From category archives: In Trust Blog

Executive Leadership

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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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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6 things you need to know about fundraising


Cross-posted from Rebekah Burch Basinger's excellent blog, Generous Matters, where you can read her original post. 

 

“How can we get more people to support our organization? We’re working hard but not seeing the results we need.”

The caller’s frustration was palpable — and familiar. Over the years, I’ve been asked variations of his question by countless CEOs and board members. Short on cash and time, ministry leaders are on the hunt for the answer to their organization’s fundraising woes.

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Special section on mergers, partnerships, and alliances in Autumn 2016 issue

 

The Autumn 2016 issue of In Trust, recently sent out to subscribers, features a special section on mergers, partnerships, and alliances. This special section features an interview with Tom Ingram, president emeritus of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, on how to conduct a merger, plus eight case studies of mergers and partnerships.

 

 

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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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Saying "no" to a donor gift

Sometimes it makes sense to turn down a gift. That's what Dorothy Ridings warned in a 2010 article titled "Recipient beware!" that appeared in In Trust.

 

 

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A dissertation review: “Work-Life Balance of Women Leaders in ATS” by Kelly Campbell

“Work-Life Balance of Women Leaders in the Association of Theological Schools,” Kelly Campbell’s 2015 doctoral thesis, addresses an important question: how do female seminary administrators handle the relationship between their profession and their personal lives? This is a question often raised about professional women in particular, a fact that has generated some controversy.

 

 

 

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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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Selecting an effective leader

 

What are the qualities that make an effective seminary leader? Auburn’s Center for the Study of Theological Education set out to answer just that question in their study titled Leadership that Works. In this study, the research team found that the essential characteristics of high-performing leaders are personal strength, humility, interpersonal skills, and discipline. But in selecting a new president, how do you know whether a candidate possesses all of these qualities or whether a candidate will fit in with your institution’s culture and values?

 

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Developing and maintaining effective dashboards

 

A dashboard is a display of key indicators that help institutions steer their activities towards their declared strategic outcomes. The imagery, of course, is obvious to anyone who drives a car. Just like the dashboard on your 1981 Ford Fairmont, it’s critical that indicators be visible and the data easy for a user to assimilate. This typically necessitates graphic displays such as graphs, pie charts, or something more creative.

 

 

The In Trust has presented a webinar on how to use dashboard effectively. Here's a summary of it, along with a few helpful hints to get you started.

 

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Special event fundraising, ugh! But if you must . . .

Cross-posted from Rebekah Burch Basinger's excellent blog, Generous Matters. Read her original post here

 

A flood of emails urged members of a ministry’s Outreach Committee to round-up prizes for the spring bike/walk fundraiser. We’re talking a veritable fundraiser’s dream team — networked, talented, and unafraid to ask big — being “challenged” to chase after everything from free movie passes and ice cream coupons to a $5-$10 gift certificate.  “Or whatever the owner is willing to give.”

It’s a toss-up whether I cry or scream about the colossal waste of volunteer time and connections.

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The priority of governance in really tough times

The In Trust Center recently presented a webinar on governance strategies for difficult times.

 

Barbara Wheeler and Daniel Aleshire shared some best practices and areas of improvement that can lead to institutional stability: setting terms and term limits for board members, evaluating and orienting boards, selecting board members with the appropriate skill sets, and attracting new members of different cultures and ages. Wheeler stressed the importance of engaged governance, balancing support of the president with prioritizing the institutional mission.

 
 

 

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How do you say “thanks” to faculty?


 

While it’s important to thank faculty and show appreciation for their hard work and dedication, it’s not always feasible to demonstrate this appreciation through salary increases. When budgets are already tight, it may be impossible to accommodate the extra costs.

This doesn’t mean, however, that there's no way to thank faculty. Instead, it means that seminary leaders may need to get creative. A few years ago, In Trust published an article with some ways to say “thank you” when money is tight.

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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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Seminary president featured in Christian Century cover story

 

Central Baptist Theological Seminary president Molly T. Marshall was interviewed for the cover story of a recent issue of The Christian Century. The interview, by David Heim, addresses Marshall’s opinions and experiences as president.  

 
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One perspective on tenure

In a recent Christian Century blog post, Greg Carey provides a defense of tenure at theological institutions. He begins his post by acknowledging that in times of change and financial unrest, theological schools may be tempted to rely principally on adjunct faculty. After all, tenured faculty cost more --and some may be resistant to institutional changes. But Carey argues against the move toward adjunct faculty.

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Rapidly approaching deadline for new Luce Foundation fund

 

The deadline to submit letters of inquiry for the brand-new Luce Fund for Theological Education is March 15. The Henry Luce Foundation is encouraging requests from seminaries and other organizations for amounts of $250,000 to $500,000. A select number of inquirers will be invited to present full proposals.

