From category archives: In Trust Blog

News & Trends

When do you declare a state of emergency?

What is "financial exigency"? This is one of those phrases a board would rather avoid, even when declaring financial exigency is the responsible next step for a school in trouble. 

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Financial woes across the pond

The Church Times, a London-based Anglican newspaper, recently published an article about the apparent financial crisis facing Anglican theological education in the United Kingdom.

 

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Innovation, innovation, innovation

Innovation is a buzzword for our current time. Everywhere you look, someone is writing about the need to be innovative, and organizations are bragging about how innovative they are.

 

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A case study in mission-driven publishing

 For seminaries, coming up with sustainable revenue-generating ventures is often imperative. But schools must consider whether those venture support their mission and values.

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Highlights from In Trust's Autumn 2017 issue, available now

The Autumn 2017 issue of In Trust was recently mailed  to subscribers and is now available online. Click "Read the rest of entry" for highlights.

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For resources on shared governance, contact the In Trust Center

The Resource Consulting team at the In Trust Center often receives questions about shared governance and points theological school leaders to the most pertinent resources from both inside and outside the field of theological education.

 

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A review of David F. Labaree’s A Perfect Mess

The “fundamental thesis” of David F. Labaree’s A Perfect Mess, according to Edwin Woodruff Tait, is that “American higher education is an instrument in maintaining both social mobility and social stability.” 

 

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Is your school keeping up with the ever-shifting religious landscape?

A recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute suggests that “the future of religion in America is young, non-Christian, and technicolor.”

 

 

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Turning campus conflict into dialogue and education

M. Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Theological Seminary, teaches a course on conflict. He found himself in the midst of one recently, when the school’s Kuyper Center announced that the Rev. Tim Keller was being honored with its annual award and would be keynote lecturer at the annual Kuyper Conference.

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Frank Yamada interviewed for Faith and Leadership

Frank Yamada, the new executive director of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), recently gave an interview for Faith & Leadership. In the interview, now available online, Yamada discusses the state of theological education and future goals of ATS. 

 

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Addressing domestic violence in faith communities

Domestic violence is a serious concern that can affect members of any congregation or faith community. As such, faith leaders often encounter both victims and abusers in their ministry and should be equipped to respond appropriately.

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Survey reveals shared concerns of college presidents

Earlier this year, the Gallup Organization and Inside Higher Ed teamed up to survey 2,890 college and university presidents about a host of topics. Although the survey sample did not include Bible colleges, seminaries, or institutions with fewer than 500 students, several of the questions asked relate to issues that theological schools are facing as well.

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Caring for our leaders

How can you care for your school’s president or dean? You may think of things like benefits, salary, onboarding, and board support. But you're probably not thinking of yearly evaluation, contracts, or succession planning.

 

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A law school is closing after facing enrollment and job placement challenges

Theological education is not the only sector of higher education facing the combined pressures of high costs and flat enrollment. Law schools have seen enrollment drop over the last decade, due in part to a difficult job market coupled with high tuition costs. Now, for the first time, a law school is shutting its doors.

 

 

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Check out our Spring 2017 issue, available now

The Spring 2017 issue of In Trust is now online. Click "Read the rest of entry" for highlights! 

 

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Moving past the stigma of mental illness

“I’m a pastor with depression. For years I thought I had to hide it. That was an eye-catching headline in a recent News & Ideas newsletter from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity. The headline was a link to a Sojourners article, and I read it with interest because we recently published an article in In Trust on theological schools partnering with psychology and social work programs. 

 

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In Trust wins Associated Church Press awards

In Trust was recognized with four “Best of the Christian Press” awards at the Associated Church Press annual awards banquet, held on April 28, 2017, in Chicago. 

 

 

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Need a succession plan? The In Trust Center can help!

In an ideal world, institutional leaders know well in advance when they plan to step down from their positions. After a long, successful presidency, boards and administrators have ample time to plan for the departure of a leader and the arrival of a highly qualified successor. But what if a president unexpectedly takes another job or falls gravely ill?

 

But what if a president unexpectedly takes another job or falls gravely ill?
But what if a president unexpectedly takes another job or falls gravely ill?
But what if a president unexpectedly takes another job or falls gravely ill?
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Rider University planning to sell choir college

Rider University in New Jersey has decided to sell nearby Westminster Choir College, which the university first acquired in 1992. The possibility of a university selling one of its constituent schools suggests that mergers can be temporary. Could the similar situations be in the cards for seminary-university partnerships? 

 

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Ready or not

"People act shocked when the usual crises occur and they have no adequate plan." 

