Year in Review 2015

by APU Life

Federal Grant Supports Underrepresented Students

The U.S. Department of Education awarded APU $1.1 million over five years for Target Success, a TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) grant project with targeted outcomes such as increased retention, academic standing, and graduation rates for participants. The grant assists students who demonstrate academic need, including undergraduate first-generation college students, those from low-income families, and those with disabilities requiring learning accommodations. Target Success enhances APU’s ability to support SSS-eligible students, who comprised 38 percent of incoming APU students from 2011-13.

Inaugural TEDx Talks Advance Scholarship

APU facilitated a dynamic exchange of scholarly dialogue when it hosted the first TEDxAzusaPacificUniversity on April 7, 2015. Some of the university’s greatest thinkers addressed topics around the theme of Inspiring Ideas and Meaning. Each 18-minute presentation inspired the audience and countless others viewing the live video stream to deepen community engagement with values, character, ethics, and new ideas.

School of Business and Management Names New Dean

Robert H. Roller, Ph.D., with 30 years of experience in teaching and administration, accepted the post as dean of the School of Business and Management in June 2015. He leads 25 full-time faculty, 7 undergraduate majors, and 6 graduate programs serving more than 1,000 students. Sharing APU’s entrepreneurial spirit of innovation and vision to become the nation’s model Christian business school known for producing leaders of faith, character, and competence, Roller strategically partners with business communities, industry, and government locally and internationally.

Stauffer Challenge Grant Increases Science Education

Azusa Pacific secured a 1:1 challenge grant of $500,000 from the John Stauffer Charitable Trust to support the Department of Biology and Chemistry summer research program for chemistry and biology undergraduate students. The program connects students with faculty mentors active in their field and engages them in the scientific process through original laboratory research. This 10-week experience transforms students into scholars, encouraging critical thinking, technical writing, and analysis of scientific data. Matching funds, to be raised by January 1, 2020, will establish a $1 million endowment and enable APU to double the program and enhance career preparation for participants.

School of Nursing Celebrates 40 Years

In the midst of growing health care concerns and a national nurse shortage, APU’s School of Nursing continually expands it capacity to prepare innovators who will transform nursing scholarship, patient care, and the system at large. Just last year, APU produced 600 graduates—its largest class ever and a significant increase from its inaugural class of 24—ready to address society’s needs in this important area. After four decades, the school now offers 3 bachelor’s degree programs, 2 minors, 4 master’s degree programs, 2 doctoral degrees, 1 credential, 8 post-master’s certificates, and 2 secondary specialties, along with multiple community service programs, strategic partnerships with hospitals and clinics, accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and approval from the California Board of Registered Nursing. Further, the school’s new Institute of Health Research enables students and faculty to conduct groundbreaking nursing research, resulting in the discovery, development, and transmission of knowledge that drives education, practice, and research.

APU Participates in Major Concussion Research

Azusa Pacific joined a $30 million initiative with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to enhance the safety of student-athletes and service members—the most comprehensive study of concussion and head-impact exposure ever conducted. After an intense review process, the committee selected 6 of 100 schools, including APU, to take part in year two of the Concussion Assessment Research and Education Consortium study. Starting August 1, 2015, 90 percent of APU’s more than 450 student-athletes began participating in the two-year study funded by a $286,609 NCAA-DoD grant. The study allows scientists to better understand the true natural history of concussions in athletes, and APU’s participation will ultimately serve to more accurately diagnose, treat, and prevent concussions for all.

APU Ranked as One of the Nation’s Best by Multiple Organizations

Not only did U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2016 edition name Azusa Pacific to its national universities list in a three-way tie for No. 175, but also on several other significant lists, including: A+ School for B Students (1 of fewer than 100 listed nationwide), Best Veterans College (tied at 139 out of 157; first time listed), Ethnic Diversity (37 out of 137; up from 53), Economic Diversity (40 out of more than 150; up from 49), and Least Class Debt (28 out of more than 100; up from 72). Forbes’ annual ranking, which distinguishes the top 20 percent of all U.S. undergraduate institutions, placed Azusa Pacific University at 398 out of 650 this year, up from 454 in 2014. Further, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected Azusa Pacific as 1 of 240 U.S. colleges and universities to receive its prestigious 2015 Community Engagement Classification. These rankings affirm APU’s growing scholarly reputation and commitment to increasing access and affordability.

Fulbright Awards for APU Faculty

Experts in their disciplines, two APU faculty members earned prestigious Fulbright Fellowships to teach and conduct research that fosters a mutual understanding among people from varying cultures. Mary Wong, Ph.D., director of field-based graduate TESOL programs and professor in the Department of Global Studies, Sociology, and TESOL, a two-time Fulbright recipient, will teach at Yangon University in Myanmar, November 2015-February 2016. Skyla Herod, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biology and Chemistry, will establish a neuroscience program while teaching and researching at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, for five months beginning in spring 2016. Selected for their academic merit, Wong and Herod join the ranks of 11 faculty and 32 student Fulbright scholars since 2002.

Originally published in the Fall '15 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.