Straw Model Strategic Priorities for participation in Online Session May 22nd

AST Strategic Plan Straw Model

May 22, 2014

 Strategic Thrust

Learning and living inspired service – We are coming from our rich heritage to a new and inspired place of leadership to be present and actively serving our world and in our world.

 

Strategic Priorities

Priority 1 – Inspired learning – Students of AST leave transformed and inspired to live out Christ’s mission in our world.

The goals:

  • To excel with curriculum that aligns with the needs of our denominations in today’s world
  • To develop a Recruitment Plan focused on:
    • Maximizing students for ministry
      • Increasing the % of Atlantic Canadian students on the ministry track
      • Expanding the take-up on the ministry distance program nationally
    • Maximizing participation in continuous learning opportunities for AST graduates
    • Maximizing participation in courses for laity
  •   To develop a technology plan that fully positions AST for leadership in distance education

The outcomes:

  • AST is the undisputed leader in distance theological education in Canada
  • AST meets the ATS peer group conversion rate (accepted as a % of enrolled)
  • The founding parties present AST as the theological educator of choice
  • AST is the first choice for adult Christian education in Atlantic Canada for members of the founding denominations

 

Priority 2 – Living ecumenism – Being this on and off campus with a sense of living hospitably. 

The goals:

  • To practice intentional ecumenism
  • To imbue all of our efforts with living Christian hospitality
  • To actively participate in our churches

The outcomes:

  • The theological, institutional, practical and spiritual forms of ecumenism are aligned
  • AST is an active friend in the pews of the founding party churches in Atlantic Canada
  • The AST community is supportive and hospitable within itself 

 

Priority 3 – Proactive partnering – making connections in all kinds of ways (fundraising, relationships with founding parties)

The goals:

  • To develop planned and structured dialogue with the founding denominations to maximize the value that AST adds
  • To explore opportunities for adding value to the community through partnering with other post-secondary institutions

The outcomes:

  • The founding denominations view AST as a valuable and effective partner
  • AST’s position in the Universities of Atlantic Canada is elevated
  • AST is a shining example of success in the ATS

 

Priority 4 – Thought leadership – AST in a thought leadership role in theology and theological education

The goals:

  • To position AST’s expertise in theological education:
  • With the Founding parties
  • Within our churches
  • Within the business community
  • To actively pursue research funding that increases AST’s knowledge and expertise

 

  • To actively expand the use of the AST Library in the churches and in the community

The outcomes:

  • The founding parties look to AST in developing the requirements for formation
  • The community views AST as a place of thought excellence 

 

Priority 5 – Sustainable stewardship – Finding the best way to utilize our assets, maximize revenue opportunities, assets being directed to the heart of the mission

The goals: 

  • To develop a plan to maximize revenue opportunities consistent with the Mission of the school
  • To definitively plan physical assets to appropriately and optimally serve the Mission
  • To invest in initiatives that lead to a more financially sustainable AST
  • To align support services strategically

The outcomes:

  • AST is financially stable and viable
  • AST operates in space that is appropriate to its needs and the needs of its students
  • The multi-year plan is well understood and supported by the AST community

 

 

 

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MISSION Statement forum

MORE ON MISSION STATEMENT

After the discussions on Mission, we have drafted some options for the Mission Statement.  Please take a look tell us what you like or provide another option!

  1. We form effective and faithful leaders of Christ’s mission.

 

  1. risk – discover – learn – serve

 

  1. A graduate level University providing Theological education and research in a Christian centered ecumenical model, and focused on a renewed Church and World

 

  1. The most challenging place you’ll ever study

 

  1. With Christ at the centre, together we grow extraordinary leaders for our church and communities

 

  1. Atlantic School of Theology, an ecumenical university serving Christ’s mission, cultivates excellence in graduate-level theological education and research, creative and faithful formation for lay and ordained ministries, and understanding among communities of faith.
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Strategic Planning Topic #4

AST Strategic Planning
Discussion Topic May 8, 2014

Property

The Atlantic School of Theology has been blessed with a beautiful location in the south end of the Halifax peninsula. The property is extensive including:
• The residence building
• The 1898 building
• The Chapel
• The two grey houses
• The President’s house
• The Librarian’s house
• The Library
• The Plant building
• The Garage
• Extensive outdoor space

Most of the buildings are aging and require significant operating and maintenance cost. There is an extensive list of deferred maintenance requirements with a current estimated cost of $5.5 million.

