Designed to provide a variety of strategic indicators to help assess a school's overall financial strength and performance in a range of areas, the Strategic Information Report can be used as a tool in your school's strategic planning process by providing 10 years of institutional data, along with benchmark comparatives to other theological schools. To make the most of this tool, every administrator and board member should ask three simple questions.
Strategic Information Report
The ATS Strategic Information Report (SIR) is designed to provide ATS member schools with a variety of strategic indicators to help assess their overall financial strengths and performances. The SIR can also be used as a tool in your school’s strategic planning process by providing ten years of institutional data along with benchmark comparatives to other theological schools.
The SIR continues to be revised to serve the ATS membership, and a chapter on student debt has been added.
1. The SIR is built in a modular format.
- Each of the seven chapters is designed for a particular audience. Chapter 1 is an institutional overview that can be used with your board. Chapters 2 through 4 can be used with student services and academics to provide data on student admissions, enrollment, and completions. Chapter 5 concentrates on finances, Chapter 6 reflects on development practices, and Chapter 7 offers faculty information. Chapter 8 has information on student indebtedness.
- Each page—which provides your school’s data, definitions for the data, and, in some cases, where your school fits as a benchmark to other ATS member schools—is also intended to be modular so that you can take the page to a desired audience for further conversation.
2. The SIR uses relevant ratios and benchmarks.
- Where appropriate, the SIR turns your school’s data into ratios relevant for nonprofit entities and compares the ratios against similar theological schools and industry standards.
- Benchmarks, such as expenditures per full-time-equivalent student and enrollment indexed to the school’s ecclesial family, provide opportunity for you to see how your institution compares to peer theological schools.
- Chapter 1 includes an "executive dashboard" with green, yellow, and red to identify items that might require further investigation.
3. The SIR is designed to encourage further investigation.
- Many pages of the SIR provide narrative explaining issues to consider as you review the figures. The data snapshot gives an indication of the direction of your institution, but the conversations as to why the trend is occurring will likely offer the most insight.
- The SIR includes ten years of data that can be used in the accreditation process and in strategic planning. Your institution’s analysis of the data and consideration of the many factors contributing to the historic changes will make the SIR an extremely valuable tool.
Please contact Chris Meinzer, ATS senior director and COO and designer of the revised SIR (in collaboration with Anthony Ruger), to understand the specifics of your individual SIR and to gain a more in-depth analysis of where your institution fits in the broader landscape of ATS theological schools. Meinzer also does comprehensive analyses of the annual data provided to ATS by its member schools.