Spring brings refreshment, a chance to enjoy accomplishments

Spring brings refreshment, a chance to enjoy accomplishments

I am enjoying the arrival of spring and our refreshed campus community engaging in different activities. We see the reawakening of trees and flowers and the visual reminders of new life—signs of a fresh path forward! We see the Cultural Arts Center nearing completion, reflecting the hope and dreams of many people through the years. I see the calendar filling with events celebrating the accomplished work of students and the ushering of students into new journeys where their story is yet written. We are heading for a strong finish for the spring semester. This strong finish comes as we complete a journey of working through obstacles—obstacles that we did not fully understand. Yet, spring is here.

GEIST, our strategic map, has provided a unifying guide for our work in furthering the mission of FPU in the last three years. Despite the challenges of COVID, faculty, staff and students have emerged with resilience, sorrow and joy. Throughout the semester, faculty continued to explore creative ways to teach in a face-to-face format while wearing masks, using microphones and accommodating students who needed to quarantine for a period. Students are completing their studies and degrees. Students are preparing for finals and end-of-semester projects. Faculty are preparing final classes that promote knowledge and skill growth while also attending to the development of lifelong learning in their students. Staff are busily making celebration events possible and supporting our students in unassuming ways. The work that we do here, the work to which we are committed, is often fraught with hardship and challenges, but such work has implications for new beginnings. I am grateful and humbled by that simple, but not always easy, connection. At FPU, our path for impact includes:

  • Academic growth through innovative program and pedagogical development
  • Educational access for students in need
  • Love-driven diversity
  • Mental health and emotional wellness support
  • Commitment to community engagement through a variety of activities
  • Establishment of academic partnerships
  • Receiving grants to fund academic innovation, community outreach and partnerships
  • The Center for Online Learning facilitating virtual pedagogical shifts
  • Resumption of in-person events

We have accomplished much over this year for which we can be grateful. We have also risked and failed, for which we also ought to be grateful. Spring is God’s way of reminding us of God’s faithfulness and grace. Yet, spring comes after winter. Our spring comes after battling through obstacles and challenges and yet, so many good things happened. How do we respond?

With apologies to Wendell Berry, “Give your approval to all you cannot understand…Ask the questions that have no answers. Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts….Practice resurrection.”

Gayle Copeland, Ph.D.

Gayle Copeland, Ph.D.

Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chief Academic Officer