Karen A. Longman, Ph.D., receives the 2016 John R. Dellenback Global Leadership Award
Karen A. Longman, Ph.D., receives the 2016 John R. Dellenback Global Leadership Award

APU’s Karen Longman Earns Global Leadership Award

by Cynndie Hoff

Honoring nearly three decades of scholarly research about the movement of Christian higher education, with a particular focus on leadership development, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) named Azusa Pacific’s Karen A. Longman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Higher Education, the 2016 John R. Dellenback Global Leadership Award recipient. The accolade recognizes those who make outstanding contributions to Christian higher education through scholarship, writing, and public influence. Longman joins a prestigious list of past recipients, including Os Guinness, Miroslav Volf, and Alister McGrath.

President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, presented the award to Longman at the CCCU 40th Anniversary Gala in Washington, DC on January 27 before her national peers. “Karen Longman’s imprint on the leadership development of men and women of character and impact permeates Christian higher education from coast to coast,” said Wallace. “An architect of the CCCU Leadership Development Institutes, her passion for equipping and encouraging aspiring senior administrators is unmatched. As she joins the ranks of other esteemed honorees, she extends the legacy that the Dellenback Award honors.”

Longman’s dedication to advancing the movement of Christ-centered higher education and seeking to diversify the senior leadership mirrors the life and work of the award’s namesake. Dellenback, congressman (R-OR) from 1967-74, Peace Corps director until 1977, and CCCU president through 1988, passionately pursued the development of responsible leadership. Similarly, Longman strives for innovative approaches to prepare decisive, ethical leaders who are equipped to guide university campuses in today’s increasingly complex context.

Longman’s extensive experience gives her the platform to accomplish that goal. Her work over the past 20 years has focused on furthering leadership studies in higher education, including regular offerings of the CCCU’s Leadership Development Institute, Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development Institute, and Women’s Leadership Development Institute. Although women constitute the majority of students at all degree levels in the U.S., across the CCCU’s 120-member institutions, only 20 percent of senior leadership roles (vice president or higher) are held by women. Longman’s efforts include programs designed for emerging leaders in the CCCU network, equipping and encouraging those who have been identified as potential senior-level administrators. Since 1998, more than 500 people have participated in these important programs, producing more than 60 cabinet-level leaders, 30 chief academic officers, and 10 university presidents. The research-based content and the opportunity to learn and apply effective strategies has drawn more than 15 Azusa Pacific faculty and staff members as participants, led by resource leaders Laurie Schreiner, Ph.D, chair and professor, and Eileen Hulme, Ph.D., professor, Department of Higher Education; Anita Fitzgerald Henck, Ph.D., dean and professor, School of Education; and Longman.

Longman’s enthusiasm for her colleagues’ pursuit of advanced skills permeates her professional life. She serves as coeditor for a new Women and Leadership book series sponsored by the International Leadership Association, has coedited two books in that series (Women and Leadership in Higher Education in 2014 and Women and Leadership around the World in 2015), and previously edited Thriving in Leadership: Strategies for Making a Difference in Christian Higher Education. With Schreiner, Longman coedits Christian Higher Education: An International Journal of Research, Theory, and Practice. Before joining the APU faculty, she spent 6 years as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Greenville College in Illinois, and 19 years as vice president for professional development and research at the CCCU, where she continues to contribute as a senior fellow.

Longman exemplifies not only the spirit of the Dellenback Award, but also the CCCU mission: to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help its institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth.

Cynndie Hoff is a freelance writer living in Walnut, California.ceh.hoff@verizon.net