competence200x200Criterion number three

Thus far in considering the mission-critical matter of faculty selection, I have proposed two important criteria: credentials (first in sequence but least in importance), and contagious character. A third criterion is competence.

You may be thinking that a faculty member’s competence is validated by strong credentials. And you could well be tragically wrong. Just as credentials and qualifications are not synonymous, neither are credentials and competence synonymous. As much as this is true for faculty selection, this may especially be the case when it comes to faculty retention and promotion.

Competency can never be static

We all have observed instructors who possess enviable credentials and admirable character while at the same time possessing an inferior command of and currency in their teaching discipline(s). In far too many cases, institutions hire, retain and promote faculty members who have failed to keep abreast of the latest research findings, professional dialogue, and methodological conventions within the discipline. Syllabi have not been updated for years; learning resource lists lack recent electronic and print sources.

Toleration of these conditions represents a betrayal of mission fidelity and offends the excellence that should accompany our biblical and Christian sensibilities. Longevity is admirable, but faculty members are learners first and teachers second. Growth is essential to true educational competence.

Biblical integration: an essential meta-competency

Not only must faculty members exhibit competence and currency in command of their academic or professional disciplines, but they must exhibit the same in terms of biblical integration. In far too many cases, authentic Christ-followers are virtual pagans when it comes to meaningful integration of biblical truth with the critical assumptions, methodological orthodoxies, seminal ideas, and key research findings in the discipline. I plan to take up the matter of biblical integration in subsequent posts but, for now, I simply insist that facility in biblical integration is an indispensable aspect of faculty competence.

We dare not settle for well-credentialed faculty members whose competence is relatively poor or diminishing. Mission fidelity is enhanced when competence is explicit among our criteria for faculty selection, retention, and promotion. I recommend your list of faculty criteria contains a few more qualities—coming up in future posts.

Fresh gleanings to fuel your leadership awareness, reflection, and conversations …


Whose vote is it anyway?

ABHE Senior Fellow, Scott Rodin, asserts that when we contemplate what to do with “our vote” we have forfeited something fundamental. Rodin asserts that, as with every other resource and privilege in life, we are called to exercise our right to vote, not as owners but as stewards. He offers three diagnostic questions that support a stewardship mindset.