Please welcome guest contributor Terry Brensinger, Ph.D., president of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and vice president of Fresno Pacific University.
Last week the FPU Faculty Senate met to consider two new program proposals that the seminary brought forward. The first, an M.A. in Community Leadership and Transformation, focuses primarily on a regional audience and is designed to prepare men and women to bring about the spiritual, social and economic revitalization of our neighborhoods. The second, an M.A. in Ministry, Leadership and Culture, is an innovative online degree intended for people everywhere who would most likely never move to Fresno for a theological education. In combination, the two programs have the potential to extend God’s Kingdom near and far, and all of us at the seminary are excited about them.
So we brought them to the senate, not knowing fully what to expect. At the end of a two-session process, I sat in silence as the senate voted unanimously to approve both proposals. I was moved, to say the least, by the strong vote of affirmation from my colleagues here at Fresno Pacific University. It was, after all, only a few years ago that the former Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary was struggling to find its way on the other side of a “brick wall” that no longer separates us. Today, we are on the same team, working together to discern God’s unique calling for our university and to live out that calling with courage, passion and imagination.
In all honesty, however, the unanimous vote of the faculty senate was just one—albeit important—point of engagement between the wider university and the seminary with respect to these two new proposals. Members of FPU’s faculty and staff, for example, participated in various discussion groups in which these proposals were originally conceived. In addition,
- the Center for Online Learning enabled us to see a far wider variety of options than we would otherwise have been aware of;
- the School of Education provided counsel regarding pedagogical strategies and best practices;
- the School of Business assisted us in constructing a detailed financial plan;
- the Communications & Marketing Office advised us in terms of marketing strategies;
- the Advancement Office alerted us to and helped us secure additional funding sources; and
- the president and provost/senior vice president offered unwavering encouragement and support.
And I could go on. Video production. Enrollment projections. Website development. You name it. Time and time again, individuals from Fresno Pacific University came along side of the seminary and reminded us, both in word and deed, that we are now part of a larger family whose members look out for each other. A larger family that shares a desire for the common good. A larger family whose corporate potential far exceeds whatever any of us might accomplish independently. In a real sense, these new programs belong to all of us. By God’s grace, may they flourish and extend the kingdom work, not only of the seminary, but of this wonderful university as a whole.
So thanks to everyone at FPU. I just want you to know that all of us at the seminary are grateful to be a part of this community. I only hope that you feel the same way about us.