The priority of governance in really tough times

Recorded On: 05/04/2016

Presenter Barbara Wheeler will:

  • Review the major financial and enrollment challenges that threaten the strength and even survival of many theological schools
  • Report findings of the governance study about the fitness of boards and other governors to meet those challenges
  • Outline concrete steps that chief executives and governors can take to strengthen their relationship and their schools.

Daniel Aleshire, Executive Director of the Association of Theological Schools will provide a response and commentary.

Barbara Wheeler

Former Director, Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education

Barbara G. Wheeler is the former director of Auburn's Center for the Study of Theological Education, which she founded in 1991 while serving as Auburn's president—a post that she held for thirty years. She served as director of the Women's Theological Coalition of the Boston Theological Institute from 1976 to 1978. She is currently conducting research on theological school students, governance, and finance under the auspices of The Association of Theological Schools. She is principal author of numerous research reports, most recently "Leadership That Works," on seminary presidents and senior administrators ( ), and she has contributed to and edited a dozen volumes on the future of mainline Protestantism, congregational studies, and theological education. She is the coauthor of Being There: Culture and Formation in Two Theological Schools (Oxford Press). Wheeler is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and an ordained elder in the United Church of Granville, New York.

Daniel Aleshire

Executive Director

Daniel O. Aleshire was elected executive director of ATS in 1998 and oversees the work of both the Association and the Commission on Accrediting. He first joined the staff in 1990 as an associate director for accreditation and was named associate executive director in 1996. During his twenty-two years with ATS, he has overseen two major revisions to the accrediting standards, one in 1992-1996 and the most recent one in 2008-2012.

Outside ATS, he has held positions of leadership in organizations related to accreditation, including the Commission on Postsecondary Accreditation, the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's task force to develop criteria for the non-governmental recognition of accrediting agencies.

An ordained minister, Aleshire holds a BS degree from Belmont College, the MDiv degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and an MA degree and PhD in psychology from George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee. He served on the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1978 to 1990 and, before that, as a research scientist at Search Institute in Minneapolis, where he worked on projects related to theological education, church-related higher education, and youth service agencies.

A frequent speaker, Aleshire has also written extensively on issues of ministry and theological education. He served as a co-author of Being There: Culture and Formation in Two Theological Seminaries, which received the 1998 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is also the author of Earthen Vessels: Hopeful Reflections on the Work and Future of Theological Schools, released in 2008.

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