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News & Insights

March 29, 2024

New educational paths
and rites of passage

With significant change happening in the United Methodist Church, Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, are collaborating to create new educational pathways for ministers. Their Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative grant, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., is helping train people for church ministry. See how the schools are preparing students who otherwise might not have gained the necessary training. Also in the winter issue:
Full issue: You can read the magazine on the In Trust Center website. 

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.  
Be sure to subscribe to the Good Governance podcast to find the latest in news, insights, and thought leadership in theological education. Recent episodes include:

  • 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. 
  • Intercultural competency: Notre Dame University is working to help create cross-cultural competency in lay and vocational ministry students. Listen to Professor Stacey Noem discuss how the school is preparing students in Episode 57 of the podcast here. 
  • Bringing in new students: At Lexington Theological Seminary, the team is using prior-learning assessments and other means to help students gain access to theological education and graduate degrees. Listen to Episode 56 of the podcast here
You can find more episodes on the In Trust Center's 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. In Trust Center members can learn more and apply here. 

New Governance Initiative survey coming

The In Trust Center was awarded a multi-year grant by Lilly Endowment Inc., to support a Governance Initiative over 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 big questions:
  1. What does governance need to look like? 
  2. What are the practices and models that are needed? 
  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). This spring, 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. 

You can learn more here. 

Resource Grants provide help for schools

The In Trust Center offers $15,000 matching grants to help member schools experiment and try new projects important to their institutions. Schools have engaged in a variety of projects, including new pedagogies and programs, research, consultant engagement, and marketing and communications. You can learn more with an on-demand webinar here. You can also find guidelines and more details about the grant here. The application closes on April 17.
EDS seeking new leader

The Board of Trustees of Episcopal Divinity School has announced a search for its next president. The position is appointed by the board, and the board is looking for a president who will work with the board to "determine the vision, direction, and strategic priorities for the strengthening of the church for the future." The application deadline is April 12, 2024. To learn more about the position, click 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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