News & Insights

April 30, 2024

Education and formation
of the shadow sides

When Elmo – yes, the Muppet – asked on a social media site how people were doing, the Internet came unglued. That moment crystalized a sense of what people are facing. Theological schools have grappled with how they can prepare students for not only ministry to people struggling but also for ministers facing their own struggles. In the cover piece of this spring magazine, Patricia Paddey writes about schools finding innovative ways forward.  Read about what schools are doing to help students and congregations here. Also in the spring issue:
  • Helping an embedded school: The Perkins School of Theology at SMU is notable for any number of things, including strong programs, a beautiful facility, and a top-flight library, but in terms of governance, its Executive Board has garnered admiration for its work to promote the school. Trish Shea explores how the advisory board pushes the school's work forward here. 
  • How we pray: Every week, the In Trust Center staff gathers to learn, share, and pray for theological schools across North America. The staff's prayer for you – schools, leaders, and boards – is offered here as a devotional. 
Full issue: You can read the magazine on the In Trust Center website. 

Apply for the next Wise Stewards cohort

Wise Stewards is a governance initiative designed for theological school boards and leadership teams. Participants get free access to a comprehensive board assessment, one-on-one coaching, expert advice, and peer learning tailored for their institution. The upcoming cohort is accepting new applications! In Trust Center members can learn more and apply here. 

Longevity, hope, and the future 

The Rev. Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, president of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., has been at the school for more than 40 years. In this episode, he reflects on his service and talks about the future, which he says is one of the constituencies that he serves, and in this episode. He considers what the way forward looks like for theological education. Listen to his insights on Episode 60 of the Good Governance podcast here.  To find the latest news, insights, and thought leadership in theological education, be sure to subscribe to the Good Governance podcast. Recent episodes include:

  • Making theological education count: Greg Henson, president of Kairos University, has worked with competency-based educational approaches for years and used competency-based education to remake what was Sioux Falls Seminary. In this discussion, he covers a variety of aspects of the work and discusses the book he co-wrote with Kent Anderson, president of Providence University College and Theological Seminary. Listen to Episode 61 of the Good Governance podcast here.  
  • Handling Change in Leadership: David Gyertson, Ph.D., has seen a variety of leadership transitions in both his work as a leader and president as well as his work as a consultant advising institutions. In this conversation, he considers key ways boards and institutions can prepare successful transitions to help their schools thrive. Listen to Episode 59 of the Good Governance podcast here. 
  • What's ahead: The Rev. Dr. Frank Yamada, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, and Amy Kardash, president of the In Trust Center, kick off a new podcast series, "Inside Theological Education," discussing current trends, including leadership turnover, innovation, hope, the ATS Biennial, and the In Trust Center's Governance Initiative. Listen to Episode 58 of the Good Governance podcast here. 
You can find more episodes on the In Trust Center's website. 

New Governance Initiative survey

The In Trust Center was awarded a multi-year grant by Lilly Endowment Inc., to support a Governance Initiative over the next five years. We recently emailed a link to the survey to all governing board members at free-standing schools and all advisory board members at embedded institutions of ATS-accredited schools. If you received a survey but haven't filled it out yet, please do so. It's important for us to understand current governance models so we can best provide support. 

You can learn more here.  If you'd like to ask a question, please email us here.  
How to engage a consultant

One of the questions we receive often is how to engage a consultant. In this on-demand webinar, presenter Donna Alexander, president and CEO of Advoxum Global Strategies, discusses exactly how to do that, including what to expect and how to engage in a way that helps you meet your goals and build the institution. This is a must-watch webinar for those considering a consultant. Alexander brings great experience as an attorney, consultant, and former board chair of a theological school. She has a great understanding of theological education and provides answers that will help schools find success. See the webinar on-demand here. 
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Upcoming Events

The In Trust Center hosts learning community spaces throughout the year. Check out our upcoming events below.

I See That Hand


Board members are typically recruited for their leadership, business acumen, and networks. Dr. Rebekah Basinger, project director of the In Trust Center’s Wise Stewards Initiative, will discuss how strategic questioning and interrogation skills are essential for effective board stewardship.

Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education


In this on-demand webinar, Rick Staisloff, senior partner of rpk GROUP, discusses essential aspects of strategic partnerships. This session delves into current trends, identification of partners, navigating the due diligence process, and common challenges.

Closing the Trust Gap


The current and very troubling condition of trust is a clarion call to action. But despite the dismal data showing pervasive organizational distrust, every organization can assess their current level of trust, learn and adopt a proven trust building framework, and then develop a meaningful and long-lasting plan of action. This webinar details the knowledge and practical next steps to strengthen workplace culture as a result of closing the trust gap.


In Trust Center provides Resource Consulting to our members at no charge. Contact us today and let us guide you to the most helpful resources for your situation.

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