 

Why? Perhaps it's because of where we as leaders invest our time. Many of us are so focused on deadlines and day-to-day obligations that we never take the time to plan for crises that may or may not take place.

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Article highlights family-leave policies at evangelical seminaries

A recent Christianity Today article examines the parental leave policies of several evangelical seminaries and what these policies inadvertently say about the value of women and families to these institutions. 

 

 

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How one school is integrating field education into clerical training

A recent article in The Christian Century by Celeste Kennel-Shank features Bexley Seabury Seminary’s revised M.Div. program, which integrates field education throughout seminarians’ education. The Chicago seminary's newly relaunched M.Div. program requires students to work with faculty, pastors, congregational leaders, and parishioners in a real-world context as they simultaneously take courses, both online and in person.

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Reaching seminarians and communities alike through congregational partnerships

The challenges for modern theological schools and the needs of seminarians are great and ever-changing. Among these include the rising costs of obtaining seminary degrees and many seminarians’ desire to remain close to their homes and families. In a February article in The Christian Century, Jason Byassee and Ross Lockhart highlight how some schools are meeting these challenges by partnering with flourishing megachurches.

 

 

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Presidential evaluation resources

 

Is your board planning a presidential evaluation soon? In any evaluation process, it is important to consider what you hope to gain -- including the board's (and the president's) priorities and plans. Are you unsure of where to start? The In Trust Center can help!

 

 

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Pacific School of Religion withdraws plans for senior living community

Back in October, we shared the news that Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, planned to develop senior living housing on campus. Since then, the school has announced plans to withdraw their application for developing the proposed senior community. 

 

 

 

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In Trust magazine - New Year 2017 issue

The New Year 2017 issue of In Trust was recently sent out to members and subscribers. Click "Read the rest of entry" for highlights! 

 

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Transformational philanthropy means engagement with prospective donors

“Transformational philanthropy” was the focus of a December 6 webinar sponsored by the In Trust Center and presented by Aimée Laramore, director of advancement at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and owner/lead consultant at ALlyd Solutions.

 

 

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New members of the board of directors

Voting-eligible member schools of the In Trust Center for Theological Schools recently elected three new members and re-elected two members to serve on the In Trust Center’s board of directors. The new and re-elected members include (above, from left) Marsha Foster Boyd, Charisse L. Gillett, Kathryn Glover, David Jennings, and Msgr. Roger E. McGrath.

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What people are saying about the In Trust Center's new president

"The In Trust Center is in the best possible hands with the leadership of Amy Kardash!  In my experience, she brings a profound professionalism and integrity to her every endeavor."

 

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Amy L. Kardash named president of the In Trust Center for Theological Schools

The board of directors of the In Trust Center for Theological Schools has named Amy L. Kardash as the organization’s new president. 

In her new role, Kardash will oversee and direct all the In Trust Center’s work in resourcing seminaries and theological colleges. These programs include Resource Consulting, a service that connects the leaders of theological schools to resources that enable them to make transformative changes within their institutions; In Trust magazine, periodical for seminary trustees, administrators, and faculty members published since 1988; and the In Trust Center’s webinars and other educational programs.

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Autumn issue highlight: Teaching Islam in Christian seminaries

Teaching Islam in Christian seminaries,”an article in the Autumn 2016 issue of In Trust, focuses on the growing number of Christian seminaries that are adding programs or courses in Islamic Studies.

 

 

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Seminary rector interviewed by Crux magazine

Bishop Timothy Senior, rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, recently gave an interview for Crux magazine. During the interview, Bishop Senior offered his reflections on priestly formation one year after Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Philadelphia.

 

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Theological school plans to build senior center on campus

Written by Stephen Butler Murray

Our friends at Pacific School of Religion (PSR) have announced plans to build 265 apartments for seniors on their campus in Berkeley, California. Here are my thoughts.

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Creating an emergency transition plan

If a school’s chief executive departs, the board, administration, and staff will know well in advance, right? And they'll prepare for a smooth leadership change, and everyone will remark on how well the transition went, and the next year will be the institution's best year ever. Right?

 

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One Jesuit's perspective on theological education

As the Jesuits are currently reviewing their approach to theological education, one of the order's former educators is offering his perspective on changes needed to prepare clergy for a modern context.

 

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Protect yourself from cyber threats

Staff of the In Trust Center recently attended a webinar on cyber security for nonprofit organizations. The webinar was provided by the Delaware Small Business Development Center and presented by Michelle Wang, assistant director of information security administration for the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church. Although the webinar was presented for an audience of Delaware nonprofits, the information provided is pertinent to any organization that would like to improve their cyber security efforts.

