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Best Resources for Governance of Seminaries and Schools of Theological Education

Effective governance of seminaries begins with the skills and knowledge applicable to presidents, boards, deans, financial officers and other institutional leaders. In turn, mastery of advanced religious education requires objective self- and peer-evaluations. It may also require engaging highly qualified consultants and accessing scholarly material on the tasks, obstacles and current trends in governance and seminary education. In turbulent times, institutional leaders become effective by embracing continuing education as an ongoing responsibility. Remaining on top of changes in Christian governance, culture and pedagogy requires fostering serious academic study and research in theological education. The Portal contains information about sources for governance of seminaries and advanced knowledge about guiding schools of theological education.

Educational and Consulting Support for Governance and Institutional Leaders

Association of Theological Schools

The Association of Theological Schools is a membership organization of more than 250 U.S. and Canadian graduate schools offering professional and academic degrees for the practice of ministry and for teaching and research in the Jewish and Christian theological disciplines. A primary task of ATS is accrediting schools and approving their degree programs. The association’s website is rich in statistical data on member schools and provides a range of resources to assist in the governance task, notably through its targeted leadership education programs for presidents, deans, development and financial officers, student personnel administrators and faculty. Additional programs target the unique issues of women in leadership, racial and ethnic faculty and administrators, and the use of technology. 

In Trust

In Trust is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening boards and governance in U.S. and Canadian Christian schools of theology. Evaluative services include self-directed audits of the leadership and effectiveness of presidents and boards, the skills of individual board members and the institution’s overall and fiscal health. Services include the input of governance mentors (field-experienced experts in particular issues of board and institutional functioning), regular resourcing of leaders through In Trust magazine, links to websites of interest to leaders in theological education and a suite of members-only resources.

Center for the Study of Theological Education

The Center for the Study of Theological Education is the only research institute focused specifically and comprehensively on identifying and addressing key challenges facing theological education in the United States. The center’s goal is to provide high-quality research-supported resources to help institutional leaders make wise decisions. It also publishes a quarterly newsletter, Theo.

Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

The Wabash Center supports teachers of religion and theology through meetings and workshops, grants and other resources designed to improve religion faculty access to the current scholarship on teaching and learning. Center consultants facilitate on-site faculty conversations about critical current teaching and learning issues, and the center will partially fund the consultant’s expenses. Additional teaching workshops and colloquies are held online or at conference sites. See the current schedule for more information.

Additional educational resources include an extensive list of online material for students, teachers and clergy, and a growing database of scholarship on teaching in higher education. Faculty and researchers are also invited to write for the center’s peer-reviewed journal, Teaching Theology and Religion. Center-administered teaching and learning grants are also available.

Grant and Scholarships For Institutional Leaders

Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts

The Lilly Fellows Program works to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning by administering fellowships for graduate school and postdoctoral students who wish to explore and deepen their sense of vocation in church-related higher education.

The program also invites member schools to apply for support funds to design and implement a summer seminar program that addresses a major issue of concern to new scholars and teachers in the church-related academy.

In addition, member schools may apply for small grants to stimulate conversation about church-related higher education and church-related mission on member campuses.

Louisville Institute

The Louisville Institute administers several grant programs to support pastoral leaders, researchers and academics. The First Book Grant for Minority Scholars and the Dissertation Fellowship Program support the development of a new generation of ecclesially engaged young scholars. The Project Grant for Researchers Program favors projects that involve both academics and pastors in genuinely collaborative inquiry, and the Sabbatical Grant for Researchers Program supports religious and theological research and writing that addresses practical issues concerning the Christian life, pastoral leadership and/or religious institutions. The Pastoral Study Project program offers up to $15,000 to give pastoral leaders time and resources to investigate issues related to Christian life, faith, and ministry.

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