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"Communities of Practice:" The Association of Theological Schools' Leadership Education Programs for Senior Administrators in Seminaries

The Association of Theological Schools, with funding support from the Lilly Endowment, has provided over the last 30 years a program of leadership development for senior administrators in theological education. With specific offerings to address the unique challenges faced by either presidents, deans, chief financial officers, student personnel administrators, women in leadership or racial/ethnic faculty and administrators, the ATS model seeks to nurture "communities of practice" in which members of a group work together, teaching one another and sharing skills and knowledge of mutual benefit, usually with someone to mentor or coach them at least initially. In this essay, Louis Weeks discusses how these communities of practice have successfully introduced a host of new leaders in theological education to the distinctive challenges, responsibilities and environment that comes with the position that they have assumed.

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