Thank you for “Six Perspectives on Purposeful Governance” (Autumn 2021). I was encouraged by the trend of schools pursuing becoming embedded institutions and the variety of ways those relationships are formed and shaped through governance. At my institution, the theological seminary was the founding institution of the university in 1891, and we remain a parallel and embedded institution to this day. Recent years have brought a very strong relationship between the board of trustees and the seminary, largely through a very effective standing committee of the board. We have paid great attention to governance structures, calendars, and constitutional obligations. With those full in place, and with a strong relationship between senior administration and the board, we are now freed to be a leader in innovation and new programming. These include a successful distributed education program and our School of Restorative Arts, which manages educational programming for the incarcerated. Good governance fuels and sustains innovation.

Rev. Dr. David W. Kersten, Dean
North Park Theological Seminary Vice President for Church Relations, North Park University



In an era when charismatic leadership of institutions seems too often to lead to a consolidation of power to calamitous consequences, the responsibility and accountability grounded in boards is crucial to good governance and healthy outcomes. “Governance matters: the ten accrediting commandments” (Autumn 2021) offers clear, practical, and holistic guidance to boards as they seek to faithfully implement responsible and collective discernment for theological institutions charged with providing formation and instruction for a generation of new leaders. May these new standards be welcomed by both those who lead our theological institutions and the boards that support and encourage them.

Rev. Victor S.J. Kim, Board member
Vancouver School of Theology



As a former seminary vice president for student services and dean of students, I found “Uncertain and Unbundled” (Autumn 2021) supportive of the long-term necessity to redefine the office of student affairs and revamp classroom instruction. The pandemic has given religious institutions an epistemological gift – an awakening which should allow these institutions to pivot from the traditional didactics and means of student support to become more fluid and organic. Majority White institutions, in the words of Dr. John Kinney, have produced “square watermelons,” forcing a particular pedagogy that ignores cultural identity and context. Given the fact that almost 50 percent of the survey respondents were non-White, it would be helpful to see how the data tracks along racial-ethnic lines and whether subculture may have affected responses.

John C. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D.

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