A Word To Our Readers
Nate Olson, Managing Editor for Faculty Dialogue

This WINTER 1996 issue is our annual WRITING AWARDS ISSUE. Recognizing that it is overdue for publication, a number of you have inquired as to its whereabouts and expressed appreciation for the contribution Faculty Dialogue has made over the years both to you and Christian higher education. Let me candidly share the salient factors currently impinging on the Institute of Christian Leadership.

From its earliest years ICL has been supported and funded by grants and gifts from individuals and foundations who value ICL's contribution to Christian Higher Education. Over the years the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust has provided major support to ICL and the publication of Faculty Dialogue. The Trust did so on a sustaining basis making it possible to provide the journal without charge to more than 10,000 faculty readers across the USA and a number of foreign countries. Sustaining support for programs is highly unusual for Foundations and Trusts whereas challenge grants and project grants have a typical one to three year support period.

With the completion of its grant in December, 1994, the Murdock Charitable Trust concluded its sustaining support for Faculty Dialogue. Therefore, subsequent issues have been published using ICL operating funds. The direct cost for printing and mailing each issue is roughly $20,000 which, with ICL's modest budget, consumes approximately $60,000 per year.

From its inception ICL's purpose has been to provide resources relating to leadership issues in Christian higher education. And, it has tried to do so without charge to Christian colleges, universities, and their faculties. In 1992 Martin Bush, ICL's Executive Director, saw the emerging technology of what is now known as the Internet, as a tool that should be available to and utilized by Christian organizations and institutions. At that time the costs of doing so were prohibitive for any other than large universities. In effect, small colleges and universities were effectively precluded from joining the electronic communication revolution.

Out of this concern was born ICLnet, ICL's BBS/Internet service. Two objectives drove the establishment of ICLnet: 1) bringing Internet expertise to Christian higher education institutions and para-church organizations, and 2) establishing and sustaining an electronic Archive of Christian resources of the highest quality including publishing Faculty Dialogue electronically. In doing so we envisioned the day when Faculty Dialogue would be made available not only to its regular hard copy readers, but also a far wider audience than typically would subscribe to the journal.

Our dilemma is twofold. First, sustaining support for Faculty Dialogue expired prior to the availability of Internet technology at a majority of the 275 institutions employing our readers. Then, in the interest of economy, Faculty Dialogue was shipped in bulk to the Chief Academic Officers at each institution for distribution to faculty members indicating a desire to be on the subscription list. While this strategy was effective economically, it did not provide our editors with a mailing list of individual readers and the opportunity to communicate directly with them. Therefore, we are using this page as a means to tell our story to those having Internet access.

Faculty Dialogue's editors continue to seek funding for hard copy publication. It is clear that charitable foundations expect the readership of a journal such as Faculty Dialogue to support a portion of the publication's cost. The readership must demonstrate its interest by becoming a paying subscriber even though the subscription price does not cover the total cost of publication. Our goal is to recover sufficient funds through paid subscriptions for those readers desiring hard copy issues and/or all potential readers have Internet access. With Internet capability the reader has the option of downloading either an article or an entire issue. The reader may then either store the issue electronically or print out any portion so desired.

We are pleased with the quality of papers presented for publication, and are especially grateful for the scholarly and thoughtful work of this year's Award Winning papers. Faculty Dialogue's Editorial Review Board has selected Bruce R. Reichenbach's paper, On Being a Professor: The Case of Socrates, as the first place submission for the Ted Ward Writing Award. Jitse M. van der Meer's paper, The Struggle Between Christian Theism, Metaphysical Naturalism, and Relativism: How to Proceed?, was selected for first place honors for the Howard Vollum Writing Award. We refer you to these insightful papers as vital resources for Christian scholars and educators.

Faculty Dialogue's editors anticipate catching up with the publication schedule this in early Fall and early Winter. There are approved manuscripts for issues #27 and #28. Our continued hope is to yet publish issues #24 and #25 in a double-issue hard copy as well as #27 and following issues. Your Faculty Dialogue editors solicit our reader's support and prayer that ICL may receive funding to continue its publication ministry to Christian higher education.