Goal Three: INNOVATE Creatively

Goal Three: INNOVATE Creatively

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures” (Proverbs 24:3,4).

The integration of faith and knowledge yields wisdom. Wisdom is a source of creativity; it broadens insight and inspires resourcefulness. Faculty and staff are encouraged to imagine broadly, to create constructively and to act boldly in service to the mission.

When we consider the future and what has become a redundant term—Innovation—I would suggest we step back and reconsider the context in which we encourage the work of Innovating Creatively. Creativity is the conception of new or unusual ideas, while innovation is the implementation of those ideas. New ideas are useless if we lack the courage to test them for fear of failure. We are all familiar with the teachings of Jesus about the talents or gold bags. He ends the parable with a point: “the persons who have, more will be given; and those that do not have, that which they have will be taken away.” The unfaithful steward is always the one who fails to act due to fear of failure.

In loving God with our minds, how do we mature Christian thinking towards new ideas that are culturally engaging and directed to service? As Reggie McNeal suggests in The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church: “We think we are headed to the future. The truth is the future is headed toward us.” Understanding this should shift our thinking concerning current and future impact of the university throughout the Central Valley. David S. Dockery, former president of Union University, in his book Renewing Minds, suggests: “We need more than just new ideas and enhanced programs; we need distinctively Christian thinking.” He would agree that this is the kind of tough-minded thinking that leads to an engaged life.

Our use of the GEIST acronym evolved from efforts to assist the FPU community in remembrance of the overarching goals of the new Strategic Map. Innovate Creatively falls at the center of the five goals, not by intent, but now in reflection it seems to be very appropriate. To Innovate Creatively interfaces with our work in Growing Strategically, Engaging Collectively, Serving Courageously and Transforming Purposely. It stands as an axis on which to launch inventive strength in the pathway of the other four goals. None of these are independent, but all will guide us in unique ways to engage the cultures and serve the cities.

Below are the initial objectives for Innovate Creatively:

  • Design events, courses and majors that increase participation in innovative programs that integrate core competencies and values consistent with the Fresno Pacific Idea.
  • Expand staff, faculty and student opportunities that advance entrepreneurial initiatives for learning and professional development.
  • Design and remodel facilities that encourage a creative environment.

Joseph Jones, Ph.D.