 

 

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Dallas seminary to require sexual abuse prevention class

As of this fall, Dallas Theological Seminary is requiring ministry students to take an entry-level certification course on preventing and addressing child sexual abuse.

 

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"Farminary" provides agricultural context to ministerial formation

Princeton Theological Seminary is offering a unique take on the recent interest in sustainable farming. Their agricultural project, known as the Farminary, is offering students a chance to learn theological concepts and to develop their ministry in the context of farming. 

 

 

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Leadership is shaped by our faith traditions

As David Tiede put it in a 2009 In Trust article, “Effective leadership . . . has become the test in a growing number of schools, and some track their results by how well communities are led by their graduates.”

 

Quoting Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, Tiede states that “theological education is leadership education.” In addition to intellectual and spiritual formation, seminaries typically include leadership education in their models of good theological education.

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Pokemon GO and the theological library

Cross-posted from the ATLA Newsletter, the blog of the American Theological Library Association. Article submitted to the ATLA by Keegan Osinski, public services assistant, Vanderbilt University Divinity Library.

 

Much of theological librarianship lies at the intersection of church and library. And as of July 8, 2016, something else has popped up at that intersection: the mobile gaming app Pokémon GO. Based on the popular video game and anime from the late ’90s and early ’00s, Pokémon GO is a location-based game that uses Google maps to bring Pokémon into the real world. Players explore their neighborhoods and cities looking for monsters to catch and battles to fight. The important landmarks in the game — PokéStops and Gyms — are often located at public art, historical markers, and churches and libraries. Both libraries and houses of worship are finding that Pokémon GO can be a fun way to interact with their communities.

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Influence of presidents rises

The influence of seminary presidents in decision making has substantially increased over the last decade, while that of faculties and denominations has decreased. At the same time, board influence remains unchanged. 

 

These findings were discussed in “Who’s in Charge? Effective Decision Making in a Time of Crisis and Fundamental Change,” a January 21 webinar jointly sponsored by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the In Trust Center.

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In Trust magazine - Summer 2016 issue

The Summer 2016 issue of In Trust was recently sent out to subscribers. Click "Read the Rest of Entry" for highlights!

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You, too, can learn to love fundraising

The theme of the Harvard Business Review article is networking. However, the quoted comments from reluctant business schmoozers ring familiar to the way fundraising-adverse nonprofit folk talk about asking for money.

Uncomfortable, phony, distasteful, a necessary evil, feels slimy.

I’ve heard them all, including from ministry leaders who claim to have accepted the good news of fundraising as ministry.

 
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Chronicle highlights challenges of rural colleges

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article that addresses the challenges of rural colleges and the efforts of some schools to attract more students and faculty. Written by Lawrence Biemiller, the article highlights colleges facing difficulties because of their remote locations.

 

 
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Colgate Rochester Crozer is moving

Things are looking beautiful at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS), the oldest Baptist seminary in the United States, which occupies a tree-filled campus on a hill overlooking Rochester, New York. The school is the product of a merger of Colgate (founded 1817) and Rochester (founded 1850) seminaries, which came together in 1928. A theological institute for women, the Baptist Missionary Training School, joined the institution in 1961, and a fourth school, Crozer Theological Seminary (the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr.), joined in 1970.
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The value of classroom tech: A professor chimes in

Technology has made every area of human endeavor better, or at least more productive, and it seems downright curmudgeonly these days to say otherwise. We all agree with that. . . right?

 
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In Trust wins awards at Associated Church Press meeting

 
 

In Trust won three awards at the annual meeting of the Associated Church Press, held April 22, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri. 

The association, which is made up of church-related and independent religious periodicals, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and has held an annual meeting since 1920. In Trust publisher Jay Blossom serves on the board of directors.

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Social media strategies for good times and bad

The In Trust Center recently presented a webinar on social media to an audience of theological seminaries across the United States and Canada. 

The Center's vice president for communication, Jay Blossom, shared the webinar hosting duties with Leanne Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. 

Together they provided guidance on cultivating an authentic, trusted voice on social media platforms in “normal” times -- and then employing this voice to communicate during crises. Van Dyk relayed her experiences in developing a social media strategy during her first year at Columbia Seminary.

 
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In Trust magazine – Spring 2016 issue

The Spring 2016 issue of In Trust was recently mailed to subscribers. Here are some of the highlights.

 
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Graduation gap remains between black and white students

New research about the graduation rate disparity between black and white students is highlighted in a March 2016 article in Inside Higher Ed.

 

 
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