearly 75 percent. He also helped Gammon achieve historic enrollment numbers and establish new and innovative certificate programs.

Dr. Mosley is a dedicated leader who has served in many distinguished national and international organizations and leadership roles. He currently serves on the board of directors for Leadership Memphis and as the chair of Volunteer Memphis. He is a board member for the Tennessee Hospital Association and serves as the chair of its Council on Inclusion and Health Equity. Additionally, in 2019, Dr. Mosley was appointed to a four-year term on the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct by the Tennessee Speaker of the House.

In higher education, Dr. Mosley is a member of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee for LeMoyne-Owen College. He is part of the board of trustees for Martin Methodist College; he is a board member, treasurer, and chair of the Finance Committee for Africa University in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe; and he is vice chair of the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.

David Rowe
David Rowe

David Rowe is one of the youngest higher education CEOs to lead a financial turnaround in the wake of the Great Recession. As interim president during the global pandemic, Mr. Rowe co-facilitated the merger of Lancaster Theological Seminary with Moravian University.

An ordained United Methodist elder, Mr. Rowe earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Southwestern University in Georgetown Texas, an M.Div. from Emory University and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University. He also holds a certificate in Ecumenical Studies from the University of Geneva and the World Council of Churches (Bossey).

Mr. Rowe guides boards and presidents through institutional transformations as president of The Windermere Group and helps them fund their visions as principal of The Development President.

Tom Tanner
Tom Tanner

Tom Tanner recently retired from the Association of Theological Schools after ten years as director of accreditation. During his tenure at ATS, he interacted with numerous seminary boards, drawing from his own experience serving on several nonprofit boards.

Prior to his time at ATS, Mr. Tanner spent three decades at a Christian college and seminary in central Illinois, where he served as academic dean for two decades. He holds two master's degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, along with an M.Div. from Lincoln Christian Seminary.