Are you curious about how your school’s faculty compares to faculty at other theological schools? Do you know your ration of full- to part-time faculty, or how many have terminal degrees? 

Answers to these questions can be found (along with mountains of other data) in the 2014-2015 Annual Data Tables from the Association of Theological School (ATS). Those of us who don’t have time to wade through this 172-page treasure trove can read a two-part summary that unpacks some of the numbers.

Part 1 of the summary digs into the tenure numbers. For example, about four-fifths of the full-time faculty at ATS schools are either tenured (or on the tenure track) or considered “permanent” (for those schools that don’t have a tenure system). Full-time faculty, however, only account for 42 percent of the total number. The short report goes on to lay out the numbers by ecclesial groups, to help you make apple-to-apple comparisons. 

Part 2 looks at where faculty from 2001 to 2015 earned their doctorates. The top 25 schools (of 420 listed) account for 51 percent of faculty doctorates, which is significant.

Both parts present board members with questions they might want to be asking about their schools. For example: Is your student–faculty ratio higher or lower than before the 2008–2009 recession? What does this mean for your program? How do you anticipate some of these data changing with the increasing number of online programs?

Keeping track of these internal indicators is a good governance practice. This is one example of how ATS data can help put internal indicators in a larger context.