The upcoming Summer 2015 issue of In Trust, due to be mailed on July 6, includes an article from Sioux Falls Seminary president Greg Henson about the Entering Student Questionnaire (ESQ) and Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ).

In the article, Henson provides an introduction to these two tools, which capture data provided to the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) by more than 5,600 incoming students and 6,300 departing graduates. He also offers a breakdown of the insights available from the surveys. One key takeaway from the article is Henson's observation regarding the fluidity of students' calling between entering and graduating from seminary. 

Perhaps most helpful to seminary leaders is Henson's advice on using the ESQ and GSQ in institutional strategic planning:

  • Read your data. Where are your incoming students planning to serve after graduating? Where are your graduates planning to serve?
  • Compare your data to your mission statement and marketing communications. Do the interests and expectations of the student body align with what the institution says about itself?
  • Analyze the structure of your curriculum. Does it reflect your students’ plans for ministry, or is it built solely to prepare students for congregational ministry?
  • Review your fundraising philosophy and messaging. Do they align with the realities of your enrollment?
  • Revise your mission, messaging, and programs, based on the data, if your answers to these questions suggest that revision is needed.

To read the article in its entirety, watch for the Summer 2015 issue of In Trust magazine in mid-July.


Image: Rowan Heuvel.