This week I’m handing over Connecting Points to a good friend of Fresno Pacific University. Board Chair Don Griffith will provide some insights on the October board meeting. Enjoy! — Rich
The Board of Trustees completed two days of productive and significant work during our October meetings this last weekend. I would like to share the highlights from those sessions.
Presidential Search Process
The board selected a search firm and consultant to guide us in our search for the next president of FPU. After a thorough screening process and detailed reference checks, the board voted to retain AGB Search and Paul Corts, Ph.D., as our search consultant. AGB Search was founded in 2010 by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB). With more than 1,250 member institutions, AGB serves the interests of higher education leadership. Corts has been with AGB Search since 2012, has served as the president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) and spent a total of 20 years as president of two universities.
Strategic Plan Goals
In June the board approved the university strategic plan. To clarify board expectations relative to progress toward the enrollment numbers in the plan, in October the board established specific minimum incremental goals for enrollment: traditional undergraduate—1,250, graduate—1,300, degree completion—1,800 and online education—1,000. All goals are to be met by October 1, 2018, with progress toward these goals reported by administration in each board meeting between now and October 2018. These are incremental goals only; the board expects the university to reach the strategic plan enrollment numbers as expeditiously as possible.
- Faculty on Board committees—the board approved the addition of one faculty member to each board standing committee. Faculty members are appointed to board committees by the board chair, are fully participating members of the committee and serve for a term of one year. We believe this initiative should enhance the committee decision-making process.
- Diversity Statement—in June the board adopted a diversity rationale; in October the board strengthened that document by approving a Diversity Statement.
- MB Confession of Faith—the board provided clarification regarding the university’s position on the definition of marriage in light of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in which the court re-defined marriage. The board passed a resolution re-affirming its commitment to the MB Confession of Faith statement on marriage, singleness and family. The board instructed the administration to draft a policy reflecting the university’s commitment serve a diverse student population, including LGBT-Q students who desire the kind of Christian higher education offered at FPU.
- President’s First Year Review—the president received a satisfactory review from the board which was both informative and instructive. Thank you to the campus community who participated in the review process—your input was very helpful.
- Policy on University Leadership—the board adopted a policy that more clearly defines the role of the president and senior vice president/provost and how the board supports each. Unless changed by the board in the future, this policy will serve as the model our next president will follow as well.
As we look to the future, Fresno Pacific University will face a number of changes and new opportunities as well as challenges. We will make the transition to a new president within the near future. The current timeline for the presidential search continues in February 2016 with the search consultant training the board, and concludes with the appointment of the new president in February 2017, who starts serving July 1, 2017. Obviously there will be many intermediate steps and a lot of work to make that happen. During that same time we intend to move forward with a silent phase of donor development for the new Fine Arts Building for which the board approved a location, footprint and budget in June. Preliminary plans for that building have been under development and will continue as the board authorizes, based on gifts available for that project. Additionally the university will move forward to achieve the incremental goals for enrollment and continue to pursue the strategic plan, which is obviously no small task in itself.
The board recognizes the significant accomplishments and sacrifices made by the university community in the past year. This is a time to press forward to continue to shape a bright future at FPU. Our mission statement defines who we are and how we go about being a Christian university. The board has established a strategic plan and leadership policy to guide us well into the future. As we work together to achieve the goals and outcomes in the strategic plan we will not only fulfill our mission as “faithful servants,” but we will at the same time contribute to the financial health of the university, which will in turn provide more opportunity and reward for everyone involved in the process. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.
Chair, FPU Board of Trustees