Taking a moment

Taking a moment

A number of groups have worked together through the process of reviewing the year now ending, and starting to plan for the next. Many voices and perspectives bring out the elements of our mission and issues that we each might not see alone. This last week the executive cabinet and the deans met, separately and then together, to collaborate on a full and common understanding of 2014-2015 so that we can support each other and progress towards a common vision and purpose for 2015-2016 and beyond. In doing so we all saw things that we might not have noticed without academic and administrative leaders at the table at the same time.

Each group, and individuals too, offered unique perspectives and insights. We looked, of course, at ever-present needs. And we identified some bottlenecks that constrain our efforts and drain our energies. We named some of the internal conflicts and differences of priority that get in our way. This was difficult to do. We would often rather avoid differences of opinion and perhaps commitments, and work around them, rather than face them directly. This was one of the first times the cabinet and deans had met together in a long while. It was encouraging to be a part of a group that was not afraid to jump into the deep end.

Among the sessions’ inspiring moments were identifying the successes of the year, and being reminded of all that can be accomplished by dedicated professors and students, staff, administration, supporters, board members, alumni and others who care for and pray for the university. We see the hand of God in it all. Each group identified at least 20 accomplishments. I can’t list them all…

  • Some were big: a successful accreditation visit and a balanced budget.
  • Some were behind the scenes but will have results later: simplified internal systems, planning for a building, a new website, engagement by the whole community in the strategic planning process.
  • Some were to be celebrated: the scholarship, teaching and learning of professors and students, international programs and trips, new musical ensembles, the growth of student leaders and champion athletes, including the baseball team.
  • Some set records, or at least notable numbers: gift income that exceeded expectations (thank you to all who have so generously supported FPU), record enrollment, gifts for the purchase of property.

Some were the nuts and bolts of our operations, others very personal individual successes. Each of us here, and many who have family members and friends at FPU, can add to the list from our own unique perspectives. We held together through some difficult moments. Perhaps commencement at Selland Arena (with more than 7,500 in attendance—we’ve outgrown the campus!) and its celebration of the achievement of students is a fitting symbol for the end of the year. They are the ones who will carry out the ultimate mission of the university, building on the foundation of a Christ-centered education to become leaders and agents of change in their communities. It is good to take a moment to reflect back on the work and mission we are so privileged to be a part of.

Steve Varvis

Steve Varvis

3 responses to “Taking a moment”

  1. Thank you, Steve! I appreciate your leadership and vision! Keep up the good work!

  2. Reading the fine comments made by Steve today I am reminded that all of us are the body of the One that we say to others we attempt to honor in living our lives here on earth. Our school located as it is in the great Central Valley of California is unlike others that may have locations deemed to be more pleasant or appealing. Where else would a school such as ours be located than on a former field that once grew food and that stands among thousands of acres in this valley that provides fruit and agricultural goods that the entire world desires to have on their tables? For well over seventy years the “fruit” that has been harvested each year has been the women and men who have studied at our school, graduated, and took with them what was passed on to them by faculty, staff, administrators, coaches, as well as others those qualities that would be useful in their lives and to a world that needs them.

    The career choice made by myself following my discharge from the U. S. Navy and beginning formal college study almost fifty years ago was one of interest in child development and the impact on a child’s life within the family and educational pathways for those children born (or who acquired) illness or disabilities that affected their ability to benefit from standardized education. Embedded in this desire to learn and to serve in these areas was the belief that Christ has His hand on all such work as this and that regardless of serving in public or private schools and organizations an individual can and should take their faith each day to their work site.

    A most wonderful opportunity exists for all of us who work and share in our setting of Fresno Pacific University. We share our talents with others and we share our faith lived out with others as well. Our students are able to see this and to experience this with us in our classes, on the fields where sports are played, and our many programs that they are enrolled in. Our great hope is that they take with them following their time with us the love for their work and for others that hopefully they experienced while with us. Christ brought His light into this world to share with all of us and I always hope that those of us who follow Him can have at least a small flicker of light in us to share with others during our lifetime. The world needs us and the more years I spend as faculty with our university the more convinced I become that the world needs Fresno Pacific University.

    Peter Kopriva, EdD
    Professor of Early Childhood Development & Special Education
    School of Education
    Fresno Pacific University