News & Insights

Board roomMost theological schools, like other institutions of higher education, operate under the principles of "shared governance." That means that various groups -- like the board, the president, the faculty, the church body, and sometimes others -- share the legitimate authority over the school. 

Negotiating the complexities of shared governance is sometimes a problem in the setting of theological education. So In Trust's program developer, Rebekah Burch Basinger, has assembled a few articles that can help illuminate shared governance. Click on the titles to read the full text.

"Faculty Professionalism: Failures of Socialization and the Road to Loss of Professional Autonomy." By Neil Hamilton. Appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of Liberal Education. An excerpt:

As the American tradition of academic freedom evolved over the course of the past century, boards have acknowledged the importance of freedom of inquiry and speech to the university's unique mission of creating and disseminating knowledge. Accordingly, they have granted rights of exceptional vocational freedom of speech to professors in research, teaching, and extramural utterance without lay interference on two conditions. The first condition is that individual professors meet correlative duties of professional competence and ethical conduct, and the second is that the faculty, as a collegial body, assume the duty of peer review to enforce the obligations to be met by individual professors.

"Shared Governance: Democracy Is Not an Educational Idea." By Stanley Fish. Appeared in the March/April 2007 issue of Change. An excerpt:

The difference between management and shared governance is that management is, by and large, aware of its instrumental status -- it does not define the job but helps to get it done. Meanwhile, those who preach the gospel of shared governance tend to think of it as the model of organization that belongs naturally to the job. Indeed, in their minds the job, or at least a large part of it, is being democratic.

"What If the Faculty Really Do Assume Responsibility for the Educational Program?" By Jerry G. Jaff. Appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Liberal Education. An excerpt:

The evidence is widespread that the governance of colleges and universities is in need of reform. Jack Schuster and Martin Finkelstein declare that "almost no one is pleased with the way campuses are governed: not faculty, not administrators, not governing boards, not external observers."

Faculty members, administrators, and trustees have an opportunity to reinforce traditional academic and educational values by revising the traditional structures and processes that once supported those values, but that now interfere with them.

"Where Are the Faculty Leaders? Strategies and Advice for Reversing Current Trends." By Adrianna Kezar et al. Appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Liberal Education. An excerpt:

It is easy to stereotype faculty leadership as merely a thorn in the side of administrators, but faculty leadership has a rich tradition that has helped create innovative and intellectually challenging environments. We are convinced that campuses, students, and learning environments will suffer if the current trends affecting faculty leadership are not addressed. We hope that courageous administrators will attempt to reverse these trends rather than take the convenient path of allowing current conditions to snuff out faculty voice and participation.


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