The current use of buildings is not optimal:
• Administrative and faculty offices are small and not efficiently laid out
• The layout requires significant allocation of corridor and wasted space
• Most of the residence rooms are not rented by AST students
• The grey houses are rented when possible bringing in limited revenue
• The 1898 building is not currently operational except for rental to film crews

AST has financial issues with deficits forecast over the next few years and uncertain revenue streams from the current major funders. At the same time, it sits on assets that may be very valuable.

Changing the use of parts of the property could provide significant benefits:
• A sustainable revenue stream
• Better space
• More efficient use of space
• Lower operating and maintenance costs
• No deferred maintenance

AST is currently examining options to leverage the capital assets, with approval of Pine Hill, perhaps using a phased approach.

Please consider the following questions:
1. What additional information would you like to have about the property?

2. What parts of the property do you believe should be maintained in the current use and condition?

3. What parts of University life could be improved with changes to property? What changes would have to happen?

4. How else might we capitalize on the underused assets?

To join the online discussion on Wednesday May 14 at 10:30am:

1. Please join my meeting.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/530863789

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (647) 497-9350
Access Code: 530-863-789
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 530-863-789

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Strategic Planning Topic #3

AST Strategic Planning
Discussion Topic April 25, 2014

Recruitment and Curriculum
Theological schools over the last 30 years have in general experienced declines in enrolment. AST’s experience has not necessarily been the same which is a testament to the excellence of faculty and program and university recruitment efforts. In fact, the enrolment in 2013/14 was 142 compared to 148 ten years ago. Having said that, the enrolment is small.
A summary of enrolments for the last five years:

2013/14 2012/13 2011/12 2010/11 2009/10
By Program
MDiv 45 37 46 50 39
Summer Distance MDiv 23 28 33 34 30
MA 19 19 16 13 6
MTS 3 4 6 7 10
Graduate Certificate 16 21 26 21
Non Program 36 18 27 18 51
Total 142 127 154 143 136
By Denomination
ACC 27 28 34 25 21
RCC 33 29 27 22 26
UCC 63 54 76 78 71
Other 19 16 17 18 18
Total 142 127 154 143 136
By geography[1]
NS 66 69 64 61 55
NB 15 14 15 10 10
NL 5 4 4 5 4
PE 4 4 6 4 2
ON 18 17 17 17 12
AB 12 10 7 7 7
Other Canada 3 2 5 8 5
International 4 4 2 4 2
Other 0 0 1 1 0
Total 127 124 121 117 97

[1] Please note the numbers don’t fully reconcile because the geographic numbers reflect students with provincial funding

 

The denominational distribution has shifted somewhat over the last ten years as follows:

Denomination 2013/14 (%) 2004/05 (%)
ACC 19.0 15.5
RCC 23.2 22.3
UCC 44.4 52.7
Other 13.4 9.5
Total 100.0 100.0

Please consider the following questions:

1. What additional information would you like to have about enrolments or programs?

2. Where do you think the greatest opportunities might be to attract new students to the school?

3. All three of the founding denominations are facing tremendous pressure for change. How might AST serve your denomination
differently from a program perspective?

4. Who should know about AST and its programs and faculty that doesn’t know about them now? How could we tell them? What
should we tell them?

