A Message from the President: Reflections on Today (4-3-20)

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic altering our daily routines, the APU Community was scheduled to gather today in celebration of our rich legacy and deepening commitment to Christ-centered Academic Excellence. As I would have shared during the Inauguration, I am so very grateful for our first year of positive momentum and engagement and look forward to unveiling a bold aspiration to become the premier Christian University for our culture and times through the new Strategic Plan.

I am confident that our Community will emerge stronger after COVID-19. Our Strategic Plan—Renewal: Strengthening Our Capacity for Cultivating Christ-centered Scholars and Leaders—will provide a solid platform to elevate APU. No doubt the plan will be enhanced by our recent experiences and newly tested mettle as a Christ-centered Community. Together, we will be more grateful, more enduring, and more dynamic. We anticipate launching the Strategic Plan in early Fall 2020.

During this unprecedented disruption, the APU Community remains resilient and moving forward in its long-term mission of equipping the next generation for Christ. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18) Please continue to pray for our APU Community and for God’s abiding presence in the midst of this difficult time.

I also want to update you on two important topics.

Provost Search Update: I appreciate the dedication of the Provost Search Committee. Working with our search consultant, CarterBaldwin, the Committee reviewed more than 50 applicant files and narrowed the search to 10 excellent candidates. The Committee prayerfully engaged and virtually interviewed each candidate and recommended 4 finalists with strong academic leadership, expressed and demonstrated faith, and commitment to Christ-centered, inclusive education. The final stage of the search process will include a day-long campus visit that enables the broader university community to interact with the candidates once circumstances allow. All finalists have been notified of the delay caused by COVID-19, and each expressed sustained interest in the opportunity at APU and a desire to continue in the process when safe to do so. I am grateful for the leadership and service of our Interim Provost, Dr. Rukshan Fernando, during this extended and challenging period.

Financial Update: The February financial results showed APU in a stable position, with a balanced budget and healthy covenant data based on our liquidity and debt-service coverage. Our goal is to ensure we complete FY20 with a balanced budget, meeting all of our fiscal obligations and caring for the APU Community.

Given the financial disruption of COVID-19, we will continue to carefully manage the remainder of FY20, ending June 30, 2020. This includes: (1) closely monitoring and controlling expenditures, which include implementing a hiring freeze through June 30, (2) balancing employee workload and compensation through equitable and generous management of administrative leave, vacation, sick leave, and new federal unemployment options, (3) applying for COVID-19 related federal support for institutional budget relief where available, and (4) generating Summer 1 revenue through new and continued remote learning course offerings presented online.

As we near completion of our first year, Grace and I remain humbled to serve each of you and advance the work of Christ at APU. Granted, these times have tested us all. But how wonderful to emerge from a time of trial together and echo the words of Peter, “So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7)

With love and prayerful support for you,

Paul W. Ferguson, Ph.D., DABT