What to do? My plate is overflowing.
As an educational leader, you are confronted with a variety of competing priorities. To be sure, failure to ensure that student enrollment and donor support revenue streams are flowing will render other priorities irrelevant. Poor results in those realms will inevitably ensure there will soon be no institution to lead. Focus on these priorities largely determines whether the institution will survive but does little to determine what institution will survive.
A leader’s big three
Effective organizational leadership, according to Antony Bell (Great Leadership, 2011) revolves around three central priorities (CAS):
• Creating and clarifying direction
• Aligning the organization and its resources in that direction
• Selling and promoting the message of the direction
In this new blog post series, I intend to dwell for a while on a particular aspect of the “alignment” priority above—the critical need to ensure that your faculty are selected, retained, developed, and rewarded in full alignment with your institution’s biblical higher education mission and values.
I believe an educational institution’s missional success ultimately depends, not on its executive leadership, but on its faculty.
Every aspect of institutional resources and operations can be humming along, yet the institution can fail to accomplish its mission if the composition and disposition of its faculty is misaligned with its mission. When that happens, game over, no matter whether you are flush with students and donors.
Here is another ominous secret: When it comes to faculty mission alignment, external forces and peer benchmarks are likely to exert subtle and inexorable pressure to skew that alignment. After all, you have accreditation standards to meet and an academic pecking order to mind. What looks like a race to the top can easily become a race to the bottom–equating faculty credentials with faculty qualifications. The finish line of that race may be the graveyard for your mission. Tilt!
Credentials ≠ qualifications
Focus upon academic credentials as the sine qua non of faculty qualification is simply wrongheaded. In practice, preoccupation with faculty credentials leads to the conclusion that, (a) credentials and qualifications are synonymous; and (b) superior academic credentials constitute superior faculty qualifications. Nothing could be further from the truth. Academic credentials alone should never be regarded as sufficient faculty qualifications, particularly in institutions of biblical higher education.
What set of criteria, then, should biblical higher education leaders employ in selecting, retaining, and promoting faculty? Stay tuned. I will offer my suggestions in succeeding posts.
Fresh gleanings to fuel your leadership awareness, reflection, and conversations …
Philip Yancey’s global travels have helped him to observe God on the move. As usual, Philip’s observations are both keen and challenging to our default perspective. I found these observations refreshing. God is indeed on the move, everywhere and in every age–including our own.
Who knew? When we assert our constitutional claim to religious liberty in seeking exemption from regulatory impositions, that amounts to an unconstitutional posture of Christian supremacy. Who says so? Turns out the US Civil Rights Commission says so. Have a look at this report from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.