In a 2011 In Trust article, Helen Blier addressed the need for boards to understand both their own graduate programs and the programs from which their faculty come. This was in response to the economic recession that resulted in rising student debt and a grim job market. Although we are five years out from this article, and the economy has gradually improved, the point that Blier makes is still significant — boards should understand the programs that shape faculty.
Blier outlines three general areas that boards should have a clear picture of:
- The programs where their faculty members were trained.
- Their own program’s admissions and educational requirements.
- The employment of their students after graduation.
Boards should know the types of programs their students attended and the amount of debt they incurred there. Additionally, boards should examine their program’s admission requirements and whether their programs are adequately training future academics. Finally, Blier argues that programs should provide support for students who are seeking job opportunities after graduation.
While this article explicitly discusses doctoral programs that are training students for academia, the lessons learned here are important for all theological programs. All boards should be aware of who trained their program’s faculty and how their own students are being educated and prepared for their desired vocations.
What are some practices you have used to learn more about your faculty and the preparation of your own students?
If you are an In Trust member you can log in and read Blier’s full article here.
Background image: Theological Seminary, University of Chicago, Illinois (65901)