Fall Kickoff 2010: Update from the President

Posted: September 3, 2010

 

The following email from Azusa Pacific President Jon R. Wallace to APU faculty and staff shares highlights from the 2010-11 Kickoff, which took place on September 2. Listen to the president's full address here:

 

Dear APU Community,

It was wonderful to gather with you yesterday to kick off the 2010-11 school year. I was encouraged to see so many of you, and in the new morning format we set a record for the largest Kickoff ever with more than 1,100 of you in attendance.

I appreciate your flexibility with the format change. Not only does it allow more of our community to attend, but also helps us continue to steward our resources well.

As is our tradition, Kickoff enables us to look back on the significant accomplishments of the past year that have brought us where we are today.

Here are a few of the blessings we celebrate together:

  • We are welcoming our largest freshman class of about 1,200, up 120 students from last year.
  • Transfer students have increase by 180 since last year.
  • Returning students have increased this year by about 200.
  • Our online programs are growing, with 6,035 students enrolled in classes during 2009-10. Six new online programs are scheduled to launch this year. We will continue to grow in being relevant to how our students are learning, and how we provide lifelong learning opportunities.
  • APU students ministered in 52 countries this past year.
  • The Treasures of the Bible: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Beyond brought nearly 18,000 guests to campus to experience this remarkable exhibit of Scripture.
  • Another successful year in Athletics led to APU’s sixth Directors’ Cup, making us the first school in NAIA history to win six consecutive cups.
  • APU moved up from the third tier to the first tier in U.S.News & World Report’s American’s Best Colleges rankings, tied at No. 167 with the University of Rhode Island and Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • U.S. News also recognized APU as 1 of 23 colleges nationwide for best first-year experience.

In addition to these achievements, here are a few more accomplishments that will also carry into the next year:

  • As a result of Project Refocus, we reduced spending and in some areas increased income to meet our financial goals and bond covenants for the year. This positions us to maximize our resources in this economy.
  • Ten percent of faculty and staff have already contributed a voluntary day off for this next fiscal year. Thank you.
  • Effective November 1, full time employees will receive a 2 percent salary increase, except for senior leadership who will forego an increase this year.
  • We established the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Values and Ethos. This task force of faculty, staff, and administration created a process to enhance understanding and ownership of the university’s core values by faculty, staff, administration, board members, and ultimately students. We do not intend to revise the institutional values, but rather affirm and clarify our identity as we engage in culture to be difference makers and a witness. We will engage this process in a calm and positive manner that demonstrates Christian respect and civility.
  • The provost search will move forward this fall and we hope to begin interviewing candidates next spring. This is one of our most critical search processes, next to the dean search for the School of Theology and hiring of Scott Daniels. Please be in prayer for God’s direction in the process.
  • Faculty and staff have been hard at work preparing for a WASC visit in March.
  • The Spiritual Mentoring Initiative began, and we are still looking for hundreds of spiritual mentors to help guide our students.

One more exciting piece of news: We recently received a pledge for what is the largest academic gift in the university’s history. A generous couple, passionate about the work being done at APU, has pledged a $6 million gift to create a signature accounting department in our School of Business and Management. This gift will endow faculty salaries, programs, and research to equip our students to become accountants and auditors grounded in strong ethics and moral character.

With these achievements, we are reminded of all that God has provided, and also of the immense responsibility He has given us. As you reflect on our passages for the year, John 1:1-18 and Colossians 1:15-23, consider how God has called you to be a difference maker, and a witness to the light. Like the rock cairns that mark the trail, we put markers through students’ lives in their understanding of Christ, who they are as scholars, the value of community, and the significance of selfless service.

Each of you, in your faculty and staff roles, will have an opportunity to impact a student in some way, and place a marker in their life that helps shape who they become. What will you do this next year to be a difference maker to the difference makers we graduate?

Shalom,

Jon R. Wallace, DBA
President, Azusa Pacific University