President’s Update

Earlier this year we published in Connections the nine strategic priorities for this academic year. If you take the time to review the FPU Strategic Plan, you will find these priorities are consistent with the goals of the plan. At the fall convocation, I announced an additional priority that I believe is implicit in all we do. That is “to nurture and mature a Christ-centered community.” We want to be intentional about our spiritual formation as a community, which includes students, staff and faculty. We intentionally integrated diversity with the Office of Spiritual Formation, because the framework for nurturing one area impacts the maturing of the other. Our commission to love one another reaches beyond emotional affinity and compels us to engage others beyond our comfort levels.

  • We would therefore encourage campus-wide participation in the upcoming Believers Church Lecture Series sponsored by our seminary: Bridging the Racial Divide, September 24, 2018, in Butler Church. Christena Cleveland, Ph.D., a social psychologist and public theologian, will provide three different lectures: 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Please make time in your day to participate in one of these. (More at
  • We also want to congratulate and thank our enrollment staff for recruiting another record class. We now have a student population just over 4,200. The recruitment goals for traditional undergraduates, bachelor’s degree completion and graduate students have each been exceeded. Our overall TUG population is down due to the large graduating class last year, but the new first-year student class is larger than last year.
  • Just a reminder that salary restorations for those who are eligible will start near the end of this month. We will be reviewing our ability to restore retirement benefits in early spring of this academic year.
  • Next year is our 75th anniversary. In the coming weeks we will be sending out information, organizing committees and soliciting ideas for activities and events for the celebration. This is a rare opportunity to celebrate where we have been and communicate where we are going. We are expecting all departments of the university to be involved in the planning and implementation of this yearlong event.
  • You probably have already read the news that FPU has moved up in rankings with U.S. News & World Report. We move from number 41 to 39 among schools in our category, and are also included in the magazines “Best Value” list. We appreciate the work of all faculty and staff who collaborate to strengthen our mission as a learning community. (More at
  • The university has been thinking about a Center for the Arts for some time. So many of you have given input about the facility, which has changed over the years. There are three different plans in the President’s Office. There were many challenges that served as obstacles to moving forward, but we are determined to make significant progress this year. We are currently revisiting these plans to make the facility an Arts and Cultural Center that will serve the university and broader community. We will periodically communicate movement on this project as we make progress in the planning.
  • You may be surprised to see Alan Autry, former mayor of Fresno, actor, movie producer and co-principal of Church First Films at FPU as we hope to premier his newest film, Victory by Submission, on campus this fall. Alan has volunteered to engage our community, collaborating with Tyler Miller, MFA, our new theater professor, and Katie Fleener, Ph.D., our new dean of the School of Business, to provide expertise in the production arts through seminars, lectures and internships for students interested in the film industry. He will have an office in McDonald Hall and will assist the president in identifying regional patrons for our work in the arts. Please welcome his contribution to our community.

As you review the institutional strategic priorities and the priorities in your departments, we forecast a busy, as usual, but exciting new year. As already communicated in Connections, we made significant progress on our strategic priorities last year. Some of those activities will carry over to this year. We are grateful for a team of leaders in the President’s Cabinet and Council who are committed to strengthening the foundation of this university. You will hear from them periodically as we progress on various issues.

I personally want to express appreciation to those who contributed to the Connections as a medium for encouraging, informing and affirming the FPU community. Thank you all for your service to our students and to one another.