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Student data, shared governance, and seminary finances: Upcoming webinars

 
 

The Association of Theological Schools and the In Trust Center are presenting or co-presenting three webinars in upcoming months that will be of interest to leaders of theological schools. The webinars cover student data, shared governance, and seminary finances and are designed to educate members of the board, faculty, and administration of theological schools on these essential topics.

 

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From God's abundance: A resource for fundraisers

From crushing student debt to struggling seminaries to half empty church pews, much of the landscape of seminaries and finances seems bleak. As traditional funding sources change, the need to understand and gain mastery of fundraising is becoming increasingly important for theological schools. Offering research, tools, and customized training, the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is a bright spot during these challenging times.

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Wesley Theological Seminary’s fundraising response to a threatened future

Two months into his role as president, G. Douglass Lewis received the news that Wesley Theological Seminary was in debt. So, with the help of his development consultant and the Wesley staff, Lewis set forth a strategic plan for a program that would address their lack of fundraising ability.

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The long arm of history: Understanding the past helps decision-making today

When I was in seminary, I remember a professor telling a class that when new pastors arrive at a church, they are directly affected by the last 30 years of that church’s history. If the pastor of 20 years ago ran off with the organist, the current pastor needs to know about it. The congregation certainly knows about it. If there was a church split at some point, the whole town probably knows about it. In light of this, our professor strongly recommended getting as complete a history as possible early in the interview process. Pastors need to know up front what can be changed, what can be worked around, and whether they have the skills to manage that ministry. Institutions of theological education are no different. . . .

 

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Operational and educational models in theological education

I believe it is important for theological schools to think critically about their operational and educational models. We have not adequately addressed several issues that have been present for many years within theological education. 

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Interviews and stories from leaders in theological education

 
 

Faith and Leadership, a resource from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, has published three great stories in the last several months featuring leaders in theological education. The articles offer insights into some of the innovative ways that theological educators are serving the church and changing the landscape of theological education.

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Resources for your board: Books from BoardSource

We love to connect our members with information and resources that encourage good leadership and effective governance. So we keep our eyes open for helpful books and articles that contribute to that goal. Some of our favorite resources are published by BoardSource. Here's a rundown of some of the best.

 

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Who is your most strategic partner?

First, throw out the “M-word.” Mergers scare people, so most schools are approaching partnerships in terms of new models of collaboration. A merger gives people the perception that there are winners and losers, but collaborations open up space for creativity and exploration: “If we were to imagine a future together, what might that look like?” 

 

 

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The Strategic Information Report: What you need to know

Because the SIR has been completely revamped, the Association of Theological Schools has provided an overview article that explains how presidents and board members can use it. “Why the Strategic Information Report is an essential tool in every school’s toolbox,” by Chris Meinzer, explores ways to use the SIR as a tool in assessing their institution's overall health.

 

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Resources for your board: Succession planning

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has published a great article on succession planning for boards, and it includes both an outline of the process and a list of downloadable resources.

What is succession planning? “Succession planning is a means for an organization to ensure its continued effective performance through leadership continuity.” 

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Attorney general warns trustees of investigation

 

The attorney general’s interest is unusual in that it seems to be a pre-emptive action; the college is not in danger of closing. “I consider it my responsibility to promote and protect the nonprofit sector,” the New York attorney general told the New York Times — not only by prosecuting fraud, but by preventing mismanagement “before it starts.”

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The right fit: On finding the right VP for advancement

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) recently published a blog post about how to find the right vice president for advancement for your school.

The post offers some great advice for institutions and search committees to consider as they look to fill this important position.

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Summer 2015 issue of In Trust magazine

 

Last week the Summer 2015 issue of In Trust magazine landed in the mailboxes of people affiliated with the In Trust Center's member schools. Here are some highlights.

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Facing the brutal facts – with faith

Jim Collins, best-selling author and renowned management educator, recently headlined a conference for leaders of nonprofit organizations in Delaware. Collins spoke on the ideas introduced in his books, including his bestseller Good to Great

One point in particular struck a chord for me in reference to theological schools and the challenges and uncertain futures they face.  

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Seeking a say in the naming of a new president, monks sue trustees

 
 

There’s governance trouble brewing at Benedictine University in Illinois: The monks of St. Procopius Abbey, which owns the school, are suing the trustees for shutting them out of the selection of the new president. According to a recent article in Inside Higher Ed, the monks claim that the abbey’s leadership has always played a role in the selection of the president -- ever since the first nonclerical president was selected 40 years ago.

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A prayer for Emanuel and the nine

African American presidents and deans in theological education have shared the following statement and prayer in response to last week's mass murder at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. 

