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In launching this blog post series, I boldly asserted that an educational institution’s missional success ultimately depends, not on its executive leadership, but on its faculty. I also cautioned that academic credentials alone should never be regarded as sufficient faculty qualifications, particularly in institutions of biblical higher education.

So, what criteria do I commend for mission-aligned faculty selection, retention, development and reward? You may be surprised to learn I start with credentials.

Credentials and credibility

Minimum academic credentials (i.e., earned a degree at least one level above the students’ instructional/degree level) must be adhered to if we are serious about asserting to the public that our educational programs and credentials are academically on a par with peer institutions in the higher education community. Failure to uphold these minimums undermines our legitimacy claims. We cannot set aside basic higher education standards and claim with any credibility that our education is postsecondary.

Educational credentials, however, should be regarded as the threshold, not the totality of faculty qualification. Minimum credentials admit a prospective faculty member into consideration but they are only marginally valuable in making comparisons in terms of mission fit.

Moving beyond eligibility to excellence

The danger occurs when we consciously or unconsciously use earned degrees as the primary (or even exclusive) basis for judging the relative merits of current or prospective faculty members. Once instructors meet threshold academic credential requirements, other more consequential qualifications should take precedence.

In other words, credentials are a place to start, not the end, for faculty mission alignment. Now that minimum credentials are verified, what other criteria can guide us toward mission alignment? Glad you asked. We’ll take those up one by one in succeeding posts.

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

The meaning of marriage: a spiritual, not a political battle 

“The battle over marriage has been decided. Move on.” Not so fast, urges Douglas Mainwaring, a self-identified same-sex attracted believer. This is a spiritual, not a political battle. And the stakes are enormous. Our passivity and defeatism will be our doom. Too alarmist? Read and judge for yourself.


Five fundamentals for an evangelical future

Ed Stetzer shows once again why he is an astute observer of evangelicalism. He finds plenty of reason to be optimistic about our place and prospects as we live and witness from culture’s margin instead of its middle.