News & Insights

The Newsletter for Chairs of Theological School Boards
Vol. 1 No. 8

The term "strategic planning" can strike fear into the heart of some leaders. Yes, we all know it's important, but actually doing it – and doing it well – can be difficult, especially because it takes work, and sometimes it seems like the strategic plan just goes on a shelf to collect dust. However, the process of strategic planning requires strategic thinking and that is invaluable.  

I was reminded of the need for strategic thinking and planning as we start to move from winter into spring, when many people engage in "spring cleaning," reconsidering what they need and getting rid of what they don't. That's similar to the strategic planning process, so it's a good time to consider what we need in our schools. 

The experts in our Wise Stewards Initiative, a board governance initiative that I'd recommend you consider, put it this way in our Wise Stewards Guide: 

"Wise boards engage in strategic thinking, planning, and institutional assessment. Governing boards work in partnership with the administration and faculty to sharpen the school’s priorities through careful goal setting and a clear delineation of institutional objectives.

"The board’s role in planning begins with the desired end and circles back to the question of resources — both present resources and those that will be needed in the future, monitoring progress in between."

That's a good way to start the discussion. Let me offer you a few things to consider for your board’s work and its calling:

  • Experts weigh in: Bob Landrebe, a retired leader in theological education who has done extensive work in strategic planning, wrote this piece some years ago, but it's still insightful. And it includes an interview with the late Dr. Robert Cooley on engaging boards in strategic planning. It's worth a look. You can find it here.
  • Three guides to help: While we have many ways to help, let me give you these great resources to help start the process, including downloadable PDFs on how to hire consultants, planning to plan, and scenario planning. 
  • A webinar on point: This on-demand webinar provides an overview of how to develop a mission-driven strategic plan. It's worth your time.

I hope these help you and your board as you think strategically for the years to come.

With gratitude for all you do in theological education,
Amy Kardash

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