 


 

June 2015

As the African American presidents and deans of graduate theological education, we express our profound solidarity with the families and the faithful of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. There are not words enough to convey the emotions we feel in the aftermath of the bloodbath.

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Have you read the Spring issue of In Trust magazine?

In Trust's Spring 2015 issue hit mailboxes last week. Here are some highlights from our latest issue: 

 

  • "Two patterns of good governance." Part 2 of our excerpt from the latest report on seminary governance from researcher Barbara Wheeler.

 

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Thinking about a merger? Some things to consider


Thinking about a merger? Here are some things to consider.

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Emotional intelligence: The missing link in presidential searches



One of the most difficult duties for any presidential search committee is to answer this question: What does our school really want and need in a new president? 

But one of the most important factors in a presidential search is sometimes left off the job description: Emotional intelligence. 

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Resources for your board: Strategic planning

Strategic planning: it’s something that you know you need to do, but how do you get started?

We've gathered a few articles to help you think about strategic planning, well, strategically. These articles could be fodder for a fruitful discussion with your board and leadership team.

 
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Financial concerns? Share them.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published a provocative post about financial transparency on its Vitae blog. Allison M. Vaillancourt, an administrator at the University of Arizona, writes that frank discussion of financial issues with faculty and staff can benefit university employees. She argues that rather than avoiding the conversation or trying to protect people from a scary reality, it's best to give them the details they need to make changes.

 
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The board’s responsibility for evaluating the president

"Regular evaluation of presidential performance is among the top responsibilities assigned to boards of theological schools. It is also a task that many board members prefer not to tackle. So they don't."

So begins the In Trust Center's resource guide, The Board's Responsibility for Evaluating the President, a free resource written by governance expert Rebekah Burch Basinger. The guide outlines five principles to consider so that the board and the president can approach the presidential evaluation with confidence and competence.

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What is Resource Consulting?

Resource Consulting is a method of supporting theological schools based on developmental learning models. Its goal is to strengthen the capacity of schools by helping schools to clarify issues and use resources to meet their identified needs.

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A gentle evaluation turns away anger

In the coming months I will assist with two evaluation processes – one of a seminary president’s performance, the other, a board self-assessment. When approaching such assignments, my modus operandi is to accentuate the positive before broaching the negative. To paraphrase the author of Proverbs, I've found that a gentle evaluation turns away anger, while a harsh review encourages the one(s) under scrutiny to dig in his/her/their heels.

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Reflections from DIAP, a conference on fundraising

With insightful speeches, engaging conversations, and a few tears, the 2015 Development and Institutional Advancement Program (DIAP) was enlightening and educational. Your advancement staff members should consider going next year!

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Advice for presidents about boards

In January, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) gathered theological school presidents for their annual Presidential Leadership Intensive, a conference devoted to teaching the fine art of leading a seminary.

G. Douglass Lewis was one of the presenters, and he focused on “Ten things the seminary president can do to build a more effective board.”

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Theodore Hesburgh, influential university president, dies

Father Theodore Hesburgh, president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, has died at age 97. Widely acknowledged as the most influential college president of his generation, Hesburgh was also a founding member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and served as Vatican representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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Working too hard doesn't work

Ron Friedman’s article at the Harvard Business Review, “Working Too Hard Makes Leading More Difficult,” contains a warning for presidents, chairs, and other leaders: many behaviors that vault you into leadership roles become hindrances once you actually are a leader.

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A seminary president’s thoughts on dying

Steve Hayner, who was president of Columbia Theological Seminary until a few months ago, died last weekend of fast-moving pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed less than a year ago, he spent his last few months learning to ask new questions — not “What are my plans?” but rather “How am I going to be faithful whatever the circumstances?”

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Seminary presidents are the new burned-over district

How might a board prevent their president from burning-out?

The "Burned-over district" refers to the religious scene in the western and central regions of New York in the early 19th century, where religious revivals and Pentecostal movements of the Second Great Awakening took place. The term was coined in 1876 by Charles Finney, who argued that the area had been so heavily evangelized as to have no "fuel" left over to "burn."1

“Burned-over district” today might also describe the office of seminary president in North America.

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Social media resources

Jay Blossom, Publisher of In Trust magazine and In Trust's Vice President for Communication, recently presented a workshop entitled Social Media and Institutional Conflict at the 2015 ATS Presidential Leadership Intensive Conference. The following was created as a supplemental resource for the workshop participants.

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In Trust magazine -- New Year 2015 issue

In Trust's New Year 2015 issue was sent to subscribers last week. If you haven’t already received it, it should be arriving soon.

 

Meanwhile, here are some highlights:

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