Presidential Priorities: Reframing Our Thinking

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Fresno Pacific University has become a regional university of the San Joaquin Valley. The university extends its influence from Bakersfield to Merced through five campuses. It not only provides a Christ-centered education throughout the Central Valley, but serves as a catalyst for change in areas of spiritual development, social and cultural growth, economic development and education. To expand the influence of the kingdom of God in these areas, the university will exercise its vision to excel in academic programs, create environments of collaborative innovation and promote peace, justice and reconciliation to strengthen the spiritual vitality of the region. Our responsibility and focus has therefore expanded to think of ourselves as the Christian liberal arts university of the Valley, with a seminary which serves as a professional development arm for churches throughout the region.

This may not be a revelation to many, but our actions, operations and planning have not always kept up with our growth or expansion of responsibilities. We have reached a record enrollment of 4,000 students this year because of the tenacious work of our admission staff. Please offer kudos with me to Jon Endicott and his staff for their great efforts. Our increase is not due to our traditional location here in Fresno, but because of the interest across the Valley at our other locations. Now is the time to replace our lenses to give us better vision to see, plan and serve our students in ways that will empower them to become beacons of hope in the cities and towns across Central California and the world.

As many of you know, we have re-structured the President’s Cabinet and activated a President’s Council to ensure greater academic voice in the planning and development process. We have identified 10 strategic priorities that we think are foundational to our internal health, our outreach and our partnerships. I wanted to take some time to communicate these to our community, so that all would understand the context of our foundation building for the future. I do not have the time to address these in this communication, but wanted to stimulate a broader discussion of these tasks in preparation for the numerous opportunities for engagement that are on the horizon.

Remember, these are the guides for the work of the cabinet, which will filter down into the individual working units. Our hope is that these priorities will provide a framework for all our work throughout the five locations. I will list all 10 priorities here, and begin to address the specifics through the Connections communiqué over the next few weeks. The first two priorities I would consider to be foundational to the other eight, so I have briefly outlined aspects of those priorities that will be discussed next week.

We all are about to embark on a journey that will free our imaginative, creative and entrepreneurial spirits of collaboration to “engage the cultures and serve the cities.” Our work affirms the vision of the university “to be known for academic excellence, innovative programming and spiritual vitality.”

Strategic Priorities for 2017-18

  1. Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of academic & administrative governance (re-structure).
    1. Cabinet (thinking institutionally)/Council
    2. Strategic spending—investment vs. need
    3. Collaboration and empowerment
    4. Reinforcing productive culture
      1. Connections (blog)
      2. Fall and Spring Convocations
      3. Inter-departmental communications and meetings
    5. Assessment and annual review of staff positions
    6. Faculty and staff professional development
    7. Internal/external branding campaign
  2. Plan for financial stability.
    1. Enrollment plans
      1. Satellite campus strategies
      2. Community college partnerships
      3. International students—California Health Science Univesity/TUG admissions
      4. Online students—DC, grad/seminary, professional development
      5. Academic plans—new programs, new delivery systems
    2. Student retention strategies—TUG, DC, grad, online
      1. Student affairs
      2. Athletics
      3. Spiritual formation
      4. Academic innovation
      5. Campus beautification
    3. Advancement plans (fund development coordination)
      1. Advancement organizational restructure (add prospect research)
      2. Comprehensive capital campaign (including Cultural and Arts Center)
      3. FPU Foundation—endowments
      4. Strategic grants team
      5. Seminary/centers
      6. Athletics
    4. Strategic reserve investment/deferred maintenance
    5. Facilities use—conferences: summer (i.e., sports camps)
  3. Develop a university-wide academic plan.
    1. Faith and diversity integration
    2. New programs (market demand)
    3. Accreditations
    4. Innovative delivery systems (program review)
    5. Use of technology
    6. Undergraduate research and service projects
    7. Community partnerships
  4. Strengthen the links between main and satellite campuses (student identity).
  5. Identify cost and a plan to address deferred maintenance.
  6. Design and initiate a comprehensive capital campaign to include: a Cultural and Arts Center, endowments, scholarships, deferred maintenance, infrastructure/technology, professional development, athletics, seminary and regional campus facilities.
  7. Strengthen collaborations between seminary and other academic programs.
  8. Develop a collaborative governance model between faculty and staff. 
  9. The revision of position and appointment of a permanent Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  10. Identify funding priorities for 2018-19.