Setting the Foundation (FY23)

As we begin to understand more of what it means to live in a COVID-normalized world, Starr King’s focus in FY23 will be on how to the school can set (or reset) the foundation of what it means to engage in theological education, to lead transformative communities, and to create sacred social change in this new world.

The following questions will help guide Starr King in thinking about how to (re)set our foundation:

  • How can we engage in and lead transformative communities in a COVID-normalized world?
  • What does religious leadership look like in a COVID-normalized world?
  • What are the new opportunities that exist in this moment of global reimagining and reemerging?
  • What needs can we help to fill as our society sharpens its focus on ways to address oppressions and create more just communities?
  • How can we ensure that we stay at the leading edge of theological education given the continued uncertainty around how to operate in a COVID-normalized world?
  • How can we begin to position ourselves as the hub for counter-oppressive theological education?
  • How can we invest in this moment to build momentum towards the future?

Aligning Our Actions

In reflecting on how Starr King can (re)set the foundation for our future, we both asked these guiding questions, as well as reviewed current projects, priorities, departmental benchmarks, and budgetary needs. Based on the answers to the guiding questions and the current state of Starr King, this year we will work to set the foundation and build momentum toward desired destination in the following ways (bold items have been completed already):

Our Programs and Offerings

We will develop and test new programs and offerings that tap into the new and existing needs and opportunities of this time. This will include, but is not limited to:

  • Launching the Graduate Certificate in Chaplaincy Studies in Fall of FY23
  • Developing and beginning to test one to two new certificate programs that provide opportunities for people from different backgrounds to learn how to engage in various types of sacred social change work
  • Launch a new degree concentration in the Spring of FY23 to provide greater depth and clarity for students interested in exploring a specific avenue of religious leadership

Our Outward Engagement

We will begin actively positioning Starr King publicly around our expertise in educating to counter-oppressions and create just and sustainable communities. This will include, but is not limited to:

  • Moving into our new home base in downtown Oakland.
  • Beginning to develop partnerships with organizations across the country that can provide new opportunities for our students, our programming, and our community.
  • Launching our new website in the Spring of FY23 to reflect our updated branding and to provide a dynamic platform to promote our work and engage with people.
  • Working with a marketing firm to strengthen our external communication, particularly in connecting with prospective students.
  • Offering at least one public program each semester, through the school in general and/or through the Center for Multi-Religious Studies, to bring people into Starr King and to share important work and insights to both our community and to wider audiences.
  • Testing a pilot program for congregations to learn how to understand and engage in countering oppressions and creating sacred social change.
  • Collecting and sharing scholarship from members of our community through our current platforms.
  • Beginning to explore ways to build a dynamic, online repository of scholarship and practice on religious leadership, theological education, multi-religiosity, educating to counter-oppressions, and sacred social change.

Our Internal Structure and Support

We will explore opportunities and invest in internal supportive structures that will enable Starr King to seize on the opportunities before us and to position ourselves to expand our reach in the coming year. This will include, but is not limited to:

  • Building out our advancement team by hiring a new Vice President of Advancement and a new Director of Annual Giving to activate and widen our donor base.
  • Raising $1.1 million dollars this fiscal year to strengthen student scholarships, sustain our operations and recruitment, and help us realize a sustainable future for the school.
  • Creating and filling a full-time Marketing Coordinator position to lead our external marketing efforts.
  • Hiring a new full-time faculty member.
  • Exploring and applying for grants to support existing and new programs.
  • Exploring new ways to build robust alternative revenue streams to support Starr King’s work and mission.
  • Investing in educational and administrative technologies to streamline processes and support a transformative learning experience for students.

Our Culture and Community

We will find ways to strengthen Starr King’s community in the new reality of conducting theological education in a COVID-normalized world. This will include, but is not limited to:

  • Figuring out how to re-establish Starr King community in the new reality of theological educational in a COVID-normalized world.
  • Creating more opportunities for connection and relational learning, particularly through the Center for Multi-Religious Studies.

As we continue to assess our current environment, we can change or add more benchmarks over the course of the year to ensure that we set the foundation for what we hope to achieve in the years to come.