Roadmaps or Detours?

The corpus of our hope at Fresno Pacific University is found in the Fresno Pacific Idea, which “reflects the university’s interpretation of what it means to be a community of learners committed to a distinctive vision of Christian higher education.” In several weeks this community will convene conversations concerning the strategic direction of the university over the next three to five years. These conversations are vulnerable to distractions due to the plethora of needs evident across our campuses. The purpose of these meetings is to discern a corporate focus and sequential plan of action that strengthens our future.

Our distinctive is “found in a collegium centered upon Christ and His church…committed to the ideals of God’s kingdom and to the perspective of the liberal arts in which integration of faith, learning and action is a primary goal.” This Christian community matures out of “common commitments” which result in interactions between people, ideas and experiences which encourage learning and service. It becomes prophetic in its “vision for wholeness, justice and reconciliation.”

Most of you will immediately recognize the quotes as excerpts from the Fresno Pacific Idea. Depending on your view of Christian praxis the elements of the Idea might be interpreted differently. Interpreting the applicability of the Idea through broad lenses encourages dialogic learning, which is one of the characteristics of educational excellence. 

As we move into celebrating our 75th anniversary, we have several opportunities to give thought to how this Idea guides our future. Next year’s themes for both the Pacific magazine and Pacific Journal are developed around the Idea. Our “Strategic Mapping” process, outlined in a message to the community March 18, will also engage the Idea as a framework for discerning annual priorities.

We are posting all planning and discussion materials in this process on the intranet under “Strategic Plan.” You will find notes from “Envisioning the Future” discussions last spring; work of the President’s Cabinet and Council in review and exploration of possible overarching goals; and a proposed minor revision of the 2015 aspirations set forth in the plan approved by the Board of Trustees.

We have scheduled four venues to engage staff and faculty in this process. We are also scheduling time with student government leaders and representatives to insure student voice in this process. As stated in the previous correspondence, our goal is to present a draft to the board for its review and input by the June board meeting. The Fresno Pacific Idea already gives us direction and the previous strategic plans list our aspirations, so our job now is to design a roadmap that insures a clear focus on making “possible happen here” for every student.