In January, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) gathered theological school presidents for their annual Presidential Leadership Intensive, a conference devoted to teaching the fine art of leading a seminary.
G. Douglass Lewis was one of the presenters, and he focused on the president's role in educating the board. Lewis himself is president emeritus of Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C., as well as former board chair and interim president of the In Trust Center for Theological Schools.
ATS recently published an article based on Lewis's presentation: “Ten things the seminary president can do to build a more effective board.” In it, he shows how the president can influence the board without compromising its essential qualities as an independent body.
A few highlights from Lewis’ advice:
- Encourage the board to search for the chair with the same care that goes into the presidential search.
- Review the provisions in the bylaws pertaining to board composition, term limits, expectations of board members, and protocol for shared governance.
- Use accrediting actions as catalysts to facilitate change and spur the board to action.
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