Don Griffith, Chair, FPU Board of Trustees
The FPU Board of Trustees concluded productive meetings on Friday and Saturday of last week. These were positive meetings, in large measure due to the hard work of the faculty and staff over this past year, acting together to achieve a balanced budget, make progress on the strategic plan and invest in another outstanding class of graduates. The board also acknowledged Steve Varvis with comments of affirmation and prayer, in recognition that he was attending his last board meeting as an administrator after 27 years of faithful service. Thank you Steve and all of the FPU team for your outstanding dedication!
Here are other highlights of our board meeting:
The board affirmed the 11 members of the Presidential Search Committee: five from FPU (one student, one staff, two faculty and one administrator) and six from the board. Various campus constituent groups used either an election or appointment process to fill their seats. Some groups forwarded multiple names to the board for consideration for one position. The board was mindful of a number of issues when making its selections, including, but not limited to, diversity of gender, generations, ethnicity, experience and campus affiliation. I am pleased to announce the following committee members and the groups they represent: TUG student, Brett Peters; staff, Jeff Jones; faculty, Sharon Merritt and Quentin Kinnison; administration, Valerie Rempel; trustees, Xavier Piña, Deb Palmer, Janet Hinman, Nicolas Allen, Gary Wall and Don Griffith. The search committee will do its work under the direction of myself and Xavier Piña as co-chairs.
Our search consultant, Paul Corts, is currently working with us to develop the presidential profile and institutional profile, which will be available to potential candidates on the FPU website. Once those are complete, Paul and AGB Search will begin a national search for qualified candidates for consideration by the search committee. This means the process will soon begin a “silent phase,” during which the committee will be doing the hard work of evaluating and interviewing.
Please be in much prayer for this process. Please pray for the candidates and their guidance. Please pray for the wisdom of the search committee members as we do the work of discernment. And please be in much prayer for our next president, that God would be shaping the heart and mind of that man or woman, whomever they are, to confirm to them his calling on their life to come to FPU and lead us to a future of ever-increasing significance.
The board amended its bylaws to allow for a broader and more flexible leadership team. As a result, the vice chair is no longer required to also serve as chair of the Development Committee. We appointed Deb Palmer to chair that committee, and become a member of the Executive Committee.
Deb, who is an FPU graduate and executive at Wells Fargo, brings with her a wealth of training and experience in the areas of team building, training and development. The board currently has a number of open seats which the Development Committee has the responsibility of filling. As board chair, I have reiterated our commitment to diversity when filling the empty seats. Please be in prayer that the board would have the guidance and leading of the Lord as we consider who to invite to join us.
The board spent considerable time listening to a presentation by Ron Gunden with Gonser-Gerber, the consulting firm hired by the university to assess the readiness of the university for a successful capital campaign to build the Center for the Arts. As a result of that report, the university will complete a three-prong approach to gather more refined information to bring to the board at the October 2016 meeting. First, the university will work with the architect and contractor jointly to value-engineer the project and refine the cost. Second, the president, with support from the board and Advancement Office, will meet with key donors and seek non-binding commitments of “Intent to Support the Center for the Arts Campaign.” Third, the board will be asked to also make non-binding commitments of intent. In October the board will review the results of these three initiatives and decide on a way forward.
In prior meetings the board adopted a strategic plan with aggressive goals regarding expanding online education at FPU. In response to that plan, the university developed the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI) to seek ways to move forward with this initiative. The board reviewed progress regarding this initiative and the strategy to partner with a vendor to develop an online presence and market the program. The board recognizes that new and bold initiatives often involve unknowns and may take us out of our comfort zone. The board supports the FPU executive team and the CAI as they work together to develop the proposed vendor relationship and leverage the opportunities for FPU while mitigating risk.
The board passed a number of motions affecting faculty and programs that are positive and exciting. We moved to accept the Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems for degree completion. This is a program with a lot of interest and possibilities.
The board is committed to the unique role FPU plays in Christian higher education and its calling to be agents of transformation in the lives of students, Central California and the world. This is no small task. Please be in prayer as we continue the presidential search process in earnest, and as the university continues initiatives to pursue its calling to empower leaders and transform lives. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.