To join the online discussion on Wednesday April 2nd at 10:30am:

1. Please join my meeting.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/125099381

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (647) 497-9350
Access Code: 125-099-381

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 125-099-381

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Strategic Planning Topic #2

AST Strategic Planning

Discussion Topic March 28, 2014

Finances

Many post-secondary institutions struggle with financial sustainability and AST is no exception.  Over the last couple of years, the school has been facing greater difficulty in balancing the budget.  In fact, there was a deficit projected for 2013-14 in the budget that came to the Board (a deficit is a loss).  The Board approved the budget with the proviso that management should make every effort to find additional revenue or cost savings (called Unidentified Improvements in the budget) to balance the budget. At this time, it is expected that the university will finish the year at very close to zero.  However, it has taken a lot of work and putting off expenditures temporarily.  It is not a sustainable position.

In preparation for the current year budget (2013-14) management produced a business plan and budget that included projections for the next three years.  The original deficit projections were:

2013-14:          deficit – ($58,290)

2014-15:          deficit – ($142,686)

2015-16:          deficit – ($176,970)

2016-17:          deficit – ($227,020)

 

To help you in your thought process and discussions, you were emailed two documents:

            Appendix 1:     The Business Plan supporting this year’s budget

            Appendix 2:     The Budget for 2013-14 and annual projections for 2014 – 2017

 

Please consider the following questions:

  1.  In what areas would you like to have more information? What information would you like to have?
  2. In considering the revenues, what additional revenue sources do you think we should consider? How might we earn that revenue? What resources might we need to earn it?
  3. What initiatives or changes might we make to decrease our costs? i.e. what might we stop doing or do differently that might reduce our cost? How might we go about it?
  4. In your view, what one change will have the most impact on improving the bottom line?

 

To join the online discussion on Wednesday April 2nd at 10:30am:

1. Please join my meeting.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/meeting/join/348708485

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Canada (Toll-free): +1 (647) 497-9376

Canada: +1 (647) 497-9376

Access Code: 348-708-485
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID:348-708-485

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Strategic Planning Topic #1

AST Strategic Planning
Discussion Topic March 14, 2014

Mission
The Mission of the Atlantic School of Theology, last updated in 2007, is:
Atlantic School of Theology, an ecumenical university serving Christ’s mission, cultivates excellence in graduate-level theological education and research, creative and faithful formation for lay and ordained ministries, and understanding among communities of faith.
The Communal Discernment Process which finished in January 2014 articulated the following core identity and core values:

Core identity:
AST’s Christian identity is paramount. Within the mission of Christ, AST is called:
• to be a school for theological learning and faithful practice;
• to be a community in/of formation for Christian leadership and ministry tuned to the
gifts and needs of the broader culture (of which we also are part);
• to practice intentional ecumenism in both of these;
• to embrace and foster the transformation of life in Christ at every level of this call for
mission: in other words not just to proclaim the values but to live them out.

Core Values:
These values guide both mission and implementation. They expressed key values which played a thematic role in the final plenary:
• Ecumenical: AST is called to an intentional practice of ecumenism.
• Christoform, Christ-centered: AST is called not only to teach Christian theology and
ministry skills, but to be at all levels a community conformed to Christ.
• Engaging: (includes the closely-related words “relevant”, “today”, “contextual”,
“prophetic”). The AST community and each of its members are called to be involved and
engaged in the context of today’s church and world, in such a way as to embody the
values of Christianity and proclaim them through evangelism, mission, and apologetics.
• Transformative: This word evoked the most comments. It is open-ended and needs
unpacking. AST and the members of its community are to be both subjects and agents of a transformation under God’s grace, leading to a renewed Church and world in accord with God’s purpose.

Questions:
1. Does the Mission appropriately reflect the core identity and core values? How does it not?
2. What concepts embodied in the Mission need to change, i.e. what should be added, what should be deleted?
3. Does the tone of the Mission statement reflect the energy articulated in the Core Identity and Core Values?
4. If you think the Mission needs to be restated, how would you restate it?

TO PARTICIPATE ON WEDNESDAY MARCH 19TH IN AN ONLINE DISCUSSION:
Strategic Planning Question #1 Discussion

1. Please join my meeting: https://global.gotomeeting.com/meeting/join/876430781

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.
Canada: +1 (647) 497-9371
Access Code: 876-430-781
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID:876-430-781

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