board governanceThe secret of your success

My work with scores of Christian higher education institutions over the past four decades has led me to conclude that there is an inextricable, direct relationship between board functioning and institutional flourishing. Show me any measure of institutional distress and I will inevitably discover roots of that dysfunction in significant governance flaws. Conversely, I believe the too-often overlooked secret to a mission-true, healthy, sustainable college begins and ends with its governing board.


Top-down tumble

My good friend and colleague, Dr. Sherrill Babb, long time President of Philadelphia Biblical University (now Cairn University) often quotes the following aphorism: Organizations are built from the bottom up but they fall apart from the top down. I could not agree more.

I am launching a blog post series over the next several months intended to elevate your awareness and stimulate your commitment to good governance. I hope whether you are presently a board member, a college president, or a stakeholder of any kind, I can pass along some relevant insights and resource connections. In a format like this, I will be forced to hit the high spots—but I will also suggest resources that can help you and your colleagues at any place on the governance effectiveness continuum to elevate your performance.

Good questions for good governance

What flaws typically plague board performance? How can a board take responsibility for its effectiveness? What does an optimal board-CEO dynamic look like? How can the board avoid both unwarranted executive constraints and undetected institutional calamity? How can the board prefer guarding the mission over managing the minutia?

Stay with me and we’ll take a look at each of these questions in upcoming posts.

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


Online learning at its best

If you are cautious about the limitations and shortcuts that may be overlooked in the rush to embrace online learning, you are not alone. A new MIT study about the future of online learning concludes, “it is most effective in a blended setting where students regularly interact with faculty members face-to-face.” The report is worth a healthy faculty discussion—not about whether you will embrace the online learning modality but how you can optimize its effectiveness.


Facing our fears about Islamic terror—or fueling them?

This thoughtful essay by Beirut-based student Ashley al-Saliby challenges us to confess our fears even as we test them in light of Paul’s instructions to the beleaguered young pastor, Titus. Scripture calls us, Saliby admonishes, to be a “reasonable and peace-sowing” people in the midst of fomenting fear.