Changing the Chief Change Agent

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A healthy person is constantly changing. If you stop changing and adapting in a constantly changing environment, your health begins to deteriorate. It is obviously true of your physical health; your body must move. But it is equally essential for your spiritual and mental health.

A large and complex organization like Fresno Pacific University is no different. The rule is inviolable: Change or die. But stability and orderliness are also essential to health. Change that is out of control or maladaptive can be just as surely fatal as no change. FPU is thousands of people, organizational units, systems, policies, visions, values, plans and hopes that are all constantly changing.

A core concept of organizational change is the key role of change agents, people or organizational units who significantly initiate, shape or advance the process of change.

Our ultimate guide and governor of the change process is the Fresno Pacific University Board of Trustees. The board holds in trust the tangible and intangible assets of the university. Tangibles are things like buildings and endowments. Intangible assets are equally important: our charter with the state; our image and reputation; our accreditation; memberships like NCAA; formal and informal relationships; and the trust of the church and others who support us, invest prayer and donations in us, and encourage and support students to study with us.

This makes the board of trustees our chief agent of change, and, while leading major changes in the leadership and finances of the university during FY 2014-15, the board also underwent major changes itself to more effectively guide and govern the whole institution:

  • Adopted significantly revised board bylaws that will enhance the board’s effectiveness and timely action. Revision of the Board Policy Manual is in process.
  • Put the annual financial audit out to bid and selected Capen Crouse as the new independent auditor. This firm brings strong experience with other similar universities.
  • Elected a new board chair, Don Griffith, a Fresno financial professional, and chose Royce Fast, a Bakersfield business person, as the new treasurer and chair of the renamed Budget and Business Affairs Committee.
  • Selected Deb Palmer, a recently re-elected board member who is relocating back to Fresno, and Gary Wall, the MB Pacific District Conference minister, to join Josh Wilson, an attorney in Kern County, on the critical Board Development Committee, with Wilson continuing as chair. Working with the chair of the board, this committee nominates and evaluates the performance of all trustees.
  • Created a new committee to focus on policies and plans affecting student life for all students in all programs on all five campuses. Aaron Wiens, O.D., chairs this committee which includes Pastor Paul Micu, business person Sheila Frowsing and educator Marilyn Friesen, all of Fresno.
  • Appointed Pat Evans to chair the Enrollment Committee, charged with strategically positioning FPU to attract growing numbers of high-quality students in all programs who can influence the world as called for by the Strategic Plan. This restructured and refocused committee includes Joe Hernandez, Ed.D., an educator in Dinuba, and Pastor James Bergen, of Fresno, who also chairs the 20-member Seminary Committee.
  • Elected Juan Martinez, Ph.D., a Latino church expert at Fuller Seminary, to the board; he serves on the Academic Committee.
  • Created an Audit Committee, chaired by trustee Nick Allen, that includes trustee Don Warkentine, a CPA in Fresno, and Bob Herrick, who provides a board-to-board connection with the FPU Foundation and, with Allen, provides an experienced financial perspective.

The FPU Board of Trustees, our chief change agent, modeled major change itself and thus helped guide the present and ensure a healthy future for the university whose welfare and success it holds as a sacred trust for the work of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.